I saw Ender’s Game last night and liked it better than most movies I’ve seen recently. When it was initially released, many people boycotted it because of author, Orson Scott Card’s, reputation as a homophobe. I, too, didn’t see this movie in the theatre. I waited to borrow a copy from the library, not so much in protest, but more to save the ticket price.
Afterward I thought about some of Card’s novels. Pederasty is a recurring theme in his work and it made me wonder why Card writes so much about it. Card hasn't said, but as a fiction writer, I get curious about such things.
According to Salon, Card believes most homosexuality is a result of “a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse.” In other words, it’s caused by pedophiles. Card isn’t the first person to believe that homosexuals prey upon the young. However, one article claims, “The number of Americans who believe the myth that gay people are child molesters has declined substantially.” In 1970 more than 70 percent of survey respondents believed this. Today fewer than 20 percent do.
Frequently, molesters of boys have no interest in men. And many molesters of both female and male children have never had sexual relations with other adults. Clearly, pedophilia and homosexuality are not equivalent. One important difference is that homosexuals partner through mutual choice whereas children, lacking adult coping skills, are more readily persuaded, or coerced, to cooperate with adult sexual predators. One must assume that molested children are victims, not willing participants.
Card is mistaken about the cause of homosexuality, yet he’s not the first writer to be wrong about an issue. Regardless of Card’s personal beliefs, Ender’s Game, and some of its sequels, are excellent books. On the other hand, I probably won’t be reading his novella, Hamlet’s Father, about a king who molests the male youth of his court. As in all things, you kinda got to pick and choose.