Tag Archives: homophobia

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Star Trek Boldly Goes to Racism, Homophobia, Sexism, and Rape

roddenberry diversityA Change.org petition has been launched urging CBS and StarTrek.com to clean up their act and moderate their official Facebook page for Star Trek. With close to 3.4 million the page is rife with racist, homophobic, and sexist comments, and those who speak out against them are often bullied with harassment, and even threatened by trolls.

The petition calls upon CBS and StarTrek.com to work together to implement a comments policy that:

  • Clearly bans hate speech, rape jokes, and referring to women as a group by derogatory terms (e.g. “sluts”). As well, the policy should ban comments referring to groups of people by racial, homophobic, transphobic, or ableist slurs;
  • Disallows personal attacks against other commenters; and
  • Bans aggressive negative commenting on the personal appearance of other commenters and the posts’ subjects.

If you want to see the examples that have been collected of the comments, you can do so at this site and here. There is a trigger warning though, so be careful.

What’s truly sad is that Star Trek was about inclusion (one just needs to look at its diverse cast as evidence), and broke ground in the civil rights movement (Kirk and Uhuru’s kiss is one example). The show itself portrayed a better world of peace and acceptance. Numerous episodes have been commentary on civil and social rights, championing them. The universe was and is a truly forward looking progressive one.

Looking at these comments though, creator Gene Roddenberry would be disappointed and ashamed.

Why I Stood Up to a Bully

This Thursday, shit hit the fan as an online firestorm erupted over a retailer’s online bullying of a transgender comic book creator. I wrote the post about the issue, the “vindictive blog” in Larry’s own words. The reason I wrote the blog post was simple, a self-described leader of the comic book industry was cyber bullying someone online, and doing so with language that borders on hate speech. It’s ironic that this almost occurred on Spirit Day, when people are encouraged to show their support for the lgbt community.

I wrote the post because it’s the right thing to do. In my day job, I work in politics and one of the things I work on is getting better anti-cyber bullying laws on the books in states. It’s not easy and I’ll be the first to admit, it’s a difficult thing to do, balancing first amendment rights to free speech. But, much like in the current battle of Gawker vs. Reddit, free speech comes with a price. Larry has every right to be a “dick” (his own words) online, but I have every right to call him out for it. Furthermore, if he does want to take a leadership role in the comic book industry, he needs to act the part. Between this incident, and an earlier one, it seems lessons are not learned.

But, this particular issue bothered me. While I am not gay or transgender, I have many friends who are and working in the liberal/progressive political sphere I’m well aware of the abuse these individuals go through in their lives. Statistics are under-reported, but gay, lesbian and transgender people are more likely to be abused, assaulted or even murdered and these are hate crimes. Some think transgender individuals face a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered, though that number is in dispute. The Human Rights Campaign in their report shows that the actual numbers are disproportionate to other populations as well as under-reported or reported incorrectly. The TVT Project reports that 800 transgender people were murdered in the last four years. And here in Washington, DC where I live, there’s been a rash of assaults and murders of transgender individuals. Those statistics should get you to take notice and even the slightest intolerance should be called out for what it is.

And that brings us to the above two tweets by Larry Doherty. In Larry’s mind, his comments towards the transgender comic creator are the equivalent of the normal drivel he spews — hate and dislike towards sports teams or vitriol towards comic book publishers with which he disagrees in the direction they’re going or comics they’re publishing. Well, there is a difference. Last I checked, the bullying against corporations wasn’t resulting in real world violence or even death. Last I checked, corporations were not human beings. Human beings who deserve to be treated with respect. The same respect you, yourself, demand and expect.

Larry wants people to not be “sheep” and accept what’s fed down their throats by comic publishers. Well, here’s me not being a sheep. You Larry, are a bully. You’re not the shock jock you think you are, you’re a bully, plain and simple. Until you realize that and treat others with the respect they deserve, I will keep a watchful eye over you. This is the same I’d do for anyone in the comic book industry who posted similarly insane tweets and rants. This is a notice, not just Larry, but to all. The misogyny, the bigotry, the racism needs to stop in this industry.

There’s irony here. I’m not sure if your experience was like mine, but my interest in comic books, video games and Magic cards put me on the outside of the cool kids. I was one of the geeks. I was excluded and picked on. My interests were looked down upon and are even today as an adult. Now I have a platform, and judging by the reaction to my previous article, I can do some good here. Many of you agree with me and I hope we all can be more vocal. We have no right to exclude anyone from our hobby. To make them go through what many of us went through growing up. To do so is hypocrisy. To do so is to become the bullies we faced as kids.

I do believe the vast majority of the comic book readers are inclusive, and welcoming and like to share their hobby with others. It’s unfortunate there’s a vocal minority who have to drive solid voices away from the discussion. I think it’s all of our duty to call them out for it. I think you can consider this notice.

The #comicmarket problem

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Yesterday, things came to a head on the #comicmarket discussion on Twitter.  #comicmarket was started by Larry’s Comics and a few others to foster discussion among retailers, fans, publishers, artists and writers in how to improve the comic book industry.  In doing so, it has become a public resource, growing each week.  It has become a public relations tool, showing off what the comic book industry has to offer.  Unfortunately, that came to a screeching halt, as the same Larry’s Comics who helped start the forum for discussion also belittled it and those who participate by posting what can only be described as racist comments.

The discussion began over the rumor of the next “ultimate” Spider-Man being black.  Larry thought it was a publicity attempt and then proceeded to post the following:

There’s no excuse for those comments.  They are unwelcoming to new participants, combative and racist.  Unfortunately the comments didn’t end there.  Some other “open minded” individuals piped in when a few of us called out the comments.

Just like race jokes, comments about AIDS also crosses a line.

There’s so many issues with this incident.  The first is the clear tone deaf reaction by Larry’s Comics.  He deleted the offending tweets not because they were wrong, but because he didn’t want to deal with responding to them.  But, that’s what he’s been doing all day today.

No it wasn’t a “good natured joke.”  It’s something you might say to your friends in the privacy of your home or store (if you choose), but in a public forum that represents us all it’s uncalled for.  Today Larry agreed it was “unprofessional and tacky.”

If that’s the case, why post it to begin with?  But Larry has decided to dig himself further into the ditch he created by posting this to numerous spots:

I think the old saying goes, “if your friends jump off a bridge, would you?”  Larry has in the past made inflammatory comments, it’s “who he is.”  But that doesn’t excuse them or his behavior.  When this same retailer wonders why he doesn’t have a lot of female customers he refers to the women as “chicks” in his attempt to discuss the issue. In the past he’s posted a photo of a topless woman, covering her breasts wearing Lantern rings to promote things.  That might have something to do with your “woman issue.”  Both are uninviting.  But, there’s also the use of “gay” to refer to “lame” things among other offenses.  Another retailer has referred to his staff member as a “pussy” on Twitter for various reasons I can’t remember.  That behavior is unprofessional.

The greater issue is, it’s a black eye for the #comicmarket.  As a whole the discussion has been positive, and a lot of great things have come out of it, but a few people can ruin something easily.  The discussion at times, beyond this incident, has been combative, negative and participants are dismissed due to their status of not being retailers.  Threats towards artists, writers and publishers that mimic George Bush’s “you’re with us or against us” pepper the discussion as if those tweeting are a La Costra Nerdstra.

We need open forums to foster discussion of a form of entertainment that’s barely surviving.  For as many steps forward we make there’s days like yesterday and today that take us back quite a few pegs.  As a whole we need to grow up and put the face forward we want the public to see, one of an industry an entertainment form that deserves to be around.

Bleeding Cool has further discussion on the topic as well as some more of the history surrounding past antics.

Geeks vs. Westoboro Church, Now With Video!


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Couldn’t make it to the counter protest of geeks against the hate filled Westboro Baptist Church?  Now you can see all the fun that transpired at San Diego Comic-Con thanks to the intertubes!

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Rev. Phelps Learns to Not Mess With Geeks


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They came, they saw, they kicked their ass!  The jackasses of Westboro Baptist Church lead by Reverend Fred Phelps decided to protest San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday and the geeks met them head on with a counter protest.

The Westboro minions didn’t seem to know what hit them as there was a rather eclectic mix of the usual fun folks you’d find at geek conventions.

The crowd responded to the hate speech of the church with such chants as “WHAT DO WE WANT” “GAY SEX” “WHEN DO WE WANT IT” “NOW!”

There’s some great photos from other sites covering the interesting sites of the protest.

Bleeding Cool – God Loves Gay Robin – Comic-Con Vs Westboro Baptist Church

Comics Alliance – Super Heroes vs. the Westboro Baptist Church

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Choice Quotes


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Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #1

Vision – They call themselves the Sons of the Serpent — a paramilitary sect devoted to maintaining racial and moral purity.

Patriot – They’re white supremacists.

Hawkeye – To be fair, they also hate gays and lesbians.

Patriot – And uppity women apparently.

and

Random bad guy – “As the serpent drove Adam and Eve from Eden… so shall we drive out the unfit — the inferior!”

Hulkling – You’re actually using the Bible to justify murder?

Random bad guy – What would you know about the Bible sodomite?

Brightest Day #5

Aquaman – They said it’d take weeks to find something that could withstand pressures at 5,000 feet so they could fix this leak.  But they didn’t count on us, Mera.

Mera – The owners of this rig might be begging someone to clean up their reckless mess, but they won’t like our shutting down all their wells.

Aquaman – Too bad.  They’re done drilling offshore.  This fuel has done more damage than good to the world.  It’s perpetuated war, greed and corruption.

Sparta U.S.A. #5

Narrator – Here in Sparta, we love our homes.  “A Spartan’s home is his castle.”  The great Ronald Reagan said that.  If I’m remembering my American Patriots class right.  Folks around here’d die defending their homes.

X-Men #1

Wolverine – Hell.  Just when things were looking up.  Al Qaeda in San Francisco.

Young Allies #2

Reed Richards – … it would have been impossible to stop him from instantly committing a terroristic act of suicide.

and

Singularity – Personally, I’m appalled.  I thought we were supposed to be more sophisticated than those savages across the ocean from us.

Oh Noes the Gays Have Gotten to Archie


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Archie Kevin KellerThe world is coming to an end and is out of control.  Evidence of this is a gay character appearing in Archie comics.  A letter to the editor appeared in the Wausau Daily Herald mentioning the recent addition to the cast.

Look around you and you will see how this country has deteriorated in morals and common sense. The schools have taught kids that homosexual relationships are OK. God never intended that same sex unions would be acceptable. Even the Archie comic books now have a gay person in them. Teachers across the country have lost discipline and control of their classrooms.

It’s a nice homophobic rant and interesting connecting of the dots from everything under the sun including robots, God, Archie comics and the “Holy Bible.”

Tuesday Twitter Fun – Obama, Tea Party, ACTA and Oni


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It’s a bonus round of Tuesday Twitter Fun.  It’s a mixed bag of issues below.

Comic blogger Cameron Hatheway commented on some of the vile statements members of the Tea Party called various elected officials on Saturday, http://twitter.com/CamComicCorner.

Cameron Hatheway

Comic writer Gerry Conway decided to speak out about the current secret deal being worked on about copyright.  ACTA would have major ripples on copyrights, fair use and intellectual property, http://twitter.com/gerryconway.

Gerry Conway
Kurt Busiek is new to Twitter but already he’s learning how much fun it can be when it comes to politics.  Welcome Kurt by following him at http://twitter.com/KurtBusiek.

Kurt Busiek

And finally Oni Press (who has shown they get new media) has some fun with President Obama and their announcement of the release of the newest Scott Pilgrim volume.  Giver Oni a well deserved follow at, http://twitter.com/onipress.

Oni PressOni Press

Friday Fun: Gay = Death the Comic Book


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Welcome to our second entry in our Friday Fun series, which looks at historic comic books.  Our second entry in the series picks up from the first, with another comic book produced by Dick Hafer.  Hafer is a conservative cartoonist who’s produced some doozies (and enough material to keep us going for a while).

This one is entitled Homosexuality: Legitimate, Alternate Deathstyle and was produced in 1986 during the AIDS hysteria.

We’re sure these topics were thoroughly researched but the comic covered such issues as the history of homosexuality, AIDS and other diseases, homosexuality and politics, the law, and the church, education, molestation, crime and if it can be cured.

Did Hafer go into the field to study all of this?  The comic includes numerous graphic descriptions of sex acts, all of which also occur between heterosexual people.

The comic even got Congressman William E. Dannemeyer to contribute a statement for the back:

Dick Hafer has seriously – but honestly – addressed the issue of whether we should change our culture by accepting homosexuality as an alternative to the heterosexual lifestyle ordained by God.

At least the Congressmen refers to them as homosexuals as opposed to Hafer who enjoys the word sodomite.

The comic is a site to be hold, and you can read it in full at http://www.ep.tc/problems/28/01.html.

Thanks for http://www.ep.tc/ and it’s amazing collection of these fantastic nuggets of history.
HOMOSEXUALITY: LEGITIMATE ALTERNATE DEATHSTYLE (1986)

Friday Fun: Magical Mike (Dukakis)


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Today is the first entry in our “Friday Fun” series of historic political comic books.  Today’s entry comes from the 1988 Presidential race.  The comic book is called Magical Mike and was created by Dick Hafer, and was endorsed by Jerry Falwell and Republican Party.

The comic book tells “the ‘real story’ of Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic nominee for president.  Includes jabs at blacks, gays, women (including Dukakis’ wife) – also attacks the sick, the poor, foreigners, peacemakers, and others, connecting Dukakis as the common link.”

Jerry Falwell encouraged his entire congregation to distribute the comic books and the Republican party made sure to include a copy on every delegate’s seat during the 1988 Republican convention.

Here’s some of the highlights:

Michael Dukakis coverMichael Dukakis page 4Michael Dukakis page 8Michael Dukakis page 9

You can catch the comic in it’s entirety here.

Thanks for http://www.ep.tc/ and it’s amazing collection of these fantastic nuggets of history.
Zeismic
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