Regarding Gen Con & Indiana

featuredicon-eventsDear Readers,

A handful of you have written to the website asking for me to comment on my position regarding the new law recently passed in Indiana, which many, myself included, believe can be used as a tool for sexual discrimination. This is of some concern since I am scheduled to appear as Author Guest of Honor at Gen Con in late July. Also, because I have personal reasons to be concerned about any sort of religious, racial or sexual discrimination.

To GenCon’s credit, they have already come out against this law and its possible mis-uses and have threatened to pull out of Indiana in the future. Unfortunately, they have booked themselves in until 2020, so the threat is meaningless in the short term. I have hope for the long term. And for this year’s convention I am weighing my alternatives while waiting to see what else they decide to do.

Discrimination, unfortunately, is not going to go away any time soon. It is prevalent and it is insidious in its various manifestations, some written out and some simply practiced. We need to stop finding new ways of excluding and find more ways of including. We need to recognize our prejudices and find ways of getting past them. We are all better than that. We just have to work at it a little harder.

Best to you all, Terry.


64 responses to “Regarding Gen Con & Indiana”

  1. I’m an aspiring poet myself, and you are a huge inspiration Terry. You’ve influenced more than you can know. I agree with you completely on inclusion but unfortunately people need to feel special and the only way the larger majority knows how to do that is by putting someone else underneath them. If only people would capitalize on there innate talents they could find that stepping stone of speciality.

  2. Thanks for being open about this. I know your decision is weighing heavily on your mind. I wish you luck in making the choice that is right for you.

  3. Thank you Terry for your remarks. I will be thinking of you as you make a decision about your attendance at Gen Con. I think you struck a good balance and will make the right decision. Your books always contained strong characters with a sense of what was right, so I believe you have the strength of character to make the right decision. Discrimination in any form must be resisted. Peace to you.

  4. Although I no longer live in my home state of Indiana, it certainly breaks my heart that people in this day and age can still be so narrow minded. I have been going to Gen Con for over ten years and love it mainly because everyone is always so welcome. I have friends from all walks of life and my life is richer for it.

    I was very much looking forward to meeting you this year at convention but will understand if you decide not to attend. Please know that your books touch many lives, mine included.

  5. Are you going to skip conventions in the 20 other states with similar laws, and the 10 other states that have it as part of their constitution as well?

    • Blaine, you may not realize that a great deal of those states you are talking about have specific anti-discrimination clauses written in. Many have specific protections for GLBT. It’s a nice argument, but doesn’t get Indiana off the hook, or the way the Gov. Pence is using it to bolster his conservative credentials for a possible White House run. It’s not right, and pretending it’s exactly like all the others is not true, or right, or OK.

    • In 2004, Illinois lawmakers — just like many of those states you mention — passed anti-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation for housing, employment, public accommodation, credit and other measures.

      Indiana has not done that, which is the exact loophole that this new law would allow bigots to legally exploit. So trying to draw parallels between Indiana and those states is foolhardy at best.

      The easy fix for Governor Pence and the state’s legislators would be to pass the same law that Illinois did in 2004.

      And just let me say, that many people in the United States support equality for everyone — no matter their sex, race, or sexual orientation. If Indiana wishes to keep legislation like this and allow loopholes similar to the one that exists right now, the people of Indiana should be prepared for the economic ramifications that Gen Con has pointed out. The people of Indiana voted their legislators and governor to office; it is up to the people of Indiana to fix that very obvious blunder or at the very least be heard to put pressure to amend said law. Cheers.

    • Those “similar laws” are radically different in that they are about private citizens being protected against a government entity, whereas Indiana’s law became unique (so far) by allowing discrimination between private citizens, companies, etc. against other private citizens, etc. Not so similar at all.

    • Ken, many of the states that have similar laws also have protections for GLBT rights. They also deal with religious rights vs the government. This law is much broader. At a time when the majority of our citizens support civil rights for all, this law is a huge step backwards. Until it’s repealed in Indiana I support a boycott because money gets action in this country. Hard decision for you, Terry.

      • Actually Melinda, if you listened to the Governor this morning, he said that the intent of the Law is to strengthen both LGBT Rights AND the Rights of those based on Religious grounds. I have to agree, Civil Rights for ALL!!! BUT when we are talking about RIGHTS, SOMEONE WILL ALWAYS BE DISCRIMINATED against, PERIOD.
        I’m not going to get into specifics, but ALL Religions speak out against homosexuals, ALL!!!! If you an Atheist has a problem, it’s discrimination against Christians. If a black person has a problem, it’s discrimination against Whites. The KKK has just as must freedom of speech as does the Black Panthers. It’s a never ending Cycle. Heck, even Lucifer was discriminated against by Jesus.

        SO the bottom line is when does 1 persons rights end and another’s begin? When we find an answer to THAT question, THEN we can begin to do away with discrimination.

        • I’m Unitarian and a Pagan. There is nothing in my religion anywhere that allows for discrimination. Our founders were abolitionists, suffragists, and lgbt right activists long before it was popular.

          Before you talk about ALL religions, make sure you actually know something about ALL religions, not just the Big Three.

        • That may be the intent, but there’s *nothing* in Indiana’s law offering LGBT rights. In fact, the literal text of the law says that any – and it uses the actual word “any” – exercise of religious freedom is permissible when it comes to refusing service to someone who is “burdensome” to religious belief.

          In fact, the letter of the law also legalizes discrimination against Christians by those of other religious beliefs. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the intention.

  6. being in my 70s i went through the years of hate and bigorty…. its sad to see us slipping back to that era….im a total fan of terry brooks and i hope he boycotts this agenda he will gain a lot of supporters if he takes that step

  7. Thank you Terry for the great comments. I hope and pray that all turns out well. I am not in favor of Indiana’s new law. I am against discrimination in all it’s forms. I pray that we can get past this with the least amount of harm to anyone. We are better than this. We all need to be more forgiving and tolerant. Myself included. Thank you again for your wonderful comments. Love your books.

  8. I think it is ridiculous how everyone thinks you should except everyone and like it. Being tolerant doesnt mean I have to support, like or respect any certain view. But gays and the liberal left always seem to think that everyone has to like them, support them and watch them parade around their gay glory and enjoy it.
    I think gay people are creatures that do not belong in society and I dont have to support their opinions or accept their lifestyle. All this forcing people to accept each other is the biggest con in the world. It will never happen and you all with your pathetic blogs crying over it screaming for change, pathetic.

    • I agree, though in not so many words. Trying to force an agenda down everyone’s throats is only going to make matters worse.

    • That’s interesting, when actually you’re the creature that doesn’t belong in society.

    • You do have the right to be a bigot. you have the right to be a horrible human being. You don’t have the right to discriminate if you own a business. Good luck, and when we are allowed to discriminate against bigots and horrible human beings, good luck getting a table anywhere.

    • I have a feeling that if people worldwide suddenly started treating everyone with the name “Matt” like dirt, and worse, your opinion would change dramatically. In essence you’re saying everyone should just be more like you? That’s as shallow as it gets.

      No, it shouldn’t be forced upon the public and sprung on us unawares. I don’t want my son to see that on TV. I don’t agree with the parade either. People who like Oreos don’t have parades, etc. However believing your way is best is being obtuse. If I’m able to live my life the way I want to I could care less about others likes and dislikes. Live and let live.

      “Happiness can only exist in acceptance” – George Orwell

  9. Terry,
    I fully support your decision, and as a resident of Indiana am also voicing my opinion and support for things to be ratified to eliminate the ‘option to discriminate’ that has been presented. As a Hoosier that support and welcomes ALL people to my home state, I hope that things are corrected so you may still come to GenCon, as I have been waiting an extremely long time to have a local opportunity to meet you. I have been a big fan of yours for 24 years, and have planned to attend GenCon for the sole purpose of meeting you. Best wishes to you in whatever stance you must take.

  10. This law is not designed to allow people to discriminate based on religious beliefs and Indiana is now working to put that wording into the bill. The federal government, under Bill Clinton, passed this same law 20 years ago and it was praised as good legislation. People need to do their homework or at least pay more attention to politics before believing everything the liberal media tells them. Even Obama voted for it in Illinois when he was in the Illinois state senate.

  11. Consider coming to Rose City Comic Con or even Wizard Con in Portland. You have beeb one of my favorite authors over the years. I have read every work you have written and look forward to when a new one comes out. If only people who discriminate would learn that if they shut someone out they may have lost the opportunity to make a friend. My daughter sees past color and she is learning to see past gender and see the goodness abd the spirit of the person within. Our bodies are only a shell that houses the person for a few short years compared to the stars. The stars no nothing of the conflicts we face. They are just there giving light ON ALL OF US. THEY DO NOT DISCRIMINATE! . . . So lets be like the stars and shine on everyone.

  12. I am relieved to know that one of my favorite authors, like myself, abhors laws that gives citizens the right to exclude others.

    I’m hoping that while the Indiana law is in effect, GenCon meets with their lawyers and find a way to move GenCon to a more appropriate and inclusive city (like NYC!!)

    Thank you, Mr. Brooks, for agreeing to take a stand!

  13. You said it perfectly Terry, we need to find ways to be inclusive and less exclusive. I fear this is the flaw in human nature though. Every war ever fought stemmed from exactly that. For one reason or another we always seem to look for differences in each other. From the Crusades to Nanking, from the Trail of Tears to Treblinka, history is scarred with events caused by this flaw. If we, as a race, can ever move past this, I believe that would be equal to enlightenment… and this goes for all living things. However, I fear short of an alien invasion from a far off planet – humans will never find a reason to come together. Unfortunately, until we do we will never reach our potential as a species.

  14. Assuming Wisconsin doesn’t enact the same law as Indiana, I’m rather hoping that Gen Con will come back to Milwaukee if it leaves Indiana. I first got started reading Terry Brooks because Del Rey was giving out copies of The Sword of Shannara at Gen Con, so It would be a thrill to see him come back along with the convention.

    And I promise no one will go to sleep during his appearance this time.

  15. Be careful what you call discrimination….there is more to the story than mainstream media is telling the public.

  16. Hi Terry. I’m an aspiring fantasy writer from Indiana. I just wanted to say that having the chance to talk with you briefly at a book signing in 2006 was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and spurred on my own writing in ways I could only have dreamed. I allowed other things to get in the way for too long after that, but this year I have been writing every day and have vowed to continue doing so, come hell or high water. A few weeks ago, I was struggling and asked God for a sign. That’s when I came to your website and saw the news that you were coming to my state again. I was overjoyed and immediately began making plans to be there. I tell you all of this because despite how much it would mean to me (and surely to many others) to see you there, I would back your decision 100% if you decide not to attend. A message must be sent to Governor Pence and the conservative lobbyists who pushed for this bill’s passage. Discrimination in any form should not and will not be tolerated in Indiana.

    Best wishes to you and yours.

  17. Most of the authors I read or actors I watch have political leanings or social agendas that are not in line with my beliefs but thats OK. I can still admire and enjoy their work and keep politics out of it. I am a Christian and with a lot of people that labels me as a member of a hate group because they know that if I follow my teachings that I probably disagree with a part of their lifestyle. I try to get along with and love everyone I meet but if I disagree I am labeled with a word that ends in -phobe. We can still disagree and not hate each other. I think it is totally wrong for someone to refuse service to someone because of sexual orientation or race but forcing that person to be part of a ceremony, such as a wedding, that they disagree with is just wrong. I really doubt that a gay businesses owner would like to be forced to perform their service for a Westboro Baptist Church wedding.There has to be a point where we can disagree and still get along while respecting each other.

    • Scott, you brought up a very important point about “gay business owners”. I noted that nobody who opposes this Indiana law here responded to your point – and for good reason (hint: they may not have an answer).

      I would encourage any opponents of the Indiana law to answer these two questions:

      1) Do you think the government should force a gay baker to bake a cake for a client that reads “God hates gays”?

      2) Do you think the government should force an African American baker to bake a cake for the KKK that reads “N#####s are evil”?

      I’m interested in reading those responses with the tables turned.

      • Your point is actually a poor one since no gay person is trying to make a Christian baker write on the wedding cake “God loves gays.” They just want a cake to celebrate their union. Quite different from your examples. Cheers.

        • I respectfully disagree, Shawn. The fact of the matter remains that in each instance, the baker is being forced to do something he/she is either offended by or is against his/her beliefs. The semantics don’t give a free pass on this one. Not only that, there are dozens of bakers in every city that would gladly make a wedding cake for a gay couple – but the gay person requesting the cake is nevertheless forcing someone to “approve” of their lifestyle by refusing to go elsewhere in doing business.

          Aside from that, whether you believe the baker situation is similar or not, can you answer the questions asked in #1 and #2? I’m just curious to know because, to me, it is unclear where our country believes the lines should be drawn on these issues of personal liberty in our present day culture.

          • There is a reason why you don’t hear gay bakers denying Christians cakes. haha

            For me personally, I don’t understand why a Christian baker is more a Christian than a baker. Their job is baking. Not Christianing (yes I just made that a verb). NO ONE is asking the Christian baker to MARRY the gay couple. If that was the case, that would have my support. Make sense?

          • Of course they are hate-filled (and terrible). But I think you’re missing the point and you’re still not answering the question. Should the government force these bakers to bake those cakes even though they are offensive to the baker? Yes or no?

          • Yes. Because being offended does not break a law. To discriminate against someone for how they were born IS breaking the law — or at least should be in Indiana. It is the exact reason why we have the Civil Rights Act. Should a Native American be denied service for how they were born? Should an Africa American? Should a woman? Or a Muslim? A gay person is no different from those people. Just like I would support the Christian who is being denied service by a Muslim baker. Religion is not the business; baking is the business.

            And when the business owner can decide and flip what the business is based on the person standing before them, that’s the definition of discrimination.

          • Thanks, Shawn. I respect you for answering the question and explaining why.

            I guess we have different views on personal liberty and religious protection (which is fine). It appears we also have differing opinions on how a sexual lifestyle relates to what cultural race a person is. I believe they are apples and oranges and if I was a minority race, I’d be offended by the comparison. But debating about whether or not a person is “born gay” is a discussion for another time.

            If it were up to me, I’d wholeheartedly defend the gay baker’s right to refuse to make such an offensive cake. Same with the African American. Thanks again for the respectful discussion, Shawn.

          • I think any baker, gay or straight, black or white, Christian or Athiest, is driven by the bottom line (profit). 999 out of a thousand bakers would bake the cake, despite their personal beliefs, to put money in their pocket. Let’s not pretend it’s otherwise, this is Capitalist America.

  18. Yeah- I’m all for taking a stand against discrimination too. Unless it inconveniences me that is- in which case…what can you do?

  19. I think people need to see this not as just an anti LBGT law. It is actually a very good law that protects people’s rights. No one has a right to a cake or a certain product,but people have the right to sell or deal with whoever they want to. It may hurt their Business if they don’t cater(no pun intended) to gays, but it is their right to choose to do so or not to do so. It may hurt a business it may hurt a couples feelings, but if someone doesn’t want to serve you they don’t have to. And they shouldn’t be forced to do so. Gays have a right to ask you for a service. I am not trying to descrimate here, they have a right to ask and others have the right to refuse. This law extends past just what many of you find as bigotry. It protects so much more. Are we gonna force those restaurants with the ” no shirt no shoes no service” signs to serve people without shirts because they are discriminating? Please think more on this subject and law. I wasn’t sure how I felt before contemplating for a while. I now think this law is perfectly acceptable. We can’t satisfy everyone but we can uphold human rights.

    • Actually Jake businesses cannot refuse to serve anyone they want. There are limits on their right to refuse:

      Do Restaurants Have the Unrestricted Right to Refuse Service?
      No. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly prohibits restaurants from refusing service to patrons on the basis of race, color, religion, or natural origin. In addition, most courts don’t allow restaurants to refuse service to patrons based on extremely arbitrary conditions. For example, a person likely can’t be refused service due to having a lazy eye.

      – See more at:

      There is a huge difference in denying service because of who someone is and what they may be wearing. Clothes and hygeine are not inherent to individuals but sexuality and race are.

      • I never said a business could refuse. I simply said that men and businesses have( but don’t often as you have cited in the public or in the constitution,) the right to refuse to do business with people that they don’t want to. As an example I would say it is a terrible thing for a man or business to refuse to help or sell products to someone because of their race or sexual orientation however that man or women does have the right to choose to do so. That right may not be publicly or yet constitutionally stated but it does exist. It works backwards to. People should be forced to buy products or fund actions which they don’t want to or find morally reprehensible. You have a right to ask and a right to refuse. Doesn’t matter who you are, your age or race, all men have these to rights.You and I have the right to own a gun. To protect ourselves and our loved one. People have used this right to do terrible things to their neighbors, but that doesn’t mean the right doesn’t exist or that it should be taken away. All rights are abused. Again I am not trying to put members of the LGBT down. I am just saying this law extends to so much more than just them. It may be mean, it maybe bigotry, but people have the right to be jerks or to be generous or to be however they want to be. It might not work out for them, but they do have that right. I believe this Indiana law may contradict the Civil Acts Law you mentioned, but it is well in line with the first amendment and article 1 of the 14th amendment.

  20. I guess not even authors bother to read anymore. What a pity. This law is a shield, not a sword and a couple dozen states already have something similar on the books. Read the actual law itself before posting PC BS and crying foul. Yes, it needs re-worded a bit, but it was designed to PROTECT against discrimination. I guess when the PC mob gets rolling, not even facts and reason can get in the way.

    • It is you who are not well read. Those “couple of dozen states” you so blithely brought up have anti-discrimination laws for the LGBT community already on the books, creating equality for those people. Indiana doesn’t. Hence the problem. The way the Indiana laws stand right now, businesses can discriminate toward the LGBT community. I hope they address and amend the Indiana laws so this will not be an issue in the future.

  21. Hello from Indiana. Although I may live here in Indiana most of the people, myself included do not support the legislation that has been passed. I am an avid reader of the Mr. Brooks. I do look forward to meeting you at Gen-Con. I would like to have a book signed by Mr. Brooks and to shake the hand of a great author.

  22. “We are all better than that”

    You are insulting.

    I know right from wrong. You do not, in some respects.

    I won’t be buying anymore of your books.

  23. Okay, what’s Thing Two? Thing One was about Terry’s choice to base the TV series on Elfstones, and he said that Thing Two would be mentioned in a week, but that was two weeks ago. Curious readers are eager to know what it is.

    Time to get back to Shannara…

  24. Everyone needs to relax. It’s political suicide to keep the law in place the way it Is unless his name is edinja orle. Let democracy play out before we go nuts over it.

  25. I’m happy to say that fixes to the law have already been signed.

    “Indiana’s social conservatives wanted a law that insulated them from the gay rights movement. Instead, the state has now enacted protections based on sexual orientation for the first time in its history…The GOP-dominated House and Senate approved a legislative fix, which was added into an unrelated bill, on Thursday, sending it to Pence’s desk almost immediately. Despite last-minute lobbying from conservative groups like Indiana Right to Life to get Pence to veto the fix, the governor signed it Thursday evening. The changes prohibit businesses from using the law as a defense in court for refusing ‘to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing’ to any customers based on ‘race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service.’”

    Hopefully these changes are as good as they appear at first blush.

  26. There already is a loophole. As long as the reason why service is refused isn’t stated, nothing can be done. Nothing actually compels the business to state the reason why, nor is it required.

    But if they do say something like, its because I don’t agree with your choices/lifestyle/religion/beliefs/etc. then that business opens itself up to litigation.

    But then just think how many people just lie and say they’re booked or some other excuse.

  27. Terry, please don’t avoid Indiana because of our governor. I’ve met you twice now and I’d love to make it a third time. I understand that you disagree with this law but Indiana has protested against it so please don’t blame us for it…
    You are one of my biggest idols and I really would like to see you again.