The Problem With the Brony Community
It’s taken me a long time to come to this conclusion, so know I don’t make it lightly. The brony fandom is not as welcoming, friendly, and inclusive as it advertises itself as. While I consider myself a brony/pegasister, and am a huge fan of the My Little Pony show and all the fan works that it has spawned, I’ve never truly felt like part of the community. I’ve tried– oh god have I tried. I’ve just never been accepted. This makes me extremely sad and frustrated. I wanted to address this publicly and explain what helped me come to this conclusion so that others in my position wouldn’t feel as alone as I have. I’m sure there are many others like me.
I came to the brony fandom between season 1 and 2 of the show. Rachel and I found a fan work on YouTube and at the time, thought it was done by the show itself. Fans couldn’t create something this amusing. Based on that, we bought season 1 on iTunes and started watching it. Rachel was hooked right away, and I fell in love after about six episodes. When I learned the scope of the fandom, I decided to jump in head first.
Initially, since I was still on Reddit, I joined the main pony subreddit. I tried to contribute to posts, but almost never got replies or upvotes on comments, no matter how well thought out they were. I figured that this must just be Reddit, so I just let it go. I also joined several pony message forums and tried to join the communities there. My original posts never got any replies, and my comments on other threads were overlooked and never acknowledged. After six months of trying to be a part of these forums, I gave up completely.
One thing that bronies are big on is music. There are tons of remixes of songs from the show and also lots of original works. One of my favorites, and a fairly popular one to remix, was Pinkie Pie’s Smile Song. I decided to put my own twist on this and remix it. This is around the time my hand disability was about to become so bad it was going to push me out of music writing for good, so it was a lot of work. I removed the original instrumental track and did my own in a dark industrial style. I even adding my own death metalish backing vocals to go with the original Pinkie Pie vocals. I then edited it together with the video footage from the actual episode. I submitted links to my video on Reddit, the pony forums I was part of, and Equestria Daily. On Reddit, it was downvoted into non-existence in every pony forum I posted it. On the message boards, it was ignored. Equestria Daily never even replied to my submission email and never posted the video. To this day, it has under 100 views and mostly negative votes. I know it’s not bad. I just don’t know why the reaction has been what it is.
When BronyCon 2014 was something that was bound to happen for us, I applied to be a band performing at Bronypalooza. In my application, I mentioned my hand issues and said that it would be my farewell performance. I was going to do my version of the Smile Song and a handful of original songs and that I’d be happy with even just twenty minutes of stage time. I didn’t’ get a reply for months only to finally be told I’d be a better fit for their “open mic” thing. I wasn’t told anything about that and how it would work, even after asking. I finally had to just give up on having a farewell performance for my prestigious 17 year music career. At this point, I was beginning to get used to the radio silence on everything.
Finally, there was BronyCon 2014. Rachel and I went in full cosplay. We were barely acknowledged the entire time. The only time someone spoke to me was when I had the yellow or red tags showing on my badge from being overwhelmed. I did have a picture taken of me by someone who said they were BronyCon staff while I was dressed up, but after looking at all ~3000 photos from the weekend, I wasn’t anywhere to be seen. I shouldn’t be surprised. I also submitted photos of my two cosplays and Rachel’s Flufflepuff cosplay to Equestria Daily. I got no reply to the submission and wasn’t included in the most recent cosplay gallery. I don’t know if it’s because we can’t stand to be out in the bright sun or if we’re just not pretty enough or something.
When I contacted BronyCon staff in advance about disability accommodations, I was told just to ask about them from the staff on site and I’d be able to get anything I needed. Problem is, it didn’t work like this. When I needed staff, there were none to find. I’d try contacting someone via the BronyCon twitter account and no one would ever answer. Even when I did get help, they had no idea what to do and didn’t listen to what I needed, so I never got the accommodations I needed. It was a massive failure and kept me from accessing several part of the con I wanted to be part of. When I wrote my open letter and showed it to the people that ran BronyCon, the reply I got was along the lines of: You seemed to have a problem more with the hotel and you liked the con. Go complain to the hotel. It totally missed the issue of accessibility and showed they either don’t care, don’t understand, or possibly both.
Lastly, while at BronyCon, I was constantly misgendered and called male pronouns and the like. I know there are a bunch of guys in dresses, but this even happened when in my street clothes (skirt, tight t-shirt with boobs clearly visible). When I would correct people, they’d pretend not to hear, or just ignore it and keep up with the male pronouns. Again, it’s like no one cared about my feelings on this.
I’m leaving out several other events to just report the most blatent and obvious issues I’ve encountered. I’m still a pegasister, but I just don’t feel like I’m part of the fan community or that I ever will be. It’s truly sad considering the amount of passion I have for the series. All of this goes to show that bronies aren’t as friendly and welcoming as they claim to be.
Sharing this here for all the aspies in the same spot as me. I wrote this earlier today for my personal blog, but it applies here, too.
Autism isn’t something a person has, or a “shell” that a person is trapped inside. There’s no normal child hidden behind the autism. Autism is a way of being. It is pervasive; it colors every experience, every sensation, perception, thought, emotion, and encounter, every aspect of existence. It is not possible to separate the autism from the person—and if it were possible, the person you’d have left would not be the same person you started with.
This is important, so take a moment to consider it: Autism is a way of being. It is not possible to separate the person from the autism.
Therefore, when parents say,
I wish my child did not have autism,
what they’re really saying is,
I wish the autistic child I have did not exist, and I had a different (non-autistic) child instead.
Read that again. This is what we hear when you mourn over our existence. This is what we hear when you pray for a cure. This is what we know, when you tell us of your fondest hopes and dreams for us: that your greatest wish is that one day we will cease to be, and strangers you can love will move in behind our faces.— Jim Sinclair, “Don’t Mourn For Us” x (via andrandiriel)
the book delling and i are going to co-author about being young and chronically ill
- Sef Cosmia: Chapter 1: You're Smiling Too Much To Be Sick
- Gab: Chapter 2: Wish I Could Stay Home In Bed All Day Too
- Sef Cosmia: Chapter 3: But You Did A Thing
- Gab: Chapter 4: Have You Tried This Diet Yet
- Sef Cosmia: Chapter 5: What About This One
- Gab: Chapter 6: My Cousin-In-Law's Adopted Stepsister Swears By Meditation
- Sef Cosmia: Chapter 7: Other People Have It Worse You Know
- Gab: Chapter 8: That's Not A Real Thing!
- Sef Cosmia: Chapter 9: You Got It From Vaccinations
Let’s be real, in a time before the internet people didn’t have more adventures and make more meaningful connections. They watched TV and listened to CDs. Before that they listened to records and read magazines. Before that they listened to the radio and read bad dime novels. Before that they embroidered or some shit.
People have been staying inside and ignoring other people for as long as there have been buildings.
This is the damned truth. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise :)
Your brain is not a democracy
Your brain is not a democracy.
You get to decide what you believe. You can think things that no one else agrees with. You can also like things no one else likes.
You can and must think for yourself.
If someone calls you out for something, it’s important to listen to them, and to think through whether or not you think they are right.
If a teacher or therapist tells you that something is socially inappropriate, it’s important to think through whether or not you agree.
If everyone tells you that a TV show you like is awful, it is still ok for you to decide whether you like it
If everyone tells you that something you like isn’t age appropriate, it’s still ok for you to decide you like it.
Your thoughts and tastes are yours. You are the one who should decide what you like, believe, and spend time doing.
Beautiful points :)
very powerful. please read the entire essay. tw for abuse and assault against women with disabilities.