An Open Letter to Cory Michael Smith

First, I want to say that I respect you, that I appreciate you, that I think your portrayal of Ed is wonderful and layered and nuanced.

And then I want to say that queer fans are exhausted. We’re so tired. We’re so tired of being told to “wait and see” to “be patient.”

This isn’t really about you, Cory. This isn’t really about Ed and Oswald. It’s about the broader picture, and I think that’s where you aren’t lining up with your fans, why people keep asking, “when, when, when.”

When will we be seen?

 

This is about queer fans asking, over and over again, for representation. For not just one-offs, to be shown that we can be loved and we deserve love.

This is about Once Upon a Time telling us, “wait and see” and giving us a one-episode arc. An afterschool special. “Look, we gave you what you asked for,” but what we asked for wasn’t to be tossed aside after an episode. Because we still exist, not just in the margins, but every day.

You are one of us, you should know this.

This is about the writers of the Squirrel Girl comic saying, “Wait and see,” those words, to my friend directly, about queer rep. And?

Nothing.

Nothing at all.

This is about Agents of Shield saying, “Yes, we see you, we will include you,” literally, to my face, Clark Gregg said that we were going to see LGBT rep in…season three, was it? I asked, at the Nerd HQ Marvel panel in 2015.

And that rep? Joey, six or so episodes, vanished without a trace.

That’s what we are. We vanish. We’re magicians, all.

Here and then gone, and forgotten, too, working memory charms so you never even remember that we were there.

 

And Gotham. Oh, Gotham.

Yes, Oswald is queer. He’s also the only, only, male lead without a reciprocated romance arc.

The only one.

Is it because he’s queer? Is it because he’s disabled? Is it both?

This is about Ed and and isn’t, because Ed has been set up narratively, whether it was intended or not, death of the author and all, as a foil, as the romantic interest.

And not just set up, but keeps being set up, and then ripped away.

Ripped away, and then brought back to life with the Gotham twitter account and their egregious hashtag usage.

You want it to slip away? You want us to stop begging for it?

Let it go, then. For real, for good, forever.

 

 

We’re just asking for the same as everyone else; to be loved, to be shown that we are capable of love, of being loved, that we DESERVE THAT.

 

And you, Cory. I don’t think I’d be as upset if you hadn’t come out.

But you did. You’re out. You’re out and you’re visible and you’re one of us. So be one of us.

Read the room, do your research. I don’t know your life, I don’t pretend to know your life. But you’re out, and that means…

Well, you don’t have to do anything, but it’d be nice if you listened to us. To your community.

Because, again, this isn’t about you, not really.

You’re one piece of the larger media landscape. And the larger media landscape? Sucks.

It’s changing, slowly, agonizingly slowly.

And I still feel invisible.

 

And I know, oh I know, that you don’t control the script. You don’t control the plot or the words that come out of Ed’s mouth. But you control your own words, Cory, you do. And all you have to say is, “I can’t say anything.”

“I see you.”

Just see us, Cory. You don’t have to try to fix this, or argue with this, or fight your way out of this. You don’t have to give us anything, but please. Please. Stop fighting us.

I know you know things that we don’t. I know this. But stop teasing at us. Stop telling us to wait and see, because we’re tired. We’re so tired of being told that and getting shards and scraps and…

We just want to be seen. We just want the same things everyone else wants.

 

And look, Ed/Oswald doesn’t have to be sexual. But also, it can be. And there’s nothing wrong with queer fans wanting to see a sexual relationship between two queer consenting adults. Queer men, and queer disabled men, can be sexual, can be sexually desirable. That’s not taboo, and you should know that.

Don’t tell fans to get their minds out of the gutter, when so many just want to be shown that they are desirable, that they can be loved. It’s important, Cory. I promise.

Friendship is important, but we see so much male friendship, honestly. Yes, more is always good, but we are STARVING for queer representation. Honestly, starving.

There’s more than there was, it’s true.

 

But there’s still so little, that every barbed scrap feels like a feast, and when it’s taken away, or it’s teased over our heads, we feel like Tantalus, always reaching for something that’s just at the tip of our fingers, just about to be taken away.

We are begging for scraps, at all times, and when we get those scraps, these awful shards that rip at our throats, and we ask for more, we’re un-fucking-grateful.

“We gave you what you asked for,” they say. But look around, at everything else, at what everyone else is getting, and then tell us we’re asking for too much.

 

So, my long rambling message to you draws to an end. You’ll probably never read this, I’m really fucking wordy, I know.

Thank you, truly, for Ed Nygma. I love him, honestly, I do. I bought a green suit and a bowler hat. I love Ed.

 

Now please stop arguing with fans, and see us.

 

Much love,

Meira

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