Spock is having none of your homophobia. And neither is writer David Mack.
Mack, writer of several Star Trek novels as well as a few episodes of Deep Space Nine, recently got a letter from a fan. Or perhaps that should be “former fan.” See, this person did not like a lesbian relationship in Mack’s book.
“Every now and then, I receive an angry e-mail from some self-righteous, aggrieved fan who simply must let me know why he or she plans to never read my work again,” Mack explained on his Livejournal. “I try to limit my responses to either a perfunctory ‘Thank you,’ or a ‘Sorry that story didn’t work for you,’ depending upon which seems most appropriate.” But after this email…
Subject: I will not be reading any of your books.
David Mack will probable never read this email but I am writing it anyway.
I purchased and started reading your book, Harbinger and stopped when I got to the part where the Vulcan was having a homosexual affair with the Klingon spy. I deleted the book from my E-reader and will never purchase another volume authored by David Mack. You can call me a homophobe or use any other excuse you choose to write me off but the truth is homosexually is not universally accepted and I get to decided what I read and I choose not to read any more of your work. And on top of that no Vulcan would consider the situation “logical”. You can’t just remold the Vulcan persona to suit yourself.
I am just letting you know that you have lost at least one reader I am not looking for a reply.
“You are a homophobe.” Oh, I’m sorry, I thought he was talking to me there.
But what did Mack say in response to the letter that wasn’t looking for a reply? Well, he started with this:
If he thinks the fear of alienating a few closed-minded readers is going to stop me from writing stories that feature and promote characters of diverse backgrounds—including LGBTQ characters, persons of color, and people who belong to ideological or philosophical minorities—he must be out of his mind. I’m a fucking Star Trek writer. Hasn’t he ever heard of IDIC—“Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations”?
Most of my writing work to date has been for Star Trek. Although the various television series could have done more in their respective times to portray ethnic and gender diversity, those of us who write the licensed Trek fiction continue to do our best to depict a more progressive, enlightened, open, and harmonious future, not just for humanity but for all sentient beings. One in which love, equality, and compassion are the touchstones of civilized society.
I will never be made to feel shame for doing this. I am proud that we’ve been able to do this. I know we’ve still got more work to do, and we can do better at integrating more diverse viewpoints and characters into the ever-expanding universe of Star Trek.
The author of the quoted e-mail tries to justify his screed by declaring that “homosexually (sic) is not universally accepted”. So what? Neither are human rights of a fundamental nature. In fact, I can’t think of any notion of justice or equality that is universally accepted. Why should that limit our vision of a more open, egalitarian, meritocratic future? I reject this aspect of the author’s rant as fundamentally illogical.
As for the author’s subsequent assertion that “no Vulcan would consider the situation ‘logical’,” I would rebut that Spock himself told Valeris in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, “Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.” What Spock had learned that the author of this morning’s e-mail apparently has not is that there are many ingredients to wisdom — including, but not limited to, compassion and empathy.
Spock couldn’t have said it better himself. Mack has even more to say on his site: you should read it.