I’m just home from my first Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, and literally wearing my fandom on my sleeve. When I told folks I was going, the first thing they asked was, “Will you wear a costume?” It honestly wasn’t my intention, but if you’ve ever attended any kind of convention in summertime, you know those ballrooms are freezing! So off I went to the vendor room in search of a hoodie or fleece, but there was nothing smaller than a 2XL. The only thing in my size was this Enterprise uniform shirt from Star Trek: The Next Generation. I would have preferred something from Voyager, but you know…beggars & choosers.
I honestly expected to feel ridiculous when I put it on, but the transformation was amazing! I was stunned at how normal it felt, and how proud I was to walk by people in the neighboring casino and hear them say, “There’s someone else from the Star Trek Convention.” I actually found myself caught up in the fandom in a way I never anticipated. Sci-fi fans are subjected to bullying and ridicule much the same way LGBT people are, and it was truly delightful to revel in our fandom with thousands of kindred spirits. I was especially honored to be part of the Guinness World Record for Most Star Trek Fans in Costume in One Place at 1,085. (Btw, the last costumed person through the door was Terry Farrell, who played Jadzia Dax in ST:DS9 and had one of the hottest lesbian scenes ever on TV.)
How often do we come across characters we wish were our friends, or settings we’d like to live in or visit? That’s the mark of great storytelling & characterization, whether in books, TV or movies. It’s very special to have the chance to step into a fantasy, even when you know it’s a hotel, not a starship; that it’s Shatner, Takei & Mulgrew, not Kirk, Sulu & Janeway; and that you weren’t issued a uniform, you bought a shirt.
I’ve always been a Trekkie, but not particularly hardcore, and I probably wouldn’t have attended a convention if not for the opportunity to reconnect with a couple of my European friends whom I hadn’t seen since the Xena convention in London several years ago. One of them in particular is an ardent Captain Janeway fan, and she had the opportunity to ask a question when Kate Mulgrew was onstage. It was a philosophical question, and Mulgrew commented that she was both attractive & brilliant. How many of us would swoon to hear that from a star we idolize? So the real fun happened later at the photo-op, when Kate recognized her and did this:
That’s what fantasy is all about. Oh, and if you’re curious about this blog’s title, check out this fun video.