When we launched GayYA in 2011, our goal was to mobilize a clear and active market for LGBTQIA+ YA, to make it known to publishers that people were excited to buy these books. In early 2011, several authors had shared stories of being told “we love your book— but can you make your character straight?” It was clear that these requests agents and editors made did not come from outright homophobia, but the idea that books like that couldn’t sell— that at best, they were issue books. This sparked many conversations in the YA Twitter community of the day, but there was a need for a central place to keep that conversation about the need (& excitement!) for LGBTQIA+ YA going. So, we started one. We had no idea it would grow into what it is today, and that we would be able to sustain it for 6+ years.
We chose the name GayYA because it was fun and rhyme-y, and it clearly stated who we were. We also naively believed that “gay” was an acceptable umbrella term for the LGBTQIA+ community. As we grew to understand our own various identities, and heard from many community members, it soon became clear that that was not the case. The name GayYA is not at all inclusive. It’s also mostly only descriptive and has never really felt like a true name. As our vision for the site grew, we began trying to figure out a new name.
As we began the long journey toward a new name, there were a few criteria we had in mind. We wanted a name that clearly stated who we were, but was more than a descriptor; was inclusive and would remain inclusive for years to come; and captured the joyfulness of our work and the ferocity of the love, strength, and pride behind it.
Last year, we tested out a new hashtag for a pride month giveaway challenge, and found that it fit us, completely.
With that, we’re thrilled to announce our new name— YA Pride.
This name encapsulates what we do as an organization, and everything we strive to become. I’ve never felt more proud of the team behind this site or more committed to sustaining (and growing) the work we do— and over the next few years, we plan to double down on that work. We’ll be beginning hands-on work with librarians, teachers, and the publishing industry, in order to ensure that LGBTQIA+ YA is getting into the hands of teens that need it.
To commemorate our name change– as well as being thisclose to 10,000 Twitter followers– we’re hosting a huge giveaway.
The prize? A box of ten books & swag. The box will include hotly anticipated 2018 ARCs, our favorite reads from the past years, and at least one book will be signed. To enter, tweet the hashtag #YAPride and do any of the following:
- post the link of one of your favorite YA Pride posts/interviews
- write an open letter to the author of an LGBTQIA+ YA book explaining what the book meant to you
- boost the name of one of your favorite book bloggers who promotes LGBTQIA+ YA titles
- post a picture of one of your favorite LGBTQIA+ YA titles and share why you love it
- post a picture of a book rainbow– only trick is that every book has to feature a LGBTQIA+ character
This giveaway is open across all platforms– that means if you want to use Tumblr, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or even a personal blog, your entries will count. Just make sure you post it on some social media account with the hashtag #YAPride so that we’ll be able to see it! You can enter as many times as you like. And if you make a Youtube video or blog post with multiple recommendations, or multiple open letters, etc. each book or person you recommend in your post or video will count as a new entry! Giveaway is international. Winner will be chosen by raffle.
But wait– there’s more!
If we reach 10,000 Twitter followers by September 13th we’ll be adding a second box of 5 books for another lucky winner to receive. So help us spread the LGBTQIA+ YA love!
-Vee, admin & co-founder of YA Pride