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Anonymous writes...

Dear Greg

Hello! I'm keeping my name anonymous because I don't like exposing it on a public forum like this. I hope you understand.

Anyway, onto the question!

Greg, I know you personally don't have any ill intent, but why won't you listen to your LGBT+ or Muslim fans when they tell you how you handled Halo? You seem like such a decent guy outside of that, but for some reason this particular area is a blind spot of yours.

I may not be Muslim, but surely the massive outcry from Muslim fans when you had Halo publicly denounce her Muslimhood while still having her wear a religiously significant garb specific to Muslims must have meant SOMETHING to you?

I'm an out and proud member of the LGBT+ community (at least online), so seeing you dismiss all the people you hurt and refuse to actually, GENUINELY apologize for it (no, I don't count "sorry you're so offended" as an apology, that's just condescending), and to see you continue on the path that you now KNOW hurts us as if the characters you control are somehow out of your hands...that hurts, Greg. That hurts more than you can POSSIBLY imagine. I was so excited for Young Justice season 3. I was so excited hearing that you'd have an explicitly nonbinary character in the show. And then you did what you did. You really hurt your fans in the LGBT+ community, Greg.

Greg responds...

I'm categorically not claiming that the destinies of these characters are completely out of my hands. But...

1. We can't make changes to already made episodes in response to recently aired episodes. It's just not possible for me to, for example, change episodes 319-326 as a result of what fans say about 318. So even if I agreed with the response, it's too late to make that kind of change, which many people seemed - at the time - to be demanding. And I readily admit that in hindsight I got defensive about that. We HAVE listened, however, and it did affect how we handled things in Season Four.

2. Whether you like it or not, I simply do NOT have complete control over these characters. I do not own these characters. It is ABSOLUTELY TRUE that even in 2021, TPTB have not given Brandon and myself a completely free hand with every single LGBTQ+ character on these issues. Things are a lot better than they were in 2010. A lot better. But we still do not have 100% autonomy. We just flat-out don't. Certain things we had planned for Season Three were rejected by TPTB at a relatively late date, and I do believe those choices hurt the overall balance of the series on these issues.

3. I don't know where you heard that we'd explicitly have a nonbinary character on the show in advance of Halo's reveal. Not from me. I can't - or won't - be held responsible for rumors. Now, of course, Halo stated she's nonbinary in one of our episodes, but we viewed that statement as the first step in her journey, and we'd appreciate some patience. You are, of course, not obligated to be patient with us. Maybe we've already lost your trust. And that's understandable. And I am sorry for that. But trust would sure be appreciated if you can manage to suspend your opinion for a while longer.

4. We've been working with MPAC (the Muslim Public Affairs Council), GLAAD and OUT on these plotlines. They are aware of our long term plans for Halo and have been extremely supportive. This suggests to me that the response you speak of isn't monolithic. So I'll admit it has been hard for me to apologize for things, which I believe, in the long term, will be appreciated by the Muslim and LGBTQ+ communities. Now, I may be wrong about that, but I'm trying to be honest here. I believe in what we're doing, and our advisors do, as well. In the end, we may indeed get it wrong, but we are trying really hard to get it right. And contrary to what seems to be everyone's assumption, we are not and have never been operating in a vacuum, assuming that we knew best and that we didn't need to listen to the LGBTQ+ community. We are listening, we have been listening, and we will continue to listen. What we've found is that opinions clearly vary within that community. It's admittedly hard to please everyone, but believe it or not, we are actually trying.

5. It sincerely makes me feel awful that I've "hurt my fans in the LGBT+ community". I AM truly sorry about that. But I know for a fact that I didn't hurt ALL my fans in that community. Because I've talked to a bunch of them. Not on Twitter or on ASK GREG but in real life. Some of them weren't thrilled with what we've aired up to this point. Some of them were just fine with what we did. And most (in both categories) have - once told where we were going - been actually pretty happy with it all. Now, you don't have the advantage of that inside information and most of our fans don't either. But please don't think I don't care, that we don't care. The YJ crew and I care very, very much. And I definitely apologize for being condescending and defensive in the past. That's not me at my best. I can only ask for forgiveness.

6. I've always tried to be an ally. I have very good reasons to try to be an ally, (a) because it's the right thing to do, and (b) because many, many, many people I love and hold close to my heart are a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

So I AM sorry for past mistakes. But if you give us a little more rope, I don't think we'll hang ourselves. I believe our good intentions will not only amount to good intentions. I think they'll prove out. And if I'm wrong about that, I will truly endeavor to apologize again.

Response recorded on August 05, 2021

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Roger writes...

1. Were there any hints to Kaldur's sexuality you put in the previous two seasons? IF not, was there a moment you wanted to? If so, what was it?
2. Has Wyynde labeled his sexuality? Or does he, like Kaldur, not identify with a label?

Greg responds...

1. I don't think there were any legit hints in Seasons One or Two. There was behavior that originally suggested the idea of him being non-hetero-normative to me, specifically his fixation on someone out of reach. That's not definitive, by any means. But it's nevertheless what put the idea into my head. Otherwise, we did what we wanted to do on this front.

2. In my mind, Wyynde considers himself to be gay. But I haven't discussed labeling with Brandon recently. So I reserve the right for the two of us to collectively de-label him at a later date.

Response recorded on August 05, 2021

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Pan writes...

Hello Mr. Weisman,

I'm not going to ask about any specific character, as that would be a spoiler. Nor am I going to phrase it as a general question, for the same reason. From what I've read, it appears that the reason you couldn't depict any LGBT characters or relationship on-screen during the first two seasons of ''Young Justice'' is because Cartoon Network wouldn't allow it. Now, as I said earlier, I'm not going to ask if XYZ character is LGBT, or whether the third season will include any LGBT representation. But I am curious, if you wanted to include LGBT characters / representation in any future seasons of the show, and depict it on-screen, ''could'' you? Or has DC Universe, similarly to Cartoon Network, enforced a "gay embargo" preventing you from doing so?

Kind regards

P.S. I hope the italics work.

Greg responds...

We were allowed to, for the most part. Though there was one character that we were not allowed to depict as LGBT+.

Response recorded on July 14, 2021

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QueerGuy writes...

Big fan of your work. Not really a question, but I felt the need to clarify after seeing your response to another question regarding queer-baiting.

In your response, you (respectfully) provide some push-back against the concept, while expressing a willingness to learn more. I had a few quick responses to your comments I wanted to share.

You talk about some of the examples given in the Wikipedia entry for queer-baiting to be unfair, citing Sherlock Holmes and John Watson as an example. To be clear, in both the Wikipedia article and in popular usage of this example, people refer to Holmes and Watson as they are depicted in the BBC series, "Sherlock", and not (necessarily) in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories or other adaptations.

Queer-baiting refers to creators of media actively misleading a fan-base with hints or indications of "queerness" without any intent of follow-through. NOT -- as you indicated in your prior comment -- a fan-base misinterpreting close same-sex friendships and sexual. "Sherlock" (the BBC series) is a famous example of queer-baiting, as the series very often hints at homoerotic attraction between the two leads in the series' writing, the performances of the lead actors, and in the ways that other characters in series refer to their relationship. I won't go into specific details and examples from the series, but if you are interested in examples there are scores of them documented and easily locateable on the internet.

The key aspect of queer-baiting is the attempt to take advantage of queer fans by providing the bare minimum of queer(ish) interactions, without ever following through for fear of alienating a non-queer audience. This is very different from both presenting close same-sex friendships without any romantic or sexual relationship developing between the two characters, and the presentation of queer characters without the ability to actively show examples of their queerness due to external factors, such as network interference (such as Lexington in "Gargoyles" or Korra in "The Legend of Korra"). These are non-malicious and do not seek to mislead a queer audience.

To be clear, I don't think you have been guilty of queer-baiting in any of your work. I simply wanted to clarify the concept a bit more so that you can hopefully understand where the concern of the initial comment came from. Looking forward to "Young Justice" season three!

Greg responds...

I get the concern. I do.

And my response probably shows my (relative) queer blindness. I've seen every episode of "Sherlock," and never noticed any significant difference between how John and Sherlock are depicted here than in other versions.

I don't want to be defensive; I want to be open. But as you indicated, I've never intentionally queer-baited. Lex was gay to the extent allowed at the time (which was not at all). Some fans read a homo-erotic charge into the Dick/Wally relationship and the Bart/Jaime relationship, but that was never our intention - and I sincerely don't think we were trying to fool anyone. (Though one of those four characters is gay, in our minds, at least. But not in the minds of TPTB, even though TPTB did allow us to be objective about other characters on the show, starting with Season Three.)

Response recorded on July 12, 2021