Robert Starner and J. Michael Bailey

Robert Starner was on the 2003 selection committee for the Lambda Literary Awards.

In February 2004, some members of this committee voted to honor The Man Who Would Be Queen by J. Michael Bailey as a finalist for an award in the transgender category.

Robert Starner works with Jane Troxell, another committee member. Though some members of this committee voted to honor Bailey, I have been told by their employer that neither were involved in selection of transgender nominees.

Jane Troxell & Robert Starner

Lambda Rising Bookstore
1625 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 462-6969
(Fax) (202) 462-7257

On 24 February 2004, the selection committee including Robert Starner voted to retain the nomination of this book over the objections of the trans community and other concerned parties around the world.

In March 2004, the committee reconsidered and withdrew this nomination.

On 15 March 2004, I received the following:

I think there is an error -- or at least a misimpression -- on these two web pages:

You say these individuals were on the selection committee, which is true. Then you say the selection committee voted to honor the Bailey book. That is also true. But that leads one to think that every member of the selection committee voted to include the Bailey book. This is not the case. In fact, there were members of the selection committee who were not involved at all in the selection of the transgender titles, and it is my understanding that both Jane Troxell and Robert Starner were among those. They didn't choose the book because they were never asked to consider it. The task of choosing 5 titles in something like 17 categories is a huge one; the only way it is accomplished is to have the selection committee divide up the categories with each category being delegated to a subset of the committee. I believe this has been true every year that the Lammys have been awarded.

Even more seriously, you then say "On 24 February 2004, the selection committee including Robert Starner [or Jane Troxell] voted to retain the nomination..." Again, SOME members of the selection committee were involved in this, but not ALL members. And, specifically, neither Mr. Starner nor Ms. Troxell were part of that process. I know because they expressed concern about being identified as members of the selection committee when, in fact, the categories on which they worked did not include the transgender category.

Even though I have not had a role in the Lammy Awards or the Lambda Literary Foundation for several years, I was the founder of both (my name still appears on the masthead of the Lambda Book Report with the honorific "Publisher Emeritus") and I remain keenly interested in them. I believe this is the first time in Lammys history that a finalist has generated so much controversy. Then again, it's probably the first time in Lammys history that a book with such negative viewpoints made it through the vetting process. May it be the last time.

Deacon Maccubbin, CEO
Lambda Rising Bookstores
1625 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington DC 20009-1013

I will publish any comments or responses from Robert Starner regarding this matter as I receive them.

Other resources

Lambda Literary Foundation index page (by Andrea James)

LINK: Full Lambda Literary Award coverage (by Professor Lynn Conway)