Zachary Quinto talks to HuffPost Live about gay sexuality and provocation
Where do I begin? There are so many things I want to say about the portion of the HP interview I’ve posted above. And I have no doubt that posting these things will lose me followers, gain me hate mail, and who knows what else. But I feel this is something that needs to be said.
It’s clear from watching the HP interview that Zach is not comfortable answering this question. At all. However, he gives it a shot and is vague and eloquent enough to appease the masses (as well as his and Franco’s publicists, I’m sure). Unfortunately this is fandom and we are not the masses. In fact, we’re often made up of the minorities (sexual, social, spiritual).
My initial take away (and initial point of anger) was the impression that, for ZQ, it’s okay for someone like James Franco to use a creative medium to explore and generate dialogue about gay sexuality, but it’s not okay for people like us to do so. And I must admit, as a recognizable member of a community that ZQ himself has publicly shamed on several occasions, this impression is not okay.
Why is it a ‘warranted’ provocation for James Franco, yet an abhorrent and pathological fetish for us? Why is my exploration of sexuality in a safe and anonymous community (an exploration which has allowed me to gain valuable insight, foster fulfilling relationships, and move towards becoming more content in my own life) so blatantly appalling, while Franco’s voyeurism and trolling are commendable?
Though it may not appear so to outsiders, this is a community that engages in constant open discussion and introspection. We are not blind to the opposition that has been shown to us, nor are we immune to some it ourselves. Those contributing to the dialogue are predominantly individuals who openly identify as women or non-binary, most of whom are highly educated, intelligent, and open-minded, with sexualities falling over every length of the spectrum. We are critical and able to appreciate the views coming from of all sides of the debate. That is, until they shame us.
And in my experience it’s been clear that when we’re publicly shamed by celebrities, those around us then think it’s okay to shame us as well.
Personally, I no longer give a damn what ZQ thinks about fanfiction or the idea of Spirk. It’s nothing I’d ever have any desire to ask him about, and I’m content knowing that aside from the occasional awkward question, he doesn’t give the matter a second thought. It’s completely outside of his experience, and that’s more than fine by me.
However, as his fans we share numerous spaces with the rest of his fan base, which like most other fandoms, is made up predominantly of women. We are connected, and we are in constant conversation. But many of these other fans seem to think that it’s okay to threaten, to belittle, and to shame our communities. As someone who has been on the receiving end of numerous hate filled messages I can tell you that such remarks are hurtful, ignorant, and insulting. People with little to no understanding of our communities come in to pass judgment, and attempt to shame us out of existence.
For many, especially those who identify as women or non-binary, getting to a place where they were able to explore and discuss sexuality is difficult enough without then being shamed by a greater and more vocal fandom sect. Those who do so may not realize it, but with every comment, hate message, and eye-roll, what is being conveyed is the shaming of women, by other women, for using a creative outlet to learn more about sexuality, gender, and themselves.
This. Right here. THIS IS WHAT WE ARE DOING. And I’m not just talking about Trek RPF or Spirk, I’m talking about what we in all fandoms, as a fandom, as fic writers and artists and consumers are already and have been doing for decades. I think it’s important for these actors themselves—who perhaps reluctantly became part of that— to be willing to embrace, to a certain degree. Because while they are the catalysts, they can also be the platform for that discussion. Some of them already have, and that’s really important. But we need more of them to.