Dear Brandon Sanderson - A Letter About His LGBT Views

This is in response to the post Sanderson wrote on homosexuality

I have read and loved your books, and even before reading you books, I knew that you were a member of the LDS church, which was a flag to me that your views on homosexuality would likely not be as liberal as mine. You never spoke out about homosexuality before so this was fine because you did not use your platform to speak out against what I believed therefore my support of your works would not be increasing the voice of those who oppose various aspects of homosexuality.

Now that you have spoken out, I have to reassess the situation.

From what I've read, it seems like your stance follows something like this: Gay sex is a sin although being gay is not because we do not know how being gay comes about. You also don't think being gay is something that can be cured, but acting on being gay by sleeping with someone of the same gender is a sin. I am garnering this from your statement:
"No, I don't believe that homosexuality can—in many cases, at least—be treated and 'cured.' I do believe, however, that impulses of attraction between people of the same gender are something that can and should be resisted, in the same way that my impulses of attraction toward women who are not my wife can and should be resisted."

Now, how I interpret your comments are as follows: You can be gay, but you must remain celibate or you will go to hell because you have committed a sin.

This, while seeming to be a stance that tries to satisfy all the parties involved by not calling gay people inherently bad and also still subscribing to the fact that homosexuality is unacceptable, results in something really stupid. Even those who have dedicated their lives to celibacy fall off the bandwagon, and you expect lay people who happen to be gay to be celibate?

Let me clarify how I come to the conclusion that you think gays must be celibate. Gay people (I'm not going to go into a discussion on bisexuals) want to have sex with people of the same gender. This means that they do not want to have sex with people of the opposite gender. Now, you are saying that they should completely refrain from having sex with people of the same sex so that option is out. They don't want to have sex with people of the opposite sex, and forcing them to do so would be the equivalent of RAPE so that option is also out. Since the only two options for not remaining celibate are out, it follows that they must be celibate.

So, you expect gays to be celibate, which is quite honestly a very unrealistic expectation for anyone. I would really like to know how you expect something like that to play out because given that people are terrible at remaining celibate, gays will go to hell. Essentially, this stance is no different from saying being gay is a sin because of reality (I don't think this is an unfair accusation because we live with reality, and our beliefs need to take that into account).

I'm still not entirely sure where I stand on supporting your works in the future, but I hope you continue to think about these issues as you mentioned you were doing. I will wait to see what you decide before making a final judgement.

Sniffly Kitty
I do still think that you write awesome books

Edit: FYI, to any authors reading this, I take special consideration of review requests which include gay main/major characters. Books that fall under this category are still subject to the same strictness for what I consider to be quality, but I will be more willing to accept such a review request if you state in your request that your book has gay main/major characters.

Edit 2: I will grant that Sanderson is a lot more respectful to the situation than some others, and I'm glad that he accepts gays as human beings.

12 comments: Jump to Comment Form

Thank you for mentioning bisexuality. It's not that big a part of your post but hardly anyone mentions it.


@Sylvia You're welcome. Bisexuality is also important, but since Sanderson wasn't referring to that I didn't feel like it was the place to get into a discussion about it.


I feel as though you're missing the point of his post. He's trying to counsel the members of his church to not criticize authors for having gay characters in their books. He's trying to help those members see that even if they don't agree with homosexuality, it's okay to acknowledge that it's part of the world. He's trying to help those members not be so bigoted while still being able to hold on to their religious beliefs.

I understand that your views and his views may be different. And, yes, he writes his views very plainly in this post. However, even though he's voicing his opinion about how he feels or what he believes is right, that's not the main point. It's just used to explain where he's coming from. His main point is to try to help others see that in a world where they may be torn between their religious beliefs (beliefs that come from the same scripture that most Christians hold to be true, meaning the Bible not just LDS scripture) and the modern world, they can still live in this world and hold true to their values without degrading those they may not agree with. In fact, they can even respect those that they don't agree with.

I, personally, thought it was a very powerful message. And, I respect your opinion as well. I just wanted to add another point-of-view to this discussion.


@Jenni I got that he was trying to counsel others to not criticize authors for gay characters, but he is still airing his beliefs. Sanderson is a very well-known figure at least in the book world. Whether or not his personal beliefs were the main point of the article, that he is stating them will have an impact because he is so well-known.

Yes, in order to make his point, it was crucial that he make where he was coming from clear. I don't think his message would have been as powerful if his views were the same as mine. That doesn't mean that his views are contradiction free, and those contradictions can and should be pointed out.


I can see where you're coming from. I think politics and religion are always a hard thing to talk about. I usually steer clear of them because I don't want to offend. But, like you said, some things do need to be pointed out.

I appreciate your candor and responding to my comment in a respectful manner. I always worry about backlash because people become so heated about their opinions and it's often counterproductive.


I completely respect his views. Plenty of people feel the same way. What I take issue with is his willingness to support government sanctioned discrimination in the name of protecting gays from themselves. It's really unfortunate.


I have a huge issue with you assuming he was saying that because a sin was committed that person is going to hell. He did not say that, nor did he even suggest to saying that sinners go to hell.

I feel like you may have over simplified what he said.


@Sara actually he implies that preventing gay people from marriage will save them from much pain later i.e. going to hell


"i.e. going to hell"
Be careful not to put words in his mouth. There's no specific reference to any "divine" retribution in his essay; he could simply mean psychological pain, for instance.


@Anon ok, so what kind of psychological pain would you think he is referencing then?


I thought the same thing while reading his post, Sniffly Kitty. For me it's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that he can, at the same time, think that there is nothing really wrong with being gay, as it cannot be cured, while acting gay is a sin that should not be tolerated.

At Jenni's remark about the Bible I would just want to say that everyone interprets the Bible differently. And I think every Christian should understand that their interpretation is not the absolute truth.

I just can't understand how anyone can condemn a person to never have a loving relationship with another person, for a reason he can't even change. Basically, you're saying, if you're gay, you're doomed.

And hurray for the bisexuals mention. For some reason they are always left out of the same-sex-discussion. I would love to know what the anti-gay department has to say about bisexuality.


@SK, Speculation isn't my business. I'm merely pointing out the flaw in your response to Sara. In general, just avoid words like "imply" and assume; the moment people start assuming during touchy topics like this, the moment things get misinterpreted and sparks fly.

I'm not agreeing with Brandon's stance; just tread carefully around assumptions. I think "much pain later" is intentionally vague, which is the biggest problem with Brandon's essay: he spends so much time trying to appease his audiences that he doesn't say much.


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