Have You Been Denied a Writing Gig Because of Your THOUGHTS on Sexual Orientation?

Have You Been Denied a Writing Gig Because of Your THOUGHTS on Sexual Orientation?

I recently received the following email from a writer, author, and friend:

I’m wondering if you’re hearing back from employment-seeking freelancers who complain about weird demands from publishers.

I’ve applied to several publications. Some editors didn’t interview me about my record for integrity, my talent for delivering content on time (and usually before deadline), or my range of writing skills/expertise. Nope, they only wanted to know if I’m “binary.”

I knew what they were asking about but played innocent. “I’m not a robot. I wrote a coherent message to you. Bots don’t do that.”

The editors wrote back, specifically asking about my sexual orientation. I replied that journalism is only about accuracy, presenting facts in an understandable manner, and leaving readers with lasting memories about the presentation.

Well, shock of shocks (NOT), those editors felt the need to inform me that I must be able to advocate for sexual preferences in my work, even if the topic is unrelated to the story I’d be covering/addressing.

This is discriminatory.

It seems to me that the magazines were specifically looking for non-heterosexual writers and they used the “advocacy” term as an excuse to not hire heterosexual writers. And, yes, that IS discriminatory.

Any time a magazine (or any other firm hiring employees or contractors) specifically excludes someone from consideration based on their sexual preferences (whether straight, gay, or other), that is discrimination. To push it further, and claim that it’s not you, but your beliefs, is ridiculous and I’m certain that wouldn’t stand up in court.

If you feel you have been the victim of discrimination, can you sue even if you, as a freelancer/contractor, were not applying for regular employment at a company?

THIS ARTICLE (from 2018) states that freelancers and independent contractors can’t sue for sexual harassment or gender discrimination.

However, THIS ARTICLE explains that you can sue for racial discrimination, even if you are a contractor. (Why aren’t other types of discrimination included?)

The EEOC STATES, “The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) enforces regulations that prohibit certain federal contractors from engaging in employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, under Executive Order 11246, as amended.”

But, what if you’re straight? Can you be discriminated against for that? Turns out you can.

THIS ARTICLE states that reverse discrimination lawsuits are on the rise.

Every person, whether an employee or contractor, should be hired based on their knowledge, work history, and merits. At no time should someone’s sexual orientation prevent them from landing a gig. And, at no time should a magazine pretend they are not hiring you simply based on your BELIEFS about sexual orientation, and not your sexual orientation itself. That goes for straights, gays, and everyone else.

Would love to hear your comments on this! As always, the comments box is below.


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About The Author


Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).

Angela has lived and traveled across the U.S. with her kids in an RV, settled in a river-side home in Bradenton, FL, and lived on a 52 ft Irwin sailboat. Angela now resides on a mountaintop in Northwest Georgia, where she plans to spend the rest of her days bird watching, gardening, hiking, and taking in all of the amazing sunrises.

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33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Blind Characters

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~Stephanie Green



9 Responses to "Have You Been Denied a Writing Gig Because of Your THOUGHTS on Sexual Orientation?"

  1. Russ Klettke  April 23, 2022 at 11:03 am

    The repeated use of the term “sexual preference” in this conversation is one indicator why a cis-gendered heterosexual might not be qualified for the assignments. Anyone who has lived the experience – which included for many of us going through significant periods of development in a state of quiet desperation, knowing the social and occupational consequences of being honest with ourselves and others – knows that sexual orientation is not a matter of choice. Yet that’s what the word “preference” implies; you are “words” people, you should know that. We choose menu items, clothing styles, brands, and partners. We do not choose that which defines us in ways that science has yet to identify.

    By holding onto the notion that sexual attraction is a matter of choice, it enables religious organizations, family, friends, and governments to assert that we could change. Let me be clear: except for people who are truly bisexual, sexual orientation (remember that word, ORIENTATION) is not a choice. The high suicide rate of LGBTQ teens and adults should be your first clue as to how that happens.

    Something to consider: a wonderful organization that I support in Chicago is called The Night Ministry. The mission is to reduce houselessness (i.e., homelessness), particularly with teens. They arrive at the Greyhound station with barely enough cash to get through a week. But for The Night Ministry they fall into any means possible of surviving, often developing a criminal record to add to their woes. Important data point: a solid 40 percent of those houseless teens are LGBTQ. Think about that. Consider what kind of people throw away their children, and why. My guess is those kids would prefer a stable home, at least until they could finish school. But because the people who should provide that for them think it’s a simple “lifestyle” choice, they aren’t due that.

    That’s the power of words, my colleagues. As writing professionals we are tasked with providing clarity and accuracy in communications. If we lack a fundamental understanding of a topic and audience – particularly audiences that have dealt with oppression – we simply won’t be good at it and shouldn’t expect to get the assignment.

  2. Pingback: WritersWeekly Will NOT Be Silenced! – by Brian Whiddon, Managing Editor | WritersWeekly.com

  3. By Angela Hoy - Publisher of WritersWeekly.com  April 18, 2022 at 8:02 pm


    Yes. I am a heterosexual white male which makes it impossible to succeed in today’s publishing climate.


  4. Antaeus Balevre  April 16, 2022 at 11:47 am

    Hi, Angela.
    My feelings about publishers giving marginalized individuals and people with diverse gender or sexual preferences priority were presented in my article “Are Non-marginalized Writers Being Marginalized?”
    No one has come forward with definitive proof that people in the modern writing community have been discriminated against because of their ethnicity or sexual orientation. It is all supposition. An attempt by some publishers to be “Woke.”
    As I said in the article, unless you tell them, a publisher has no way of knowing anything about you. Because most submissions are “blind” in that respect, many publishers are now asking that you include that information and your preferred pronoun in your bio.
    I can only speak for myself, but I have written stories where the protagonist has been black, white, Hispanic, Italian, American Indian, Nubian, and an alien from outer space. In addition, my characters have been sexually diverse, religious, pagan, witches, murderers, sociopaths, and psychopaths. It’s called creative writing.
    Before this woke movement, all of my meriting stories were published. But now, if I submit a story about someone who is “sexually diverse” or “marginalized,” the publisher wants to know if I am a member of that community before they publish it.
    For example, a few months ago, I submitted a fictional short story titled “The Talking Frog” to a publisher. The protagonist in my story is gay. The guidelines said they were open to submissions from all individuals regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation. However, they did give preference to marginalized individuals. The only requirements were that the story had to be fictional and feature a protagonist who identified as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.
    The publisher wrote back and said they were interested and would I mind if they added the fact that I was a member of the LGBTQIA+ community to my bio. I responded by saying I was a heterosexual person and not a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. The following email I received said they were not going to publish the story and severely chastised me for attempting to deny a marginalized person a spot in their publication.
    To your point, excluding someone’s article or story based on sexual preference or ethnicity is discrimination. Likewise, including an article or story only because someone has a particular ethnicity or sexual preference is also discrimination.
    Publication of an article, book, or story should be judged on its merits, not on the ethnicity or sexual preference of the person who wrote it. That holds whether it is a biography, an autobiography, a memoir, fiction, nonfiction, or anything else.

  5. Elizabeth Davis  April 16, 2022 at 3:03 am

    I personally would never be able to sue on those grounds. As soon as anyone asked me that question I would have apologized. “I’m sorry, I must have sent this to the wrong address. I only work for reputable people/companies.” Then I would have ignored all future communications (if any) from them and noted in my files not to submit/apply to them again.

  6. Alicia Kelso  April 15, 2022 at 8:17 pm

    Add another category; Those of us single/divorced mothers who are in fact impact awarded patriotic Americans who have learned a foreign language and work at an American embassy are expected to provide “companionship” to other unmarried employees (military security guards, fellow office workers) but not non-Americans working in the embassy or local nationals in the country our embassy is in.

  7. Nicole Larson  April 15, 2022 at 8:17 pm

    Angela, it could also be that the publisher was trying to weed out LGBTQ people rather than straights.

    Either way, it’s discriminatory.

  8. Kate  April 15, 2022 at 8:04 pm

    As a business owner, it’s illegal for me to even ask someone’s relationship status or sexual orientation in a job interview — not that I ever would. Unless someone is applying for a job in which one’s sexual preferences are important to perform the job (and I can think of only one industry where that would matter…), it should not even come up. It doesn’t matter what the company’s ideology is, and you could cover work style preferences in an interview to determine if it’s a good fit. But really people just need to focus on the skills and experience required and nothing more.

  9. Greg  April 15, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    You wrote, “To push it further, and claim that it’s not you, but your beliefs, is ridiculous and I’m certain that wouldn’t stand up in court.”
    Why not? Many religious schools have explicit statements of belief built into their job descriptions, including some that are irrelevant to the position.

    I’ve been denied teaching positions because I was not the right kind of Christian.