Today I started reading Cassandra Clare‘s wildly popular Mortal Instruments series (often called TMI). I had heard that it is a great example of YA (young adult) fiction that incorporates positive images of gay characters. By positive images, I mean that it includes characters that identify as gay without their sexuality necessarily having anything to do with the plot. It’s just a fact of life just like a million other little facts (e.g., Mom’s a nurse, people ate pizza one night, etc.) It has the effect of making gay guys like me feel like we are an integral part of the writer’s universe.
While downloading the TMI books, I started trying to think of other YA works that I enjoy that also happen to have positive gay character inclusion. It was easy enough to name off The Vampire Diaries, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The House of Night Series…just to start off. But then I started thinking about Twilight, and I was at a loss.
In searching around on the net, I first found something really interesting (and encouraging) which may or may not be the truth, though it is features in a story from the Dallas Voice.
Supposedly, in an effort to target gay audiences more directly, producers of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse encouraged the marketing team to take some creative license with images used in the campaign — like the example above where a trio shot is reduced digitally so that it appears that Edward and Jacob are having a heated “moment” alone. Interesting.
I have to say it’s a good idea, IMHO. I’ll admit that I myself did the same when creating my own t-shirt to wear on opening night to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (see below).
So, on the face of it, it seems like Twilight is at least a gay-friendly franchise. And then the other shoe drops…
I didn’t realize it before (or really care), but Stephanie Meyers is a devout Mormon, and she openly speaks about her practice of tithing to the church. Ordinarily, I would never be concerned about someone’s faith; however, her being a Mormon, actively tithing, and the timing of things is a real…well…ISSUE.
In case you didn’t know, the law in California which denies same-sex couples the right to marry (called Proposition 8) was passed in 2008 by a narrow margin. The Mormon church was one of the largest contributors, if not the largest, to the campaign to have the law passed. Though no one knows the actual amounts, it is estimated that the institution and its members donated about $25,000,000 to the cause — effectively BUYING the law into existence.
Given that Stephanie’s income was about $50,000,000/year around that time, it’s likely that she funneled up to $5,000,000 into the church which was then able to use the funds to pass Prop 8. It hurts my soul to know that my act of buying the books, seeing the movies, and collecting miscellaneous TwiMerch directly funded the homophobic religious group that, at least for now, has denied me the right to marriage.
There is talk that there may actually be another Twilight movie — possibly one set in the future when Renesme has grown up. I definitely will not be seeing that unless it is somehow produced out of licensing agreements that have already been paid for — and even then I would hate for its success to in some way trickle down into renewed interest in the originals.
How do you guys feel about this? Do you have examples of feeling your favorite artists have somehow turned against you? I welcome your comments!