Fandom is a beautiful thing. Fandom is nothing more and nothing less than people gathering in common cause to say, “We love this!” It is a common bond bringing together people from disparate groups that would ordinarily never mix and mingle. Through movie attendance, book clubs, fan clubs, conventions, and online networks, we join in unanimous praise and critique of the objects of our love. The stories, characters, and settings we love tie us together, and give us shared stories through which we relate to each other. What happens when certain voices of the community are not represented in those stories, characters, and settings? How do these people make their voices heard. We unite with our friends and allies to hi-light the problems and seek to bring these lost voices out of the community and into the very things we love.
Gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity are only a handful of the communities struggling for representation within Speculative Fiction and fandom. Over the years, I have been delegated the responsibility for dealing with issues of sexual orientation and gender identity by a couple conventions in Maryland. The problems are deep, the solutions are imaginative, and our progress has been impressive.
Roles for women, ethnic minorities, and homosexuals are not only under represented, but they are often included either as stereotypes or as the character who will be killed at some point in the story.
The Jon Stewart Green Lantern movie couldn't get green lit, but the Hal Jordon Green Lantern did. Even in the Transformers, the black Autobot died.
It is time for more more minorities to take on leading roles without having to pander to a white, heterosexual, male audience.
Homophobia is Sexism
It is not the most widely held opinion, but I have argued for years that Homophobia is just another form of sexism. For most people, their problem with GLBT people is that we do not fit nicely into the culturally acceptable gender roles assigned to us. The solution to this is not to conform to these gender roles, or to defy them. What we need to do is be ourselves.
In this series, I will be discussing my experiences as a gay man in fandom and SF.