Fan Community Launches “Ender’s Game Fans for Equality”

Red Equals-Sign Overlay on Classic Ender's Game Cover Over the past several weeks, we’ve provided ongoing coverage of the boycott organized by Geeks OUT and other discussions of the connection between LGBT-rights, Ender’s Game, and Orson Scott Card. Some of you may feel torn between a desire to see your beloved characters onscreen (and support quality film-making), and a desire to withhold funds from Orson Scott Card that might be used for lobbying on behalf of NOM (National Organization for Marriage) or other organizations which oppose equal rights for the LGBT members of our country. We’re happy to say, for those who feel so torn, that there is another way: The “political offset” (think carbon-offsets but for political lobbying).

Several members of the fan community are running a fundraising drive and encouraging other fans of Orson Scott Card’s works to contribute. The drive is intended as a form of “political offset” to any anti-equal-rights lobbying that may be funded by our purchase of tickets to see Ender’s Game in theatres this fall. It’s an all-inclusive campaign designed to unite supporters of LGBT-rights from across the political spectrum to show their opposition to inequal treatment under the law. It’s set up such that any supporter can aid their own favorite pro-LGBT-rights 501(c)3 certified non-profit and count donations towards it as part of our running tally.
You can find the campaign page here:

Their “team statement” is as follows:

While we appreciate Orson Scott Card’s artistry as a writer of fiction, we vehemently disagree with his statements that laws against homosexuality should remain on the books or be enforced, and with any stance that denies to any human being their fundamental freedom of conscience and right to equal protection under the law. Rights afforded to a subset of a nation’s citizens must be afforded to all of it’s citizens – to do otherwise is to reject a just legal system and the belief that “all persons are created equal, and endowed with certain unalienable rights”.

In recognition of this, and of Mr. Card’s ongoing activism against these principles of equal protection, we pledge to donate in equal amount to charities whose purpose is the defense of those principles, in order to offset any benefit that may be had by organizations opposed to such equality from our financial support of the Ender’s Game franchise.

One prominent supporter of this campaign (and in fact its team leader), is one Stephen Sywak, the Battle School Engineer whose designs for a “working Battle School” have been featured in The Authorized Ender Companion (he also gave an interview for our very first podcast here at Ender’s Ansible). Says Sywak, about the campaign:

We’re slowly building up a roster of possible charitable causes that one can contribute to (Razoo has a rather long list, though I doubt that EVERY worthwhile cause is listed there). If we’ve missed one, please feel free to become a fundraiser, and add one on your own. The goal is to show the opposition to Card’s position to other like-minded individuals. If it’s successful, it may wind up making a political statement by the breadth of its support.

It’s been said twice already, but this is still worth emphasizing, because it’s at the core of what the campaign is attempting to do: the effort is not focused around support for a single organization or a single political philosophy, but rather tallying the total support among the community for any number of organizations whose overall purpose is support of equal rights for our LGBT citizens. This means the campaign extends beyond questions like whether or not our government should recognize same-sex marriage, and embraces other issues. Examples of other LGBT-rights issues include the question of hospital visitation and inheritance rights for same-sex couples, and even the question of whether or not acts between consenting adult partners of the same-sex should be legal (a right which Mr. Card has previously opposed in his writings).

This campaign has also made it clear that its purpose is not condemning Mr. Card for his personal beliefs, but rather about opposing his political philosophy. On this issue, team-leader Sywak had the following words of wisdom:

I have to start by saying that I like Orson Scott Card. I really like most all of his work. I’ve met him on multiple occasions, I’ve worked with him—albeit peripherally—on some Ender’s Game materials. I even played him in a skit at the 2002 EnderCon!

I do not, however, agree with his stance—at all—regarding same-sex marriages. I will continue to read his books. I will see the movie at least once, if not more times. I’m a big fan, and I continue to be a big, though informal, promoter.

To be honest, it’s rather surprising that he is so opposed to equal rights for this group of “others” (other than /his/ beliefs), since as an avid reader of his work, I’ve always been attracted by the characters he writes that appear to be at their BEST when they seek to understand and embrace that “other” way of thinking. Ender is a strong case in point (though, of course, we know what Ender does once he has embraced the “other” in his hero’s quest). But Ender is not alone, of course. So many of Card’s characters seek to understand and embrace people who think and act quite differently than they do (though without the same fate as the Formics).

There is a movement afoot to try and counter the benefit that Card is realizing with the popularity of Ender’s Game and his works in general. The concern being that if your purchases benefit Card’s finances, SOME of those finances go to fund anti-LGBT causes, both through the Mormon Church and through NOM. Monies earned by the increased book sales free him up to spend more time writing, and with his family (that’s all good by me), but also—and unfortunately—working with NOM, and writing LGBT-hostile articles and the like.

The goal of this “movement” is NOT to take away from Card’s success. I don’t know how you would, or even if one SHOULD. It gets very muddy; it gets very ugly, very quickly. The goal is to provide a path for “Bigotry offsets.” For every ten dollars you spend on the movie, or on the next sequel/prequel book, contribute a few bucks to the cause that YOU support, and that Card opposes. It doesn’t hurt the actors and filmmakers and producers of the film. It doesn’t hurt Lion’s Gate or Summit, or even TOR. It doesn’t even hurt Card (as I’ve said: I have no interest in hurting Card). But it does hurt his cause (and that is my right).

It is to be hoped that this campaign will succeed in uniting our sometimes disparate fan-community. One way that you can help, even if you don’t have the ability to contribute financially is to spread the word about this movement.

Ender's Game Fans For Equality Card