As I sit here with my wireless going down regularly, I’m still able to watch facebook cosplay groups collectively lose their minds because of cosplayers who dare to Pride up their cosplays. It’s probably important that I mention I’m primarily seeing this happen in the Star Wars cosplay world, but I’m sure it’s a problem beyond just there.
So what’s going on? Let me put this plainly: people who have a problem with someone adding a rainbow flag to their costume are bigots. I have never seen cosplay groups flip out over mash-up cosplays or other costumes that might deviate from the canon outfit. I’ve seen Hello Kitty Avengers, Stormtroopers decked out in Louis Vuitton or Adidas, amongst a ton of other mashed up and non-canon costumes. I’m sure there are people that aren’t thrilled with them, but I’ve never seen outrage over them.
No outrage over those costumes, but outrage over rainbow flags? Outrage and insults flying. Screaming over their hobby becoming political. News flash: nobody’s sexuality or gender expression is harming you. It’s not ruining your hobby. It’s not making it political. LGBTQIA+ people exist. They’re not mythical. They are simply existing and Pride is a time they can do that, be proud of their existence and celebrate the brave people who got them to this point. Want to learn more about Pride? The Human Rights Campaign has a really concise history of Pride here.
But why does this all intersect with cosplay? Cosplay is a place where marginalized people often find an open and welcoming community as well as the chance to express oneself in a safer environment. I’m a chubby nerd who likes to make stuff. Cosplay provided a safe place for me. The same applies for pretty well any other marginalized group including LGBTQIA+. We should strive to be welcoming of all types of people who show up to cosplay with us; gay, fat, POC, trans, neurodivergent or whatever else makes someone feel not included in their communities.
Welcome everyone and enjoy the diversity the cosplay community allows to us experience. I’ve learned so much from the people within the community and I hope I can turn what I’ve learned into action to help those who need it. I’ve seen the cosplay community work to raise awareness of cancer and support those who need it. The LGBTQIA+ community should be part of the people we wrap our arms around. Feel excited for Pride. Raise them up. Learn how you can work to include people instead of making them feel different. We all need to be welcome and in turn be welcoming. Show some love and maybe you’ll experience some in return.