(vaguely spoilery for Season Three of Doctor Who)
There’s a person in this television show who tells a protagonist that he is not alone. We (the kinky, the queer, the geeky, the otherwise peculiar and marginalized young people) hear this line a lot. “College is where you start making friends that are actually like you,” was a piece of not-actually-advice my mother doled out about middle and high school friendships. Waiting to become a person is miserable, as is fighting the gnawing fear that one will, actually, be alone in one’s peculiarities forever. This is part of why I love Kink For All, about which I intend to post more more later.
Later on in that television show, this protagonist meets a person who shares a trait with him that he’d believed he was the only living person with. That incident gets referred to in fandom as YANA (You Are Not Alone). It is that moment, extrapolated autobiographically, that I want to discuss here.
Merlin was the first boy I knew who really believed in magic, and the first bisexual person I knew in offline life, and the first guy to run a roleplaying game I was in. I’m still loyal to him and awed by him, in a way, and I think some of that is YANA powers.
Sort of similarly, actually, part of my awe and fascination with Maymay when I was reading his blog in high school was his /realness/, his self-doubt and programmer tendencies and ethical humanity combined with his openness about his sexual practices. I…think I wasn’t a completely awkward sketchy fangirl when I met him, but I’m not convinced. I could go on (the first BDSM partner I had, the first girl I kissed, my first poly experiences), but suffice it to say I’m incredibly grateful for these people and the effects they’ve had on my life by being open about their own have been fantastic.
I’ve also been this person more than once now: the first Jew, the first tabletop gamer, the first madgirl, and just this month the first semi-out kinky girl. Sometimes that’s been weirdly disorienting (you mean you don’t know any others? really?), but it has mostly been an incredibly rewarding thing. When one is out, one gets asked to act as counselor/educator for everybody who can’t/won’t yet come out and/or who is merely curious.
That rush of recognition, empathy, and connection can be incredibly valuable, and my identification with this moment from the show as one of the stories of my life motivated me to craft and carry a fobwatch of the kind from Doctor Who for a while. The watch has since broken, but part of why I made it was the number of “oh damn how do I be one of these?” conversations I’ve had with other folks about my identities. Everyone: “it gets better” is trite and not necessarily true. “It sucks to be you right now, I’m sorry about that, we should try to build a world where fewer of these things suck for fewer people” more accurately sums up my stance.
I’m a big, big believer in the acquaintance effect as one of the great side-effects of cities and ways of demolishing intolerance. This was one of the things that motivated me to come out as queer, and that is motivating me to strongly consider being more fully out as kinky.
Of course, one may also get described as the freak show. I know a girl in middle school, Killjoy, who wears dark eyeliner, argues against homophobia, is tall and solidly built (a bit more so than I was at that age), and loves loud, angry music. As a result of these, one of her best friends’ sisters insists that Killjoy is terrifying and “probably going to rob a bank.” One of the things I’ve told Killjoy about the stares and uncertain/hesitant interactions people tend to do with her, and the weird tones of voice folks use to say her name, is that not all of that is the belief that she is a proto-felon.
Honey, some of those “preps” just wish to Goddess they had half your gonads half as often as you do. Being really out there, and un-apologetically yourself, and morally internally consistent, and doing what you like without giving any fucks what they think is gloriously liberating and fun as much as it can be scary. Some of the attention we get from less odd people is about jealous admiration for the way we live our lives.
 So pseudonymed from your role in the school play and your wisdom. We meet towards the end of my freshman year of high school, and hardly ever talk now.
 You gave me a Free Bradley Manning sticker that I still wear proudly on my laptop, I was the one with the yellow car at KFAPVD2 this spring.
 This word is in the Terms section of this blog, which has been recently updated, as is the rest of the jargon/slang I use that you, dear reader, may not have heard before.
 YANA is a recurrent motif. The main theme seems to be “and then it got weirder.”
 Google’s failing me, but I know I’ve read this on psychology blogs before, curse it. Essentially, the more minority (i.e. Muslim) people one knows as acquaintances or people one interacts with in ordinary life, the less likely one is to hold stereotyped or nasty beliefs about all people with that minority identity.
 Pseudonymed thus in reference to her bandom.
 This is an actual quote. Do note also that Killjoy is white, affluent, twelve, and relatively pacifist.
 I try to avoid negative terminology for less odd people, hence my preference for “not kinky” over “vanilla” and “non-LARPer” over “mundane.” This is Killjoy’s label, not mine.