The author of a decades-old best-selling novel is pushing back hard against claims she is homophobic, telling critics that if they want a book with a more diverse cast of characters, then maybe they should "write it."
S.E. Hinton, who wrote the 1967 classic "The Outsiders," launched a series of tweets Wednesday following a number of Twitter users flooding her timeline after she claimed she had been "attacked" for being straight.
Following the hashtag "ThingsIWontApologizeFor," Hinton, 68, tweeted, "I am a heterosexual writer writing about heterosexual characters. Being attacked for being heterosexual."
While it's not clear what specific comment or tweet Hinton was responding to, she added in a subsequent post that she "loves gays."
"The Outsiders," which takes places in 1965 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, chronicles the adventures of two gangs of white young people. One group, the "Socs" (short for "Socials") is comprised of individuals of a higher socioeconomic class than those who make up the "Greasers," the name of the second gang.
Hinton, who grew up in Tulsa and wrote the book while she was a teenager, pointed out that she based the book for which she is best known on personal experience, and it just so happened that that did not include anyone from the LGBTQ community. But even that seemingly reasonable excuse did not stop some social justice activists from assuming the worst.
"Accept people's opinions or views on your character's relationships. Just vehemently insist they're straight. *shrug*," one person commented.
Another responded, "I'm just saying there needs to be more diversity." In general, Hinton doesn't disagree but insists that such works should be from authors familiar with it:
And it should be from people who know what they are talking about. https://t.co/FdFaY1hreq— S. E. Hinton (@S. E. Hinton)1483578790.0
Hinton went on to make the point that she is not gay and, therefore, couldn't possibly "know what a gay character goes through," just as she doesn't know what a black character goes through.
How am I supposed to know what a gay character goes through? Not writing about the black experience either. I can'… https://t.co/LZOmcEgL1A— S. E. Hinton (@S. E. Hinton)1483579543.0
"There are authors who know what they are talking about. I do not. Don't like my books, don't read or bu[y] them," Hinton said.
There are authors who know what they are talking about. I do not. Don't like my books, don't read or but them/ https://t.co/Zc7C6o9n3I— S. E. Hinton (@S. E. Hinton)1483578312.0
Adding insult to injury, one user accused the famous author of saying "homosexuals are irrelevant," a charge Hinton strongly rebuts.
"No, saying I am tired of being attacked because of my sexual origination," she tweeted.
no, saying I am tired of being attacked because of my sexual origination. https://t.co/833s544ZLQ— S. E. Hinton (@S. E. Hinton)1483581862.0
Hinton said that if others want a more diverse cast of characters in books they read, then they should "write it."
"I write what I want to," she adds.
Then why are they trying to make me do their job?> I write what I want to. https://t.co/5y4tzDSJbE— S. E. Hinton (@S. E. Hinton)1483583982.0