Author Topic: Is Science Fiction Gay or is it Homophobic?  (Read 23763 times)

stePH

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on: October 29, 2009, 02:28:36 PM
Later Heinlein comes to mind, with everybody jumping into bed with anybody else regardless of sex or familial connection.  And then there's the transgender element in "All You Zombies".

And I recall a homosexual love scene in Orson Scott Card's Songmaster.  I also recall it ended very badly.

There's Justin and Grant in C.J. Cherryh's Cyteen.  And Jane Fancher's "Netwalkers" trilogy has a sexual relationship between Stephen and Wes.

Discuss?

Mod: fixed spelling of gay.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2009, 04:04:43 PM by Heradel »

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Kanasta

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Reply #1 on: October 29, 2009, 03:01:49 PM
I think generally if something is set in the future, in contemporary fiction anyway, it will often tend towards the post-sexual, ie gender and sexuality differences have been blown apart, simply because we tend to see very rigid gender roles and sexuality as being a thing of the past, so that seems a logical direction for our society and therefore sci-fi to be heading in...



Strawman

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Reply #2 on: October 29, 2009, 03:15:52 PM
My impression is that in the science fiction future, sex will be about as casual and meaningless as waste evacuation. Looking at it that way, when was the last movie or novel that had a character use the toilet? The only ones I can think of were farce scenes. Should I conclude that the arts are prejudiced against these functions? You bet! But what would you think of the person who objected to this particular prejudice?



lowky

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Reply #3 on: October 29, 2009, 11:19:33 PM
If anything I think it is more progressive in it's thinking.  and instead of gay, I would use bi or omnisexual (Omni because not all aliens are completely human looking).  As others have mentioned we look at how societies views towards Homosexuality and bisexuality have changed.  Especially since WWII when they were being put to death on a larger scale because of their sexual preferences.  Given when Heinlein wrote most of his stories, it was less open than now, he seems to be one of the more progressive authors.  Card who had it end badly is probably somewhat projecting his religious beliefs onto such a relationship.  Some of these stories were also written at the start or during the sexual revolution when free love was being preached the loudest. 

Personally I love the idea of it.  If everyone is having sex with everyone else two things happen less time for fighting, and an end to racism through miscegenation.  Once the entire human race is a light creamy brown, there can be no more hating people for their skin color.


davedoty

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Reply #4 on: October 30, 2009, 12:51:46 PM
My answer is probably so obvious that it's not interesting, but it depends on the author.

Looking at broader trends, I think SF was very sexually conservative until the New Wave of Moorcock and that ilk.  Even if individuals might have been more inclined to be tolerant, it rarely made it into their work.

Since the New Wave, I think print fiction has probably leaned more and more to the gay friendly, while screen SF has stayed more conservative.  We're only just now starting to see GLBT characters appear in mainstream SF shows.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say while print SF has had an unusual preponderance of progressive writers over the last 40-50 years, screen SF has actually been MORE conservative than other genres, due to the fact that it has almost exclusively focused on adventure stories aimed primarily at the straight male crowd.

But, just to bring my conclusion back to my opening statement, while I think those are the big trends, ultimately it comes down to the outlook of individual authors.



Bdoomed

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Reply #5 on: October 30, 2009, 06:12:52 PM
yah, i goofed :P
no offense!
« Last Edit: October 31, 2009, 08:12:43 AM by Bdoomed »

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Yargling

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Reply #6 on: October 30, 2009, 08:58:37 PM
And I recall a homosexual love scene in Orson Scott Card's Songmaster.  I also recall it ended very badly.

Given he's extremely homophobic, and even had a part in those 'the Storm is coming' ads, its not really surprising in his case.



Heradel

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Reply #7 on: October 30, 2009, 09:25:05 PM
And I recall a homosexual love scene in Orson Scott Card's Songmaster.  I also recall it ended very badly.

Given he's extremely homophobic, and even had a part in those 'the Storm is coming' ads, its not really surprising in his case.

One does not find progressive values and Orson Scott Card in the same universe.

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deflective

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Reply #8 on: October 30, 2009, 09:41:42 PM
Bdoomed, that pic doesn't seem to add anything to the thread.

or maybe it does, i'm not sure what stePH's position is.  that same sex relationships are underrepresented in sf?

i haven't seen numbers but it's my impression that sexual relationships in sf tend to be more open and are shown in a positive light than the popular culture of its time.  i can't think of any contemporary of Heinlein that would even come close, in the age of westerns & detective novels.  i can't think of any other show that has a gay main character without making his sexuality the center of the show (torchwood).  

but that's all very subjective, i haven't looked into this at all.  if anybody has a link or something to put this into context it would help.



Bdoomed

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Reply #9 on: October 30, 2009, 09:56:26 PM
Bdoomed, that pic doesn't seem to add anything to the thread.
eh, this thread made me think of Twilight. sorryness

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Swamp

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Reply #10 on: October 30, 2009, 10:04:59 PM
Can someone please define for me exactly what it means to be homophobic?  What is the criteria?  From what I see the term is used as a weapon against anyone who does not fall lock step in the the gay rights political agenda.  I get the sense that it's a "you're either with us or against us" mentality.

I have spoken many times on the forums about the difference to how you view homosexuality from a religious perspective and how you treat someone personally.  There is a difference, and it matters.

In terms of the question of this thread, if an author never writes about a gay protagonist, does that make them homophobic?  What if they do write a homosexual character and that character is a jerk or something bad happens to them.  Assuming you didn't know their political opinions (as we do with Card) or their sexuality, are they assumed to be homophobic?  It's kind of like the RaceFail discussions.


Edit:  That first paragraph came off sounding angry.  I'm not angry or anything.  I just want to get a better idea what people's perceptions of being homophobic are.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2009, 11:20:41 PM by Swamp »

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stePH

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Reply #11 on: October 31, 2009, 12:19:33 AM
...i'm not sure what stePH's position is. 

My position was to put up a thread with a title similar to an existing one; it's just something I do when the mood strikes me.  :)

With that said, however ...

Can someone please define for me exactly what it means to be homophobic?  What is the criteria?  From what I see the term is used as a weapon against anyone who does not fall lock step in the the gay rights political agenda.  I get the sense that it's a "you're either with us or against us" mentality.
"Fall lock step in the gay rights political agenda"?  What's your perception of "the gay rights political agenda"?  As far as I can tell, it's just to end the marginalizing and persecution of homosexuals in our society.  The kind of people who killed Matthew Shepard still walk among us, and that's only the most extreme form of persecution.  I don't see how anybody is harmed by allowing gays to enter the same kind of marriages that hetero couples can, and nobody's managed to explain it to me without falling back on religious beliefs.

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Bdoomed

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Reply #12 on: October 31, 2009, 01:12:26 AM
...i'm not sure what stePH's position is. 

My position was to put up a thread with a title similar to an existing one; it's just something I do when the mood strikes me.  :)

With that said, however ...

Can someone please define for me exactly what it means to be homophobic?  What is the criteria?  From what I see the term is used as a weapon against anyone who does not fall lock step in the the gay rights political agenda.  I get the sense that it's a "you're either with us or against us" mentality.
"Fall lock step in the gay rights political agenda"?  What's your perception of "the gay rights political agenda"?  As far as I can tell, it's just to end the marginalizing and persecution of homosexuals in our society.  The kind of people who killed Matthew Shepard still walk among us, and that's only the most extreme form of persecution.  I don't see how anybody is harmed by allowing gays to enter the same kind of marriages that hetero couples can, and nobody's managed to explain it to me without falling back on religious beliefs.
yeah, my best friend came out almost a year ago... and... yeah they dont have "an agenda"... it's really just "hey can we get married too?" and "hey can you stop hating us so much?"

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


stePH

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Reply #13 on: October 31, 2009, 01:55:12 AM
Every time I've heard somebody mention "the Gay Agenda", they've given the impression of thinking that homosexuals are out to "indoctrinate" and "recruit" young and impressionable children into their lifestyle of depraved faggotry, using propaganda literature like Daddy's Roommate and Heather Has Two Mommies.  And to break up all straight marriages and make everybody have a gay marriage.  And to force red-blooded American soldiers to have to serve alongside limp-wristed nancyboys. And, and, and, and, and,...

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Heradel

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Reply #14 on: October 31, 2009, 02:02:29 AM
Can someone please define for me exactly what it means to be homophobic?  What is the criteria?[...]

I think this is one of those cases where the dictionary definition's pretty right connotatively — "an extreme and irrational aversion to homosexuality and homosexual people." (Oxford New American Dictionary).

You're not homophobic if you don't like gay people. You're homophobic when seeing a gay person makes you angry, when you're incapable of speaking coherently and actually listening to the other side's arguments. Ross Douthat is a good example of someone who doesn't believe in gay marriage but isn't homophobic. Just because you don't agree with that nebulous generic gay agenda does not make you homophobic. You're homophobic when you can't tolerate the existence of LGBT individuals.

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Boggled Coriander

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Reply #15 on: October 31, 2009, 04:10:52 AM
It seems to me there are two different definitions of homophobia floating around out there:

1.  Irrational fear and loathing of homosexuals.  AAAH!  Gay people!  Butt-sex!  Won't somebody please think of the children???

2.  Opposition to gay-rights legislation, to public acceptance of gay marriage, etc.

And these get conflated in the minds of a lot of people.  Now, of course a lot of people who believe (2) do so because of (1) -- that is, they oppose gay rights because they're full of irrational homophobia.  But sometimes, I'll read a social conservative who opposes gay marriages for religious reasons, but makes their case in a way that makes it clear they're not some foaming-at-the-mouth bigot -- and if it's done well, it'll increase my respect for them. 

Mind you, no social conservative has ever successfully persuaded me that gays shouldn't be allowed to marry each other.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2009, 04:59:35 AM by Boggled Coriander »

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Bdoomed

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Reply #16 on: October 31, 2009, 04:27:44 AM
Mind you, no social conservative has never successfully persuaded me that gays shouldn't be allowed to marry each other.
because there is no logical reason besides religion, which should not be allowed to play a part in legal matters.
I do consider religion a logical reason, no matter how much i disagree with it, because hey, if your morals come from your religion, and your religion says its wrong, okay, i get it, i dont like it but i get it... so just dont marry gays in your church/temple/mosque/ancient ruins... but legally? concerning the state? i don't see a reason why not.

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Talia

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Reply #17 on: October 31, 2009, 04:41:33 AM

You're not homophobic if you don't like gay people.

No, you're just a bigoted a**hole.



Scattercat

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Reply #18 on: October 31, 2009, 04:42:12 AM
Anyone who tries to argue that laws should be based on their personal religious convictions loses respect in my eyes, no matter how well-phrased their arguments or how kindly they are towards the behavior they disapprove of.

What other people (specifically two or more consenting adults) do with their (sexual) lives is their own business.  Since there's no secular, logical reason yet provided to be opposed to homosexuals (they harm no one, the behavior is consensual, etc.), then those who oppose civil rights for homosexual couples tend to be regarded as homophobes.  I am willing to concede that there may exist someone who opposes it on purely logical and pragmatic grounds who does not harbor a personal fear/distaste/religious opprobrium of homosexuality, but I have never seen such a person and I do not expect to.

(As a note, BDoomed, that picture is really inappropriate, especially in the context of the thread.  I'm not too proud to admit that I *sporfled* when I saw it, and I see that you're not actually being homophobic in your posting here, but using the word "faggot," especially in that derogatory manner, is just uncalled for.  You wouldn't post a macro about "niggers" in a thread about race in science fiction, would you?)
« Last Edit: October 31, 2009, 05:02:10 AM by Scattercat »



stePH

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Reply #19 on: October 31, 2009, 04:45:17 AM
You're not homophobic if you don't like gay people.

If you dislike them for no reason other than that they're gay, then I have to say ... yes, you are

If you don't like black people on general principles, even if seeing them doesn't fill you with seething rage ... guess what -- you're still a racist.

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Scattercat

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Reply #20 on: October 31, 2009, 04:58:55 AM

You're not homophobic if you don't like gay people.

No, you're just a bigoted a**hole.

To be fair, if one believes that homosexuality is a learned behavior rather than an innate tendency shaped by a variety of inputs, and if one believes in a religion which has specific or general strictures against homosexual behavior, it is possible to truly believe that those who have gay sex are doing something wrong, something they should be fighting to resist, just like sex outside of whatever cultural structure you believe in might be equally wrong.  In that case, it is quite possible to view gay people as those indulging a vice and thus not people you want to associate with.  I think this view is mistaken, but it is certainly possible to dislike "gayness" without being a bigot per se.  

Comparisons to racism break down if one side doesn't believe that homosexuality is an actual expression of human sexuality, but is instead a behavior, a choice.  Society often (and quite rightly) disapproves of individual choices when they are harmful to people (even to those who practice them; suicide is often outlawed and regularly sees intervention, for instance; to the eyes of the sort of person I'm describing, homosexuality seems an aberrant psychological problem akin to the severe depression that drives someone to injure themselves, and equally worthy both of disapproval and laws meant to restrain it.)

Really, one ought to talk more about racist/sexist/whateverist behaviors rather than people.  It's possible to do something offensive without meaning it or even realizing it, or even when trying to HELP.  Consider, for instance, the rather sad situation of ex-gay ministry, which tries to "cure" its patients of being gay.  Many members are formerly-practicing homosexuals who truly believe they've found a better, purer, and cleaner way to live.  While I would classify their actions as inappropriate and intrusive (just like I'd disapprove of a group that tried to, say, "cure" monogamy in happily-married individuals), I have a hard time calling them "bigoted assholes."



stePH

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Reply #21 on: October 31, 2009, 05:06:17 AM
Really, one ought to talk more about racist/sexist/whateverist behaviors rather than people.  It's possible to do something offensive without meaning it or even realizing it, or even when trying to HELP.  Consider, for instance, the rather sad situation of ex-gay ministry, which tries to "cure" its patients of being gay.  Many members are formerly-practicing homosexuals who truly believe they've found a better, purer, and cleaner way to live.  

Once there was a preacher by the name of Ted Haggard
Who stumbled from the path
Or you might even say staggered
He was one in a million
Or more aptly one-in-ten
Some folks say he put the “men” in “Amen”

He preached the gospel message
Of intolerance and self-loathing
He traveled on his wayward way betraying his betrothing
He was the soul of piety and no one doubted him
Until he hired a gigolo and used a pseudonym

So he humbly went to counseling and then
Three weeks later he’s born again….again!

Because…
Ted Haggard is completely Heterosexual
Ted Haggard is completely Heterosexual
Ted Haggard is completely Heterosexual
Glory how-he-blew-ya.

 ;D

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Scattercat

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Reply #22 on: October 31, 2009, 05:16:48 AM
Ted Haggard is exempt from my list of "people I believe sincerely believe they are doing the right thing." 



Talia

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Reply #23 on: October 31, 2009, 05:18:56 AM

You're not homophobic if you don't like gay people.

No, you're just a bigoted a**hole.

To be fair, if one believes that homosexuality is a learned behavior rather than an innate tendency shaped by a variety of inputs, and if one believes in a religion which has specific or general strictures against homosexual behavior, it is possible to truly believe that those who have gay sex are doing something wrong, something they should be fighting to resist, just like sex outside of whatever cultural structure you believe in might be equally wrong.  In that case, it is quite possible to view gay people as those indulging a vice and thus not people you want to associate with.  I think this view is mistaken, but it is certainly possible to dislike "gayness" without being a bigot per se.  

Comparisons to racism break down if one side doesn't believe that homosexuality is an actual expression of human sexuality, but is instead a behavior, a choice.  Society often (and quite rightly) disapproves of individual choices when they are harmful to people (even to those who practice them; suicide is often outlawed and regularly sees intervention, for instance; to the eyes of the sort of person I'm describing, homosexuality seems an aberrant psychological problem akin to the severe depression that drives someone to injure themselves, and equally worthy both of disapproval and laws meant to restrain it.)

Really, one ought to talk more about racist/sexist/whateverist behaviors rather than people.  It's possible to do something offensive without meaning it or even realizing it, or even when trying to HELP.  Consider, for instance, the rather sad situation of ex-gay ministry, which tries to "cure" its patients of being gay.  Many members are formerly-practicing homosexuals who truly believe they've found a better, purer, and cleaner way to live.  While I would classify their actions as inappropriate and intrusive (just like I'd disapprove of a group that tried to, say, "cure" monogamy in happily-married individuals), I have a hard time calling them "bigoted assholes."

I have no problem using such language to refer to such people. Just because you use your religion as an excuse doesn't excuse the behavior. Its still harmful and insulting to the people you're targetting, even if you are too blind to see it.

IMHO.. just because you feel a certain way because your religion tells you to doesn't make you any less a bigot than if you feel a certain way just because you want to.



Scattercat

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Reply #24 on: October 31, 2009, 05:30:46 AM
The point I'm trying to make is that one is not bigoted if one disapproves of, say, theft.  That's an action someone chose to take which is considered morally incorrect.  It's hard to call someone bigoted if they disapprove of thieves.  (Now, I personally think that there are moral problems even with that particular stance, but I can see the thinking that goes into it.)

Basically, a bigot is someone who disapproves of an entire class of people based on assumptions about those people and regardless of the actual individual behavior.  If someone is approaching it from the perspective that they are disapproving of people who ACT a certain way rather than people who ARE a certain way, and if that person would no longer behave in a racist/sexist/whateverist manner if they were made to understand the situation more appropriately, then I would not call that person a bigot.

More generally, I don't think calling people bigots does anything helpful for the conversation, either in general or specifically here, as once you've made the issue about whether someone is or is not a bigot, you've deflected it from the primary problem, which is bigoted behavior.  This is why people who are accused of saying/doing something offensive respond by saying, "Are you calling me [item]ist?  I'm not [item]ist at all!  Here are my [item] friends and here are the things I have done which are beneficial to [item]!"  The issue is not whether doing X makes someone a bigot; the issue is whether doing X is a negative action in itself.

Unfortunately, this discussion is phrased in generalities and sweeping claims about an entire genre of writing and has macros popping up halfway down the first page.  But one does what one can with what one has.