I know I’m beating a dead horse when I say this, but 2017 was a really tough year. There definitely were some amazing moments which brought me joy, including when the court granted my son his official name change and when he started his transition, when I got to share my daughter’s incredible artwork on the cover of the Robogoblin Gazette, and when my husband brought me home a beautiful flower he made for me out of molten metal. But I talk about those moments on twitter whenever they happen, so today I want to focus on Skiffy and Fanty.
Three days after the 2016 election I sent an email out to the crew of the Skiffy and Fanty show to express my rage and heartbreak over the election results. It was clear that we had to do SOMETHING to fight back. We had to somehow make it clear that we weren’t having any of the xenophobic, homophobic, racist, ableist BULLSHIT that America had just declared support for. Due to my mental health, physical health, and current life circumstances, I felt helpess and powerless, so my role in the Resistance would have to be the actions I took to shape Skiffy and Fanty in 2017. But how?
This is the email I sent to the team on 11/11/16:
I’m not as eloquent as any of the rest of you, so just keep that in mind as I ramble on about a few things…
Obviously, our world has pretty drastically changed in the last few days. My son’s life is literally at risk now and I’m genuinely not sure how to keep him safe. I know the rest of you are dealing with repercussions to family and friends as well.
I personally won’t ever be saying the name of a certain person that just “won” the election, nor will I ever be calling that person President. I won’t. And I probably won’t ever stop being angry and upset nor will I reach a hand across any aisle, because they just put a giant fucking wall of hate up and it’s not my fucking job to suffer through it. What I will do is fight in whatever way I can.
We have a voice here. It’s a tiny voice. My voice has really been pretty silent on it the last 3 years as I’ve dealt with life, but I’m hoping I can put my voice back into the mix on a broader basis. It’s not the most intelligent, nor the most reasonable, but it’s mine and this is my one outlet. We’ve done a pretty fine job of highlighting world SFF, of discussing marginalized communities, of promoting POC, LGBT, etc. I’m incredibly proud of that, of all of you for making that the focus that Shaun and I so desperately wanted when we first started out.
But what are we going to do with our voice NOW? Now that the forces of hate are out in even greater force than ever before? How do we signal boost and support marginalized communities? How do we bring even more diversity to our own team? (which is, I’m sorry, still terribly white, though more queer than most!) How do we use our powers for good? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
Love you all.
I was so inspired when we inevitably decided on the theme of INCLUSION for 2017. From our first discussion on Disability in SFF with Sarah Chorn and Elsa Sjunesson Henry to our last discussion on NaNoWriMo with Cat Rambo, Nicky Drayden, and C.B. Lee, we covered a wide range of topics relevant to speculative fiction, trying to focus specifically on representation and inclusion. We also interviewed a diverse group of authors, with multiple people of color and queer writers. Meanwhile, we did our best to bring on a wider variety of voices to both the Show Formerly known as Shoot the WISB and Torture Cinema. On the blog side, we invited Joyce Chng to write about South East Asian Speculative Fiction and Becca Evans is reviewing Queer Speculative Fiction! And we have even more opportunities for diverse voices to share their points of view on speculative fiction (Join us!!). Were we perfect? No. There is always more to do to make sure that we’re creating an inclusive space. But I’m still very proud of what we did in 2017.
But even with all of that, I was still itching for a way that I could personally support people from marginalized communities. So for a little while I sat and I listened. I learned how naive I was, how privileged I am, but the thing I kept hearing again and again, especially from women of color, was: “BOOST OUR VOICES!”
And so was born Signal Boost.
I have learned so much from the amazing creators that appeared on Signal Boost last year. I learned about Indo-Guyanese people from Ian Muneshwar and Conjure culture from Eden Royce. I learned about diversity in video games from Tanya DePass and about Indigenous Futurism from Darcie Little Badger. I learned about marginalized voices in short speculative fiction film from Rod Faulkner and transgender speculative fiction from Bogi Takács. I learned about disability representation, queer representation, and representation of people of color. And I walked away from every Signal Boost feeling… HOPE! Hope that the publishing industry, the gaming industry, the film industry, the WORLD, COULD BE an inclusive place! It has been such an amazing experience and I am so grateful to every single one of our guests.
When I woke up this morning, ready to finish up a post on “Getting Hygge with It”, I realized that, though I love being cozy, it’s something that brings me contentment. The thing that brings me JOY is the voices that I have and will continue to share with you on Signal Boost. The power of speculative fiction TO ME is its ability to explore the repercussions of our past and our present and to imagine a BETTER world. Signal Boost is where I got to experience that better world, a world full of diverse voices. As a white woman, I still have so much work to do on myself and my community, and I hope you’ll join me in that work.
So this is my commitment to you in 2018 and beyond: Any Signal Boost I do will be to boost marginalized voices that work in and around speculative fiction. The rest of the team can choose to interview whomever they wish, but I started this podcast because MY voice shouldn’t be the default. White allocishet abled voices should not be the default in speculative fiction and until it isn’t the default, I’ll be over here Signal Boosting some of the most incredible, passionate, beautiful voices that you have ever heard.