ETA, 18 February 2017: The Apex editors have posted a response to my letter. I didn’t know what the process behind publishing the roundtable was; it’s good they have pulled it. I’d also like to point you to a post by Zen Cho that would make good reading after this: Being an itemised list of disagreements.
Note: This is a letter copied verbatim from an email I sent to the editors of Apex Magazine. After speaking with some people I’ve decided to post it publicly as well, in case it might help others. I am not able to engage further on this matter without significant cost to myself, so I have turned off comments on this post. Linking is fine.
I am writing to you about the Intersectional SFF Roundtable you have published at www.apex-magazine.com/intersectional-sff-roundtable/ .
I am deeply disappointed to find Benjanun Sriduangkaew, who previously also wrote under the pseudonym Requires Hate (RH), as a contributor to your roundtable on intersectionality in SFF.
It is not your choice to publish RH that I find appalling, but your specific choice to ask her to contribute to a roundtable on, of all things, intersectionality.
It is a well-known fact that RH caused harm to people in the SFF community, disproportionately targeting women of color; there was even a published report on it, which garnered its writer a Hugo. Whether you agree with the circumstances surrounding the publication of the report or not, it cannot be denied that women in the SFF community, among them women of color, spoke about the harm RH caused them.
This leads me to some questions: does intersectionality in SFF not include women, especially women of color? Is intersectionality only important enough that we must write about it, but not so important that we actively value it by considering how much further harm giving RH a platform to talk about intersectionality would cause? By this I mean that RH speaking about intersectionality, when she herself has harmed marginalized people — when she has caused harm by using people’s marginalizations against them — is a grievous injury.
I wonder whether you did not consider these things, or whether you did, but simply valued having RH’s contributions to your intersectional roundtable more than preventing harm. Neither bodes well for your commitment to marginalized people in the community.
I state again: it is not your decision to publish RH that appalls me; you have published her before, and I have simply not read the work. It is your decision to publish her in this specific, slap-in-the-face, salt-in-the-wounds context. Many of those harmed by RH — and the names attached to public reports or posts are not the entirety of them — are meant to be included by the idea of intersectionality; instead, you do worse than exclude.
I am writing so that you cannot say there was no push-back on your choice of contributors. I am writing so that you cannot say people have forgotten the harm RH has done to marginalized people. It was real harm. It is not easily forgotten.