Just Imagine: Why I WON'T Be Supporting An Orson Scott Card Superman
|From Animal Man#26, by Grant Morrison, Chaz Truog, and Mark Farmer|
I've been recently immersing myself in the controversy surrounding DC Comics hiring Orson Scott Card to kick off their new Adventures Of Superman digital comic. (Card's only writing the first two issues; this non-continuity comic will have rotating teams of creators working on different arcs.) A lot of readers are boycotting Card's issues of the comic, and many have even petitioned for Card's dismissal from the book.
Myself among them.
Some of Card's defenders, including DC Comics, accuse the Card attackers of punishing Card for his opinions, but the real problem isn't with Card's opinions, but with his actions. Having bigoted opinions is one thing, but working to inflict those bigoted opinions on the entire population as laws restricting the rights of a particular demographic you don't like? That's another. And the latter is precisely what Card has been doing, especially in his position as board member of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which, in true Orwellian fashion, actually works to prevent members of the LGBT community from marrying the people they love.
As a lifelong Superman fan, I have a big problem with someone like this writing one of my favorite fictional heroes, a character intended to inspire people to reach for the goodness within themselves, and a character whom I and my wife should be able to use to teach my son about values like truth, kindness, and justice. It galls me that DC would allow their leading champion of justice for all to be written by a man who champions injustice for some, especially in light of how DC has been wrecking Superman and his supporting cast, particularly the now-marginalized Lois Lane, in the last 18 months.
But let's face it: My complaints, valid as they are, are petty and trivial compared to those of anyone who can define their sexuality or gender identity alignment by the letters "L", "G", "B", or "T". Why? Let's put it this way: I may worry about how suitable an example Superman will be for my spouse and I to provide for our child, but at least I'm allowed to HAVE a spouse and child. Many LGBT American couples have neither of those rights, thanks in no small part to the work of Card, NOM, and their ilk. Did I mention that NOM also opposes same-sex adoptions as well as marriages?
No matter how much NOM and organizations like it succeed, it won't directly affect me. But LGBT Americans won't be so lucky.
If you're heterosexual and cis-gendered, as I am, and you're reading this, I'd like you to do one thing: Just imagine.
Just imagine being the minority sexuality or gender identity alignment in America.
Just imagine being ostracized, persecuted, beaten up, and even killed or driven to suicide for the "crime" of having the wrong sexual preference or gender identity alignment. (Or even the crime of using the wrong bathroom if you're trans.)
Just imagine having to keep your sexuality or gender identity alignment a secret for fear of being ostracized, persecuted, beaten up, or worse.
Just imagine being disowned by your own parents for loving the wrong sex.
Just imagine not being allowed to marry the person you love because he or she is the wrong gender.
Just imagine listening to two major-party Presidential candidates, Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney, each respond to questions about your right to marry with the insipid and cruel non-answer "OF COURSE gay people can get married. A gay WOMAN can marry a MAN, and a gay MAN can marry a WOMAN."
Just imagine listening to yet another major-party Presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, dismiss your struggles for the same rights everyone else has already enjoyed for decades, if not centuries, as seeking "special privileges".
Just imagine not being allowed to work with or babysit children, let alone adopt any, because too many people mistakenly conflate LGBT with pedophilia. (Something Card himself does in his recent Hamlet rewrite.)
The problem is that people who aren't heterosexual and cis-gendered don't have to imagine those above scenarios. In too many cases, that's their REALITY.
That's the thing us straight folks, even those of us opposed to Card's actions, really need to understand: To us, Card and NOM are either heroic champions of good old-fashioned values at best or just more narrow-minded homophobic morons at worst. But to the LGBT community, they're something more: They're a threat. An obstacle. A hurdle.
And when somebody's actively working against you like that, you're not going to give a damn whether or not he can write a great Superman story. Card could write the next "For The Man Who Has Everything" or "Sandman Saga" or "Birthright" or "What's So Funny...?". His take on Superman could be the perfect fusion of Siegel, Bates, Maggin, O'Neil, Pasko, Wolfman, Moore, Jurgens, Waid, Morrison, Simone, Roberson, and Rucka. But if he's an active part of an organization hell-bent on denying you your rights, I can guarantee that NONE of that will matter to you.
No one will ever say "I can't marry the person I love, but it's so worth it because now we've got this amazing Superman story." No one.
I can't pretend to hope that boycotting these Superman issues will make a difference in Card's and NOM's thinking.
But maybe it will change DC's.