Ever since I joined Wattpad back in August ’12 I’ve always wondered why there wasn’t a LGBT sub-genre. I don’t think it needs it’s own category or anything like that–that’d actually seem to be counter-productive. I do, however, believe that Wattpad users could really benefit from a LGBT sub-genre/sub-category at the very least.
Here is why:
- Readers looking specifically for these kinds of stories would know how to find them quickly and efficiently
- Readers not looking for these kinds of stories now know how to avoid them!
- It will give a pretty significant amount of writers and readers a bit more of a community. (Speaking of communities, Wattpad apparently has clubs, so how about a LGBT club at the very least?)
- This kind of goes along with #1, but it’s hard to find LGBT-themed stories, especially if you’re just looking at a very broad genre. You’ll always see more mainstream, purely heterosexual romance stories when looking in the Romance category, but if they’d add a ‘LGBT’ option to narrow down your Romance search then BAM, all the books you’ve been looking for are now at your fingertips.
- A lot of people writing for the LGBT community have to add “girlxgirl” or “boyxboy” or “lesbian” to the title of their books so that their story shows up in search and also so that people know what kind of story it is. Adding this sub-genre would allow writers to give their stories actual titles. I wouldn’t have to call my story “Alex’s Girl (lesbian)” it could just be “Alex’s Girl” which is how it should be.
Look, all I want is to be able to read stories that feature LGBT main characters and have mild to strong LGBT themes. If you’re writing a lesbian romance story then yes, it still definitely belongs in the Romance category/genre because romance is romance no matter who it is that is falling in love. However, being able to add ‘lgbt’ to it as a sub-genre would definitely help other interested readers find it, is what I’m saying. We can search for Romance stories with a sub-genre of sci-fi or WEREWOLF so why not LGBT? What’s so different between looking for a romance story featuring gay people rather than werewolves?
Now, there have been threads created by Wattpad users about this for a very long time with little results. Here is what a Wattpad ‘Help’ employee Kevin Chu had to say about the subject:
Ahem. Please excuse me while I proceed to tear this apart. Effortlessly.
1.) “Wattpad carefully monitors genre statistics and we base all of our decisions on the activity levels of our users. For example, there are many common genres that Wattpad has yet to provide a category for such as self-help or health & fitness; this does not mean we do not promote any of these genres, only that the category has not reached a critical mass.”
Okay. Genre statistics. What he is saying here is that there aren’t enough LGBT stories for there to warrant it’s own sub-genre (well, they might’ve been talking it’s own category here, but like I said, I think a sub-genre is highly preferable). He claims that LGBT stories can be compared to self-help or health and fitness stories being published on Wattpad.
I searched Self-Help on Wattpad. There were supposedly plenty of stories, but upon closer inspection none of these stories actually were in the Self-Help genre (so I’m not entirely sure why they were tagged as such or showed up in the search results.) Basically, there are little to no Self-Help stories on Wattpad. Not surprising. Same thing happened when I searched Health and Fitness. No stories for these genres exist. The ones that DO show up in search are usually something completely different that for some reason showed up in the search results.
Compare that with searching ‘LGBT.’ Not only do PLENTY of stories show up, but they’re all actually LGBT stories! Wow. Imagine that.
2.) “We rely on data to make decisions. To help us establish a need for new categories, the best approach is to tag stories LGBT. This will help Wattpad keep track of the genre as it grows in our community.”
You rely on data to make decisions? No you don’t, Wattpad. If this were true then this LGBT sub-genre thing wouldn’t even be an issue. As many Wattpad users know, Wattpad recently added a ChickLit section. Is that a joke? ChickLit? Funny, I don’t recall seeing a bunch of forum topics or threads being created to beg for a ChickLit section. I never saw any stories being tagged as ‘ChickLit’ at all, and a search for ChickLit–a genre that supposedly must’ve reached ‘critical mass’ for them to have added it as it’s own genre–pulls up a fairly measly list of stories in both search results and in the genre itself. In conclusion, no one cares about ChickLit and their decision to create this genre was likely not based on ‘genre statistics’ or ‘data’ at all. If it were then I wouldn’t have to be writing this right now.
Additionally, I do not believe that everyone who thought they were writing ChickLit even bothered to tag their story as such. Hell, I didn’t even tag my story as LGBT at first, just lesbian. Half the time people don’t bother tagging their stories, so they’re going to need to find a more efficient method of determining what genres are ‘rising.’ Like, hell, looking at their own website where it will become blatantly obvious.
On a related note, I also don’t see a huge list of ‘Spiritual’ stories either. In fact there are very few stories that show up if you run a search on ‘Spiritual’. I sort of doubt there was an outcry over a lack of a Spiritual section. Again, I don’t think people that WERE writing for the Spiritual genre even bothered tagging their stories as such, so what would prompt Wattpad to add a SPIRITUAL section of all things?
Finally, Wattpad tells us to tag our stories as LGBT so that their ‘genre statistics’ will allow them to “see what needs to be done.”
This was way back in 2011. It’s 2013 now. Not only have LGBT stories grown exponentially on Wattpad, but there is CLEARLY a demand for these kinds of stories. More LGBT stories are being posted everyday–probably more than ChickLit, Spiritual, and ‘Other’ stories combined (don’t quote me on this as I have no idea but I would be surprised if I were wrong.)
Yet here we are. 2013. No simple story filtering tool such as a LGBT sub-genre.
Then, Wattpad user gamaran-510 brings up an excellent point:
For those that can’t see, gamaran-510 states: “I agree that there should be a group. I mean why not there’s one for just about everything else but this. They don’t think there’s enough interest? Then explain why there are probably over at least 100 pages dedicated to these stories.”
Exactly. If Wattpad took a second to ignore it’s faulty algorithms (because let’s be honest, whoever codes for that site should be fired. Their search engine sucks and the site is heavily flawed) then they’d be able to see that there are PLENTY of LGBT stories, even if they aren’t tagged as such.
Mr. Chu responds with,
“I’m afraid the number you have put down is incorrect. A simple search in our engines will reveal LGBT (9pgs), boyxyboy (24), homosexual (4), lesbian (30), girlxgirl (2), which is 69 pages total. Now, minus the ones that have multiple tags and are overlapping such as LGBT and boyxboy, and that number is even lower.
I do not know where you receiving the “100 pages” statistic.”
Holy crap. A little bit snarky there with the “simple search, the condescending quotation marks, and the bolded words there, buddy. Like I said, this post is from 2011, but there’s no way that there are that few pages now. In fact a search for either LGBT, boyxboy, homosexual, lesbian, or girlxgirl will all yield results with over 100+ pages. I’m sure if you add that all up (I can’t do it right now, as Wattpad is again on the fritz and I can’t do the searches myself) then the LGBT-tagged stories far outnumber the stories in both the ChickLit and the Spiritual section combined.
Wattpad clearly has issues with it’s genres and categories. For some reason they added a vampire and a werewolf genre, which makes absolutely no sense.
But when they say that there’s no demand, or that their genre statistics show that there’s no interest in LGBT stories then they’re full of shit. They’d have to be blind not to notice or they just don’t care.
Maybe that was true back in 2011 (though I highly doubt it), but now, in 2013, when I can find so many of these kinds of stories and even more READERS of these kinds of stories I know that there must be someone behind the scenes that for whatever reason just does not want to add a LGBT sub-genre even though it would make a lot of sense.
One day, when Wattpad is working for me again and I can see the total number of stories per category I will probably edit the hell out of this with my OWN ‘genre statistics’.
I guess the only thing to do is to keep writing, keep supporting LGBT writers, and to keep tagging each and every chapter as LGBT so that maybe one day the ‘genius’ behind their ‘genre statistics’ can’t ignore the numbers.