Thursday, May 24, 2012

After-Hop Post 2 of 2

Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia 2013

We've learned a lot from this year and we've gone back and forth on ideas for the next year. What we've decided is to change the name from Hop Against Homophobia to Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia in honor of IDAHO. Also, did anyone else wake up on Sunday with half the blogs yet to read? Well we did. Originally we decided on four days, but that was before we knew that 275 blogs were going to sign up. So for next year, we're going to increase the length of the hop. We don't have the exact number of days yet, but we're thinking maybe ten or so. It all depends on which of the below option will be chosen. The start date will be on May 17th 2013, so mark your calendars :)

There is one other thing we've been going back and forth on. We want to spread awareness of homophobia and transphobia - this includes awareness of issues facing gays, lesbians, bisexuals, asexuals, pansexuals and the whole QUILTBAG. That was what was done this year. We had experiences from gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and trans* - all of whom were M/M writers/publishers/reviewers. The question is: Should we restrict this hop to the M/M writing community or should we include the whole GLBTQ writing community? There are pros and cons to both.

A lot of you may be thinking that we should open this for everyone, the M/F writing community too, but we feel like we have to limit this somewhere or it will become difficult to manage. Our method of drawing visitors in and get them involved is to offer up prizes. It worked well this time around, and although many would have visited without the prizes, we doubt they would have bothered to visit so many sites in so few days without them. We feel that we have to limit the hop to a group, because if the hop will link thousands of blogs people might find it daunting to visit every blog. Supervision would be tricky - it was tricky enough with 275 blogs (making sure the links worked, checking to see if someone didn't post, hunting down emails that had been typed incorrectly, responding to everyone who needed help, our latest endeavour to link directly to the messages and pull out quotes, etc.). 

Anyway, these are the two options we've narrowed down and we'd love to get your input on this:

1. Open the hop for the whole GLBTQ writing community. The hop will get a wider exposure and this is the group we're fighting for, so it makes sense to have everybody under one hop. The "downside" is that the hop will be huge, probably with twice as many blogs signing up. Again, we fear that the visitors will find a big number daunting and will be less inclined to take part. 

2. Limit it to the M/M writing community and see if there are any F/F and Trans* writers who would be interested in hosting the same event on separate hop-blog sites. The hops will be smaller and more manageable, but the exposure of IDAHO will be just as good. We have founded a group called Writers Against Homophobia and Transphobia (WAHAT), and the separate hop blogs (the main hop sites) could work together under that group. We could join forces in advertising and promoting, and we could help each other to make every hop a success. There would be less links to monitor and the hops would run smoother. Each group could focus on reaching their target group with their messages. We're also toying with the idea to talk to YA writers, and horror writers, and sci-fi writers (etc.) to see if there's interest in creating YA Writers Against Homophobia and Transphobia (who would try to reach their target groups of YA readers), Horror Writers Against Homophobia and Transphobia (etc), to try to bring this out of the GLBTQ writing community. 

So what do you think? Do you know of F/F writers who might be interested in hosting this event for the F/F writing community? Or writers of Trans* fiction who might be interested in hosting a hop for the Trans* writing community? Or should we just keep it all under one hop?

We would LOVE to hear your opinions :)

After-Hop Post 1 of 2

We want to thank everyone who signed up and posted their messages about homophobia and transphobia. The posts were mind-blowing and we think it would be a shame for them to pop down the list as time goes by, so we're working on a separate page on this blog with a direct link to every message*. We're also pulling out quotations from some of the posts**.

During this hop, we (the organizers) experienced this wonderful feeling of closeness in our colleges for four days. It felt amazing. The M/M writing community really did band together and stood strong, and therefor we feel that both objectives were reached: to spread awareness of homophobic discrimination and to stand together as a community of M/M writers, reviewers, publishers (and readers!).

We also want to thank the visitors for stopping by. Not only did they show interest and get involved, but their points of view, opinions, and encouragement were extremely thought-provoking and often heartfelt.

Thanks everyone for a very successful hop. We hope to see every last one of you next year :)

- Hop Organizers

*If someone doesn't want their message on the page, please let us know and we'll remove it.
**Again, if someone doesn't want their quote up, please let us know.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hop Against Homophobia 2012


Homophobic discrimination is a serious issue in every single country on this planet, no matter how big or small. Some countries are more advanced in GLBTQ rights, while in some countries the penalty for being a GLBTQ person is death. All over the world, GLBTQ people are shunned by society, beat up, tortured, raped, and stripped of human rights in various ways. What makes people believe that they have the right to strip someone of their human rights is beyond us.

The Hop Against Homophobia is an attempt by over 250 m/m authors, reviewers and publishers to stand together and create awareness of homophobia. Each participating blog will feature a message on homophobic discrimination in its various forms. The date, May 17th, was chosen in honor of the International Day Against Homophobia and we're hoping to get people more involved with this day by inviting them to our blogs, where the visitors have a chance to win prizes.  

To the side of this blog are links to various organizations and foundations that fights homophobic discrimination. We encourage you to visit these sites and see what they're all about. Also, if you have more links you'd like to see on that list, please do share :)

So please, stop by the blogs, read the messages and leave comments :) Please also stay tuned for our after-hop message next week.


Disclaimer: Every blog participant is responsible for his/her own giveaway. The Hop Against Homophobia organizers will not be held reponsible if someone doesn't choose a winner or if someone fails to deliver their prize.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

HAH Featured on Kool Queer Lit Today

Hi guys,

One more day! 

We just wanted to point out that Hop Against Homophobia is being featured on Kool Queer Lit today. Please stop by if you're interested in reading more about the hop.

Almost Time!

It's almost time! We wanted to mention a few things before we begin. There's a yahoo group for this event and everyone is welcome, as long as they're not looking to cause trouble. We also have a facebook page and a Twitter account.

We've received a lot of emails from the participating blogs and many are all set to go and people are excited.

Registration is still open and will remain so until the end of the hop. If your blog is eligible and you'd like to join, there's a small blue sign-up button below the purple names. 

We would very much appreciate any kind of exposure during this event, so please spread the word :)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Purpose of This Hop

It has been brought to our attention that the purpose of this hop was never actually stated in the hop info on this site. We assumed that the purpose was a given (due to the name): To bring awareness to homophobia. However, since the creation of this hop, the purpose has become twofold: To bring awareness to homophobia and to stand together as an m/m writer community to fight of discrimination against the m/m genre. We have spread this purpose in interviews, personal email recruitment and in other announcements, but it was never stated on this blog site. We hope to rectify that with this post.

The blogs taking part in this will discuss homophobia in their hop entry. Originally we thought that we wouldn't get many sign-ups, so we added this text "as little as mention it - your choice" in the info post, because we wanted good exposure to the blogs that would talk about homophobia. In our informational email message going out this week, we will emphasize this part of the hop, as it has always been the purpose: to talk about homophobia. A lot of the participants have already stated in messages to us that they know what they're going to write about, so we're confident that most will want to spread a message (and everyone will, in the following hops, as that little text won't be included in the future). Some of it will be about the real problem, some will be about people's own experiences, and some will be about how homophobia has been successfully fought.

That said, we were outraged when a chapter in the Romance Writers of America excluded m/m romances from one of their contests because it felt "icky" to the judges. It was a big part in us wanting to make this hop large-scale and make a loud splash. We're not members of RWA, so this did not affect us directly, but we were still outraged. What the chapter of RWA did was discriminate against our genre and the subject it centers around: men loving men. The RWA chapter was being homophobic. They ended up cancelling the contest after an uproar, but it was clear by their excuse that there's a lot of work to be done for people to accept m/m fiction as something just acceptable as other fiction. This is why we added the second purpose: to stand together as m/m an m/m writing community and bring about awareness of our books and their subjects. 

Is it morally wrong to use the International Day Against Homophobia in relation to this hop? We believe not. Being excluded for the sole reason that our work contains love between two men is wrong and homophobic, and we have a right to fight to make sure it doesn't happen again. This may seem trivial to some people, in comparison to other homophobic issues, but to us this is very important (and no, not for sales - if money was all we were after, we'd be writing mainstream YA).

Is it wrong to use prizes to get people to our blogs? We think not. We think it's a great way to get people to stop by in hope that they'll take interest in the issue and become more aware. We could have made a hop where there were no prizes involved - just us spreading a message - but we believe that this way, we will get more people over. A lot of people - including m/m readers - don't even know that there's such a thing as an International Day Against Homophobia. A lot of people - including m/m readers - don't even know that there's such a thing as an International Day Against Homophobia.

People may not agree with this method, but it is within their rights to disagree. People's opinions will always differ. A couple of days ago, we learned that there are people who have posted a message saying how terribly wrong this hop is - and by reading the post these people made, they were right. It did look terribly wrong. Had we not been involved in this hop ourselves, we would have been outraged. The informational post on "What is a Blog Hop" was badly written: it started off explaining in general what a book blog hop is, but then, as the post wore on, it started to get into the details of this specific hop. That has been rectified now, and only speaks of what a book blog hop is, in general. The biggest mistake, however, was that our purpose was not clearly stated in the informational post. We know that no matter what we say, we won't change the minds of most of these people. All we can do is be open, honest, and sincere in what our purpose has been all along. We can pull up links, dated back in February, to show that we've been spreading this purpose over the internet. Erica can send these links through emails, if people contact her personally.

We acknowledge these mistakes. The main purpose of this hop has never been to sell our books. People can chose to believe that or not - again, nothing we can say will change the minds of those who do think we're just here to sell our books - so all we can do is write this post and hope that most people will see that we're not doing something wrong here.

So again, in short: This hop is about spreading awareness of homophobia and to stand together as an m/m writer community against discrimination of what we write about.

Erica, K-Lee and NJ.