This week has been a thoughtful one for me. While I have been bogged down with quite a few stressors and uplifted by the adoption of two kittens (:o!), I have been reading quite a few pieces on the Internet that I am unhappy about.
The main train of thought started with this post by Mark Oshiro. It is an important read for anyone and everyone about marginalization and discrimination at science fiction and fantasy conferences. Please take a few minutes, click the link and read. (If you are interested, here is the response of one of the most helpful and responsive individuals that was one the committed–she has since resigned–who fought hard for Mark and others at this conference).
I read these posts, the comments, some scrambled non-apologies layered within them. And I really hurt for it. I have been rather lucky at most of my conferences that I haven’t had altercations like this. However, I am starting to encounter more and more conversations where, often, offence wasn’t intended, but awareness was required in response.
I am a feminist–in particular, one that embraces intersectionalism of that feminism. I believe in equality. I am very aware that our society, our world, tends to rely on discrimination and categorization as mental shortcuts.
I am also aware that all literature, including science fiction and fantasy, has a history of prejudice. Authors seen as great figures for the formation of a certain genre were sexist, racist, homophobic, and transphobic despite possibly being forward thinking in terms of artistry for their times.
I am aware that the majority of people are defensive creatures. This defensive behaviour often results in us trying to take less risks, try less things, not stretch our minds as far, because we are fearful of being attacked, called out.
But we need to try harder.
We need to push harder for conferences, conventions, fandoms, and communities to realize and embrace their intersectionality. To do that, we need more literature to be intersectional. We need people to take risks with respect. We need people to listen with dignity. We need people to accept and learn if they have done wrong by someone and continue to grow and become more aware.
We may never reach equality or a level of intersectionalism that pleases everyone. But I’m going to fucking try. We can fucking try. Will you?