By Jason Menard
Warning: reading this column may turn you gay.
While I believe strongly in the power of the written word, my conviction is obviously not as strong as others. After all, there are those who are legitimately concerned the mere depiction of a gay character in a comic book has the power to overwhelm the heterosexual tendencies of a whole generation of readers.
It’s an epidemic, actually. The mere presence of openly gay characters in print and on film threatens to destroy the fabric of society! Why, we’re not even safe in our own living rooms as homosexuals have infiltrated the sanctity of our homes through their presence on TV!
And we’re powerless to do anything about it! In fact, I’m surprised I even have the presence of mind to write before heading to our lawyers to draw up the paperwork that would start my divorce proceedings. Yes, four decades of heterosexuality culminating in over 13 years of marriage is nothing compared to the Great Gay Agenda.
To be honest, I’m surprised I’ve been able to resist so long. My parents, of course, must shoulder much of the blame. Their parenting skills were so deficient that they allowed me to watch a show like Soap, featuring Billy Crystal as an openly gay character — and let’s not even bring up the fact that they took me to see Cats as a pre-teen. Didn’t they know the impact it would have on my emerging sexuality? Were they so deficient in being so cavalier as to roll the dice on my heterosexuality?
And I won’t even bring up my exposure to gay friends and family. That big gay fence can’t be built fast enough to save our children!
The evidence is all there in black and white! A recent story in The National Post discussed how DC comics is planning to out one of its well-known characters and it was in the comments that the catalyst for my epiphany appeared. It’s all too much: first Marvel’s Northstar (a Canadian superhero who has been out since 1992) proposed to his boyfriend and now this (my money’s on Flash, by the way)!
Some people had the nerve to suggest that there’s nothing wrong with this! After all, art is designed to reflect life and since gay people exist in the real world, it’s only natural that they appear in print. But thankfully there are those who stood up against this outrage and refused to jump on the Gay Pride bandwagon!
These Hetero Warriors have come out to protect our youth from the Gay Agenda. How dare our children be exposed to loving relationships? What good can come from our children learning that there are all types of people out there and that life includes a wide spectrum of colours, beliefs, and sexuality. If the sanctity of marriage is to be protected, then you’ve got to be damn sure it’s done by the good heterosexuals who have held the divorce rate down to about 50 per cent!
Talk about a super power! The ability to turn straight people gay! Incredible.
I’ve had long conversations with gay people (shockingly about issues not related to being gay — can you imagine?); I’ve eaten at the tables of gay people; slept in gay people’s homes; and even had gay people at my wedding! I’ve watched movies about and featuring gay characters and actors; I’ve listened to music penned and performed by gay musicians; and I’ve shopped at stores owned by gay people. I’ve shaken gay hands and hugged gay people. I’ve gone to parties where my wife and I (and our kids — the horror!) were the only straight people there.
And you know what? My heterosexuality has remained intact. The last time I checked, gay isn’t catching. It’s also not a choice. You either are or you are not — and no amount of exposure to gay people is going to be able to change who you are.
If these heroes have any real-life power, hopefully it’s Acceptance. Not only could a gay superhero give a child struggling with their sexuality someone to look up to, but perhaps it could also help kids, many of whom are still forming their opinions in life, realise that there’s nothing wrong with being gay.
If exposure to gay culture has any impact, hopefully it’s to help redefine what normal is. Normal isn’t the god you do or do not believe in; and normal isn’t the sex of the person with whom you share a bed. Normal is what’s inside: whether you’re a good person who tries to make the world a better place.
Fortunately, there are many people who are everyday superheroes — using the power of Acceptance to fight ignorance and hatred not with showy displays, marches, or violence, but rather just by being “normal.”
And if you’re still offended by a gay superhero or a gay character on a TV show, then you have a power of your own — the power to choose. There’s no supervillain or Justice League out there forcing you to tune in; there are no great gay gangs pushing you into comic book stores to buy the latest issue.
In the end, the role of a superhero is to make the world safer and better. And if publishing stories about gay superheroes helps to make future generations more tolerant about other lifestyles and teaches them about compassion, then that’s an agenda I can get behind 100 per cent.
It’s not going to be easy. Forget Doctor Doom, Lex Luthor, Galactus, or The Joker — intolerance is the greatest super villain our world has to face.
When a gay character in a comic book can bring about such a vehement negative response, it’s certainly not a laughing matter. And we all need to step up and embrace our inner hero to make sure that tolerance wins.