Love Letter to the Queer Fandom
by Rae D. Magdon (tumblr user raedmagdon)
The women who taught me how to be queer are fictional.
Growing up, I didn’t know a single gay, bi, or transgender person. I was young, I was sheltered. When I started wondering if, maybe, the way I thought about women wasn’t the way most other girls did, I went to the internet.
I hoped to find answers. What I found was a lifeline.
I read about women in love. Unapologetically in love, unrestrained with their love. I read about women like me, and it gave me the courage to start writing.
I wrote about what I wanted my own future to look like. I wrote about women like me, queer women, getting happily ever afters. I wrote and wrote until I had published ten novels and over two and a half million words of fanfiction.
Then I started getting messages.
I got messages from myself ten years ago. I got messages that said: “Thank you.” I got messages that said: “This is me.” I got messages that asked: “Is it really going to be okay?”
And I got to say, “Yes, it really is going to be okay.”
My lifeline had become a rope, and I was pulling it from the other end. Now it runs in front of me and behind me. And that, I think, is what queerness is, and what fandom is. It inspires you, and gives you the chance—the honor—to inspire other people too.
It’s the most personal form of expression, but the best thing you can do is make it public, so you can touch someone else.
So this is my love letter to the queer fandom. Without it, I wouldn’t be who I am.
This essay was submitted to the @aroomoftheirown project, a blog and zine that seeks document the myriad of ways in which LGBT content creators and fandom participants use fanworks as a celebration of their identities and to force popular mainstream media to reflect their lived experiences by collecting essays, comics, and interviews documenting how LGBT members of fandom use their various talents to carve out a space for themselves in mainstream fiction and to explore their identities in a relatively safe space.
The blog that will accept submissions on a consistent basis and the eventual goal is to compile a selection of the pieces into a zine or a series of zines, the proceeds of which will go to the Trevor Project and Trans Lifeline
To learn more or submit to the project, click here.