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A Note on Audience Appropriateness tags.

October 1, 2018

Please note that these are my personal thoughts as the Editor-in-Chief emeritus rather than speaking strictly for the team, though I'm sure the team feels the same way.

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THEM Anime Reviews has been around since 1996. A fair number of us have been here long enough that we were writing reviews before many of the current anime fans were born.

A lot has changed in those 20+ years.

Back in the 1990s, LGBTQ issues were still largely taboo in North America. Yeah, back then, we used to tag related content in the appropriateness field, because being at a state university in Arizona, we were surrounded by folks who were bothered by that topic.

Fast forward to 2018, and while there are still many issues with discrimination and even targeted violence in our neck of the woods, gay marriage is the law of the land.

Now, I'll bet some of you are not happy with that. Some of you may even reside in countries where being openly gay is punished by imprisonment, corporal punishment, or worse, and maybe even support those policies.

If so, please understand that THEM Anime isn't written for you.

THEM Anime is written from the perspective of its review staff, who are an international, multiethnic crew of mostly (but not all) first-worlders who run the gamut of beliefs, gender identities, and sexual orientations. In fact, I myself now self-identify as non-binary -- something I didn't know existed in 1996.

So, if you're the kind of person who thinks anti-gay slurs are funny and edgy, or that "social justice" is something you make fun of people for believing in: well this just isn't and will never be that kind of community. We didn't last 20+ years by closing our doors to decent, good-hearted folks of all stripes -- remember, our ground rules have always been first and foremost, to be civil. If that doesn't interest you, then you are free to go elsewhere. THEM Anime has been intended as an internet safe space since the forums opened, and we're not compromising on that, ever.

Suffice it to say that any calls to relegate discussion of LGBTQ issues to "audience appropriateness" notes won't fly here either. There is nothing inherently "inappropriate" about being gay or bi or trans or anything in between, any more than we would raise up the appropriateness flags for discussion of heterosexual relationships.

If we won't sound the alarms for a straight couple holding hands or kissing in "Your Name" then there's honestly no reason we should do the same to a gay couple in "Yuri on Ice" or "Sweet Blue Flowers".

LGBTQ people aren't just "tolerated" or even "welcome" here -- they are an essential part of THEM Anime and have been from day one.

Also, I'm LGBTQ people myself, and I've been paying the bills here for close to two decades.

Until next time!

- Carlos Ross


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