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Ender’s Game, Superman and Anti-Gay Bigotry

12 Feb
Super-ally, Chris Kluwe

Super-ally, Chris Kluwe

More and more, the Sci-fi, Comic, Gaming and Anime communities have come out overwhelmingly in favor of equality for their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender friends, superheroes and artists. While these communities remain fairly dominated by straight guys, it’s rare to see homophobic messages stated – and when they are, they’re frequently challenged by allies.

World of Warcraft fan and Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe has become a hero to the LGBT community following a tongue-lashing he gave to a Maryland lawmaker (let’s just say the term “lustful cockmonster” is now a part of our country’s vernacular because of him).

Star Wars: The Old Republic now allows players to select the sexuality of their characters. In fact dozens of games now feature gay characters including Dragon’s Age II, Guild Wars 2, Tekken, Mass Effect 1, 2 & 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Bully, and even a lesser-known PS2 game (which I happened to voice the lead character for) Shadow Hearts: From the New World features a gay relationship.

As for the comic industry, from Green Lantern to Archie, we’re seeing more and more openly gay and proud characters. This is nothing new.

urlSo this is why I was shocked to see that DC Comics had hired one of the most openly-homophobic science fiction writers out there to usher in the new Superman digital comic. Orson Scott Card, author of the soon-to-be-released blockbuster movie, Ender’s Game is not only anti-gay, but he is unapologetically so. In 2009, Card joined the board of one of the most virulently anti-gay organizations we know of, The National Organization for Marriage (NOM). While the name sounds innocuous enough, NOM has not only sunk millions into fights agains marriage equality, they’ve also fought against gay adoption, against safe schools for LGBT kids, and as recently reported, the gay “lifestyle” as a whole. And Card is a part of it all.

In 2000, Salon’s Donna Minkowitz outed Card as a “disgustingly outspoken homophobe” following a thorough and eye-opening interview. In his writing, he has equated homosexuality with pedophilia, and in a 2004 essay, Card stated:

“The dark secret of homosexual society—the one that dares not speak its name—is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally.”

A devout Mormon, Card frequently speaks about the “radical redefinition of marriage,” which is of course fairly hypocritical considering his own church went through their own “radical redefinition of marriage” not so long ago. In 1990, Card wrote a lengthy essay titled “The Hypocrites of Homosexuality.” Throughout, he roundly admonishes gay people as nothing more than people who are giving into sin. He even goes so far as to stating that anti-sodomy laws should remain on the books making homosexuality illegal in the U.S.. He points out of course in an epilogue that those were his old views before those laws were overturned. Now he only says non-inflammatory things like:

“There are no laws left standing that discriminate against gay couples. They can visit each other in the hospital. They can benefit from each other’s insurance.”

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Virulently anti-gay Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card

This was what he said last year when North Carolina was passing an anti-gay marriage amendment. He seems to ignore the fact that hospital visitation is not a law, it’s an Executive Order which can easily be overturned by the next President and his statement that we can benefit from each other’s insurance is a lie. This is completely dependent on the insurance company and the employer one has. Most companies in the U.S. still do not offer coverage for partners of LGBT employees. Finally, I’d like to point him to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (which gives heterosexual couples 1100+ rights which I don’t have), the lack of an Employment Non-Discrimination Act (meaning that in most states I can still be fired for being gay) and the 30 or so states I can be evicted from my home for being gay.

Card has gone even further though, threatening to overthrow any government who approves marriage equality:

“Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage.

Card has proven that not only is he virulently anti-gay, but he has no problem spreading lies to bring others to his wrong side of history.

All Out, an international LGBT rights organization has started a petition asking DC Comics to get rid of the anti-gay Orson Scott Card. I can’t seem to find any sort of formal boycott of his film “Ender’s Game” set for a March release, but considering 10% of his income is also tithed to the Mormon church, I’m fairly certain they won’t be seeing my $12.

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Tracy Morgan Apologizes for Homophobic Rant – Meets With Homeless LGBT Youth

14 Jun

Tracy Morgan

After being one of the first sites to share the news of Tracy Morgan’s homophobic rant at his Nashville show last week, we forwarded the story on to GLAAD’s Jarrett Barrios. From there, Jarret and the team at GLAAD worked hard to communicate with Tracy Morgan and his team.

Almost immediately after Truth Wins Out‘s article and some calls from GLAAD, Tracy’s publicist issued what has become a standard form letter apology when it comes to these things.

“I want to apologize to my fans and the gay & lesbian community for my choice of words at my recent stand-up act in Nashville. I’m not a hateful person and don’t condone any kind of violence against others. While I am an equal opportunity jokester, and my friends know what is in my heart, even in a comedy club this clearly went too far and was not funny in any context.”

Following that, Tina Fey issued an incredible statement:

“I’m glad to hear that Tracy apologized for his comments,” Tina Fey said. “Stand-​up comics may have the right to ‘work out’ their material in its ugliest and rawest form in front of an audience, but the violent imagery of Tracy’s rant was disturbing to me at a time when homophobic hate crimes continue to be a life-​threatening issue for the GLBT Community. It also doesn’t line up with the Tracy Morgan I know, who is not a hateful man and is generally much too sleepy and self-​centered to ever hurt another person.

“I hope for his sake that Tracy’s apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian coworkers at 30 Rock, without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with, or a printed-​out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket.” Fey added, “The other producers and I pride ourselves on 30 Rock being a diverse, safe, and fair workplace.”

Tracy Morgan, Russell Simmons

GLAAD continued to work with Tracy and his handlers and we’re thrilled to see that some incredible good is coming out of this horrible situation – and it’s all because we stood up and said something when bigotry was being spread. Tracy had a conversation with LGBT advocate, Russell Simmons. The transcript of their conversation is on Simmons’ hip-hop blog. Among the revelations is that Tracy would like to attend a gay marriage rally and wants to work to advance LGBT rights.

GLAAD released a statement from Tracy Morgan yesterday:

“I know how bad bullying can hurt. I was bullied when I was a kid. I’m sorry for what I said. I didn’t mean it. I never want to use my comedy to hurt anyone. My family knew what it was like to feel different. My brother was disabled and I lost my father to AIDS in 1987. My dad wasn’t gay but I also learned about homophobia then because of how people treated people who were sick with that. Parents should support and love their kids no matter what. Gay people deserve the same right to be happy in this country as everyone else. Our laws should support that. I hope that my fans gay, straight, whatever forgive and I hope my family forgives me for this.”

Additionally, Tracy will be doing some personal outreach to help LGBT youth.

THIS WEEK: In NYC, Tracy will meet with LGBT teens from the Ali Forney Center who were shunned or left homeless by their parents as well parents who lost their children to anti-LGBT hate crimes including Elke Kennedy.

NEXT WEEK: Tracy will return to Tennessee with GLAAD and Russell Simmons to meet with those offended by his remarks and make a public statement about how he supports LGBT people.

ALSO: Tracy will film a PSA as part of GLAAD’s upcoming ‘Amplify Your Voice’ PSA campaign

Great work to all involved and let this be a lesson that if you see or hear something that’s not right, speak up about it and change can happen.

National Organization for Marriage: PUNK’D!

3 Feb

It’s always fun when we rediscover the smart ones are the pro-equality ones.

The National Organization “for” Marriage (NOM) posted a cartoon by Zach Weiner today on their blog. The cartoon was hotlinked from a site called Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. This is his cartoon:

What happened next is brilliant. Zach Weiner, who posted the comic, realized his work was completely misinterpreted as an anti-gay advertisement by the Hate Group. So he changed the direction of the link that NOM was using…so NOM’s blog now has this up in the comic’s place (it’s been screen-capped, as once they figure out what’s happened, they will undoubtedly fix it):

Check out Zach’s account of how it all happened here. It’s moments like this that it makes me glad to know so many nerds.

Zach writes:

“There seems to be this idea out there that action through the Internet has no important effect. Even people I really respect, like Jon Stewart, promote this idea. Well, today, I probably got a message of equality to over 100,000 people, among them members of the other side. This generation fights in a new way, but we fight just as hard.”

Great work Zach! Thanks for Talking About Equality in one of the most creative ways we can imagine!

Cartoons, Costumes and Equality

30 Jan

Something that many of my friends in the equality movement don’t know about me is that for 11 years now, I’ve had a really fun career. I moved to New York 12 years ago to be a musical theatre actor – and though I haven’t really pursued that in a number of years, I was able to fulfill those creative needs with producing Broadway concerts and events – and doing voices for cartoons.

Barry from Pokemon

I’ve been in a whole bunch of Japanese anime titles and a couple other things here and there – most notably, I can be heard on Yu-Gi-Oh!, Viva Pinata, and as “Barry” on Pokemon for the past few years. As a voice actor, I’m often invited to attend anime conventions around the country. I’m not going to lie – the first time I walked into one of these “cons,” I was a touch…intimidated – at all the people in costumes. People dressed up as characters I’d played, people who knew far more about the shows I was on than I did – it was a lot for me.

Over the years though, I’ve grown to love it. I’ve begun to revel in the awkwardness of the random 50 year-old running around in a Sailor Moon costume, the big girl wearing perhaps a bit less than society would expect her to be wearing, and the complete abandonment of any social norms that have ever been taught. This is a rag-tag group of kids and adults who have found a world that they know everything about.

Growing up gay, I had that need to find some little thing that was mine – something I could control and could be an expert on – for me, that was Broadway – so I found my own way to relate.

This weekend, I’ve been in Columbus, Ohio at Ohayocon, a pretty large convention at 10,000+ attendees. My friend and fellow openly gay voice actor Greg Ayres, texted me last week and asked if I wanted to do an “It Gets Better” panel with him and of course I jumped at the idea. I’d met a lot of gay kids at cons in the past and there seems to be an obsession among teen girls, with something called “Yaoi,” or man-on-man anime. So around here, gay is okay.

The panel was excellent and was far better-attended than I expected it to be. Greg and I spoke about our experiences and about the It Gets Better project, encouraging people to join in and make videos and find ways of fighting bullying in their own schools – and then we took questions. It became very clear, very quickly that these kids really needed to talk.

Kit & Neko of Neko-Jin Designs, catering to LGBT anime fans

Questions ranged from “How long is it going to take for equality to happen in the US?,” to “How do I tell my Conservative Christian parents I’m a lesbian?” While we didn’t have all the answers, we were able to direct everyone to a different resource that could help them. But what was most incredible to see was kids answering other kids’ questions. The support for one another was something unexpected to me – I’ve always known that this was a safe place for everyone, but the throngs of applause when a girl introduced her wife or a young man talked about having started his own Gay Straight Alliance at his school – it was encouraging to say the least.

A bag from Neko-Jin Designs

Though it had nothing to do with anime per se, being able to talk about equality with teens and young adults in the middle of Ohio gives me a great deal of hope for the next generation of LGBT kids. It seems they’re looking out for one another far more than I felt as a kid growing up gay. I frequently worry about the state of the “LGBT Community,” with our sometimes fractured issues, different priorities and separate tactics at winning equality. Now I have a little more hope that our younger brothers and sisters might reclaim that incredible community that we so need to win this fight.

Wings made by Saratonin Studios (www.SaratoninStudios.com)

Boy Dresses as Daphne, Mom Does Her Job.

4 Nov

We need more Moms like this.

Nerdy Apple Bottom,” a cop’s wife that does not remain silent, wrote this incredible story about her adorable 5 year-old son, Boo and the havoc they both wreaked when her son wanted to dress up like Daphne from Scooby Doo. The young man who looks fabulous in his purple and pink, has “loved Scooby Doo since developing the ability and attention span to sit still long enough to watch it.” He decided after much deliberation that he wanted to dress up like Daphne while his friend dressed as Scooby Doo.

Strangely enough, Boo didn’t put up with any hassle from his friends – the other 5 year-olds, but his mother sure heard about it from the other parents.

From her story (and you should read the whole thing):

“And then Mom C approaches. She had been in the main room, saw us walk in, and followed us down the hall to let me know her thoughts. And they were that I should never have ‘allowed’ this and thank God it wasn’t next year when he was in Kindergarten since I would have had to put my foot down and ‘forbidden’ it. To which I calmly replied that I would do no such thing and couldn’t imagine what she was talking about. She continued on and on about how mean children could be and how he would be ridiculed.

My response to that: The only people that seem to have a problem with it is their mothers.”

Keep making a difference, awesome Moms, and keep standing up for your kids – they need it, more than you possibly know.

Boo, dressed as Daphne from Scooby Doo. Go Boo!

A Sell-Out in Riverdale!

29 Sep

In happier news today, Archie Comics announced that the inaugural issue of “Veronica,” which introduces Riverdale High School’s first openly gay character, Kevin Keller – HAS SOLD OUT!

This is the first time in Archie Comics’ nearly 60-year history that a reprint has been demanded of one of their comic books. Kevin Keller’s full debut story “Isn’t it Bromantic?” will be re-released in the limited edition variant cover print run of VERONICA #202 featuring the full-issue story that introduces Kevin. According to Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater, “His introduction was always just about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive. It just made sense at the time and we couldn’t be happier to have such widespread and enthusiastic support behind Kevin’s continued presence at Archie Comics!”

Bravo to Archie Comics for taking the brave step of telling the story of a high school kid who’s just like any other high school kid. It’s stories like this (even though fictional), which will help kids realize they aren’t so alone.