LGBT Advocates Respond To Orson Scott Card's 'Plea For Tolerance'
Previously, Towleroad has reported on the controversy surrounding the upcoming big-budget film adaptation of Ender's Game, and the subsequent plea for tolerance by the original novel's homophobic author. Now, the LGBT, Geek, and Queer Geek communities are issuing their responses, and none seem very receptive to Orson Scott Card's arguments.
In his exclusive with Entertainment Weekly, Card (who also happens to be the the great-great grandson of Mormon icon Brigham Young), made several key declarations that many chose to focus on in their responses. First, he claimed that the novel's dystopian future setting exempted it from the "political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984." Second, he declared that the recent Supreme Court rulings render "the gay marriage issue" a moot point. Third, he attempted to turn the tides of "bigotry" upon the very people who were criticizing him:
"Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute."
Our own Christian Walters had a few things to say in response, as did GeeksOUT, the group behind the "Skip Ender's Game" boycott. As the group was kind enough to point out, "the Bill of Rights protects your freedom of speech but it does not protect your right to a blockbuster opening weekend." They went on to explain...
"This is not and has never been about a much beloved sci-fi novel. Leaving aside the fact that Card thinks gay civil rights didn’t exist in the mid-80s, which is pretty insulting to the post-Stonewall generation frontline against a little something called AIDS—this is about us, here and now. This is about our community refusing to financially support an extreme anti-gay activist. We didn’t read his diary, and we’re not taking dinner table conversation out of context—Orson Scott Card has a very public record of far-right comments against marriage equality as a concept and LGBT folk as human beings."
The response then goes on to lift excerpts from Card's decades of anti-gay activism, as well as discredit his argument that LGBT rights are currently a moot point. Meanwhile, Joe My God turned his attention to NOM, the anti-gay hate organization for which Card currently serves as board member. The group released a tweet decrying the fact that, since Card has publicly supported "traditional marriage", he has been added to what is being called the "New Hollywood Blacklist". As Joe was kind enough to point out, the group made no mention of Card's apparent surrender to marriage equality advocates and LGBT rights activists. After all, declaring "the gay marriage issue" moot would apply to both sides of the debate in question.
Salon chose a slightly different approach, choosing to sift through Card's life and work to analyze precisely why he has become "one of the powerful and influential authors in the industry" as well as "one of the most openly bigoted". The result is an exposé of "he paradoxical mishmash of Cardian beliefs that might provoke some brain-scouring and heated debate among sci-fi fans near you as the buzz for Ender’s Game starts to grow." The piece's writer, Aja Romano, not only pulls highlights from Card's activism, but also sifts for anti-gay subtext in Card's fictional writing, referencing works such as Hamlet's Father, The Homecoming Saga, and Ender in Exile. Romano was also kind enough to delve into Card's hypocritical background in fan fiction, a practice he publicly ridiculed before choosing to engage in it himself. There's also some gay adult Ender's Game fan fiction thrown in for good measure.
As of now, no comments have been released from Lionsgate, the studio that financed and will be releasing the film, nor have any been released by any member of the cast or crew of the film. As GeeksOUT pointed out in their response "now would be an ideal time". They also summarized their response with a declaration:
"No matter what happens with Skip Ender’s Game, American voters have already rejected Orson Scott Card's and NOM’s extreme anti-gay agenda. Whether they’ll continue to fund it at the box office remains to be seen."
Do you plan on boycotting the film? Is a boycott even necessary or appropriate? Sound off in the comments below...