We are writing this statement as a group of writers who are signed to The Blair Partnership, to announce our resignation from the agency.
This decision is not made lightly, and we are saddened and disappointed it has come to this. After J. K. Rowling’s — who is also signed to the agency — public comments on transgender issues, we reached out to the agency with an invitation to reaffirm their stance to transgender rights and equality. After our talks with them, we felt that they were unable to commit to any action that we thought was appropriate and meaningful. Freedom of speech can only be upheld if the structural inequalities that hinder equal opportunities for underrepresented groups are challenged and changed.
Affirmations to support LGBTQIA people as a whole need to be followed up by meaningful and impactful action, both internally and publicly. As LGBTQIA writers ourselves we feel strongly about having an agency that supports our rights at all avenues, and does not endorse views that go against our values and principles.
We stand in solidarity with LGBTQIA — and allied — staff in all areas of publishing who are working incredibly hard to champion diverse voices and experiences to challenge the homogeneity of the industry. But the issues of inequality and oppression are far reaching, from racism to ableism and sexism. Agencies and publishers need to create platforms for underrepresented groups from the ground up and make meaningful change within their culture. Representation must extend into real and authentic representation of diverse voices.
We would like to particularly extend our solidarity to the trans community at this time, many who might feel vulnerable, alienated and unsupported right now. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid. This is a particularly difficult time when it must sometimes feel like the world is closing in on you. We want you to know that you are not alone, that there are many people who will always stand by you and fight for you and that better times are coming.
We know that having access to services to support women who’ve experienced sexual and/or domestic abuse is incredibly vital for all women, especially those who belong to other minorities, and that such services are severely underfunded.
We are therefore making a collective donation to Shakti Women’s Aid — a charity that is part of the Scottish Women’s Aid movement — that supports BAME women who are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse. We would like to invite others to donate to them as well, or any other charity working in the Women’s Aid Movement across the UK or charities working directly with transgender people.
Signed (22 June 2020), the following authors signed to The Blair Partnership: