This comes by way of Ellen Kushner's Twitter and Malinda Lo's tumblr and by winding roads to a comment chain in the Printz contender blog (for YA books).
Basically, a commenter said -- and it didn't start out inflammatory, but its casual, callous tone was worse to me -- that there were "too many" same sex relationships in a book, and that same-sex relationships didn't "feel organic" in the world the writer had built (over the course of three books, I believe.) The commenter felt the author had "strong ideas about what [author] wanted to write about" and that the same-sex pairings, because they were neither depicted as Twue Wuv, nor ended tragically, magically, or diabolically -- in fact, they were just kinda casual the way things are in real-life YA -- were part of an "agenda" the author wanted to sell to readers.
I didn't join in the comment chain because it's about a month old at this point, and also because they've been warnin' me about my blood pressure for years now.
My kid is the daughter of a great romance. Why should I not reflect that in what I write? Why do we not get that connection, that magic, that serendipity of love in our narratives without it "pushing an agenda"? Why do the queers always have to do it Karenina-style? We don't all end up driven off cliffs, incarcerated, or in unhappy heteronormative cages.
On the other side of that coin, not every relationship is going to work out. Sometimes people cheat, sometimes partners drift apart in a desultory, friendly way, sometimes a pairing is more bread and butter when what you both wanted was laksa, and sometimes us queers are going to fuck around happily as people do and not think about the morning. When that happens, no one has to commit suicide. Or even take an epic road trip. I promise. It's fiction. Things can come up roses, as opposed to coming up herpes.
And may I say, of course the author had strong ideas about what she wanted to write about [sic, I'm pretty sure.] It was her own damn book. Books do not get written without strong ideas to drive them. We'd all just blog instead.
I suppose it could be said that visibility is my agenda -- mine personally. I've always written about same-sex characters, and usually there's been an element of contented romance (or okay, an element of porn). But mostly, I write that way because when I try to write about the straights, it sounds no end of dumb and I look gormless -- all out of gorms to give -- as a person who has ever seen the sun or felt an emotion ever or stubbed her damn toe. It's just not true enough for my writing if I'm trying to write something I don't know. And it sounds bad in my ear and I delete it. DELETE DELETE DELETE.
I never thought of it as an agenda before, though; I thought of it as a weakness in my craft as an author.
Now I suppose I'll have to get some goddamn buttons printed up.
Also, what is with the catastrophic new posting design on LJ??