Is RR audience more homo-/transphobic compared to other similar sites?

#1
I was reading a post about why there is so much Gender Bender stuff on ScribbleHub, then one user claimed that RR users were sending death threats, hate replies/comments/messages to authors writing Gender-Bender/Trans content, so they switched to SH instead. The weeb/otaku/anime audience are a bit more open to trans content, is my guess.

I don't want to take the word of one Reddit poster, so I wanted to check with others on this site.

Hope some one can point me to such reviews/comments etc. Or your experience and comparision with the communities of SH or other sites and RR when it comes to gay/trans content if you are an author or a reader.

I don't want to argue with trans/homophobes on this post. I just want to the stastistics or examples of hate speech/comments/reviews on such novels, so I can check for myself and see if it's true. I am just curious because I have nothing better to do.

Re: Is RR audience more homo-/transphobic compared to other similar sites?

#3
Question: What purpose do you seek to achieve here?  Does it matter whether or not you believe the Reddit poster?

Let's talk about Yellows and Greens.  Yellows write yellow content, Greens write green content.  95% of both Yellows and Greens are perfectly decent people, and 5% of both are total jerks, and spend their time being abusive to the content they don't like.  There's no difference between them, otherwise.

However, suppose that there are 20 Yellow people for every 1 Green Person.  This means that every Green person can have their own personal Yellow jerk who spends their time personally abusing them, and most Yellow people never even see a Green jerk.

Is RR unusually x-phobic?  I really kind of doubt it.  However, numbers can produce a welcoming or prejudicial environment all on their own, and if Gender Bender stories are common on ScribbleHub and uncommon here, well, that's unlikely to change.

Re: Is RR audience more homo-/transphobic compared to other similar sites?

#4
Frankly? This is a site that has a major fandom for isekai, gamelit stuff. The idea that this place isn't full of weebs is a laugh. Leaving hateful reviews is against the rules and can be reported. Anyone doing that is not likely to last long. Same goes with any sort of hate comments and messages.

The way it sounds, I'm almost willing the bet the redditor is one of the sorts to come around and start demanding agenda based things on the site. I've seen it happen several times in the forums where someone starts trying to push for such things and gets mad when they're told "no."

Have trans characters, gender bend away...if people don't like it they can read something else. Just don't start trying to use this place as a soap box for pet issues in the real world is the main thing. 

Re: Is RR audience more homo-/transphobic compared to other similar sites?

#5
Check it out yourself. You asked about gender-bender, so click Read -> Search -> Advanced Search, include the "Gender Bender" tag. 

If you want to see comments/reviews, it's a good idea to limit the search to decent stories, you can limit to rating 2.5+ stars, at least 50 pages. 

https://www.royalroad.com/fictions/search?tagsAdd=gender_bender&minPages=51&minRating=2.5

There are huge, very popular stories with very high ratings here, that "the RR community" has embraced. Ofc we can't see the author's PMs, or the comments they had maybe removed, etc., but it's a start. 

I have to admit, though, I think "gender bender" is used here more in an "isekai" way, where the MC reincarnates, but the body is of the wrong sex. And the theme basically doesn't get mentioned past the first few chapters of wonder and getting used to having boobs. (I never saw it be the other way around here, "woman reborn as man")

Re: Is RR audience more homo-/transphobic compared to other similar sites?

#7
I'd say the RR community definitely has its assholes. I've never heard about death threats and that is the kind of thing the mods and admins would likely take seriously and ban the offenders for. It might've happened, but that sounds like one or perhaps a few people going around mass-trolling authors, not a representative view of the community. 

But yes, there are authors on here that have complained about 0.5 ratings for their LGBTQ fiction. IDK if it's better or worse than anywhere else (personally I'd love to know if there are sites known for queer content that aren't pretty much anime-oriented like scribble is) but, sadly, even internet communities reflect real life. As long as there are homophobes in reality, there will likely be some in every larger online community. And RR has a lot of people. 

Re: Is RR audience more homo-/transphobic compared to other similar sites?

#8
The anime/weeb community is definitely not accepting of trans characters. The dudebro mentality is still rampant there.

It starts with annoying trap jokes to misgendering to delcaring trans characters are predators.

Just look at the discussions about Lily from Zombieland Saga or Giselle Gewelle from Bleach.

Royal Road attracts this kind of community, but the question is with the website evolving, how prevalent is that attitude still.

Re: Is RR audience more homo-/transphobic compared to other similar sites?

#9
I haven't been on RR long enough to know the general trend. But part of the reason why I moved from Tapas Novel to RR was because I know that Yaoi and BL thrives there. I was looking for isekai/litrpg stories anyway- hence how I stumbled over here. 

Rather than "hate" perhaps some novel sites predominantly have more of a certain genre/topic that thrives and encourage readers who like said content to congregate there (nothing wrong with that!). I would hate to think some writers were driven out of a site from pure subjective flaming. 

For example, you wouldn't post fanfiction on fiction press. As much as a novel site would like to be diverse - sometimes it just doesn't work like that! Look at Wattpad for example! Haha

Re: Is RR audience more homo-/transphobic compared to other similar sites?

#10
I don't think I know enough about the genre to make a declaration one way or the other. But I do remember one thing I thought a little odd; a forum topic a while back that seemed to get a surprising number of replies where people vehemently disapproved of sexual content in a fiction altogether. It was enough to make me wonder if that might explain the odd few outlier-low ratings I got (sexual content isn't a huge part of my fiction at all, but it definitely is there.) Maybe there's a backlash against things involving sexuality in general, here, since RR does moderate it a lot more than other sites (And I don't think that's a bad thing, a lot of other sites end up dominated by smut by being more permissive). 

I think there also might be an element of people just being wary of topics adjacent to hot-button social issues in general. Which I can understand, politics tends to smother creativity about anything other than politics; I know I'd be wary about a fantasy fiction that seemed to begin to touch a little too directly on modern politics, regardless of the subject. It is unfair that the existence of gay or trans characters might be seen as inherently political, though; I think it's probably more of a problem for trans characters than gay characters at this point.  

Re: Is RR audience more homo-/transphobic compared to other similar sites?

#11
In my own experience, I personally haven't witnessed any obvious hate, so I can't say I have any experience on the subject personally (we'll see if that changes when certain subplots of my story becomes apparent in the future, I guess). Not that I'm discounting the people who have said they've gone through that of course, especially since a lot of it may be in private conversation. But if anything, I'd guess that it's a mixture of genre preferences and the general size of the userbases. The two writing websites that I've heard have the largest opinion on LGBT topics in writing (positive or negative) are RR and Wattpad, aka two of the largest platforms I know of. Meanwhile, while I hear SH is more open to that kind of thing, I also hear both from users on RR and on SH itself that it's a much quieter and smaller website with significantly less conversation from readers.

So if I had to guess, I'd have to assume it's because RR is one of the larger websites, meaning there's a larger pool of people to pick from who may, potentially, be total assholes about their likes and dislikes. Add in the fact that a lot of users like certain genres such as isekai and gamelit, I could see how there's more room for someone with more... virulent opinions to stumble upon something that isn't their preferred genre and is in fact one they have strong negative feelings about and drop a 0.5 star review. Or death threats, if you're extra unreasonable.

Re: Is RR audience more homo-/transphobic compared to other similar sites?

#13
So the rando reddit user you saw was probably talking about the following.

A couple of years ago a bunch of trans authors on the website tgstorytime.com tried to make the website a safer place for them and their audience by getting the mods to actually do something about all the harassment they kept getting for writing stories with trans themes. After a few months of pushing and the owners doing jack about it they decided to move shop and at the time RR seemed like a good choice.

When a sudden influx of trans stories hit RR there was a harsh backlash by a smallish number of readers who sent harassment over comments, reviews, PM's, etc. So again, the authors reported it, hoping that the mods/admin would step in and stop it. Sadly the only support they got was for the worst of it (the death threats and things on that level). Meaning that they were again left to fend for themselves.

After a few months of this they left again, this time for scribblehub where many still post today. In fact most of the trans authors i follow post on scribblehub. Where they are able to tag their stories with "BL" "GL" "Transgender" and "Bisexual" and where the mods actually support them.

If you want to know why RR mods were so lukewarm in their support of these authors then the following might help illuminate it. from this blog post
Quote:Please note that when we decided on a new batch of genres and tags, we picked them based on two factors. 1. What is popular in our community: We removed previously established genres that didn't have enough fictions (such as non-fic) and added tags that many fictions would have(such as the list above). Or 2. things we were interested in growing on our platform.

The Yuri/Yaoi stories did not make the cut for either of these requirements.

However, our position as a platform is that we would like to distance ourselves from overly mature content.

We previously had requests to add the Yuri/Yaoi tag, so we took this decision very seriously and put a lot of consideration before making a choice. We researched other platforms that already have this tag, and noticed that the majority of cases, fictions with the LGBT tag are sexual in nature.

While it is unfortunate, and we do agree that there exist many stories of such nature that don't contain sexual content in them, we'd prefer to err on the side of caution and not include the tags.
So lets look at this point by point.
1: it's not popular enough? Here's a very incomplete list of about 400 stories on RR alone lgbtqia+ stories
2: "things we were interested in growing on our platform" obviously this is at the whim of admin
3: too sexual. Well, they still have the "Harem" tag, don't they?
So we're left with just one real point: they don't want to encourage these stories on their site.

So back to your request for proof. It's hard to collect because authors can delete comments from chapters, mods can delete the more heinous reviews, we can't see the positive reviews that trolls got deleted for not being informative enough, and we can't see authors PM's. So unless you message a few dozen authors asking for proof it's hard to come by. That being said here are a few that I found in just a bit of searching
Spoiler: content warning: biggoted bs
All that being said, the reason I stay on this website and the reason I helped put in a ton of effort on that lgbtqia+ stories list is because I think this website can become a more accepting place and I want to support the authors that are helping it reach that potential. Nowadays lgbtqia+ stories tend to slide under the radar of trolls and are really nice and supportive little micro-communities. But as seen in all those examples, if a more popular story reveals that a main character isn't cis/het there is still a pretty harsh backlash, even when it shouldn't come as a surprise to the readers.

Hopefully this post helped you a bit!

Re: Is RR audience more homo-/transphobic compared to other similar sites?

#15
I have a trans character in my novel -their body has been forcibly changed into a female one- and though they appear very late in the story, they are a vital character nonetheless.
Yet, the only transphobic comment I have received, as of yet, was on Scribble hub, not on RR. The commentator then went on to abuse my race, nationality and religion -basically, anything they could guess about me from the story- so I don't know if that counts. 

Re: Is RR audience more homo-/transphobic compared to other similar sites?

#16

Sereminar Wrote: If you want to know why RR mods were so lukewarm in their support of these authors then the following might help illuminate it. from this blog post
I don't know if this is entirely on topic for me to point out, but the lack of LGBT tags has bothered me for months. It's not a huge deal for my current story's purposes, but I also just find it unfair that stories focusing on those elements have less tags they can use for visibility on the site.

We have tags for Male Protagonist, Female Protagonist, etc which I get to make use of with Record of Lundeir and that's all well and good. However, I also have non-binary characters for other projects, including an agender character who almost became the protagonist of a future story before I decided to use them for something else instead. If I had gone through with writing their story and posted it here on RR in the future, I would just have one less tag to select for that story purely because they're agender, as opposed to being able to select Male/Female Protagonist. I can't exactly say there's a huge number of readers searching for those particular tags so it's not like it'd be a major deal-breaker for me if I posted that story. I tend to assume that if anyone's gonna find my current story, it'd be through searching for Fantasy or something else. But it does rub me the wrong way still that having non-conforming identities and themes for characters can potentially make a story less searchable if that makes any sense.

Re: Is RR audience more homo-/transphobic compared to other similar sites?

#17

Mai Wrote:
Sereminar Wrote: If you want to know why RR mods were so lukewarm in their support of these authors then the following might help l illuminate it. from this blog post
I don't know if this is entirely on topic for me to point out, but the lack of LGBT tags has bothered me for months. It's not a huge deal for my current story's purposes, but I also just find it unfair that stories focusing on those elements have less tags they can use for visibility on the site.
Indeed, it's something I'd like to be able to search for and judging by some of the responses from some of the more, uh, vocal folks who don't like that type of content would probably appreciate being able to easily avoid it. 

Re: Is RR audience more homo-/transphobic compared to other similar sites?

#18
Haust Wrote: Indeed, it's something I'd like to be able to search for and judging by some of the responses from some of the more, uh, vocal folks who don't like that type of content would probably appreciate being able to easily avoid it.

I don't write LGBT+ fantasy stories, personally.  Out of three fantasy stories I have here, one of my protagonists is asexual and romantically gay (even though this probably won't ever matter), one of my protagonists has no internal gender identity, and one of my protagonists is bisexual.  But they aren't LGBT+ fantasy, because, bluntly, my target audience isn't "people who want to read LGBT+ fantasy", it's "people who want to read fantasy"; I do not aim to write about the experience of being LGBT+, I aim to write about the experience of being.

Would I tag my stories if the option was added?  I guess.  I already tagged them with the gender of the protagonists, which also vaguely annoys me on similar grounds, but also people can read what they want, and I don't particularly desire to force anybody to read things they don't want to read.

But also, if your goal is to help LGBT+ authors, it's not clear to me that adding tags actually does this.  I can only analogize to a bookstore splitting its fantasy section into "Fantasy" and "LGBT+ Fantasy".  The denotative value of the tag - that is, its literal meaning - might say one thing, but I can tell you that the connotative meaning is an altogether different animal, even if I can't explicitly name it.

Re: Is RR audience more homo-/transphobic compared to other similar sites?

#19


AdirianSoan Wrote: But also, if your goal is to help LGBT+ authors, it's not clear to me that adding tags actually does this.  I can only analogize to a bookstore splitting its fantasy section into "Fantasy" and "LGBT+ Fantasy".  The denotative value of the tag - that is, its literal meaning - might say one thing, but I can tell you that the connotative meaning is an altogether different animal, even if I can't explicitly name it.
The thing for me is that I feel it's also a matter of representation and accessibility for readers as much as it is regarding genre. As an asexual, I've gone through times where I'd like to see asexual characters in the media I consume. I've never felt the need for or particularly wanted a story that really focused on the character's sexuality as a major point of discussion, I really just wanted to see a character be acknowledged as asexual while going about whatever their usual business is in the context of the plot. It's just nice, and I know I'm not the only person who would like that so I'd like to provide an option for my stories to be found for that sort of reason, on top of the general issue of visibility.


Obviously, there's only so much that tags can accommodate, it's not like we can expect them to cover every conceivable trope or plot point that could ever be in a story. But I feel that just the basics at least would be appreciated by either people who specifically want to read LGBT content on RR or whoever it is that actually searches stories by protagonist gender or other very specific details.

Re: Is RR audience more homo-/transphobic compared to other similar sites?

#20
Royal Road is not an openly hateful site, but there definitely is that... weird tone toward LGBT stories. 

A lot of people get really aggressive and constantly argue that it doesn't exist or isn't a big deal or whatever, but I feel like that's damage control / silencing dissent.

Either way, it's not super terrible. My only story has a bisexual female protagonist and I've never gotten any hate or anything out of it. Maybe it's cuz the sexual part of it isn't a focus? My first review was a 1.5, but I think I might've earned that cuz it's not for everyone.

I think the "gayest" story I've read is Hands Held in the Snow and most of the comments on that story are very positive. I don't know if it's cuz the comments have been curated, but I feel like something would've slipped by eventually.

If anything, I'd say RR isn't hostile, but don't expect much success. Folks here are sort of old fashioned, and aren't exactly seeking this kind of thing.