Tag Archives: Anime

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.”

url-4

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.

Advertisements

Walking A Mile In Gay Shoes: A Straight Man Imagines What Being Gay In Nashvile Must Be Like

17 Aug

Eric Stuart

I met my friend Eric Stuart while he was directing me in a cartoon and XBOX360 game called “Viva Pinata.” Eric, who most of you might remember as the voice of “Brock” on Pokémon, made a move from NYC down to Nashville a few years ago. Since then, his frustrations have led him to lots of Facebook chats with me. A New York jew with a whole lot of gay friends, it’s needless to say that he’s had some challenges in his new environment. That being said, If the Kinsey scale is accurate and 0 is exclusively heterosexual and 6 is exclusively homosexual, then Eric is a -4. I asked Eric to write a little something about his experiences for the blog and I’m thrilled to share this with you all.

Walking A Mile In Gay Shoes: A Straight Man Imagines What Being Gay In Nashvile Must Be Like

By Eric Stuart

The other day I was given an assignment by a good friend. Being one to never back down from a challenge, I was asked to write an essay the subject: Being a straight man, what I thought it must be like for a gay man to live here in Nashville.

Wow. Well first off, I think to be fair, all I really can to do is imagine. Without walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, I really can’t tell you. That being said, I will give it a try.

Let me give you a little of my background before I give you my thoughts. I am born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, the son of a dancer and a defense attorney (sitcom material, right?). My family taught me to accept everyone. Being around my mother and her profession, it would be safe to say I grew up around a lot of gay people. That is not to say all dancers are gay (they are not), but I will go out on a limb here and say many I knew were. Anyway, it was just a part of my upbringing. Because of that, I’ve always been supportive of gay rights and equality among all people. Additionally, I am a singer/songwriter and voice actor, so I also work in the arts.

Now you know a bit about me.

When I first moved to Nashville, I knew that I would run into people who didn’t necessarily think the same way I did. Now, I do not believe everyone should agree, what I do believe is that everyone should respect what makes us different and engage in respectful conversations and debates. Ignorance is the root of so much hate and hate really takes much more energy than love. So I like to hear where people are coming from and expect the same in return. For the most part I have found that here. Many of my neighbors feel that since we live in the same area I must have the same political beliefs, far from it. We tend to talk about music and sports more now.

Back to my assignment. Nashville is a unique southern city. In the heart of it (maybe because it is the center of an entertainment industry), there is a bit more acceptance and open-mindedness. There are universities here and with that comes educated people. And with all that, I’ve heard that there is a strong gay community here. It’s not quite like New York — not as out in the open as I am used to, but it is still here. But if you stray a bit outside of the city, you’re certain to find less of a ‘gay friendly’ environment.

What if I were a gay man here? Would I feel safe to be ‘out’? This is the bible belt. If I walked into a restaurant holding my partner’s hand, would people stare and would I be comfortable? I want to say here in Nashville it would be ok the majority of the time. I do think Nashville would do the right thing.

I do not want to generalize the South or southerners. I wouldn’t want them to do that to this Damn Yankee (a northerner who doesn’t leave). I have met loving, kind people here. I love living here and there is a sense of community that many places could learn from. There is, however, a certain image one has of what makes you a ‘man’ here. That would be very intimidating should someone not quite fit the mold. I think I would be very concerned. I would fear how my classmates, friends, co-workers would treat me should they find out. In school, would I be bullied? I think so, or at the very least, I think I’d spend a lot of time afraid that I might be.

The message of ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill’ was a real wake up call for me. I was thinking to myself, “when the kids in school are asked to draw a picture of their family and one kid has two fathers, if he draws that picture, will he be told that’s not allowed? That his family is not ‘normal’ so we cannot talk about it? That really doesn’t send a very accepting message to any gay people growing up here. This seemed to me like something I would read about in history books pre-civil rights. A kind of narrow-minded thinking that is truly ignorant and potentially dangerous. When so many states are making huge strides for equality, to see my new home state support this was like a knife in my heart. It makes you shake your head. If I were gay and my state passed this bill, I think I would leave, but not before yelling ‘Have a nice Gay!’ to every person I met (just because I am like that).

When people are not exposed to people who are different than they are, they develop their own stereotypes and prejudices. Nashville is laid out in such a way that you really don’t want to interact with people who might not be exactly like you, which is pretty easy to accomplish. This is my problem with a lot of the world. I think growing up in Brooklyn, a real melting pot, I was exposed to so much. I learned things about people and I learned to live side by side with them. Not always loving it, but never hating it, or better yet, never hating them.

It’s odd for me not to have any gay friends here, or should I say, openly gay friends. What I really wish for is that one day I wouldn’t even be paying attention to what category my friends fell under. They would just be my friends.

Maybe if more people realized that love is just love and that everyone should have the same rights, we would get to that place. That place sure seems far away sometimes living here in Tennessee.

You can find out more about Eric Stuart on his website. Also, go buy some of his recordings – he’s great!

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)