Here is a Stucky fandom story:
My oldest kid is 21. We're in the process of legally adopting them after they were cut off by their bio-fam for being genderqueer and trans.
Oldest Kid and I have a lot in common, and one of the things we share is a love for Stucky.
So last year for my birthday, OK gave me a button with a drawing of Steve & Bucky kissing on it, and I put it on my wallet.
I have a bunch of buttons on my wallet. The Stucky one, an #I'llGoWithYou one for trans bathroom support, and a whole bunch from my favorite button maker, beanforest
, including "Fortinbras should arrive at any moment to turn this mayhem around," "do not forget to specify, when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass," and "kind, caring, compassionate, and kinkier than you'd expect."
Jump forward to June 15, just two weeks ago. I have Kid #2, aka The Lego Savant (age 15), and Kid #3, aka The Brain aka The Universal Beloved (age 12) with me, as well as two of their friends, and we are checking into our hotel for a major Lego convention. The Orlando shootings were three days earlier.
Our desk clerk is a little bit flaming.
He says to me as I take my credit card out, "Oh, can I look at your buttons? I love buttons."
I hand my wallet over, he looks it over, and he hands it back to me, observing that his favorite is the Gregor Samsa
I say, "Not Steve and Bucky kissing?"
He says, "Give that back to me." He looks at it again, and says, "Oh, well—boys kissing," with a dismissive little flip of his shoulder and hand that means, "This is something I see so routinely that I didn't even notice it." We chat a bit about Captain America's need for a boyfriend while we finish checking out. He gives me free wi-fi because this is the kind of thing that happens when one has just made a Queer Family Connection. A friend of mine once got free pie this way.
The teenagers and I take to calling him, very affectionately, Matthew The Obviously Gay Desk Clerk. "Are there any more pillows?" "I don't see any, but they'll bring some more up. Call the front desk and ask Matthew The Obviously Gay Desk Clerk about it."
I am a big ol' queer who is rarely read as one in public. My partner is a man, I've always been kind of low-maintenance femme in my self-presentation, and I'm fat, middle-aged, and a mother of four, which for most people erases any idea that I might have any sexuality at all, let alone a queer one. I often see gay, lesbian, or trans-seeming people and wish we could do that mutual-cruise acknowledgement thing, but it rarely happens.
That my Steve And Bucky Kissing button allowing MTOGDC and me to recognize each other feels kind of big, especially three days after Orlando. MTOGDC is young, and I somehow want to reach out to him from my position as a big ol' middle-aged queer, and comfort him if he needs it, or just to let him know that someone who is old enough to be his mother thinks it's wonderful simply that he exists, or to comfort myself. I have an impulse, and I order a book for him from Amazon (bless the two-day shipping in such situations).
Before the book arrives, he and I have another conversation, in which I tell him that he is MTOGDC, and he says, "Bi, actually," and I say, "Oh, my god, I'm so ashamed, how could I have jumped to such a conclusion, I mean, jeez, seriously me too
The book is Two Boys Kissing
by David Levithan, which is appropriate because its title quotes our first conversation, and because it is about a previous generation of gay men, the AIDS dead, watching a new generation grow up. When it arrives I find myself feeling hesitant to actually give it to him. I often have these kind of affectionate impulses that I think might be kind of weird, but the Nerd Herd (as I was calling the four teenagers I'd brought to the Lego convention) encouraged me to do it.
"It's not too weird?" I asked.
The Lego Savant's best friend (a total flamer, although he has not come out and maybe he never well), says, "It's a good kind of weird."
The Lego Savant says, "There are a lot worse ways to be weird," which from my very own teenager I take as a high compliment.
So I write Matthew the Actually Bisexual Desk Clerk a letter, in which I tell him what it meant to me to be visible to him as queer, and I tell him some about my 21-year-old, who was very freaked out after Orlando, and about my 8yo son who we mistook for a girl when he was born, and I wish him every happiness, and I put it inside the book, and I manage to gift-wrap it in flyers for Lego-related websites that were in our welcome packets, and my 12-year-old, who is everyone's favorite person, drops it off to MTABDC on the way to a Lego BattleBots competition or something.
The next morning, there is an envelope under the door of the room. I think it's our bill, but when I open it up, it's from Matthew. And he says:
In light of recent events in our community, your letter and gift, as well as the joy of hosting you and your beautiful family, was a treasure. While Matthew the Obviously Gay Desk Clerk does have a good cadence (and might be a good heroic alias), the opportunity you provided for me to speak my truth, and your willingness to hear it, was very empowering. Thank you. You really turned my week back in the right direction.
Matthew, The Very Clearly Queer Desk Clerk
And that is the story of how Stucky fanart helped me and another queer person connect with each other and heal a little bit of the world in the days after it had been badly broken once again.