Fiction, Freedom and Fandom

If you haven’t listened to oral arguments in the Prop 8 or DOMA Supreme Court cases, you must. The issue of standing is important, particularly to Californians but to anyone from any state which doesn’t enforce all of its laws. They are also wonderfully funny in places. They are also profoundly clear sighted:

It’s worth saying that the caption for the above video when I found it on Tumblr was “One minute. That’s all it takes for a Supreme Court Judge to destroy your argument against gay marriage.” And here are the artist’s sketches of the face she made at his response.

But maybe while right now your Facebook feed looks something like this:

All of our Facebook statuses are belong to freedom.
All of our Facebook statuses are belong to freedom.

And maybe you find the rows and rows and rows of equal signs and Rothko paintings and Mario simulations and Christian statements of support and other Christian statements of support and parellel flower arrangements and Constitutional graphics and Dalek shrieks and Lady Justice/Lady Liberty slash and Yoda’s face and Carry On memes and Wonder Woman pics and grouchy cat stares and Star Trek Badges and Corgie puppies all declaring a commitment to marriage equality thrilling.

Maybe it made you feel like this?

But maybe, during any other given week, you don’t connect with the gay rights movement very much. If you live in a liberal state, or in a liberal city, or a liberal family, or you’re straight or pass as straight, it is not a part of your daily life.

That’s where fiction comes in. Fantasy allows us to sensitive ourselves to things we don’t come into daily contact with. I know a lot more about heraldry than I do about road sign design, though I have seen more road signs in my real life than I have ever seen knight’s shields because I have spend hours and hours and hours of my life living within a world where whether someone’s lion is rampant or passant makes a big difference.

Living in fictional worlds, even if only during my commute or during-dinner reading, is a chance to sensitize myself to experiences I might not have. Fantasy can be an escape, but it is also a journey inwards. And those inner learnings sometimes have real-world consequences.

There are significant debates about whether writing or reading slash fiction can, cannot, or sometime does qualify as engaging in a social justice work. I think that engaging opening and honestly with characters who push my boundaries or shore up my bulwarks against an often unequal and unfree world, visiting upon me a more accepting and enlightened world is the work of social justice.

I’ve seen this work play out in this week’s Supreme Court marriage equality cases, particularly in the signs people carry. To me, more than being funny and shareable and quirky, these signs tell the story that our culture’s bearers–fiction and its writers–are informing how people access the conversation about political and social rights for all people.

More simply: I think it’s harder to disagree with marriage equality when you know gay people, and knowing fictional gay people is better than knowing none at all. And for the slash shippers? I think it’s harder to disagree with marriage equality when you wish Dumbledore and Grindelwald had had just one good honeymoon.

Without further ado, my two favorite fandom pro-marriage equality signs of the week:

This is a direct quote from the show. I josh you not. Another actor on the show refused to be left out.

And it’s not just slash shippers who used fictional characters as their voices:

PS: Fandoms being politically active on QUILTBAG* rights isn’t new–here’s my anti-Prop 8 Supernatural shirt, originally designed I believe during that campaign (you can buy other fandom’s shirts against Prop 8 here at Fandoms for Fck H8):

Some hunters marry their angels, Get over it. H8 is almost out of minutes.

*Queer, Intersex, Lesbian, Tran*, Bisexual, Asexual, Gay. I’m trying this out, though I still can’t say it outloud with a straight (hah!) face. LGBTQPIA just takes a long time to say, is all I’m saying.

ht to tumblr, my Facebook feed, and this post.

Inspirational Quote:

“No, really, because if the couple — I can just assure you, if both the woman and the man are over the age of 55, there are not a lot of children coming out of that marriage. (Laughter.)”–Justice Kagan

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