I was debating whether or not I should include another gif and ultimately decided against it as I try to make my posts more content-focused. But everyone in the lesbian world of shipping knows damn well that one more gif would’ve lead to gifs of every lesbian relationship ever portrayed on television, which we know them all. The Queer fandom world is unlike any audience I’ve ever been a part of; occupied by some of the most talented, devoted, and passionate people I’ve had the pleasure of admiring. With social media platforms like Tumblr it’s easier than ever for us to share our fantasies and interpretations of our favorite onscreen relationships in the form of fanfics, gifs, and everything else in between. While I enjoy every single minute of scrolling and reading, sometimes I stop to think is it sad that I’m practically living an important aspect of my life through glowing screens?
For those of us who don’t have that great group of lesbian friends like the ladies of The Real L Word, where else are we supposed to go for a community that feels like a friendship? The art of shipping fictional characters (yes it’s totally an art) may appear a bit insane to outsiders, but I completely understand and appreciate the necessity for it. It’s an expression and manifestation of the things we hope for ourselves, the things we don’t see in everyday life because we may not know a lesbian couple personally. Years ago when South of Nowhere first aired in 2005 I remember so badly wanting to talk to anyone about my love for Spencer and Ashley (Shipping name: Spashley). I wasn’t out yet and I had never heard of anyone else mentioning the show so I just kept everything to myself. Luckily I was pretty tech obsessed and ended up finding the Spashley message boards online where I would sift through posts finding obsessed girls like me as well as the confused and scared. Message boards, the original Tumblrs without the breadth of personalization, gifs, audio, video, and well… pretty much everything. But it’s all we had and I know how much they helped me discover myself and share parts of me with strangers who felt similarly.
Fandoms of the Queer persuasion also know how frustrating it is to be a devoted shipper, as the relationships we crave are more often than not destroyed and/or ruined in the least favorable of ways. Yes I’m sure we’re aware that not all of our beloved relationships can go exactly as we’d like, but can we have just one that works out, gets adequate story time, and avoids making generalizations or upholding stereotypes?! Networks, I do applaud you though for the strides you’ve made and keep making i.e. The Fosters and maybe Grey’s Anatomy? Calzona of Grey’s Anatomy is one of the few relationships I’m not familiar with because I haven’t watched the show since season 1 aired 100 years ago. However, you better believe I’ve seen the gifs and quotes from the couple on Tumblr so basically I know them. I’m glad we can be here for each other in our times of need.
At the end of the day I’m never truly embarrassed or sad that some of my most significant sources of joy come from those awesome users that run fandom Tumblrs like a well-oiled machine. You can always count on them for gifs generated literally 2mins after an episode airs (seriously how the hell do you guys do that?), questions answered, theories proposed, and overall companionship. This only becomes a potential social misstep if you lose the ability to keep a grasp on reality and the real life relationships that you should be cultivating. That’s not an issue for me at all but it would be nice to have that close “lezbro” who gets unnecessarily excited when your favorite queer characters look at each other in that way. I’m sure that lezbro (or maybe even girlfriend) will come along someday so until then I will unabashedly continue to dive deep in the waves of queer shippers and fandoms.