Author S.E. Hinton was recently asked on Twitter if two characters from her best-selling book "The Outsiders" are gay.
Hinton's response: "No. Where is the text backing this?"
Hinton then exhanged tweets with people who were angry at her answer, with the author defending herself and writing "I apologize for nothing."
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that "Hinton spent much of Monday responding to readers who were upset with her tweets, reiterating that the characters were straight and denying that she harbored homophobic feelings." "I said I did not write the characters that way," Hinton tweeted. "I apologize for nothing."
The exchanges began when Twitter user VVAnn asked Hinton, "were there any romantic feelings between Johnny and Dally?" Johnny and Dally are two characters in Hinton's 1967 novel "The Outsiders," which depicts the lives of two groups of young gang members. Penguin is issuing a 50th anniversary edition next year.
When Hinton replied "No," the reader replied he thought a relationship between the two teenagers would be "cute." Hinton tweeted, "ask someone in the '60's how 'cute' it was to be gay. I have many friends I love & do not want to sleep with."
One reader called Hinton's responses "trash," writing, "Why would you reject young gay kids interpreting your characters in a way that makes them feel safe?"
"Young gay kids can identify with the book without me saying the characters are gay," Hinton replied. "I never ever set out to make anyone feel safe."