You may remember seeing Stone’s name on the Nebula Awards list not too long ago. He won for “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made,” a story I have not had the pleasure to read, and a story I will never read now that I know a little something about what the author thinks about my mother and some of my closest friends, their friends, and, most of all, children.
You see, I discovered something very interesting about Stone through Outer Alliance, a community for readers and fans of LGBT people/characters in SF/F. He’s a homophobe. And not just any kind of homophobe. A very special brand of homophobe. We’ve all encountered everyday homophobes — the kind of people who just don’t care for gay people. Some of them are alright folks. Misguided? Perhaps, but you can’t win them all.
In 2006, Stone commented on a post called “Perfecting the Saints in Utero” at Times and Seasons. The post, written by Adam Greenwood, discusses whether genetic modification to change a baby’s sexual orientation is morally acceptable in a society where such powers are available (and, obviously, where homosexuality is found to be genetic either as an actual set of genes or a “mutation” as a result of the mother’s hormones, etc.). Stone, in comment #21, responded by using deaf people as an example for whether it would be acceptable to genetically modify a child if it were found to be deaf. Shortly after, he removed “deaf” and replaced it with “homosexual” in some strange attempt to prove that the two things are mutually inclusive. Here is the section as he wrote it about homosexuals (there are some errors, but you get the idea) (after the fold):
Now that I’ve offended the zealots of deafness, it’s time for me to offend the zealots of homosexuality.
Homosexuality is a defect.
That doesn’t mean homosexual people aren’t human, of course. Neither does it mean they should be treated as less human than those who are heterosexual. There are people who are homosexual but who have gone on to to great things — in some cases motivated by their homsexuality.
Of course, there are some homosexual people who seem to define their essential being by their deafness. They insist that homosexuality is not a defect.
But no matter how much we love and appreciate homosexual people, it doesn’t change the fact that they do not have something that, by design, they are supposed to have: hearing. (The reproductive organs weren’t put there just to provide sexual pleasure, after all.)
From a gospel perspective, we believe that when we are resurrected, our bodies will be made whole. That would presumably include correcting defects one is born with. (Recall that Jesus healed the man who was born blind, rather than say, “He was born that way, so that’s the way he’s meant to be.”)
So I don’t think correcting those defects through medical science in advance of the resurrection is problematic.
If a child’s genes showed it was going to be born homosexual, I see nothing morally wrong with changing that.
On the other hand, from the gospel perspective, I do see something morally wrong with homosexual parents who are so adamant about there being nothing wrong with homosexuality that they purposely try to concieve homosexual children. (Note that there is a moral difference between homosexual parents knowing that there is a possibility or even a certainty that a child they concieve will be homosexual, and intentionally choosing for the child to be homosexual when it could have been avoided.)
You read that right. Eric James Stone believes it is morally acceptable to genetically modify babies to get rid of their homosexual genes, and that it is morally reprehensible for homosexual (or otherwise) parents to try to conceive homosexual children (but somehow semi-OK if they conceive homosexual children by accident). Why? Because, like blindness, homosexuality is, in Stone’s opinion, a genetic defect.
Let’s not pretend that this is anything we haven’t heard before. Because we have. And we’ve certainly heard similar opinions in the genre community too, especially from the LDS camp (Orson Scott Card, for example). They’re a crazy lot, I suppose, with so much hatred filling their souls that they’ve become rotten in their hearts (edit: to clarify, I don’t mean all Mormon’s are like this, though my language choice here does have some continuity problems which would suggest otherwise. The “crazy lot” should refer to those individuals who hold similar opinions rather than to all Mormons. A fail on my part). And Stone is certainly up there with the rottenest of them all. This is a man who has no problem with genetically modifying babies (but would not support abortion, I assume, because that would be murder; yet it’s okay to remove one’s “essence,” since that would somehow be loving or something like that).
Homosexuality, if we’re being fair, is not like deafness or blindness at all. Unlike those medical conditions, homosexuality does not create a negative for the child’s wellbeing (in the sense of physical challenges which make it difficult to function in normal society). The only negative for homosexuals is cultural, rather than physical. The only barrier to reproduction for homosexuals (real or surrogate) are the laws and social codes we’ve created which ostracize them from hetero-normative culture. To make matters worse, we have a culture of homophobia which makes it, in many cases, morally and socially acceptable to treat homosexuals (and particularly homosexual children) as sub-human.
In fact, while Stone can pretend that he believes homosexuals should be treated like anyone else, that opinion is belied by his own words. This is a man who would destroy the person you were meant to be because you, the homosexual, are a genetic defect. You’re not human. You’re less than human. In fact, you’re so low on the human scale that you’re expendable. It’s okay to commit genocide against you, because you’re not “normal.” Homosexuals must not exist. They should be culled from society to preserve the pure hetero-normative “race!”
Does any of that sound familiar? It should, because we’ve been listening to the same kind of rhetoric for generations. It’s the same rhetoric that saw people of color enslaved and treated like separate species. It’s the same rhetoric that found itself engulfed in the Nazi genocide against the Jews. It’s the same rhetoric that still consumes our society day in and day out, making it acceptable for hatred to not only be expressed, but inflicted physically upon others. Stone may not put the noose around your neck and drag you behind a truck until your head rips off, but can we honestly say that killing your homosexual self is all that different?
Maybe you can, but I certainly can’t. Genocide comes in many forms. This is genocidal thinking masked behind religion and semantics. And this is a person who is being handed awards in our community and treated with respect. Next we’ll hand an award to David Duke…