A Note on Cosplay and TFiOS
Dear Leaky friends. I realize that John Green is sort of a big deal at Leaky, and that with the TFiOS movie coming out shortly before the con, there will probably be renewed hype and attention in the TFiOS fandom.
That said, I want to make one very important clarification regarding the fandom and fan activities.
Please please please do not use assistive devices, fake or otherwise, in any TFiOS cosplays.
There are numerous issues with using a cannula (that tube in Hazel’s nose), wearing dark glasses around (a la Isaac) or walking around with a limp as Gus.
Disabilities ARE NOT a costume.
One would think that this goes without saying, but there have already been cosplays using assistive devices or talk of plans for them (not specifically for leaky that I know of, but still).
Please do not do this.
It contributes to confusion on who may actual need assistance for their disability in public, frustrates and upsets the disability community, and if you are using actual medical devices can even cause issues in people who need that equipment being able to access it (there are shortages on certain types of medical equipment due to overuse from time to time).
Some of us need canes or other mobility aids to walk at all or to relieve constant chronic pain. Some of us cannot ever get out of a wheelchair. Some of us cannot breathe without supplemental oxygen or require daily saline or other fluids and aren’t too thrilled about people toting around the medical things that we can never live without like they are accessories.
If you want to dress up as Hazel, do it sans cannula and cart. If you want to dress up as Isaac, skip the dark glasses and don’t “act blind”. If you want to be Gus, carry around a fake cigarette, people will get the idea.
Better yet, show your appreciation for the story by acknowledging that it may not be your own, but it means something to you. Make fan shirts with your favorite quotes. Dress up as the lonely vaguely pedophilic swingset. By all means, be enthusiastic about it, but also recognize that these things are not a story for many folks, they are an often painful and difficult fact of life.