these are the people whom i chose to associate with

If I may have your attention for just a moment:

There was a time, a long ago in fandom terms when I was a fan of Jess (I still am, don’t worry - just stick with me) and as we all know, she has thousands of other fans, even though we call them ‘followers’. Jess posted lots of things, mostly because they were things that made her happy. She often would interact with her fans, and post things for their benefit, but for the most part, it was because she was running her own blog the way she wanted to. She was friends with someone who was also well known in the fandom, who I did not like. I did not follow this person, or want to have anything at all to do with her, ever. She often showed up on Jess’s blog, so I skipped those posts. She was a bully. She regularly called people out and ridiculed them and was full on toxic to many, many people who truly did her no harm - she simply couldn’t stay in her own lane and let other people fan the way they wanted. But she was Jess’s friend. So Jess interacted with her and was active with her daily. I seriously didn’t like it. But Jess wasn’t being her friend to please me, or to make me mad. In fact, Jess didn’t ever think of me one time when she was interacting with this friend. She was being an adult, choosing her friends and running her blog how she saw fit. It was not an insult to me that Jess didn’t think about me before she interacted with someone who I didn’t like, who was an actual bully. I try to stay in my own lane, so as I stated, I simply ignored. Many other people, however, tried to tell Jess not to be friends with her. As you can imagine, it didn’t go well. Why? Because it was none of their business who Jess chose to associate herself with. She is an adult and as she stated more than once, if you don’t like it, drive on by. I say this with absolutely no judgement. Jess was 100% right. As an adult, she had every right to to post what she wanted and be friends with whom she wanted, regardless of what 1 or 1000 of her followers thought about it, even though many people in the fandom were hurt by her friend’s words and posts. It was her friends’ fault and responsibility. Pure and simple.

Clearly you all know where I am going with this. Sam does not live his life thinking about all of his fans as individuals and how his actions might affect them. He couldn’t possibly - there are simply to many. He appreciates his fans. He interacts when he can. He posts things that he thinks we will like, but ultimately, his twitter is for him, and he can choose to interact with whomever he chooses. The people he interacts with are responsible for their own behavior. He does not appreciate us going on to his twitter and telling him how he should conduct his life, any more than Jess did. And why should he? He is a  man, pursuing his passion, trying to do good in his community and navigating the brutal worlds of social media and fame. People have been hurt, but that is the troll’s fault, not Sam’s. This troll is responsible. It is his fault.

People have been hurt, and they have every right to process it how they need to. People can choose to unfollow Sam, or be mad at him or even yell at him. In the end, however, we are each responsible for our own behavior. All of us, famous and nonfamous, one follower or thousands, are responsible for our own behavior. If your feelings are such that guilt by association is enough to warrant an unfollow, that is truly fine - you do you, just as I am here trying to do me.

Maybe I am out of line, and maybe this comes off as me telling people how they should be reacting. That is not my intention. But I am trying to use the story of Jess and her Troll to get people to take a step back and review the situation in a different light. Jess wasn’t wrong. She was just a person living her life, making choices day by day. It so happens that she and that troll aren’t friends anymore, and I think the fandom is a better place for it, but that is just my opinion. There are surely those out there who don’t agree with me. Maybe one day Sam and his troll will no longer be friends. In my opinion, that will make the fandom a better place. Until then, I am trying to live and let live, doing harm to none and bringing joy to as many as possible.

I support Sam and am still a huge fan. I wish him nothing but success and happiness. I marvel at his talent and his apparent goodness, his humility and generosity, his humor, charity and intelligence. Most of all, I value his obvious joie de vivre. He IS a precious cinnamon roll, an adorable goober, a rambunctious puppy, a magnificent bastard and most of all, a Ridiculous Human Being.

Dear Loved Ones Who Voted Trump,

I know you. I love you.
You’re my cousin, aunt, schoolmate, in-law. I know you aren’t overtly racist; I know your sister or friend is gay or an immigrant or married a Black man. I know you love me and know I’m bisexual. (I also know you see me as de facto straight because I married a man. You’re wrong, by the way.)

But listen: I’m exhausting myself trying to explain why we’re angry and afraid. Were you not listening to the man’s rallies? How on earth can you now act baffled that your Latinx, Black, Muslim, or LGBTQ friends and family are upset?

How DARE you?

Why is it our job to explain to you that your candidate is unprecedented in living memory? That his rhetoric awoke the very ugliest parts of the American psyche?

What did you think would happen?

I don’t care why you voted for him. I don’t care if you were “really just” voting against Hillary. You cast your ballot for a man who will stand trial for the rape of a thirteen year old girl. Who looked at a child my daughter’s age and said, on camera, “I’ll be dating her in a few years.” Who is accused of assault by a dozen women. A DOZEN. And who bragged about it.

(And by the way, do not bring Bill Clinton into this. Or Anthony Weiner. Do not judge that woman by the men with whom she is associated, nor any other woman either. Don’t do it.)

You voted for the same man endorsed by the KKK. By the Alt-Right. The man who explicitly asked on television for a foreign government to interfere with our election. Who advocates killing the families of terrorists. Their children.

He chose a Vice President-elect who thinks gay people can be converted via torture.

I don’t care if you were uncomfortable with his language but liked his policies. (I mean, what policies exactly? Because he didn’t really have any, but okay; whatever.)

Whatever your reasoning, you voted for him. So I’ll make it simple for you: With that ballot you endorsed, actively or passively, everything the man has said.

You have to live with the backlash. If you can’t understand it, I suggest you look back at his speeches. Look at him. Look at his supporters.

But most of all, just listen.

Listen to my queer voice and my LGBTQ+ family’s. Listen to POC who are angry or scared or both. Listen to religious people whose faith is so often conflated with fear.

What I’m seeing is you asking why the fear and worry. But you’re asking with closed eyes and ears.

Open up, let us in.

I know we’re in your hearts, so try letting us into your minds, too.

Love,
Heidi