Fandoms are always sticky. They’re a microcosm of society; a smaller community perhaps even closer than the neighbourhoods we live in physically, because they aren’t bound by location or by social class, they’re bound by shared love and enjoyment of an artist. TXT’s fandom, Moments Of Alwaysness (MOA), are still a relatively new fandom in terms of time, considering TXT’s first year anniversary was this month. Consider the surprise then, when fan’s timelines on Twitter were filled with all colours of the rainbow and the beautiful faces of queer fans and allies, each post headlined with the tag #MoasAreGayParty. I spoke to Aya @yeonjunize about the swift, caring movements of the MOA fandom.
The Twitter tag all stemmed from a place of love; to maintain the loving environment created by members of the MOA fandom, when under siege by a loud, vocal minority. Only MOA will know the true ins-and-outs of the issue and it is not my prerogative to air their dirty laundry to the world. Let’s just say that homophobia has no place in this world. It’s refreshing to see this kind of thinking and quick action from a smaller fandom. With such issues facing the community already, seeing this resolved and repelled in a progressive way, it’s kind of magical.
“Immediately, my experiences were acknowledged and a lot of people were very kind and sent me messages telling me I am valid,” says Aya. “I noticed that conversations started on the timeline as well of MOAs that were speaking out and supporting each other, spreading messages of validity to those that are part of the community as well.”
Speaking on the Twitter tag itself, Aya says: “I didn’t see this becoming such a big event, but I think because of the severity, I guess I could say, of the content of my tweets, it became a wake up call of how even though we live in a society where our community is becoming more and more accepted, there are still people who live with very close mindsets.”
She continues: “After that people became very open about their identities and encouraged others on the timeline to be more open too. We began putting the [rainbow] flag in our display names or tweeting supportive messages on the timeline and the selca day was created as a response of what happened and a way to celebrate each other too.”
Amongst the chaos and negativity, Mags @crownsoobin decided to take a stand. “I wanted to take the focus off of the negative people in the fandom and make it all about spreading positivity and letting LGBTQ+ MOAs know they were safe here,” she says.
“I tweeted out the idea, something simple like “what if we did a LGBTQ+ MOA selca day?” and then sent it to one of my group chats,” Mags continues. “We discussed if and came up with tags and tweeted it out. Honestly I didn’t expect anyone except for me and my friends to participate and when I saw the next day how many people joined in, I started tearing up because it was so beautiful.”
What really stands out as proof of this moment becoming a movement is this: “My friends even sent me posts about people coming out to their families because they were motivated by the selca day and that made me so happy and speechless and I’m just really glad it went so well.” The fact that fandom can move so swiftly and so monumentally to create such change is revolutionary.
For Mags, being a MOA is special. “It helped me come to terms with my own sexuality as I had so many mutuals who were out and proud and that helped dissipate some of the internalised biphobia I struggled with,” she says. “It means a lot to me because of my love for the members but also because of the friends I’ve made and how they helped me be myself.”
It seems almost fair that fans in the LGBTQ+ community can declare their self-love in such a way, considering the allegorical narrative of TXT’s music, in accepting the parts of self that society deems unworthy. “I’ve never felt more safe in a fandom,” says a fan who wishes to remain anonymous. He found this whole experience to be magical; it brought such fun seeing everyone be so supportive with each other. He, like many fans, shares the lyrics of ‘CROWN’ — TXT’s debut song:
“There’s a horn coming out of my head
What do I do? I don’t know how to stop it
Oh, I’m the only bad thing in this world
Save me, maybe I have turned into a monster”
“Why is the world treating me like this?
Got a horn on me all of a sudden
Would there be a light? Even for the devils?
And then your wings were spread in front of my eyes”
If this doesn’t paint the picture of queer struggle, nothing will; with each slur a deep red brushstroke on a canvas of one’s spirit and each demonising statement a tear at the fabric of self-identity. Like the protrusion of the horn, queerness presents itself to a world that doesn’t accept it. The lyrics call out; “save me”, as though it’s a deformation of self, something ugly to be hidden from view. But then comes the realisation that the horn is not ugly, but beautiful. A crown. There’s a horn rising up on my head. But I love it.
Fandom manifests as the intersection of a kaleidoscope of races, faiths and identities. To people outside the MOA community, an event like this appears to be standard fandom-fare. But for queer-identifying MOA, this is an exercise in self-love. People are entitled to their beliefs, that much is clear. But when history’s queer legacy is bloodshed, conversion therapy and violent intolerance of queer peoples, when the present seems insistent on relegating queer people and their experiences to a ‘different view’, hidden behind a facade tactfully justified as “I respect it but I don’t support it,” a celebration of queerness is more than a hashtag. It’s a statement. A bold promise of community in the face of prejudice.
Events like this are full of love and support. This is for the kid that attended church every Sunday, who kept quiet out of fear of abandonment. For the kid who thought practicing heterosexual thoughts could manifest straightness. For the kid who is out there right now, struggling to come to terms with parts of themselves that the world is ill-equipped to love. You can find a family in MOA.