If there’s one thing I’ve known, even long before I was part of any fandom: queer fans are loyal. Queer fans will follow and support actors who have played their favorite gay, lesbian and bi characters throughout their careers. It’s a fact that I’ve often discussed in interviews with actors who play these characters. It’s the same with writers, showrunner and directors who paint the community with a thoughtful and loving hand. We’re also a community that doesn’t forget intentional missteps, or when we are simply used for ratings. We’re sensitive, but we’re also smart.
With the rise of social media, the power of the queer fandom has only gained strength. Now gathered in numbers, queer fans finally had a platform to gather and discuss, and that includes that they will and won’t accept any longer. It’s no longer possible to dismiss queer fandom’s voice, so will studios and the powers that be finally really listen?
For an example of queer fandom at work, just look at this week’s People’s Choice Awards. Wynonna Earp, which was a write-in candidate for Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy series, took home the award after a feverish and dedicated voting campaign by fans. The sheer size of they’re competitors fandoms could have been a deterrent, but in addition to being loyal, queer fans are determined. Seeing the Wynonna Earp cast and creator Emily Andras walk the carpet in the signature candid style, then walk away with the award, was a real triumph for the Earper fandom – and Hollywood should be taking note. Also, a big winner at the PCAs was the recently canceled Shadowhunters, another show with a large and dedicated LGBTQ and ally fandom. Actor Harry Shum Jr, who plays the bisexual warlock, Magnus Bane, was also a write-in candidate and took home the award for Best Male TV Actor. The show also picked up awards in nearly every other category it was nominated for.
— Emily Andras (@emtothea) November 12, 2018
So what can the queer fandom community do to keep using their power to make real, positive changes? We already saw what the fandom can do after the death of Lexa and how it has fundamentally changed the way many shows approach their LGBTQ characters. Keep tweeting, keep the conversation going. Studios want to know that fans will show up. They still need convincing that queer fans will show up in big numbers. With television and webseries, that’s easy. With film, we have a tougher job simply due to access. It’s a vicious cycle: studios don’t want to put money into queer films because they don’t make money in the theatres, yet when a film comes out and only shows for a limited time in select large cities, a majority of the audience, especially internationally, are left out of the equation. So how can you help? Tell your theatres you want to see upcoming queer films. Campaign to have expanded access.
Our community has always had passion. It’s always been savvy. Now, with expanded reach and a real opportunity to grow, we still have work to do, but our rainbow shines brighter than ever.