I’ve had a realization lately, y’all. Honestly, it’s a little embarrassing that it took me this long to get there. But here we are; better late than never.
So, what is this realization?
It’s impossible to separate Wandering Jotun from politics, and that’s not a bad thing.
So how did I possibly convince myself that politics had no place here? Like, wow, self. That’s some impressive denial.
I have the ability to step away and hide from political conversations, thanks to being a white, cishet-passing person--and I’m fully aware of that being a manifestation of my personal privilege that so many others don’t have.
I’ve been wrestling with this intense guilt and shame of using (maybe even abusing) that privilege over the last several months. As I’ve watched from the sidelines as social injustice runs rampant through my country, I’ve struggled with wanting to speak out but also wanting to keep this “safe space” where I just provide support without drama or politics.
Yeah, okay, that was ridiculously naïve and silly, and I’ll be the first to admit it.
This realization that Wandering Jotun is inherently political, because society politicizes the very existence of marginalized people has been a fire under my feet and a hammer to my chest. It’s made me want to get back on the horse, to speak out, to do something to provide the support and community that inspired this entire project. And it’s also activated intense anxiety that I haven’t done enough, shame that I hid inside my own privilege, and outright fear of going down this path while the world grows more and more dangerous for marginalized communities.
So. What now?
Now, I think, I work toward embracing the fact that this is my resistance, my way to fight the injustice, and that it’s also a place where my political views have to co-exist with creating. I have to find my own personal balance between caring for my mental health and being out here as a creative activist.
I don’t have any answers. I don’t know what’s coming down the pike (but I have a feeling it’s going to be pretty shitty).
But I do know that I can’t hide any more. So, here I am. In all my messy, depressed, anxious, liberal-as-fuck glory. If we can call it glory.
P.s. Don't forget to grab a copy of the Apocalypse Survival Kit before the price goes up on October 20th!
Next weekend is Myths and Legends Con (MALCon to those in the area). This is, technically, my first time attending and I'll be vending in the Author's Nook with my co-author Olivia of Leafing Out Gardening. I'll also be on six panels throughout the weekend, mostly covering queer topics in fiction.
So I've been thinking about being queer in nerdy convention spaces.
I'll be the first to admit that, while there's a lot of overlap between nerds and the queer community, there's still some major issues in geekdom when it comes to queer-phobia. There are folks who sneer as crossplaying (cosplaying a character of a different gender), assume gender regardless of costume, look down on queer-themed merch, make comments about queer couples, and more. It can be very subtle, but it still hurts.
I've personally gotten stink eye at a couple of cons when folks saw my queer pagan prints. I've been misgendered immediately after introducing myself with my pronouns (they/them, in case you missed it) on a panel. I've had people put down books the minute they realized it had queer content. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Obviously, I'm out in convention spaces. But I'm still scared af.
I always hesitate when I introduce myself on a panel, even though most of the panels I'm on are about queer-specific topics. I always wonder if someone's going to come up to me afterward and debate my identity or the information I've shared. I unconsciously stick to my friends and stay in specific places just to make sure I'm safe.
But you know what? It's worth it.
By being out and proud at conventions, I've helped other people realize it's okay to be themselves.
Most of the time after a panel, I'll have at least one or two people come find me to talk about how much it meant that I shared my experiences. There's been at least one time when someone told me I'd introduced them to a term that perfectly described them. A couple times, folks have come up and wanted hugs because my experiences echoed theirs so deeply.
And that's important to me.
That's the entire premise behind this business: helping people realize it's okay to be themselves.
So, even though it's scary and convention spaces need a lot of work, I'm going to keep showing up and being as authentic as I can. I don't know how much of a difference I can make as one person. But I hope that, eventually, we can change the convention scene to be more welcoming and accepting to people who aren't cis-het white folks.
Nonir is a queer pagan nerd and writes about various things in those realms.