I have been unable to find Wen Spencer's contact information. If anyone knows how to get in touch with her, please let me know in the comments.
Hello Ms. Spencer,
A friend of mine recommended I read Tinker and I'm glad she did. I loved the story and I loved the characters. I was also impressed by how open-minded Tinker's universe seems to be.
Your main character Tinker is an independent and intelligent woman. She's one of the best engineers and inventors of her day, a field traditionally dominated by men. Your elves have women in positions of power and combat. I was thrilled to read about these strong female characters, even more thrilled that their strength seems to be a matter of course and not unusual in the setting of the books.
When Wolf Who Rules introduced the fact that elves are usually polyamorous, I was apprehensive to see how you'd handle that. But I think you did a great job of showing how that makes sense in their society and how it doesn't interfere with the love that married couples feel for each other.
After all this progressive, idealistic thinking, I was shocked when I realized the heteronormativity of the books. You made a specific point to say that sexual experimentation is normal and expected - but only the female bodyguards have slept with Wolf and only the male bodyguards want to sleep with Tinker. When Tinker asks who has slept with her husband, she only asks the women. It never even occurs to her to ask the men. It's as if homo- and bisexuality simply do not exist in your universe. After reading about this ideal society where there is no racist or sexist behavior, it's shocking to realize that the universe itself discriminates based on orientation, by refusing to allow LGBT characters to exist.
But for you to explore one avenue of alternate sexuality and yet specifically keep people like me from living in your utopia? To make a point to say that elves are comfortable and open-minded in their sexuality and yet not allow them to consider bi- or homosexual behavior? That means LGBT characters are being excluded and that is far more hurtful than being ignored.
I know some people may think I'm overreacting, that this is just one book and one instance of heteronormativity. But it's a piece of the pattern of excluding people of alternate sexualities, another brick in the wall to keep us from living normal lives, and this pattern needs to be overturned one piece at a time.