Colleen Oefelein and Cancel Culture

Freedom of speech and freedom of expression are the core principals of art. Without these, our paintings, architecture, and literature suffer. It’s no secret that the mainstream publishing industry has far-left-leaning bias. As an author, my in-box is constantly flooded with invitations to workshops and classes on expanding my LGBTQ writing skills.

Having been a member of the LGBTQ community for about two decades now, it makes me laugh. Despite my bisexuality, I found traditional love with a traditional man. To some I am a traitor. To some I should be silenced and turned away from the industry. When I write stories for my children I do not focus on sexual preference or gender identity. That angers some people, but I write what inspires me because I know that children have enough to worry about.

My children and the children I write for are those who want to laugh and explore the magic of focusing on our similarities instead of our differences. But that has held me back. That’s a fact I can no longer ignore.

Most literary agents are activists pretending to be professionals. The field is dominated by single females seeking social justice themes. They completely destroy the “don’t preach” rules that once allowed the art of writing to flow freely and create works which encourage readers to think for themselves.

These agents are the gatekeepers who determine what gets through to the Big 5, the mainstream publishers who are also mostly left-leaning. They have no interest in my work because it doesn’t fit their political agenda. I have done just fine without their approval and so I’ve remained a “good little girl” who writes and publishes what she can without representation.

Because of my traditional lifestyle, with my traditional family, I have started seeking out traditional story-seeking agents. Most of them are Christian Conservatives. Being a Pagan woman, I have had a few discouraging moments where I was discriminated against. One would think it would make me weary of querying these agents, but honestly, I have never openly been discriminated against in publishing. On the contrary, it is Christians and other religious people who have encouraged my work.

Unfortunately “Christian” and “Conservative” have become dirty words in publishing. Even agents are now being ousted simply for who they are.

Recently the Jennifer De Chiara Agency fired an agent for simply having a Parler account. She had not posted anything disrespectful, racist, inflammatory, or inciting violence. Her only sin was to respectfully explore free speech social media platforms.

Colleen Oefelein’s page has been removed from the agency’s website, but so far, her wish list page is still active on manuscriptwishlist.com. It is highly inspiring. On it, she openly asks for LGBTQ books, romance, young adult, and more diverse content that speaks for itself.

She presents herself in a friendly professional manner. She also lists “Fun Facts” about herself entailing how she served in the Air Force and is a disable veteran who has worked 911 dispatch for Alaska State troopers. She teaches Irish Dancing and does volunteer work for young children.

This is clearly not the kind of person who deserves to be “purged” from her job for being some kind of social threat. Like many other individuals who have fallen prey to cancel culture, she is a fine upstanding individual who has done nothing wrong.

I’ve submitted to Jennifer de Chiara before and now I feel sick. It frustrates me to know that I even corresponded with such a misinformed, shallow business owner, but instead of dwelling on the negative aspects here I look to the future. What can I do? What can we all do to support Colleen Oefelein and others like herself?

The first step is easy. Express your support. The next is to go a little further. I personally emailed her expression my sympathies. We also need to urge her and others like herself to branch out, use this experience to find better ties or form their own companies. Her contact information is readily available, but I am still questioning my place in this industry. 

How many times does this have to happen before we end it? How far will these propagandists go before they stop attacking anyone who supports diversity of thought?

I don’t want to know the answer.

Just as J.K. Rowling has stood her ground and refused to apologize for exercising her right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech, we need to help Colleen Oefelein and others like her to stand up against oppressive political tyrants who wish to control the free market with their extremist tactics and defamatory behavior.

Image: Pixabay