Basically, with the recent news that Jay Pinkerton said on Twitter that Miss Pauling was gay, there's been yet another explosion of opinion in the TF2 fandom. Much of it being the expression of joy that there's finally a canon LGBT character in the franchise. There are however, a lot of people who aren't so thrilled, many of them being ScoutPauling, Medic x Pauling & Spauling (Spy x Pauling) shippers. Or people like me, who are still on the fence.
Unfortunately, those that are pro Pauling being gay are now turning on these people & telling them "You can no longer pair these two characters together" & are essentially demanding they abandon ship. Which is leading to many on the other side responding with "I don't care what Jay said, I'm still going to pair X male character with Miss Pauling".
All of this is leading to divisions in the TF2 fandom, that I quite frankly feel are getting out of hand & are causing a lot of genuine hurt. Which brings us to why this post exists. I'm writing this because I feel both sides need to be addressed.
Before I get into that though, I just want to state that this is not in any way an attack on the opinions of either side (though there will be some deconstructing of some opinions). Nor is it a dig at those who either ship the pairings I listed above or those who are adamant that Miss P is gay, as I believe BOTH sides have valid points.
First I would like to address the shippers. Specifically the ScoutPauling shippers. I can understand why you're upset, and you have every right to be.
You became emotionally invested in this relationship only to be told it's canonically invalid and always will be. Believe me when I say I've been there multiple times, I know how much it sucks. And it sucks even more that you're being told you're not even allowed to mourn the loss of this relationship. It may not have been canon, but it was heavily implied it would be, & many of you no doubt feel cheated.
You must also consider the fact that LGBT fans (like myself) could benefit hugely from this. If they take this further & have her come out in the comics, then it means that they're acknowledging LGBT TF2 fans & the need for LGBT representation in gaming, & that can only be a good thing.
I know many of you have said you'll continue to ship the Scout, Medic & Spy with Miss Pauling, & I'm not going to stop you. That's your right, free speech & all that. But I will say this; I strongly advise that from now on you approach this with extreme sensitivity & caution. By that I mean tags & disclaimers should be added to future works featuring Miss Pauling in a heterosexual relationship so only people who still support those ships can see them.
Secondly I would like to address the LGBT Pauling side. I understand you're ecstatic about Miss Pauling being announced as gay. This means we may finally have some representation in one of the world's most popular PC FPS games out there. And like I said earlier, that can only be a good thing. And while it may have come as completely out of the blue to a lot of people, I know I'd love to have representation in the form of this kickass lady.
And I can also understand why you want people to stop putting her in heterosexual relationships. LGBT folk already have a hard time finding ourselves in pop culture. We don't get to have many nice things like straight cisgender people do. So having a gay character being portrayed as straight is taking away what little we have. And many people don't understand how upsetting that is for us.
The people upset over this news is *not* a case Straight Tears. Not this time. The people upset are upset for *genuine* reasons, and it's not their fault they feel like this. You must understand, these people are emotionally invested in these ships. Some of whom have been supporting them for many years. And for some time were lead to believe their ship might be canon. And now all of a sudden, they're being told they can no longer support their ship less they be branded a bad person. With all this considered, it's no wonder they're upset.
Also, it's extremely unfair to tell people they're not allowed to mourn the loss of any hope their ship might ever have been made canon. When a ship is shot down by canon it is natural to feel sad about it. Their reactions have *nothing* to do with any of them potentially being homophobic.
This post will give you a more in depth explanation on this on this.
Another thing. As of this moment in time, we only have Word of God to go on. For many, this is enough to consider something canon, but not everyone is willing to accept Word of God. And there are also those (like myself) who prefer to cherry pick Word of God statements depending on whether we feel they add to the world, the characters, or help explain some minute details of the story most people would've missed, and leave out the ones we feel are just cheap substitutes for plot, character development, or stuff that could've been explained in the story.
And quite frankly, there's a part of me that can't help but be skeptical. Why is this only being revealed to us now? Why weren't we informed of this years ago? If it was because they were being held back by the higher ups then really, Jay should've said something like the writers of Adventure Time did. People would be more understanding then.
The biggie for me though is why is this being revealed through Word of God *at all*? Why was this not revealed in the comics? I don't know about you, but to me it feels like they're using the same tactics as J.K. Rowling used with Dumbledore. I hope I'm wrong though, I really do. But it doesn't look promising to me.
And if all of this does turn out to be just one big joke to mess with us like some people are saying, then I have to say, it was in very, VERY poor taste. It better not be, otherwise Jay Pinkerton is going to make A LOT of people angry.
Until the next comic update I'll be remaining on the fence about Miss Pauling. Only then will I be making a decision.
As for the LGBT Pauling fans & the het shippers, rather than butting heads with each other I feel a compromise must be made as this division is causing real hurt in the fandom. I already suggested tagging & disclaimers, but I also feel there needs to be a bit of understanding & empathy between the two sides.
And more importantly, the shippers should be allowed to mourn for their loss and not be made to feel guilty about it.