Dear slash fans who consider yourselves allies:
Queer people are distinguished
from straight and cis people by our sexuality and/or gender vs. sex. Queer people are not defined
by our sexuality and/or gender vs. sex.
As a shipper, I would not enjoy having a pairing I ship, be it het or slash, made canon, because I feel it takes the fun out of looking for subtext, and makes writing canon-compliant fic more difficult, since fic is written in the holes canon doesn't cover. That doesn't mean I don't very much enjoy canon pairings as well, both heterosexual and gay. I was happy when Willow/Tara and Veronica/Logan became canon, and was very entertained by their love stories as a viewer. I don't begrudge you your Jack/Ianto ship, just because I personally am not interested in reading or writing fic about canon pairings.
As a queer, I am hurt and upset that fellow fans who call themselves allies do not understand that it's not about our sex lives or genitals
, and representation of us does not equal storylines about love or sex! I am not saying I prefer de-sexed characters like Will from "Will & Grace", I'm saying I prefer queer characters to be written like actual people with actual people motivations and interests, just like straight and cis characters ideally are!
I am cis gendered myself, and don't tend to look very hard for representation of gender queers. My interest in differently gendered or sexed characters is mostly from the exploitative, porn reading side of the fence, so I don't have any recs for you of shows doing it right.
But I can recommend a show which does butch woman right: Glee
. I am butch myself (I am exactly as masculine as the completely average man according to the BBC sex id
), and I love how Sue is written and acted. I don't know if she's a cis woman who's had a hysterectomy, a mtf trans woman or if she's intersexed, but I do know that she is an awesome, butch woman who is not vilified or mocked for being butch, and whose butchness is not a plot device.
A movie which does gay/bi man right is Blades of Glory
. Coach's sexual orientation is completely irrelevant to the plot, and not exploited in any way. He's just an awesome skating coach. And a minor character >_<
I'm trying to think of a TV show I have a fannish interest in which does gay/bi man or woman right, and I can't think of any which didn't either sexually exploit, mock/vilify or problematize homo/bisexuality (we all get VD, we're all exposed to constant gay bashing, we're all sluts who'll die alone because we don't understand true love/partnership, we'll die young, we struggle with shame and self-loathing, etc.) in a crypto-homophobic way. I'm left looking for coded gay/bi characters, who pass for straight in the eyes of the straight viewers. I'm glad the coded gay/bi characters are there (and I'm fucking tired of straight people telling me they aren't), but I'd really, really like for my people to be openly represented on the fiction shows I watch.
In the future, please continue trying to be our allies. I like having you on our side. Try to separate your interest in slash from your demand for equal civil rights and an end to queerphobia. Don't ever, ever say that you don't want a character to be canonically gay/bi/trans if they aren't sexually appealing to you. Don't pretend like gay/bi women don't exist if you're a straight female fan of M/M slash, or like gay/bi men don't exist if you're a straight male fan of F/F slash. Consider carefully if you're writing/reccing a fic with a bi character, or a fic with a straight character whose true and pure love transcends gender in one very special case, but certainly isn't one of those sinful, dirty, icky homosexuals (we're-not-gay-we-just-love-each-other fic). Don't pretend like gender queer people don't exist, or are evil/wrong if they're not gay/bi, or aren't "real" women or men.
In conclusion: real queer people are not like your fictional fap fantasies. Please stop trying to squeeze us into that mold, or punishing us for not fitting in that mold. Please stop thinking that you are in any way helping queers when you campaign for more fan-service. Stop pretending that slash fic is the same as queer fic; some slash fic is also queer fic (all of my fic is), but most isn't. Scolding a slash fic for having male characters who don't act like real life gay/bi men is a misunderstanding. You wouldn't ask for more realistic racial stereotypes, would you? A better response would be to point out when a fic is only a slashy fantasy for straight people, when it is a queer interest fic, and when it's both: a queer slash fic.
I haven't had the time/energy to read any of the fic posted in queerlygen
yet, but I recommend the comm to any slash fans reading this who're confused by my saying that slash isn't about queers, and queer representation isn't about sex and genitals.