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LaFontaine and the Importance of Representation

We were lucky enough to have 6 non-binary/gender queer Creampuffs share with us why LaFointaine is such an important character to them. We didn't get a chance to read all their answers on our most recent episode, but we wanted to create a post about it because their responses blew us away.

(edited when applicable for spelling or grammar).

Name and/or Twitter Handle: Chrys/@ChrysWithaWhy

Preferred Pronouns: They/Them

How did you discover Carmilla?

I came into Carmilla quite late sadly. I came across them in a fan made video along with some other ships but never managed to find the web series. Until season 3 when my friend sent me all the links and I binged in one night and I fell in love.

What does the character of LaFontaine mean to you? LaFontaine is important to me because they taught me to be your authentic self even when those close to you might not understand it. They taught me that family doesn’t have to be blood but those who accept you for who you are. Did they help you come out as non-binary/gender queer?

Before Carmilla/LaFontaine I had never heard of the term non-binary or that there were people who identified that way, but I had never felt quite comfortable with the gender I was assigned at birth. I never had the words to put to it, so I just went through life not feeling completely right. But thanks to LaFontaine and Kaitlyn I did some research and it finally clicked. I had finally felt a connection with my own gender and since then I have changed my name, I’ve met so many people who also identify as non-binary/gender queer and heard their stories and even come out to everyone. Not all understand and quite a few rejected it but like Laf and Carmilla showed me my true family are those who support and accept me and without this little web series I never would have found them. I am finally comfortable with myself and mi not sure I would have made it if it weren’t for LaF, this web series and my chosen family I found in one of the most accepting and welcoming fandoms I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you to the creators of Carmilla for telling this story that is so vital to so many people and thank you to Kaitlyn for sharing their story and committing to creating positive queer and non-binary representation. Their voice is helping more than they know.

Name and/or Twitter handle: @suki426danie

Preferred Pronouns: They/them but fairly pronoun indifferent

How did you discover Carmilla?

A post about how awesome Carmilla was January after season 1. The hiatus between season 1 and 2 was crazy.

What does the character of LaFontaine mean to you? LaFontaine was how I figured out I wasn’t just a girl. I had never even heard of being nonbinary before. After that I started doing research in to it more and realized that was how I felt. To have a label, to see other people like you helps to know I am not alone. Did they help you come out as non-binary/gender queer?

I’m still coming out. I’ve only really come out to my mom and sister. And a few close friends. But to be myself and not worried about what other people think. Just be me. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Carmilla was how I came to accept myself in more ways than one. The first being that I'm bisexual. I am a bit older (late 20s now) but was raised pretty conservatively. I had a lot of internalized issues with liking women. Because the focus of the show isn’t on their coming out, but just as them being themselves, it was very helpful.

Name and/or Twitter handle: Vik Bell/@fuzzybearpub

Preferred Pronouns: They/them

How did you discover Carmilla?

I discovered Carmilla when I was looking for a new show to watch, but I really wanted one with queer characters that was in a sci-fi, fantasy, or paranatural sort of genre because those are my favorites. The list is not at all extensive, and because my attention span can't stay on one thing for longer than five minutes it was the perfect show for me ~it helped that it is free to watch because I never have money XD~ I fell in love with it!

What does the character of LaFontaine mean to you? LaFontaine was a big turning point for me. I didn't know they were a part of the Carmilla show when I was watching it, however at the time I identified as genderfluid, and seeing a nonbinary character in what was basically the only sort of representation in visual and sound media at the time, it was kind of uplifting. I'd not really bothered looking for shows with genderqueer to gender-nonconforming characters because I'd figured there just weren't any, but when I watched LaF, I got really happy. I saw me! Did they help you come out as non-binary/gender queer?

I was confused with the idea of my gender, and even now still am, but I had thought I was genderfluid because I didn't necessarily like presenting androgynously, (among other things) but they didn't, they wear what they please, and it helped me so much. I was able to come out to the friends I hadn't yet, and now when I meet people I try being brave and telling them my pronouns (Though it's admittedly easier right now because I'm in uni and people here are a lot more open-minded than I'd ever known before. Some even ask my pronouns before I get the chance!!). Basically, they've been a blessing and I'm so grateful to the writers and to Kaitlyn Alexander and everyone who helped make LaFontaine a possibility.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for asking me about this, and also for reaching out to gender-nonconforming, genderqueer, and nonbinary people about this! It definitely helps when cis people, or even trans people who identify within the gender binary ask questions about this in a non-intrusive way, and also helps bring awareness to us people.

Name and/or Twitter handle: Rai/@onbrokenfeet. You can also find them on Tumblr here.

Preferred Pronouns: They/them

How did you discover Carmilla?

I discovered Carmilla pretty early into its release, through Tumblr of course. I saw one gif-set and said, "I have to see whatever this is." So, I started in season one, and that's all she wrote. I mean, who doesn't fall in love with Carmilla as soon as they see her?

What does the character of LaFontaine mean to you? To me, LaFontaine means hope. Growing up, I didn't have a lot of queer representation available. The representation of queer folk was barren unless you watched shows created entirely for adults, that seemed lacking in accuracy as far as knowing the queer experience. Everything was about coming out or hooking up, and that just felt strange to me. So then there comes this show, with a character who does struggle with coming out and their best friend to accept their pronouns, but they handle it so proudly. I remember the scene in season 3 where Sherman said something about their gender, and they had such a quick, calm response. I learned a lot from that moment, as I myself struggle with friends who don't understand what it is to be outside of the binary. I also loved that they had such bigger problems going on in their world. It wasn't just about being proud of who they were, and standing their ground against those who denied them, but about them saving the world. So, if they can, why can't I? They mean, in shorter terms, hope. Hope that non-binary folks can put the story of coming out in the background, so that they can save the world too. Because I don't need to see a story that's just about the struggle of dysphoria and awkward crushes on straight girls to relate, I need someone to look up to. I need a hero that corrects someone on their pro-nouns, then spins on their heels and plots about how to kill a god, save the world, and their best friend. Because who can care what pro-nouns you use when a god is bringing hell to earth? Certainly not LaFontaine, and certainly not me. Did they help you come out as non-binary/gender queer?

Yes. When I first started watching Carmilla, I was struggling a lot with my identity. I'd heard the term non-binary, and I understood it. I just didn't know anyone else who fell into that label, so I had no one to ask, or to look up to. Then there comes LaFontaine, riding in on a giant angler fish, to say "Hey, you're valid." That meant the world to me. I came out around the time season 1 ended, with LaF to thank. I'm very grateful for them. I've been happier ever since.

Name and/or Twitter handle: M/@Mhbills92

Preferred Pronouns: They/them

How did you discover Carmilla?

I discovered Carmilla through Tumblr. I found it probably a week or less after the last episode of season 1 aired. I binge watched the entire season in one day (when I should have been studying for my finals).

What does the character of LaFontaine mean to you? LaFontaine means representation. They were the first non-binary character that I had ever seen in any sort of media, and Kaitlyn Alexander was the first non-binary actor. It meant a lot to see myself on the screen. Even if it was just a little Canadian web series, it showed me that all the internet searching I had done and all the identities I had read about were an actual thing that people know. Like I knew it was real, but seeing something portrayed in fiction, in life, makes it I don’t know more tangible than reading the technical definitions. I guess it made me feel more validated in my identity.

Did they help you come out as non-binary/gender queer?

In a way yes. I had been out to myself and a few close friends for about a year at that point. I’m still not out to a lot of family, but it did help me become more confident in telling more of my friends and demanding the use of my pronouns. A few months after season 1 I took a pic of LaF/Kaitlyn Alexander to the hairdresser and I’ve had a similar haircut ever since. LaF has given me the confidence to be me unapologetically.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Carmilla as a whole has influenced my life a lot over the past few years. It was my first big fandom where I became involved in fanfics (you should check out their fics) and online communities. It also was a big part of my thesis for my masters where I explored queer representation in web shows vs mainstream tv and the adaptation of literature into a vlog type platform.

Name and/or Twitter handle: Sonia/@AlchemistaSonia

Preferred Pronouns: She/her

How did you discover Carmilla?

I was waiting on final season of Orphan Black to stream but was spoiled by the queer relationship of Cophine. I was on YouTube looking up wlw movies I had no idea what a web series was and Carmilla was the first one I saw. I was hooked with first episode and couldn’t click fast enough to get to the next episode.

What does the character of LaFontaine mean to you? I immediately related to LaF, I am that science-oriented bookworm that no matter what I wear doesn’t look feminine.

Did they help you come out as non-binary/gender queer?

I had no idea what non-binary/gender queer was and still am ‘feeling’ out the definition. When I came out the only terms I knew of was butch, soft butch, androgynous, sport femme and high femme. I didn’t feel like any of those labels. When I was asked I would say Futch or ‘It depends on who I am standing next too’. My energy ‘flickers’ between both masculine and feminine but never quite being either. So, when I heard non-binary it was like realizing I was gay all over again.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

As I said, I am still learning about this new name queerness. I even now wrestle with whether non-binary refers to me but after review I don’t see anything else that feels right.

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