When Worldcon took to their website to libel me “racist bully” in response to my inquiry to safety concerns for conservative authors at their convention, rather than addressing the very real threats against me and other authors, they set a precedent for conventions to make it clear: if you’re the “wrong” political party, they will not look out for your safety at conventions.
Worldcon put me on the map with their statement of me, where I was hardly known before. It made it so I’m a target, which has further harmed my career as I can’t just attend a convention and attempt to promote my books anymore without having to fear for someone attempting to attack me. Ever since their proclamation, I’ve received multiple death threats online, including one from someone who stated if I showed up to their event at all, they would track me down and come to my house to do harm to me.
This is the reality of being a vocal conservative author in the science fiction community. It’s dangerous out there, and getting worse as people isolate themselves further into echo chambers and they dehumanize marginalized authors like myself.
The problem then became Worldcon set a precedent in how to treat the safety concerns of authors of certain identity groups. Whereas most of these conventions have these sprawling “harassment policy” pages to where if a man looks at a woman sideways during a convention, they can get kicked out, shamed on social media, ostracized for life, the same protections are not extended toward conservative creators who face very real threats.
Since Worldcon, I have reached out to both SFWA with their Nebula Awards and BayCon, the local science fiction convention, with my safety concerns. Whereas Worldcon refused to respond to me and made a big public stink about my trying to mitigate the threats to me by stating I would have a camera on me in case of attack, I wanted to try to work out what could be done to protect me privately with these other conventions including suggestions like allowing a bodyguard to attend with me without a badge cost (that way they wouldn’t be out of their way to have to protect me, I of course would pay all costs of said bodyguard).
The fact that I have to think about recording an action of violence or bringing a bodyguard is troubling enough. And when these conventions all refuse to respond about safety concerns, I clearly cannot attend. The effect is I’m in essence unable to attend conventions because they will not assure the safety on conservative authors. It’s banning a class of authors without announcing a ban, a tricky, dishonest way of discrimination. It’s the modern equivalent of a restaurant or hotel making it very difficult on a black man to use their facilities. This is the current front of civil rights.
It’s extremely shameful that BayCon and SFWA have both refused to respond to safety of authors. If they are not taking this seriously, they should not be in the business of running conventions. The point is to be able to come together to celebrate fandom, promote books and literature, give a leg up, and instead they’re pushing fascism by making it difficult on their political opponents to even exist in the public square.
This precedent has to change. I’m confident that with Mary Robinette Kowal coming into SFWA we will see big changes to how at least that organization is run, with their current discrimination tactics. With her being a stalwart supporter of me since I first came on the scene in books, I know she’ll be putting writers first, safety first, and change the toxic culture where the harassment of conservative authors has been an extreme within that organization. I only hope that other conventions will follow her lead.
Make sure to support my books. I can’t go to conventions and sell like most authors and it makes it tough to get the word out. My new novella Spy Training is out now, and is a lot of fun. Get it today.