“What are we looking for again?” Qrow asked.
“Some kind of ancient tablet from one of Ozpin’s previous lives,” Raven replied.
“Which means you’re going to read it before we give it to him,” Qrow sighed.
“You can go ahead and rely on blind faith,” Raven snapped. “I need more.”
I normally don't break my blog's character in asks but I'm gonna make an exception here. How can you continue to support and advertise, in good conscience, for a company that has repeatedly baited and insulted its LGBT+ fanbase? Especially after they had Robyn basically lie about Clover's supposed flaws to berate Qrow - and on a meta level the audience that were mourning the representation they were explicitly promised - for feeling sad about his death?
So I appreciate the fact that you felt strongly enough about this to break your blog’s character in asks to bring this to my attention by answering this as openly and honestly as I can.
Firstly, Clover was never written as gay. Never. Not for a single second in his conception was Clover ever intended to be a love interest for Qrow nor was Clover ever written as a gay man. Period.
Secondly, Clover was never ever stated to be “explicitly promised” representation for the mlm community. That is an entirely untrue statement with no actual basis for truth behind it. There’s no documentation of this anywhere, there’s no draft where he was, none of that is true at all in any way, shape, or form.
Third, I have also stated many times that I do understand how a misunderstanding in how the audience perceives a character vs what the actual written intent was can hurt, saying that I’ve felt that burn before, and very much understanding how a fandom can feel a bit upset by it. But the fact that various creators, for many shows, have come forward to say “hey, not the intention” - such as the case with many folks feeling Jenny was tran-coded in My Life As A Teenage Robot, which actually took the creator 21 YEARS to actually acknowledge that fact despite it being spoken of many times - and expressed their concerns and understanding toward those communities affected by it… shows a sign of actually caring. Of which many folks working on this show did the same thing and did so immediately after the first sign of the misunderstanding.
Fourth, as the voice of a character that is a blatantly stated and explicitly promised bit of representation for an entirely underrepresented community of people it’s extremely frustrating to see a character that was never intended to be seen as and surely was never ACTUALLY written as a representation for a marginalized group of people being held up as an example of representation while my own character, who actually is a real example of representation, being constantly demonized and overlooked.
Fifth, the cast and crew of the show (including myself) have received more death threats about this than I think most of you care to actually acknowledge. Am I saying that you, specifically, issued any of those threats? No. But the fact that a lot of folks just forget that that happened is pretty telling to me.
So you asked “How can you continue to support and advertise, in good conscience, for a company that has repeatedly baited and insulted its LGBT+ fanbase” … the answer is because the actual representation for the LGBTQIA+ community that was explicitly stated and promised was actually handled incredibly well, had time and care put into it, was thought about from concept, to design, to casting, to written dialogue. And that representation was not hidden, not coded, but bluntly stated both by creators outside of and inside of canon, and proudly on display in the show.
The final big reason that I can firmly state all of these things? Is because this isn’t just a fictional situation. The people behind the scenes making this show possible actually stood up, stood by, and have put more effort into actually supporting the LGBTIQA+ community than most folks will ever even know or see. In a very real and tangible way these people have physically fought for the rights of people like me to be able to do what I do and, more importantly, to actually be able to live my actual real life with less fear of being actually harmed.
To top it all off, I’m deeply hurt by how things are said by the fandom some days.
I see all the comments saying May isn’t good rep because she doesn’t look or sound manly enough to be a trans woman and that Joanna or Robyn looks more trans than May does and worse being said about her.
Clover being mlm was always just a head canon that the fandom leaned into, it was never ever stated to be canon at any point during the production of the show or creation of the character.
I do understand the hurt that some folks feel about it, trust me I do, but I’ve received death threats over this head canon while actually having put time, effort, and part of myself into actual on-screen representation … having had that real work ignored with me and my co-workers continuously being harassed despite not a single shred of tangible evidence to back up the reason for the harassment.
Clover was never intended to be seen as gay, ever, and the fact that the fandom latched onto this head canon and has pushed it that it was always actually canon, in a very negative way, has only harmed both the fandom and staff.
Having a head canon is great, I love them, but seeing a creator (or group of creators) explicitly come out and debunk that head canon as to not spread a toxic and hurtful message that could easily spiral out of control and blatantly ignoring it because it doesn’t fit in with your own narrative does not make that head canon into canon and will only make getting actual intended representation for that group much harder in the future.
It is desperately hurtful to have poured so much work into having a character that is actually a representative (and a promised one at that) of a marginalized group entirely ignored by the community because of a head canon for another character, and in doing so has only made that (very rare) bit of representation feel ironically invisible.
“Oh look, a carpenter,” Qrow said. It had been a really boring day.
“What? Where? In the middle of the forest?” Tai asked, looking around.
“There, dumbass,” Raven said helpfully, pointing.
Tai frowned. “That’s a wood bug.”
“No, that’s a woodlouse,” Summer said.
The debate continued long into the night.
When Qrow woke up to the smell of pancakes, he was on his feet in a flash, worried Yang had decided to try cooking again.
But when he got to the kitchen, he found Tai was the one at the stove, and looked more awake than he had in weeks.
Tai frowned as the rest of STRQ gathered by his bed.
“Tai, we have to talk,” Summer said. “You know that we love you, and we want what’s best for you…”
“The moustache has to go,” Raven said bluntly.
“It’s even worse than the cargos,” Qrow added.
“Seriously?” Tai pouted.
“Sorry,” Qrow muttered, watching as Raven and Summer bandaged Tai’s wounds.
“Not everything is your fault,” Raven said. “Your semblance isn’t nearly powerful as you seem to think it is, and it’s not even what you think it is. There is no luck, only probability.”
He wished he believed her.
“Why are you drunk before noon?” Summer asked.
“’Cause it got rid of the hangover,” Qrow replied, grinning.
She frowned. “Maybe you should take a break.”
“Nah, I’m fine,” he replied before taking another drink. “Look, I just had a rough mission.”
It seemed lately they were all rough missions.
“What’re you two doing up there?” Qrow asked, looking at his nieces up in a tree.
“We’re in our tower, plotting!” Ruby called back, brandishing a stick like a sword.
“We gotta get past the dragon to get the cookies!” Yang explained, grinning.
“Alright, I won’t warn him,” Qrow promised.
Raven’s world was awash in red. Her eyes, her clothes, her aura. It made sense that it would drip from her as well, from the edge of her sword, from hands that would never be clean. Sometimes she hated the colour. But she couldn’t escape it, she couldn’t escape herself.
Raven sat on the roof, looking out at the city lights. It was supposed to be simple: Go to Beacon, learn to kill, graduate, return to the tribe. It was what she was meant to do.
So why was she thinking of throwing it all away for Summer and Tai?
“What did you do?” Summer demanded as she stared at the chaos. Bubbles were overflowing from the washer.
“I don’t know!” Raven growled. “I did what the pictures showed!”
Summer sighed as she waded in to turn off the machine. She wished the Branwens would just admit they needed help.
Tai looked at the photograph on the mantle, the one of STRQ in their Beacon days. One dead, one destroyed, one broken, and one quit. Qrow was the broken one. He and Raven could be either, depending on the day.
Either way, shattered pieces were all that remained of STRQ.
Summer walked through the misty woods, pulling her cloak closer around herself in an effort to stave off the cold and damp. At least she was on her way home.
But she grinned when she heard the familiar sound of Raven’s portals, running through it and into her lover’s arms.
STRQ looked out over the cliff at the Grimm they were expected to defeat.
“Soooo, we’re fucked, aren’t we?” Qrow asked, leaning against Harbinger. Raven shrugged, indifferent.
“Yup, pretty much,” Tai said.
“I think we can take ‘em,” Summer said, stretching.
“And if we die?” Qrow asked.
“Walk it off.”
Tai sighed as he looked through the wares of the dust shop. Since the embargo from Atlas, it was getting harder and harder to get a hold of. They were keeping the Grimm contained in Vale, just barely. If Vale fell, how long would it be until Patch was overrun?
Raven turned her head to look at Summer. Her girlfriend relaxed, her head on Raven’s shoulder. It was just them in the room for once, their teammates gone on a mission for the weekend. Summer’s arms were around her, warm and comfortable, comforting.
“I think I’m in love with you.”
“Have you ever considered giving your liver a break?” Tai asked.
“No, because then I’d have a hangover.” Even Qrow couldn’t miss the slurring.
“Summer and I are worried,” he said, frowning. “Even the girls are starting to notice.”
“I have everything under control,” he lied as he kept drinking.
Raven stared as Salem stood up, pulling the sparking dust blade from her chest. No matter what she did, how many times she killed Salem, the witch rose again.
“Join me or die,” Salem finally said when Raven was exhausted. “Those are your choices.”
Raven ran instead.
And never stopped.
“Okay, million lien question… are these the poisonous ones or not?” Tai asked as he and Qrow examined the berries.
“How about one of you eat them and the rest of us will find out in a few hours?” Raven suggested.
“Raven!” Summer admonished as she looked through the book.
Raven curled up in bed, pressing in against Tai. He was warm and solid against her, an anchor to help her remember what was real when she woke up terrified. He slipped his arms around her, nuzzling the back of her neck in his sleep. She relaxed and drifted off.