tl;dr : I’m sorry the fandom is in an uproar because of my actions.
I truly loathe that I am in this position right now, but I feel my hand has been forced, and I must make a public statement about a bit of uproar in the fandom that while I had no direct involvement, I still feel somewhat responsible for causing.
I will spare most of the unfortunate details, since there are plenty other places going on about it, and I don’t wish to repeat the hurtful things that have been said, but I will give some information to explain my involvement in what happened and so I can apologize to both parties on what went wrong.
First a bit of context for my role in the story. In February, I came to the decision I wished to attend Trotcon this year, as it not only looked like fun, but it was one of the closest brony conventions to where I live. Even though I help run a rather large local fanbase around Chicago and the surrounding Midwest states, I knew none of my closest friends were going to be able to attend, so I started looking around to see who I could share my travel with to avoid covering room cost on my own with my meager salary.
It was also around this time that I became quite involved in aiding the LPU relief efforts. As a result, I began speaking on a more regular basis with Purple Tinker, founder of Bronycon, via Twitter. She happened to mention at one point her interest in attending the con, and I extended my hand to say if she wished to go, I’d save her a spot in my room.
At the same time I was rounding out the rest of the room with some good pals from the fanfiction world who were talented, lived in the general area of the con, and were interested in attending the con and doing a fanfiction panel with me for the con. Hence, the roster of the room was filled out with PavFeira (author of My Little Chrono, and winner of my Hearth’s Warming Care Package project) and milesprower06 (author of Letters From A Disgruntled Friendship Student).
Then, about two weeks ago, I received word from one of my closest friends that his group, which I play a large role in as well, was invited as a VIP Guest of Trotcon after I told him to apply for a guest appearance there. This meant that he would be receiving a hotel room for the group, shared between him, myself, and one other. I made my original roommates aware of the situation, and that I was not going to ask them to pay more than what their fair share was originally, and they simply would have a little more hotel space as a result.
Everything was in place and fine until late last night, when a close friend made me aware of a situation that was unfolding on the RoosterTeeth forums between miles and Tinker.
What fueled this war of words was a clash of beliefs, and I will not be placing blame on one party or the other in this apology, I simply wish to make it clear that I was responsible for bringing these two ideologies together to clash in the first place, and a lot of heartbreak could have been avoided had I not organized these people together on this trip.
Earlier this week, Purple Tinker caught a lot of flak for a tweet she made in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, when she called out the Bronycon Twitter feed for using the word ‘pray’ in their expression of sorrow towards the victims of the tragedy unfolding.
I am not interested in playing politics or taking sides in this matter, as I feel my personal beliefs are just that: personal; and as such there is no need for me to publicly express where I stand on this matter. However, I will express that I understand why Purple Tinker was upset over the tweet. Bronycon simply wished to express their sorrow over what was currently unfolding, and since I’m personally acquainted with their PR staff (withholding who to avoid sucking people into this mess involuntarily), I’m certain they did not mean any offense with the use of the word ‘pray’. Still, the religious connotations behind the word offended Tinker’s personal beliefs on religion, and while perhaps this wasn’t the most appropriate time to make a statement about it, I feel most of the community has unfairly judged her statement about it. My own personal beliefs aside again, many members of the LGBT community, such as Tinker herself, have been persecuted again and again by religion, and yet as a society we tend to use words with an religious etymology on a regular basis which in this case, she took offense. Yes, it’s a mess of political correct stigma, but unfortunately that is the age we live in.
That aside, it was these statements that fueled miles’ to make his own statements on an internet forum calling out Purple Tinker’s feelings towards religion, which are quite different from his own. While a difference in personal beliefs is fine, the way in which he went about it was not. The comments he made quickly turned into a series of rude gags between himself and users, mocking Tinker’s status as a member of the Transgender/sexual community. Whereas Tinker’s public statement was called out as a matter of bad timing, these comments were outright hurtful, and made under the poor assumption that it’s not going to hurt the person who is at the expense of the joke if they never see it.
Well, that plan backfired, because someone notified Tinker of what was going on, and then someone else made me aware that these two were clashing. Now, it was upon me because part of the heated conversation they had involved how much their difference in beliefs was going to make them clash at Trotcon if they room together, which was my idea in the first place. While I don’t believe it excuses miles’ actions, I do believe that he wouldn’t have gone around saying these things had I not organized this trip to begin with. And I never would have organized a trip with these people as roommates if I had any inkling that their personal beliefs would publicly clash in such a way.
I’d like to say I’m sorry to both of them for this. Tinker, I’m sorry for the persecution you are put through by many out there, and I’m deeply sorry that you were put through this as a result of my poor choices. miles, I’m sorry I paired us all together with someone that clashes with your personal beliefs, and it was not intentional, it was simply a matter of me not being aware of your personal beliefs as I tend to not pry on what one’s personal beliefs are. I’d also like to apologize to Darkly Cute, head of Trotcon, who was notified of the situation going on, as it was looking like the con she has put so much work into was going to get pulled into this mess. Rest assured that I have found a solution to the situation that doesn’t involve either party forced or feeling the need to make new travel arrangements so close to the con.
Probably the biggest shame in all of this is the timing, as it happened to unfold in the wee hours of what is known as the Day of Silence: a worldwide day of protest in response to the needless bullying of LGBT youth, whom are quite often driven to harm or suicide on account of people thinking it’s okay to mock someone for being different. We are all different, and that is what makes each of us special. Nobody should be judged for who they are, and it’s especially hurtful when I see it happening in the brony community, because honestly people: My Little Pony has taught you better than that.
In the wake of this day of protest and the events that have unfolded, I’d like to close with a personal experience from my youth that I not only feel is relevant to both parties in this matter, but an important highlight of the issue Day of Silence is about.
In my senior year of high school, I had an unfortunate encounter with a fellow student that resulted in me being suspended for a week for using a racial slur. I know. That’s terrible, but stay with me here. While I’m not a fan of any of these societal labels (I’m simply me, and that’s all that matters), I am, depending on who you ask for these labels, either straight, ally, or metrosexual. I was friends with several homosexual students in my school, including my best friend who I ended up rooming with my freshman year of university. Because of the foolish assumptions of other students, and because the only girls I dated in these years attended other schools, there were rumors I was ‘gay’ as well.
This led to my classmate approaching me during class one day and using the slur ‘faggot’ when addressing me. Not only was I offended that he thought he could simply assume my sexual identity, but that he thought my sexual identity was grounds for mockery. I did not respond with violence or hatred, I simply told him to his face that his choice of words was hurtful to many friends I had, and that the word he used carried the same kind of weight to my friends as the word ‘nigger’ did to him as an African-American.
He decided to cry to a teacher that I had used a racial slur, and I was appropriately punished for using the word, although I defend to this day it was only used in an appropriate context to prove a point. However, my school did not believe the use of the word ‘faggot’ was offensive, and my classmate was not punished for his actions, and I doubt learned anything from the experience.
I’d like to point out at the close of this tale that since then, I’ve learned that a few of the bronies in the local fandom I help run are students are my old high school, and have become instrumental in founding a Gay/Straight Alliance on the campus.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words still hurt.
Love and TOLERATE,