She added: “I expected more from Lambda than character assassinations with vague accusations based on Twitter rumors, for having told people – not one group, but people – to read the book.”
Acquaye and Scales said in a joint interview that an independent panel of judges and Lambda Literary had both contributed to the decision to withdraw the book, saying the organization had not taken a stand on “The Men.”
As a result of Hough’s post, Scales said in the interview, “many trans people felt they could not, they were not allowed to be in those conversations.” Acquaye said the posts “did not uplift other queer people and these voices.”
In her Substack newsletter, Hough said she had discussed “The Men” with Newman, including “how to get the book to recognize the reality of transgender people.”
“Other books that started from this premise – all the men disappear – have erased the existence of transgender people, and it was important for her not to do that, to be as sensitive as possible,” Hough wrote. “So when I saw people assume that the simple idea was the whole plot, I asked them to read the book before they assumed the worst.”
For this, she wrote, she was branded a trans-exclusionary radical feminist – something she denied.
“Previous books with similar, gender-eliminating or separating scenarios” were written before there was much attention to anything other than a gender binary, “said Brian Attebery, an English professor at Idaho State University who has written about gender in science fiction. )
Hough lamented that Twitter users had so harshly criticized a book they had not read.
“They call it ‘call culture,'” she wrote on Substack, “because bullying is wrong unless your target is someone you dislike, obviously for social justice reasons.”
In an email Monday, Newman declined to comment on his upcoming book, but confirmed Hough’s account of their friendship. “She is also a person of great integrity and decency,” Newman added. “And she’s a great author whose book deserves all the awards.”