Gay rights issues have finally permeated geek culture. I say "finally" because for the most part, geeks are a tolerant lot. Sexuality has never been a hot button issue for us. Comic books and fantasy literature have been early adopters in the gay equality movement. Every step geek culture takes toward equal representation of gay and lesbian characters is a reason for celebration. I'm not saying that gay rights aren't an issue for geek culture. It's just that geeks haven't experienced a whole lot of opposition among other geeks to the movement's progress.
Enter Orson Scott Card.
Here are the facts so far:
1. Orson Scott Card, famous sci-fi author of Ender's Game, was hired by DC to write some Superman comics.
2. Orson Scott Card is adamantly and offensively anti-gay marriage and gayness in general. Keep in mind there is a difference between adamant and offensive - OSC just happens to be both.
2a. He's been this way for a long time.
2b. We cannot judge all of Mormonism for OSC's views just as we cannot judge all of Christianity for the Westboro Baptist Church, so let's not even go there in the comments.
3. Geeks, both gay and straight, made it clear to DC that because of his hateful views, OSC writing Superman was unacceptable.
4. As of yesterday, Chris Sprouse, the proposed artist for OSC's Superman, quit the project.
5. As of two hours ago, DC has canned OSC's Superman story.
Apparently, the immediate issue has been resolved. However, the underlying issue has been and always will be a problem: Is it possible to separate an artist form his or her offensive personal/political beliefs? If it is possible, should we?
Normally, I do try to separate talent from personal politics. But I have only ever had to do so objectively in the past. As an LGBT ally, it's easy for me to say things like, "I will never eat at Chik-Fil-A!" This is because I have never had access to Chik-Fil-A until recently so didn't care about missing what I'd never tasted. It's a lot harder to read hate speech from someone whose writing you admire.
|I like my steaks barely bruised.|
Personally, I will always love the original Ender quartet (Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind). I read them multiple times before I ever had any idea of who OSC was as a person. I still reference OSC's guide to good science fiction and fantasy writing (1990). He used to be a master of his craft and I feel like maybe he should go back and read his own advice. But I also consider my experience with Ender in Exile my last attempt to appreciate OSC post knowledge of his views.
|I am geeked out for this movie and can't figure out if I should be mad at myself for feeling that way.|
I think that Challengers Comics and Conversation in Chicago had the right idea. Carry the comic, sell the comic, and donate all profit to the Human Rights Campaign. But what do we do as individuals? As fans? As geeks? As gays? As allies? I'm opening this conversation up to you. I don't have any concrete answers.