I was having a conversation with a friend of mine last night which was almost entirely about how much queer media has changed over the course of our lives. Not a new conversation by any means but it got me thinking about how large a roll fandom has played in my life.
Picture this: a 15yo catholic only child, living in a small country town, begins exploring the Internet. That’s it. That’s how it started. I watched all of The L Word (three seasons at that point) on YouTube with Spanish subs, listening with scratchy headphones while my parents sat opposite watching the tv, with no idea how much sex was happening on my screen.
I was never into TLW fandom but I soon found the Buffy the Vampire Slayer one by accidentally stumbling onto a couple of virtual series (sadly the only one I remember now is The Watcher’s Council but there was another where Tara was alive which I really enjoyed). I stumbled onto The Mystic Muse when researching some of the authors – I don’t know if any one reading this remembers it but it was a fic archive just for BtVS.
Then I started actively looking for fic and naturally found fanfiction.net. BtVS, Veronica Mars, CSI, Criminal Minds….
Criminal Minds led me straight to LiveJournal. And there I found my people. From a lurker to an occasional writer, to even less occasional Beta, here I found a family.
I’ve never had a lot of queer friends in real life. But the internet is now pretty accepted as part of real life and to me, all of you are the family that got me through my early years of internalised-homophobia, self-hatred and depression and continued to look after me through all the years of insomnia which followed.
You warmed my heart with your fluff, soothed my soul with your fix-its and stood in solidarity with your angst. Your rec lists, virtual series, communities and challenges were (and still are) godsends.
The femslash fandom has been through thick and thin together, from cancellations to characters being written off shows, to bigoted networks and asshole show runners. And that was only with the subtext pairings. Guest stars, sweeps week kisses, gay-until-graduation, murders and suicides as well. Somehow we’re still standing.
And now here we are on tumblr.
It warms my heart to still see the same names (or, same people at least) still here in my fandom circle. I was never one for starting conversations so I do still feel like a lurker in some ways but I’m glad you’re all still around.
And nowdays there’s maintext queer characters in so many shows! I’m looking forward to exploring the new world of femslash with you guys next year. Let’s keep our heads up and keep writing that fic, because in a small country town somewhere, there’s a young girl who hasn’t yet found her family.
Let’s bring her home.