Bigots Should Get Out Of My Fandom

I've been spending the past few days thinking about the transcript that N.K. Jesmin posted of her recent speech at Wiscon. If you haven't read it yet, you should. She writes about the bigotry aimed at minorities in the science fiction and fantasy genre as well as the push-back that tends to follow complaints about that bigotry.

It's something I've spent plenty of time talking over with friends, but I haven't written about it much. I tell myself that there are other people in other spaces posting far more eloquently on the subject than I'd be able to. I remember how exhausting it can be to call out problems that I can do so little about.

Then I read the end of Ms. Jesmin's post again:

Understand that there are people in this genre who hate you, and who do not want you here, and who will hurt you if they can. Do not tolerate their intolerance. Don’t be “fair and balanced.” Tell them they’re unwelcome. Make them uncomfortable. Shout them down. Kick them out. Fucking fight.

It reminds me of every time I've kept my mouth shut over the years. Of every time I've couched an opinion in wiggle words or backpedaled because I was afraid of seeming too sensitive.

I have constantly and consistently gotten messages from some men that my presence in genre fandom is less than welcome, and that if I insist on being here, then I should at least have the decency to sit down and be quiet. They do it at cons and comic shops and at home on their keyboards. They act as if having an interest in minority representation is somehow disruptive.

It's the bigots who are the disruptive element in today's genre scene, though. They're the ones trying to claim entire modes of expression as their own private playground. The bigots are the ones who are stifled enough that they can only relate to characters who are straight, white, and male.

So I agree with N.K. Jesmin. We need to stand up for ourselves and our values more often; we need to fucking fight.

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