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Queer erotica author Chuck Tingle uninvited from Texas book event over face mask

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Instagram/@chucktingle

Chuck Tingle says he was uninvited from the Texas Library Association's annual literature conference over the mask which he says helps him.

Queer erotica author Chuck Tingle is speaking out after being uninvited from the Texas Library Association's annual literature conference over a mask he calls his "neurodivergence aid."

Tingle, author of short fiction stories such as Professor T-Rex Teaches Me Gayness andPounded in the Butt by the Sentient Manifestation of My Own Ignorant Climate Change Denial, is known for wearing a pink pillowcase with the words "Love Is Real" as a facial covering during public appearances. He revealed in a recent post online that the TLA rescinded his invitation to the upcoming event because "people could possibly be uncomfortable" with his attire.

Tingle, who is autistic, noted that the mask "is a boundary that allows me to express myself freely and relieve my chronic pain from neurotypically masking all day," and that it has "never really a problem when making appearances" before.

"[It] is not a want. it is a need. holding this boundary is more important than i can ever say," he wrote, continuing, "TLA not letting an autistic author wear the face cover they've set up to express their neurodivergence in a safe, healthy way is—for lack of a better term—NOT A GOOD LOOK. ... if the texas library association does not care about my appearance as an expression of my autism, then i cant imagine them giving a dang about it as an expression of my gender and queerness."

Tingle added: "why is [my] preferred physical presentation valued SO little by the TLA that a THEORETICAL complaint is worth more? is my neurodivergent expression so awful? is my own safety as a queer activist such an afterthought?"

Tingle's post gained traction online, even being shared by other famous writers such as Good Omens and Coraline author Neil Gaiman. The TLA then re-invited Tingle, with executive director Shirley Robinson issuing a public statement of apology. She wrote that the decision to rescind his invitation was a "misstep that we regret, and it is counter to our mission to ‘unite and amplify voices...through intentional equity, diversity, and inclusion.’"

Tingle has since rejected the re-invitation, writing in another post that he found the TLA's response "a little unsatisfying," and that he believes the event is "clearly not a safe space to trot for those who require additional accommodations."

"IT DOES NOT MATTER IF MY MASK IS A DISABILITY AID OR NOT," he said, adding, "regardless of WHAT someone looks like, it is not the job of an event or conference to pick apart WHY. physical presentation can be a part of someone's neurodivergence, or gender, or sexuality, but [it] can also just exist as a nebulous undefined part of their inner self. ... since when are we applying a 'dress code' to our artists?"

Tingle said that he believes "an element of the 'good queer, bad queer' phenomenon" was at play in the TLA's decision-making, where marginalized groups are only accepted if they're "quiet."

"it is easy to show diversity when you only take on the voices that aren’t too 'strange,'” he explained.

The TLA has since accepted Tingle's rejection and promised to do "better in the future." Robinson told The Advocate via email: "The Texas Library Association appreciates Mr. Tingle’s thoughtful response to our offer and respects his decision to decline. TLA sets a high standard for ourselves and in this situation, we fell short. We will continue to learn from this and do better in the future."

This story has been updated to include comment from the TLA.

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.