Last week I wrote about Ender's Game and got a very interesting reply. Snidely commented about how Ender's Game is written by one Orson Scott Card who is in his words a "gigantic raging asshole". I took a little look around at some of the things Card has said and ended up not liking Card very much afterwards. The main thing that really stuck out was the desperate attempts he makes to paint homosexuality as some kind of disease brought on by heinous acts.
"Card described homosexuality as an acquired characteristic linked to abuse or molestation in childhood"
Back when I was young and felt like Ender's Game was one of the best things in the world I really liked Card. That of course was based on absolutely nothing aside from the fact that he wrote Ender's Game but nonetheless I was a big fan. Now I have to face the fact that an author I thought I really liked holds views I find abhorrent. It is a difficult thing when someone who you know has a real, deep understanding of the way you think also holds views you cannot condone. It makes you think, "What is it that causes that? Could I think that way if things were slightly different? Could I have been that person?"
Of course Card and many other people encounter this situation regularly. They see otherwise perfectly nice, normal people wanting to have relationships with someone of the same gender as themselves. They have to deal with the fact that that *anyone* could be gay, and that they themselves are only a random switch of a gene away from homosexuality. The way they respond to this in many cases is to demonize the person involved. Rather than admit that homosexuals are just people who are slightly different they imagine twisted situations that could have turned someone 'normal' into something they find so repulsive.
This isn't limited to homosexuality by any means. It is an extremely common response to a person who is similar yet different. Instead of acknowledging that people simply have differences we have a strong tendency to demonize others, portraying them as twisted, evil, and wholly wrong. For many of us it is far easier to swallow that other people are abominations than that they were raised differently, have .01% different genes or watched different advertising.
You can see this behaviour most clearly when religions exhort their members to destroy people of other religions, when people act like bigots towards other genders, races or sexual orientations (among other things) or even in the witch trials of earlier ages. It is simpler and easier to denounce someone as fully evil and twisted and stop thinking than it is to accept differences and work out mutually satisfactory compromises because it does not involve saying,
"I might be wrong"
That right there is the key. When you refuse to admit any possibility of error then anyone in opposition must be some kind of twisted deviant. When you consider the possibility that you may be in error you are free to be open to all the degrees of grey that exist in the world; the older I get the more I see that few things indeed are black and white and shades of grey are everywhere.