Transcript: Track 19: Pride
Episode 19 posted June 25, 2021
Transcript by goldenraeofsun
Links to all fics mentioned can be found on the main episode post.
Ellen: Hi everyone, welcome to the nineteenth episode of the Mixtape Book Club Podcast. My name is Ellen.
Mal: And my name is Mal.
Ellen: In each episode we take a look at a different trope or subgenres in the huge collection of destiel fanfiction. Today, although we’re nearly at the end of June now, it’s still Pride month, so we’re going to discuss a few fics involving characters in Supernatural coming out or their sexuality or other queer topics and just Pride celebrations in general.
Mal: To discuss his fic, The Last Night on Earth, we’d like to welcome the author the_communist_unicorn, also known as Koby. Hey, Koby!
Ellen: The other fics we’re going to discuss today are Pride by tricia_16 and Purple Horse in a Coffee Shop by almaasi.
Mal: Links to all the fics we’re talking about today will, as always, be available in this episode’s post on mixtapebookclub.com and included in our collection on AO3.
Ellen: So, before we start getting into the Pride stuff, Koby we invited you on today because you write a very informative, no holds barred column on Facebook [laughter] called Ask a Unicorn, I believe. Would you like to start by just telling us – telling everyone what that’s about, and why you decided to start writing that?
Koby: Sure. As most people who read my stories are probably aware, I am a gay man, and so when I interacted with other Destiel people on Facebook, I would start getting a lot of questions from writers messaging me with questions about – sex questions even – and also just questions about relationships in general and gay culture, and they really wanted to make sure they were portraying everything accurately and respectfully. And so I answered their questions as best I could, but I also started to wonder if maybe there were people out there who had questions they were too embarrassed to ask, or if they didn’t feel comfortable messaging a stranger on Facebook with sex questions and stuff.
So my friend, Dani, in the Destiel writers and readers group showed me how to set up an anonymous form on Google where people could submit questions, and that became the Ask Your Friendly Neighborhood Unicorn column where I would – it started out as twice a week, I’ve had to step it back lately, but now it’s more like every other week. But I would publish a question and an answer every week, and everything is completely anonymous. I don’t know who the questions are from, but I do my best to answer them as thoroughly as I am able. And I also just recently started posting them on AO3 as well.
Ellen: You’ve already started them on AO3? That’s great. So if people would want to read, you know, some of your answers there, they can just go to your AO3 page and have a look.
Koby: Yep, it’s right there. It’s called Ask Your Friendly Neighborhood Unicorn and the only tag it has, though, is “this is not a fic” [laughter]
Ellen: So I’ve got to thank you for, you know, teaching the writers of Destiel fiction a bit more about how gay sex actually works and that kind of thing ‘cause I feel like a lot of us are kind of – are women to start with, and obviously don’t have experience in that field. But do you find when you’re reading fics that people tend to represent that kind of thing poorly? Or do people generally do an OK job of it? What do you think?
Koby: In general people are pretty good at it. There have been a few and I’m not going to name names, but there have been a few that kind of make cringe a little bit, but, in general people actually are pretty good, and I’ve even found that when I come across something that really upsets me in a fic, if I leave a nice, polite comment telling the author, ‘You know, you kind of got this a little bit wrong,’ or ‘what you said here was a little bit offensive.’
I’ve even had – we’re discussing one of her fics today, Tricia. She was very welcoming of my feedback, and she actually changed something in her story because she made – there was something in a story about them not having had sex yet or something, and the truth was that they had; they just hadn’t had penetrative sex yet. And that is kind of a pet peeve of mine, that belief that that’s the only kind of sex between two men that counts as real sex. So I left her a polite comment, saying this is a little bit – this is a little bit hurtful, the way you phrased it, and she actually went back and changed the wording in the chapter so that it no longer said that.
Ellen: Well that’s good. I’m sure not everyone’s receptive to that kind of thing
Koby: Yeah, I try to pick my audience. I already had a little bit of a – I had commented on a lot of her stories and received replies from her, and she knew that I wasn’t attacking her as a writer, I was just, you know, trying to talk to her as a person. I wasn’t trying to be critical, so I think it helps. You don’t want it to be the first comment you leave on anybody’s stories, but once you have a feel for the person, usually, I find, if you phrase it the right way, people are receptive to feedback.
Mal: I was just thinking about the fact that Koby said that was a pet peeve. It’s definitely something that came up recently for me as well as a pet peeve as somebody commenting on one of my stories basically saying that by the end of the story, Cas was still a virgin when he definitely was not. So it’s definitely something that, I think, comes up, you know, comes up periodically in people’s stories and such, and it’s actually quite nice ‘cause I’ll be able to direct them to Ask a Unicorn now.
Koby: Thank you. I think I commented on your story Give Me a Sign I think I thanked you for, like, not going – not making them just – I think a lot of writers sometimes – they just kind of put in the penetrative sex they feel obligated to do it whether or not it makes sense in that moment in the relationship, whether that’s really something that the characters would be comfortable with at that point in time, and I think I left you a comment, Mal, saying thank you for really not going there when it wouldn’t have been realistic.
Mal: Yeah, because it’s all based on the character and that would not have been appropriate at that point- [laughter]
Koby: At that point in the relationship, Cas was not there yet.
Mal: Yeah, I think if Dean had suggested or pressured him into that, that would have been a huge red flag. I would have had some words for Dean at that point [laughs]
Koby: Dean was good and he thought about what Cas needed and he made it, you know, feel good to him and it was much better than if they had just, you know, gone for that because it was the thing to do.
Mal: And purely from a writing and reading perspective, I also just want it to be known fandom-wide that it doesn’t have to be penetrative to be hot. It doesn’t, at all. So you can put the work in, and just do something slightly different. That’s all.
Ellen: I wasn’t sure this was actually going to be a sex ed, you know, episode today, but okay. That’s cool.
Ellen: So let’s talk about Dean and Cas themselves for a bit, then. I guess a lot of the time, like Pride in stories is such a great sort of topic, I guess, because in the show itself, they weren’t like – obviously we have a perception that the two characters are queer, and that they have a relationship together obviously, but, in the show, they were never really allowed to express that even though that there was plenty of subtext to suggest that, you know, Dean was certainly attracted to guys at some points. And obviously at the end, we had Cas who actually, you know, had his confession and told Dean that he loved him, so at least we got that. But how important is it to you that there are these stories were Dean and Cas can be represented as queer as openly rather than than how they’re represented in the show?
Koby: Very important [laughs]
Koby: You don’t want me to go off on a rant about the finale because that’s not what this is about, but I think even before that, it was a great, you know, it was – what’s the word I’m looking for – it was comforting to me in a way, that I could see this in the way they interacted in the show and then I would talk to other Supernatural fans who were not shippers, and they would not be able to see it. And I’m like, how do you not see it, and I think just getting into the Destiel portion of the fandom and seeing that there were other people who definitely saw it, and that I was not imagining this, I wasn’t projecting, I wasn’t making this up – that there were hundreds if not thousands of people out there who, you know, also saw it, and it wasn’t all in my head. It was very validating.
Mal: I was just going to say, I think there’s probably something to be said for the fact that there’s a very high percentage of queer people within the Destiel fandom, and I think it may simply come down to the fact that maybe some people can’t see what they aren’t familiar with, maybe. That they didn’t necessarily see Destiel just because it was never on their radar, at all. They just didn’t think about it, not maybe used to looking at things in that way. Whereas queer audiences have historically always had to rely on subtext, which we could go – I could really go on for a long time about the history of queer cinema, but I won’t [laughter] but historically before it’s had to rely on subtext and little nods here and there, whether those were intended with good intentions or not really depends a lot depends on the time in history when that happened, but I think we’re kind of almost coded to pick up on those things, maybe, after a while.
Ellen: We’re well trained.
Koby: I also mentioned this in an Ask a Unicorn column just a couple weeks ago that, in general, because of the way we live, being queer, you become very good at reading subtle cues in people. You become very good at picking up on signals that other people would overlook because it’s a survival skill. It really is, that you learn how to pick out your people when they can’t come right out and say it, you know. No pun intended, coming out, but they can’t necessarily approach you, and you have to be able to spot them without them being too obvious about it, and I think that’s one of the reasons why we tend to see these things even in fictional characters that you know – Dean comes off, sometimes it’s true he comes off very aggressively straight, but to someone who has lived that life themselves, you can see how much overcompensation that is, and how much of that is really an act and him consciously wanting to appear straight because he knows he’s not. Subtext! That in general we are very tuned into more subtle signals that other people would overlook.
Mal: I think there’s a variety of views of Dean’s sexuality within the fandom. I have definitely always ascribed the idea that Dean 100% knows. He’s 100% aware of himself. And, you know, to me the choices he makes only reinforce that, that he’s very aware. And he’s making those choices to try to present something differently. I have heard, and I do kind of agree – I can get my head around the idea that Dean is quite possibly bisexual and homoromantic. I can get my head around that. I can understand that. I’ve heard lots of different interpretations of his sexuality, so I’m just curious what you two think. Like, how you would, it’s not nice to label people without their consent, but as he’s a fictional character, I think we can get away with it. [laughs]
Ellen: What do you think, Koby? I’ll go after you.
Koby: I’ve written him a couple of different ways. I actually have another story where he was – where he labelled himself as gay not bi, and I didn’t really – the story was relatively short so I didn’t really go into all the reasoning behind that and how he came to that decision, but I think it was that he was, in my head at least, he’s much more, how to put this, he’s really, he’s really – the best example I can give is I see him as being very much like my husband. He identifies as himself as bi, but he will admit that he is a little bit more inclined more towards men physically and completely inclined towards men romantically, and so I think that he – even though – from his experiences and his life, he chose to identify as bi, another person with similar experiences might very well go have chosen to identify as gay and say, you know, at some level I like both, but that I really like my own gender more, and especially when it comes to relationships, I like my own gender more, and so I think that can, like Mal said, you shouldn’t presume to label people. People choose their own labels, but in the case of fictional characters, you know, Dean can’t really – my version of Dean can choose whatever labels I want him to choose. And I have written stories where he labelled himself as gay because he just felt not necessarily completely averse to women but more inclined towards men. Did that make sense?
Mal: That makes perfect sense, and I think it’s a really, just generally good point to discuss in this sort of episode that, you know, people can label themselves however they choose to and obviously those labels can evolve as well. I’m sure when Dean was younger he probably thought that he was straight, maybe, up to a certain point. Just because that was what was around him. And I feel like we all started off with that assumption at some point in our lives. And then –
Koby: And especially if you’re bi. I think a lot of people don’t understand bi, and a lot of people don’t even really know that it exists. And it can get pretty confusing if you’re growing up and you’re having these feelings towards both genders but you don’t know that – I think a lot of people, they think, you know, I like boys so that makes me gay. They don’t know that there is another label that is an option for them.
Mal: Especially someone in Dean’s generation as well. I think people who, like, teenagers and people in their early twenties now have so much more exposure and options to think about than maybe even I did when I was younger. Just ‘cause people are so much more online and it’s so much easier to find information and to find other people that you can connect with and just talk to and be yourself with. Whereas that was not the case for me when I was a kid I was surrounded by, you know, very strict Orthodox church people, and it was a very different side than I am in life now. So for Dean’s generation, I think it’s – I actually quite like stories where they represent the fact that it’s probably not been that clear cut for him. It’s not just been – Dean didn’t just wake up one day and think, oh okay, I’m gay now. Nobody does that. That’s not how it works.
Koby: And that education is very important. I think a lot of what you see in Dean is an object lesson in the fact that education about these things is important from very early on. People talk about how, you know, you’re going to confuse the children. The fact is those of us who really need the education, we’re already confused. We’ve been confused since, you know, since puberty – many of us even earlier than that. Not telling people about these things doesn’t stop them from being confused. It just makes them feel like there’s something wrong with them, you know. It doesn’t stop them – it doesn’t turn them straight. You’re not going to turn them straight. You’re not going to turn them cis just by telling them that’s the only option, you know. You’re just going to make them go through their life feeling like a round peg trying to be squashed into a square hole, and the more you bang on it, the more wrong it feels.
Mal: The duckling can be raised by a goose, but it’s still going to be a duck. That’s just the main thing.
Koby: It’s going to be a very confused duck.
Ellen: Speaking of raising, a lot of the stories assume that it’s John Winchester’s fault that he – they paint him as being homophobic or whatever and/or abusive of, you know, at discovering Dean with a guy or whatever. Whereas I don’t think anywhere in the show he actually says anything to indicate that that might be the case, but it’s very – it’s a convenient way to bring on that – the repression in Dean, you know.
Koby: I know I did that, definitely. In even Last Night on Earth I had a specific incident described…
Ellen: That’s right
Koby: with John that was kind of the catalyst for Dean, you know, shoving himself way back in the closet until he met Cas, that this thing that happened when he was a kid had haunted him his whole life. And now he’s, you know, he’s thirty years old, and he still can’t get past it.
Ellen: Shall we talk about Last Night On Earth for a little bit and then maybe we can go onto talk about Pride later once we’re in the other fics that involve parades and so on? Would you be willing to read us the summary, Koby?
Koby: Sure, hang on. Here we go. After their disastrous trip to the brothel, Dean takes a more direct approach to getting Cas de-virginized … and gets a lot more than he bargained for. With the world on the fast track to Armageddon, can Dean finally find the courage to reveal the secret he’s kept for almost twenty years?
Ellen: Thank you. So you published this last year. It’s 75,000 words.
Koby: Actually, I published it in 2019. I only transferred it over – I copied it over to AO3 in 2020, so the date on it is a little bit misleading.
Ellen: So it’s on fanfic.net as well? Is that right?
Koby: Mm hm, yes. Almost all of it.
Ellen: And it’s got an explicit tag and also does have Major Character Death and homophobia tags as well, if people are, you know, wanting to avoid those things. But it is obviously a temporary Major Character Death, so –
Koby: Well, not to give any spoilers, but not all the Major Character Death is temporary. The majority of it is; one of them is not.
Ellen: Aw jeez, I haven’t made it all the way to the end. Now I’m a bit worried. Okay. [nervous laughter]
Koby: But it’s not Dean or Cas. Dean and Cas both survive to the end of the story, and it does – it does have a happy – if somewhat bittersweet – ending.
Ellen: Alright, so, I mean, the idea behind this is that in – I want to say season 5, is that right?
Ellen: I haven’t watched those in a while. So they’re going through the first armageddon. They’re trying to stop Dean and Sam from saying yes to Michael and Lucifer. And going through that whole season 5 stuff but with – after the brothel ‘last night on Earth’ deal, Dean and Cas actually hooked up, and now they’re having an actual relationship during the apocalypse, which is interesting.
Koby: Uh huh
Ellen: I was going to say, I love the way that you sort of wove Destiel bits into each of the episodes for this, as though like an episodic kind of story. It’s well done.
Koby: It was originally – the plan – it was supposed to be a very different kind of story. It was supposed to be – not have much plot of its own. It was really just supposed to be like inserting the DeanCas sex scene into each episode of season 5. And then somewhere along the way, in order to justify the sex scenes and to explain why they keep doing this, I ended up writing a novel about love and homophobia and all that stuff. And it just kind of – I still to this day have no idea how that happened. [laughs]
Ellen: Yes, so you’ve got this thread running through where Dean – he wants to keep it a secret from Sam, who doesn’t want to sort of tell anybody about this. And we don’t find out until halfway through basically that’s it’s – mild spoilers but not really – that he’s, yeah, as you said earlier, he’s made a promise to John that he wouldn’t tell anybody that he was, you know, bi or whatever. And that creates a little bit of tension between him and Cas.
Koby: Yeah, that’s a very contentious point between them, that Cas wants to make their relationship public, but he understands that Dean isn’t ready but at the same time it’s difficult for him, and they sort of have a bit of a push and pull there. But Cas is trying his very hardest to be patient with Dean, but sometimes he is – he isn’t only human – but in that respect, he is very human, in that he sometimes slips up and loses his patience. [laughs]
Mal: It’s one of the things I really liked about this story, actually. ‘Cause there’s a – not a tendency – but I have seen it written a lot of the time where you have a closeted character that the out character – there is occasionally a tendancy to demonize them for not being patient enough or not being understanding enough, and, while some of that’s valid, I think it was very interesting to remember that you have to see it from their side as well. They are somebody who is essentially being forced back into the closet, which they have put in the work to leave. So it’s – I really liked that you didn’t do that. And that you did have Cas have these moments where he struggled with being patient with having to hide things that he personally had no wish to hide.
Koby: I’ve personally been on both sides of that situation. I’ve been the one who wasn’t ready yet with a partner who was slowly losing patience with the whole thing. And I’ve been the one who was trying to have a relationship with someone who wasn’t ready to come out yet. And I do understand that it is very, very stressful on both parties involved – that it’s not easy for anyone. You cannot say that one of them has it easier than the other. It’s really very hard on both of them, and you need a very strong foundation for the relationship. You need to be – you need to both be 100% in it, or it’s not going to work. That pressure that it puts on the relationship – not everyone can withstand it, and there’s no shame or guilt in that, in saying, You know, I can’t do this.
Mal: No spoilers to say that yes, in this story, Dean and Cas do make it. [laughs] It’s fine, there is a happy ending. Though, a slightly bittersweet ending, but definitely a happy one.
One of the other things I really liked about this story was the kind of evolution of Dean’s attitude within it. Because at the very beginning of the story, he very much, kind of, blame is a bad word, but he very much tries to put all of the reasoning for being the way he is on this promise that he made to John. And that’s the reason that he’s giving. That’s why things are the way they are. It’s not until later in the story where he begins to – maybe even kind of face for himself that that’s not the whole reason why. That’s not the only reason why he doesn’t want to tell Sam. That he has his own issues to face, that he can’t put it all on John. I really liked the evolution of that. Because it would have been really easy just to say that oh, it’s only because of John, and this is why. And as soon as I get over that, we’ll be just fine. But it’s never that simple and I really liked that you represented that in there.
Koby: Once he acknowledges to himself that the promise is invalid, that he was basically, you know, bullied into it, and it’s not a real promise that he is in any way obligated to keep, but he still – even when he gets to that point, he realizes that’s not – doesn’t fix it. He’s still scared, and he can’t – even though logically he knows that he’s allowed to tell Sam, he can’t still – still can’t yet bring himself to do it. He goes through a lot of iterations of various things. His reasoning for not coming out and his labelling of himself. Is he bi, is he gay? He goes through a lot of confusion and thinking he has found the answer only to realize that that answer was not necessarily not true, but it was too simple, and there was really more to it than that.
Mal: And definitely kudos to Cas for, at no point ever, basically saying I told you so about any of that like he just goes along at Dean’s speed. And lets Dean come to these realizations himself. Although, I think the implication is quite clear that Cas is just like, yes, I know come on Dean. [Laughs]
Koby: There’s a line in there somewhere where Dean thinks to himself, Chuck bless Cas for never saying I told you so.
Ellen: I also love how much Sam was – you know, he didn’t say anything about any of this stuff either even though he was sort of needing brain bleach on several occasions. He knew what was going on in the room upstairs or whatever but he never actually says anything.
Koby: Lots of people tell me they love the combination of Sam being, you know, a little bit oblivious, but he has known this entire time [laughs] and even before he knew that he knew, he knew. Poor Sam puts up with a lot of shit in this story.
Ellen: Yes, we still need to do that Shipper!Sam episode, don’t we?
Mal: Yes. I really liked Sam in this though because you can see that obviously he really does just want Dean to be open and happy, and he’s 100% kind of Shipper!Sam in that aspect. But Sam actually has quite a lot – I don’t think it’s a spoiler – Sam actually has quite a lot of guilt about it in this story, about, you know, thinking that maybe he should have noticed or maybe he said things in the past –
Koby: Mm hm
Mal: – that is helping Dean feel unsafe now.
Mal: And I think that’s interesting because we don’t very often examine Sam from that point of view. That, you know, we either have him being completely Shipper!Sam or completely Oblivious!Sam, and I’m like, okay, but what happens when he crosses over from one to the other. And then has to like look back at his life and the things he said or done that might have been misinterpreted by Dean.
Koby: And he also in the beginning he really doesn’t know – and I’m not sure if this is a spoiler but – he comes to entirely the wrong conclusion at first. And a really bad conclusion. He sees all these signals, and he completely misinterprets it, and he thinks there’s something really bad going on here, and he does almost unintentionally give the impression that he wouldn’t approve because if it was what he thought it was, then he wouldn’t approve, and he would be completely right to not approve, but the fact is that it wasn’t. I’m trying to be as vague as possible here, but he does sort of feel guilty about that after he realizes what is actually going on. He does feel guilty for suspecting Cas of manipulating or mistreating Dean.
Mal: Thank Chuck for Bobby
Koby: Yes, Bobby saves the story!
Mal: He does. Bobby is brilliant in this. He’s definitely, you know, as he is in the show more –
Koby: That was one of my favorite scenes to write [laughs] He just looks at Sam and goes, you are such an idiot sometimes. You seriously don’t know what’s going on here?
Ellen: The other thing that I loved about this story is that Dean can see Cas’s wings, and their – the bond that they have through, you know, the grace kind of bond, and I thought that gave a really lovely aspect to their relationship, that he could see the wings all the time. I’m gonna have to go back and watch like season 5 again just so I can see how you wove all this into each episode.
Koby: That was the origin point of this story actually. The wings was the original idea for the stotry was taht the connection between the scar on Dean’s shoulder and Cas’s grace and the idea that if they did start having sex, then the intimacy would sort of flip a switch and strengthen the connection, and what would be the consequences of that?
Ellen: Well, I was delighted. I didn’t – when I started reading it I didn’t look at the tags, as I often don’t stupidly sometimes –
Koby: Uh oh
Ellen: But in this case I was delighted because I didn’t see the wing kink tag. And so when I started reading it, I was like, ooh.
Koby: Dean has a real thing for Cas’s wings in this story. [laughs]
Ellen: Yes! Very exciting.
Mal: Oh, come on, who wouldn’t.
Koby: And Cas is like – there’s even a moment when he’s like nobody has ever touched my wings before, and Dean has like this brain grinding to a halt, buzzing sound coming out of his mouth moment, like oh my god that’s so hot [laughs] I’m the only person! And poor Cas is completely overwhelmed by it because he had no idea his wings could feel that way. [laughs]
Ellen: Always love a wing kink.
Mal: Okay, so the next fic we’re going to talk about is PRIDE by Tricia_16. This is a shorter fic. It’s just over 18,000 words, and it was published last year at the beginning of 2020. And the summary goes like this:
Married life for Castiel and Dean is pretty much exactly what they hoped it would be: ordinary, but filled with love, laughter, and plenty of orgasms. When ignorance rears its ugly head in a cruel and unexpected way, their simple lives are suddenly not so simple anymore. It’s a rude awakening that shakes them both to the core, but what doesn’t kill them makes them stronger, and thanks to the kindness of strangers, enriches their lives and their relationship in more ways than one.
So, obvious from the summary, this is an Established Relationship story, which is nice to see represented. And it’s also a story that obviously has some homophobic behaivor represented in it, and how they deal with that, and grow from it, which, you know – it’s not always the most pleasant thing to read about that kind of thing, but I really love the way that it was done in this one to start with. And I also sort of think that it’s important. Like, often with fanfic, we have like a happy ever after where they kind of ride off into the sunset, but, you know, the sunset isn’t always perfect, especially not for queer people [laughs]
Ellen: We always knew that Dean and Cas would be like this when they have a relationship, like they’re so loving and kind of, they’ve been together for a while but they’re obviously in love. They have, you know, mind-blowing sex just because they happen to hang up a rainbow flag in the font of their house. You know it’s like – I don’t know. Tricia writes some great sex [laughs]
Koby: Oh yes.
Mal: Yup, she does.
Koby: She’s very good at that. And the rest of the story too. What I really love about her stories is the combination of really really hot smut and also really good plot. Like she can do both equally well, and it never feels like it’s more balanced towards one or the other. It really is a perfect balance of the two. And also, in this one, I really love that there was some discussion of the less romantic parts of sex, shall we say?
Mal: I love that.
Koby: That moment where Cas is like, no, not right now, and he’s like so embarrassed to explain, but Dean understands without him having to say it, like, okay, I got you. I really thought that was a very nice counterpoint to the realism of the established relationship, that this was something they were – Cas didn’t even need to say it. They had been together long enough that he knows what Cas means when he says not right now. [laughs]
Mal: I love depictions of realistic sex in fic. Like, I’m one of those people, like I guess I’m not particularly bothered by reading anything so I’m just like, Yeah, give me all the details, make it realistic. I’m perfectly fine with that. And I think that, I don’t know – sometimes I feel like it’s important to represent that kind of stuff as well.
Fanfic is not and should never be sex education, but we have to accept the fact that actually for a lot of people this is going to be possibly their first exposure to a lot of things. And having it be that little bit more accurate and realistic, that not everything is slippery and wonderful and smells of roses is just, I don’t know – I really like that when I read it in fics. And if someone can take it as well and add a little humor to it because, I mean, [sighs] sex is hilarious. It is. I’m sorry. Sex is just like, humans are weird and awkward, and I like representing that as well.
Koby: I just came across – it wasn’t from Supernatural, but it’s from a different show: 911 Lone Star, which has a canon gay couple in it, and they recently released a little clip of a blooper reel from filming one of the sex scenes, and there’s this moment – and I so want to put it into a fic – there’s this moment where the one guy shoves the other back onto the bed but he over balances because the mattress bounced under him, and he rolls off the side of the bed [laughs] and I really – I wish – it wouldn’t have fit the vibe of the scene, but I really wish they had left that part in because I’ve had that actually happen in real life. That is a risk with bouncy mattresses and everybody a little overexcited. It is – falling off the bed is an actual concern, and I really wish they had shown that in the sex scene. I think that would have been such a great moment.
Ellen: Yes, I appreciated the getting clean thing because, you know, dried crusty jizz on your pubes is not anyone’s idea of fun. [laughs]
Mal: No, I’ve definitely read fic before where it shows them like falling asleep straight after and in the back of my head I’m just like, oh, you’re going to regret that in the morning.
Ellen: Yeah, that’s just kind of gross.
Koby: Was it Dean who cleans them both up? One of them falls asleep, and the other one is like a saint who goes and gets a washcloth.
Ellen: Yeah, Cas fell asleep immediately and Dean cleaned him up and Cas was like thank you in the morning.
Mal: I actually – I love the representation of the partner that falls asleep immediately after sex because that’s me. [laughs] I’m just like, alright done now. Goodnight.
Ellen: But at the same time when someone puts a wet cloth on me, I’m going to wake up again even if I’m really zonked out. If someone puts something wet on me, I’m gonna be, what the hell?
Koby: I’m the other one though, Mal. I’m the one who’s like wide awake and he’s fast asleep and snoring and I’m like, Oh my god, I’m responsible for cleaning up this mess? [laughs]
Mal: So you’re the Dean, okay.
Koby: Yes I’m – well, no, in most things I’m the Cas, but for some reason in that one I’m the Dean.
Mal: Yeah, I was gonna say, for most things I’m Dean, but not this one.
Ellen: Moving away from the sexy stuff, I love how after they do have the, you know, I guess, homophobic, I don’t know, they refer to it as possibly being a hate crime in this, but who knows. No culprit is actually revealed.
Koby: That’s kind of open-ended, exactly, what happened.
Ellen: I liked that the community came together to help them out with it. I thought that was really cool. It was like a nod to the, kind of, found family thing in the actual show where we have Donna and like Ketch is there, and the people in the neighborhood came to help them clean up.
Koby: I believe Tricia said in the notes that it was based on a true story. There was link to a news article about a couple who had this happen, and the neighborhood did the same thing that they do in this story where they all hung up flags so that no one could tell which one was the house of the gay couple.
Ellen: Oh, that’s cool. That’s a lovely bit of solidarity.
Mal: Yeah, that was nice.
Ellen: I forgot to mention earlier, this was one of the ones that – so an AO3 author called NerdyNerdenstein has been doing podfics this month, different pride-themed fics, so this is – @DustyLCanon is her Twitter handle. She’s got a bunch of really awesome podfics that she’s recorded of a few different stories for pride. So we’ll put a link to some of those in the notes as well so if you prefer to listen to your stories instead of reading them, then go and check them out.
Mal: She did one of mine and I got kind of emotional listening to it. It was very strange. [laughs] It is very strange hearing someone else read out your words in a good way. Nothing negative there. It’s just very strange when you hear someone else read them out loud.
Ellen: We’ll talk about your story in a little while [laughs]
Ellen: Yes we will
Mal: We have plenty of stories to talk about. Back onto Tricia’s fic, I really enjoyed this story. For me, it’s – I’ve been on both sides of this story in my life. So I’ve been where Cas and Dean are in this story, and I’ve also been on the side of the concerned friend/community who wanted to help afterwards. And one thing that I really liked was Cas’s whole thought process in the middle of this fic. I don’t think it’s really potentially a spoiler, I think it’s quite a straight forward fic. There’s no sudden twist I’m going to spoil necessarily, but he – when this is happening one of the things he immediately stops to think about was that he has almost a little bit of a panic about how this is going to affect Dean. Because we all don’t get the entirety of their backstory or anything like that in this fic. It is kind of explained and alluded to that obviously Dean is the person who struggled more with coming out, that perhaps he was closeted when they met, maybe, I think that’s inferred at some point. And obviously now they’re both together and very open and happy but whether this experience that Dean is going to be, you know, quite especially traumatic in that way. It was nice that we got to see Cas immediately reflecting on that. Because that’s what a good partner would do [laughs] I think, if you were in that situation you’re in. That had been your history with your partner, I think you would immediately be concerned about how something like that would affect them
Koby: He’s less concerned about his own safety than he is ‘oh my god somebody upset Dean. This cannot stand.’ [laughs]
Ellen: That’s such a canon trait for Cas, though.
Mal: Very, very canon for Cas. Getting him to care about his own well being when there’s a Dean involved, it’s difficult.
Ellen: Let’s go on to the actual Parade one. So Purple Horse in a Coffee Shop is by almaasi. It was published in 2017. It’s only 8,500 words, and it is rated G. So the summary goes like this:
Nobody expects to see a purple horse at a Pride parade. So, naturally, Dean Winchester is surprised to meet his office co-worker and long-term crush, Castiel, riding atop a magnificent steed – and dressed in full wizard regalia, no less. Somehow, Cas thinks he (and his decked-out horse) are wearing grey. They visit a coffee shop with their friends and family, trying to get to the bottom of this mix-up – and apparently the purple horse is coming too.
“One medium black coffee with two sugars; one macchiato; three small soy lattes; one large decaf with a caramel shot – and ten apples, please.”
Yes, they actually do take the horse into the coffee shop which is completely hilarious.
Mal: I was going to say that – I would never expect to see a purple horse, period. But if I was going to see a purple horse, then arguably a pride parade is the first place I would expect to see it.
Ellen: Oh yeah. Well, I loved that this parade itself was a rainbow. Like, they started with people wearing red, and then they went to the orange people, and, you know, they worked their way back until Dean was wearing purple.
Mal: It’s very organized. [laughs]
Ellen: Yeah, extremely organized for a parade. And then it turned out that Cas thought he was wearing grey, but in actual fact –
Koby: I believe it turned out to be a joke played on him by Gabriel [laughs]
Ellen: I mean, I think we just spoiled the entire fic, so I’m sorry. [laughs]
Mal: I think it’s hard not to spoil a 8,000 word fic.
Ellen: That’s true. So I think in this one it’s – I like the idea that some people use for – I haven’t used this in my fics at all – but I like when Cas is ace, in this case like – As a – I feel like as an angel and genderless kind of, you know – and he has no real orientation or whatever. I like the representation of him as ace. I don’t know. I don’t always like to read them because sometimes I’m like, oh but he just really loves Dean. I don’t know. I know that ace people can have sexual attraction, and they do, but I don’t know. It just kind of fits him, to me, sometimes.
Mal: Yeah, one of the things I like about Cas in general is just that there are so many parts of him that different people could connect with or identify with. Actually, one of the things I really like that they did in the show was that they didn’t go out of their way to invalidate any of those. [laughs] And I like the fact that people can still see themselves in Cas almost, I would say, no matter what they identify as, that they can probably see parts of themselves in Cas which is cool.
Koby: What I really loved about this particular one was that there’s no – it works because it’s a shorter fic. If it was going to be, you know, multiple chapters, then you would eventually have to discuss this – but in this one there’s no discussion of exactly what arrange he and Dean come to regarding sex. By the end of the story they’re together, and they’re dating, but there’s no discussion of how they have sex, do they not have sex.
As Ellen said, ace doesn’t ’necessarily mean you never have sex or never want sex. And I really thought – as someone who’s on the asexual spectrum but in a way that is often very complicated to explain to people because the first question you get is like, you do have sex so how are you ace? So, you know, I really found that was a good way to go, whether the author did it intentionally or not. I really loved that because it sort of turned Cas into this all inclusive ace representation that no matter where you fall on the spectrum and no matter what your personal feelings about sex you can still identify with him in this story because it’s never specified exactly what kind of ace he is.
Mal: That’s a really nice way to phrase it.
Ellen: He’s obviously still attracted to Dean in some way. Like, he’s romantically attracted to Dean. But, yeah, they never sort of reveal whether he wants to go any further with that or if they’re just going to be, you know, friends, I guess. They want to go on a date, so that’s a good step.
Koby: They go visit the horse, I believe. [laughs] That’s like one of their – they go visit the horse.
Ellen: That’s right. That’s at the end. They go LARPing. They go to Moondor and stuff.
Koby: Mm hm.
Mal: I love it when Moondor crops up in fics.
Ellen: Me too. What a gift that was to us from the writers.
Mal: Right? I am quite fond of the demisexual Cas headcanon in general. That’s just something my reading of the show tends to agree with. So I do like seeing a bit of asexual Cas representation in fic. I also really like it when there is agender representation of Cas in fic because that is something that, as far as I am concerned, is completely canon and is ignored sometimes.
Mal: I wouldn’t say ignored. It’s just that people choose not to explore it in fic necessarily because of the vessel he’s in, maybe it’s not quite relevant to their story, but I do like it when that’s explored a little bit, so, yeah.
There’s also some really cute art in this story. Almaasi is an artist as well as an author, and I love the purple horse. It’s so cool.
Ellen: It’s cute! It’s got like Dean’s gigantic flag in it as well.
Mal: Then right at the end of the story – no spoilers, really, when you’re talking about an 8,000 word story – but the little sign from the coffee shop that they represented at the bottom, it says We No Longer Serve Horses, Or Wizards. Apologies for the Inconvenience [laughs]
Ellen: That poor person serving them at the cafe, this humongous horse walking in.
Mal: I used to work at the Starbucks franchise during college and when I was reading this, I was just thinking to myself, What would I have done? What would have been my reaction if someone had just strolled a horse in through the door? [laughs] Honestly, it probably would have been the same thing. Just frantically call my manager and be like, There’s a horse, what do I do?
Ellen: That’s what the person did!
Mal: Yeah, I relate to them.
Koby: Then all the other customers end up leaving, and, you know, Dean and Sam and Cas and Gabe and Charlie and their little family and the horse, they’re all so busy doing their own thing, talking to each other, [laughs] that they don’t even notice that they just cleared out the entire coffee shop.
Ellen: It’s completely adorable. I had a big grin on my face when I was reading this whole thing. It was very cute.
Mal: Definitely one that everyone should take five minutes to go and read, I think. It’s short enough that you can just take a little break in your day and read this one. It’s just such a charming fic. I think everyone should read it.
Ellen: Yes. Almaasi is really good at writing fics like that too. They’re really good at writing these – like, really super sweet fics that have a whimsical kind of feeling to them, like a lot of their fics are like that. I really like that.
Koby: They also do a lot of less well-represented sexualities and genders. I love their a/b/o stuff because they go into a lot of things that other a/b/o stories really don’t explore like they have one where Dean is a beta but he has this gender dysphoria because he feels like he ought to be alpha and through his relationship with Cas he gets to explore a little bit more of what he feels his real gender is. I think they do a really good job of really not commonly seen representations of sexuality and gender in their stories.
Mal: Yeah, I think that omegaverse is like a really good place to play with all that kind of stuff because you can have such obvious physical representations of certain things. That it gives kind of a really fertile ground for playing with all that kind of stuff. So I’m one of those people that never used to read a/b/o at all. And then I started off just reading, you know, the more unusual ones, the ones that maybe pushed back a little bit on the typical expectations.
Koby: Mm hm
Mal: And now I’ve found there are quite a few out there that I like. There are obviously, just like with everything, some that I do tend to avoid. I don’t have a lot of, kind of, little squicks or things that I won’t tend to read, but I really do lean away from reading anything with feminization of gay men in it.
Koby: Yes, that’s another pet –
Mal: Kind of lean away from reading that if I can. I’m sure there are valid ways that can be explored, but it’s not something that I particularly want to read. So, generally, for a long time I avoided a/b/o because of that because I found that could be quite common.
But there is this big wave of people writing a/b/o now, and a lot of them are people who themselves are in some way nonbinary or agender. They identify somewhat differently, and I really think it gives them such a great basis to write these stories off of. And they come out with such really interesting fantastic things, you know. Like, I’ve read Alpha-Alpha pairings, and I’ve read Omega-trans Dean stories and all kinds of things. Like, really, it’s such a good playground for all kinds of things.
Koby: Mm hm
Mal: Yes, that is a tangent on how I was converted to read a/b/o fics. [laughs]
Koby: People bring pride into the a/b/o universe too. I mean, there are a lot of stories I’ve read that have – like, I can’t remember any specific titles now but – there are stories I’ve read where – I think, it was the almaasi one, the one where Dean was a beta called Oddly – Odd – Oddly Shaped Something and there was a whole thing-
Mal: Oh, is that – hang on –
Ellen: That’s Jemariel.
Mal: Yeah, that might be a Jemariel one, Oddly Shaped Empty?
Koby: Oh yeah, it’s not almaasi. It’s Jemariel. I’m sorry. But there’s this whole thing where Cas takes Dean to a support group of people who are betas or in a relationship with a beta, and there’s a whole thing about beta pride. In this universe, beta is considered a queer identity because it’s not, you know, properly acknowledged and supported by society, and it has kind of been marginalized. And so there has become this beta pride movement [laughs] of people who are saying, No this is a real gender. This is not just – there’s nothing wrong with being beta. This is not a birth defect. This is an identity.
Mal: Yeah. We will get that one linked in the blog post. It’s such a really good story. I think I read that one as it was posing, maybe. It feels like it was a couple years ago now, but again what is time? I don’t know if that is true or not. It was, 2018. But yes, we love Jem around these parts so I will get that linked in the blogpost. Okay.
I actually have another sort of pride-related story which I just recently read. Which I would like to share with the group. So, this story was very recently posted. It’s – June 16th, this fic was posted. It’s called With Every Word You Write by noxsoulmate. And it’s a 15,000 nearly 16,000 word soulmate AU. It’s one of those ones where, you know, they have words on their skin or they write something on their skin. And in this universe, what they write will appear on their soulmate’s skin. But they are not allowed to share any identifying information. Like, you can’t just share your name or where you live or directions to your house [laughs] or anything like that.
Ellen: Oh, that’s not very convenient is it?
Mal: You have to run into each other naturally, and then once you’ve touched skin to skin, then that restriction goes away, and you can write whatever you want at that point. But what was interesting is that there is a theme of pride parades throughout this fic. So obviously it’s Cas and Dean, and once it’s Dean’s birthday and these words first appear on his arm cause Cas is a couple years older than him so he’s kind of been like writing on his arm daily waiting for his soulmate to write back. And they both discover that they are going to pride parades, which obviously gives them a kind of a bit of an inkling as to at least the possible gender of their soulmate and things like that. And they end up going to different pride parades year on year in matching costumes so that they can try and spot each other in the crowd.
Mal: Because they can discuss what they’re wearing and stuff like that, but obviously they can’t say what city they’re in or anything like that. So it’s just kind of them going through their life. And the fic spans quite a few years actually, of them dressing up in different matching costumes with all their friends and just going to parades and hoping that they might see somebody who’s dressed like them. It’s a really cute story, and I really enjoyed it, and I won’t spoil how it ends but – yes. It does have a happy ending.
Ellen: It sounds sweet.
Mal: Really liked that one. Yeah. It’s also just fun. There was a lot of just looking at the fun aspects of pride because I think, obviously, we talk about pride, and pride has a very, almost heavy, history involved where we have a lot of people to thank for the fact that we even have pride. You know, big shout out to Black trans women and all kinds of things for why we even have this now. But this was a really good look at just the pride environment and how fun it can be to just be free and be yourself. And I really enjoyed that. So for a lighter, fun pride fic, definitely go and give that one a try.
Ellen: Mm hm. While we’re recommending other stories, I’m totally going to talk about yours Mal.
Mal: No, no, no, no, no!
Koby: Do it!
Mal: Don’t do this to me?
Ellen: I’m going to talk about it. In Your Own Time.
Ellen: It’s only a shortie, it’s less than 3,000 words. But it’s got Team Free Will going to a pride march after a hunt. Dean is a bit wary because he thinks the others know that, you know, that he’s bi, but he hasn’t told them yet, hasn’t come out. But they’re willing to wait until he’s ready. So they, you know, buy some flags and wave them. It’s just really beautiful acceptance, I guess. It’s really sweet, and it also has some lovely art in it by our dear Lizlee as well that goes with it. And also it’s the one that was turned into a podfic as well so you can also listen to it via NerdyNerdenstein as well.
Koby: I haven’t read that one yet. I have to bookmark that one for later.
Ellen: Oh, you should. It’s like a big warm hug in a pride parade
Koby: That sounds lovely. I’ve never disliked any of Mal’s stories, so I’m always happy to read another – another one.
Mal: Okay, unless you want to complete this recording on the floor under my desk, let’s move on [laughs]
Koby: Okay, we should have pity before she ends up in the fetal position [laughs]
Ellen: Koby, did you have any others that you wanted to mention?
Koby: There was one more thing…
Mal: I wanted to mention one more of Koby’s fics actually, if we can turn the tables for a second.
Koby: [laughs] I suppose I deserve that!
Mal: [laughs] I wanted to talk about Domestic Bliss.
Koby: Oh yes! People love that one.
Mal: Yeah, again, it’s a shorter story, just over 4,000 words and it’s about an established happily married Dean and Cas. They have a six month old baby. Dean just started a new job. And this story is basically prompted by the idea that Cas notices that Dean isn’t wearing his wedding ring. And that, kind of, the initial little panic about that a very thoughtful exploration of why that might be.
Koby: Not a story about infidelity. There is no cheating involved. I put that right in the summary because I didn’t want anyone being scared off by something that isn’t actually an issue with this story.
Mal: Mm hm. Not that at all.
Koby: That one was –
Mal: But I think that this –
Koby: Go ahead.
Mal: Continue! It’s your story, you should everybody –
Koby: That one was also inspired by a true story, told to me by a friend that they started a new job and were having some trouble with finding the courage to – they were already out, but they were not comfortable – they weren’t sure what the reaction was going to be in this new place, and it’s something that I think that a lot of people people who aren’t queer don’t really undertand or maybe they do understand, but they don’t understnd it in the sameway that someone who has been through it. There’s this culture of thinking of the coming out as this one big comment and it’s really not. It’s a thing you have to do your whole life; every time you meet someone new; every time you move to a new place; every time you start a new job; every time you make a new friend. You have to take that leap all over again. It’s something that I don’t think people think about enough.
Mal: So I very much liked this story as an exploration of that. Because we do, you know – most stories are about that initial coming out. That, you know, that moment that, often with pride fics, a big proud moment, and there’s rainbows in the sky, and confetti, and it’s wonderful, and then they go back to day to day life, and they’re gonna have to do that again every day for the rest of their life. Every time they step out of the door, they are making that choice.
Koby: Mm hm
Mal: And it was really nice to see that represented. ’Cause it’s not really a step out of the closet, is it? It’s like a shuffle out and sometimes you duck back in and sometimes you’re in other situations where, you know, it’s safer to be back in, so you run back inside. And then – you’re never fully in or fully out at any point in your life, I don’t think.
Koby: Right, but also Cas makes that very important point that they have a kid now. So, as much as he wants to respect Dean’s feelings and let him do it in his own time, he’s worried about – unintentionally because kids don’t just hear what you say, they see what you do too, and they get a lot more messages than you realize they’re getting just from watching the way you live your life. And Cas is concerned about unintentionally communicating some sort of shame or guilt to their daughter that she’s going to grow up thinking that Dean is not proud of who he is. And so as much as Cas is being patient and saying do this on your own time, but at the same time he’s saying we have a responsibility to our children to make sure that they’re getting good messages here. As much as coming out is a very personal thing, in this one case, it isn’t purely about Dean. It is also about their daughter and the environment she’s going to grow up in.
Ellen: I’m going to have to read that one. I’ll add it to my ever extending list.
Mal: Yeah, no, that’s a great story. I really enjoyed it, so. You know, it does have that heavy topic, but it’s not heavy on the angst necessarily. It’s a very full story, I would say. So.
Koby: I have one to recommend too. One that you postedIe in the chat a few days ago, Castiel is Having None of Your Heterosexism Today, Thanks by bookkbaby; I think that’s how you pronounce it. It’s a canon-verse fic actually. It’s set during pride month, and they’re just on a hunt, and they happen to wander into a diner that has like pride themed menu and rainbows flags on the wall, and it leads to a conversation with Cas. And the thing about it is that it’s written from Dean’s point of view, which was a very important choice on the author’s part because if you weren’t inside Dean’s head for the first part of this conversation, he comes across like such a homophobic asshole. He says some really bad things that, taken out of context, make him sound like a terrible, terrible person. But what’s really happening here is that he’s sort of baiting Cas and trying to see how he’s going to respond. And from that, Dean’s going to judge, you know, how safe it is to tell Cas certain things. And that really is a thing that people do, although it’s not necessarily the best way to handle that situation. To each their own.
Mal: Possibly phrasing yourself a little better than Dean does –
Koby: [laughs] I would not recommend going into a gay bar and saying these things loudly. No, that’s not a good thing. But Dean handles it the way he handles it. Dean doesn’t always make the best decisions, but he gets through it. He manages to extract his foot from his mouth by the end of the story.
Ellen: He also has a bit of one of those big gay freak out type things that is often quite funny. When it’s in Dean’s head, and he sort of phrases and goes, So, what is going on here?
Koby: This story is like less than 2,000 words but I think I yelled at Dean like at least seven times because when this conversation gets to a certain point, you’re like, Oh my god, Dean how are you not putting two and two together? You’re the guy! [laughs]
Mal: It’s you!
Koby: Come on! Cas is in love with someone else. Oh no he’s not. He’s in love with you. You’re the guy. How do you not get it? And poor Sam is sitting there like, trying to steer the conversation less and less subtly in the right direction.
Mal: I love situations and moments in fic where Sam is just sitting there, and it’s the classic, like, right in front of my salad kind of moment. Where he’s just there, like, and is, like, I wish I was anywhere else, right? But I also love it when it changes that little bit, and he’s like okay, I’m going to try and help subtly. [laughs]
Koby: And then he gets less and less subtle the more frustrated he gets.
Ellen: It doesn’t always work out…
Mal: Yeah, less and less subtle!
Koby: It’s a good way to put it, right in front of my salad. And at the beginning, poor Sam is like, Oh my god, you’re going to get us beaten up, Dean. Why are – please keep your voice down if you must say these things.
Mal: Poor Sam, he goes through a lot sometimes.
Koby: In less than 2,000 words, he goes through a serious emotional rollercoaster in this story.
Ellen: Well, we’ve got a few – there’s a few more fics that I’ve got in the list here that I’ll put in the post that are like, fics that involve either coming out or, you know, his – Dean’s internal kind of freaking out, I guess. Ones like The Dean Winchester Beat Sheet by saltyfeathers, which is basically like 140,000 words of him freaking out. [laughs] Because he’s sure that he’s straight until Cas comes along to –
Koby: Mm hm
Ellen: I think it’s high school or is it a college thing? It’s been a while since I read that one, but Cas arrives as a new student at this school or college, I can’t remember which one, and suddenly Dean’s like, oh my god, what’s happening here, and then it goes on from there and I remember loving that story. I have to read it again. So, there’s a bunch of other ones so if you’re after a story where, you know, it’s involving Dean sort of coming to terms with being bisexual – or gay in some of the cases here. I think in at least one of the fics in this list he’s actually gay. Then I’ll add them to the post and you can have a look.
Koby: That’s – I said before, at the beginning, I said about how I don’t like the whole, “real sex thing,” air quotes, except – the exception is when Dean is in deep, deep denial I can definitely see him saying, you know, It wasn’t sex because there was no penetration. You know, it was just two dude bros exchanging sexual favors, but it’s not really sex. [laughs]
Mal: As they do. [laughs]
Koby: As they do. [laughs] Everybody does these things with their friends, right?
Ellen: Sure [laughs]
Mal: Interesting. I love getting into Dean’s head in that way.
Mal: Is there anything left to say about Pride in general? I don’t know ‘cause I feel like Pride means different things to different people.
Koby: My most recent Ask a Unicorn column, like two weeks ago, was specifically someone who is not queer asking about being an ally and things – specifically about education, which, you know, talking about how you really can’t put the burden on us to educate people, but it’s really not our responsibility to constantly be explaining things to people. And I find that a lot in writing my fics. I feel like I’m – I sometimes have to take a step back and say, It doesn’t matter if the reader, if a straight reader, misunderstands something I said.
I found that a lot when I was writing Last Night on Earth because Dean has so many tangled things going on in his head, and I was really worried about the way some of it was going to come across as, you know, was it going to come off as bi-erasure for him to say, I think maybe I’m gay, was it going to come off as, you know, homophobic for him to say something – I forget exactly what, but then I really had to give it to my husband to read and he said, you know, take a step back and do whatever makes sense for the character, and, if they don’t understand it, they don’t understand it. But that’s not really your responsibility to make sure that everything – you don’t have to dumb it down for people who are completely ignorant of anything to do with queerness. You write your story. You don’t have to worry about how they’re going to perceive it.
Mal: Yeah. I think there’s a tendency among some – I will very carefully say some – straight people because most allies that I know are wonderful and fantastic and think about things, you know, very carefully and very well, but sometimes people can see things as very black or white and, as you say very often in your Ask a Unicorn column, so many things to do with –
Koby: [sing-song] It depends!
Mal: Not just sex, but queer culture in general is “it depends”. [laughs] There’s not this magical right or wrong answer.
Koby: Mm hm. Yes, and –
Mal: We had to get “It depends” into the podcast somewhere.
Koby: I need it on a tee shirt. The answer is never yes or no. The answer is always, it depends. Especially when it comes to sex and sexuality and all that stuff. The answer is, There is never one answer for everybody.
Mal: “It depends” is a great way to put it. I like it. It’s okay, I think we’ve talked about a lot of different types of fic today in terms of ones that cover queer issues, ones that cover coming out, ones that cover Pride itself, but I guess the main thing that should always come from any discussion about Pride is just reminding people that it’s not just June. You need to – we have this month, and that is fantastic, and if you want to support queer people during June that’s amazing, but make sure you’re doing it the rest of the year as well.
Ellen: Support, like, you know, actual queer people who are selling stuff rather than just the corporations who are doing their bit in June.
Mal: [sighs] Yes, queer people over queer capitalism.
Koby: And always remembering while June is like the time for the big visibility and making sure that people remember we’re here, I think a lot of straight people forget we exist the whole year, you know. And not only do we exist, but, while you may not have to think about it except in June, it is something that is a constant part of our lives every day. June is just the time when, you know, we really are coming forward to talk about it because talking about it constantly is exhausting. We just want to be left alone to live our lives for the most part – but remembering June is not the only month we exist in.
Mal: We don’t just disappear into a rainbow cocoon for the rest of the year and burst out as rainbow butterflies in June.
Ellen: Such a nice visual, though!
Koby: If only! Sometimes I do wish I could live in a nice little rainbow cocoon.
Ellen: I was going to say, as Destiel readers, I feel like it’s sort of front of mind for a lot of the time anyway, so, you know, a lot of the straight allies are going to be thinking about it a lot of the time too, in our fandom anyway.
Mal: Our fandom is for the most part a generally very accepting place, I find.
Ellen: Mm hm
Mal: There are going to be outliers in every community. But generally, I feel like the Destiel fandom is a very positive place to be for queer people. Obviously, just like any other community, we can’t agree on anything and we’re constantly squabbling over all kinds of silly little things, but, generally, it’s a good place to be, and people do speak up for queer people in this community, which I think is wonderful.
I know sometimes, I’ve had straight ally friends who’ve said to me before, you know, I don’t feel like I should speak up on your behalf, and I always tell them, There’s a big difference between speaking up in support of somebody and speaking up over somebody, and as long as you’re not doing that, you’re fine [laughs] Appreciate the support, that’s great. Just don’t put your voice ahead of queer peoples’ voices.
Ellen: And I think in your – in one of your latest columns for the Unicorn, Ask a Unicorn, you did have a link to some educational material online somewhere as well, so –
Koby: I think, yeah, I had a link to, like, a planned parenthood website, where they had a page of resources and links to other places. I can – it’s probably in the AO3. If I haven’t put it up on AO3 yet, it’s in the google doc where I keep all the stuff for that. I can send that.
Ellen: So if anything you’ve heard today has piqued your interest, or you’d like to read more about any of this stuff, we’ll put up some links to resources and make sure you can get some good information about that stuff too. So yeah. And including the links to what we’ve been talking about, all the links to the fics, as well, will be on our website mixtapebookclub.com, so check it out. And you can also find links to ways that you can get in touch with us if you want to share something with us or give us suggestions on other things to talk about. Our social media accounts are all @mixtapebookclub, and you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can come and chat with us on the Profound Bond Discord server in our channel there.
Mal: Okay, next week, we will be discussing Creature fics! So stories in which Dean or Cas are not quite human.
Ellen: Yes! It’s going to be bats [laughs]
Koby: So many bats
Ellen: I can’t wait. It’s going to be good.
Koby: You could also do merman Cas. There are so many options for how to embarrass Mal here. [laughs]
Ellen: Absolutely [laughs]
Ellen: Well, gotta say a big thank you to you, Koby, for coming to talk to us today.
Koby: Thank you for having me. This has been so much fun.
Mal: We appreciate you.
Ellen: Lovely to talk to you. And thank you to everyone for listening, and we’ll talk to you again soon.
Mal: And, as always, remember the story isn’t over until we say it is.