There is something special about fandom. It has the power to bring people together and give them a sense of community. Fandom can provide positivity for marginalized people who are struggling to feel seen. Fandom can save lives.
If you didn’t know any better, you might think that Our Flag Means Death is just a pirate comedy, but the Max streaming series is so much more. The series regularly explores LGBTQIA+ themes, which has made it a fan favorite. Speaking at a panel at Florida Supercon, the cast of OFMD contemplate the impact of the series, and the relationship they have with fandom.
“I grew up as a weird chubby freak in a small town in the middle of bumfuck nowhere,” Nathan Foad says. “I was crying out for community and representation like this. It didn’t exist in the 90s in middle England. What a special thing to be a part of. It’s so inspirational every day.”
“The community that you guys have created; I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life,” Kristian Nairn says. “You’re all friends, you follow each other in Discord groups. It’s just a wonderful thing to behold. You’re like a beautiful organism. You’re a very special group of people, you need to know, and it’s really wonderful to see.”
“Even as an openly queer actor, it’s made me feel like even more a part of the community. “it’s made me feel so connected to many queer people,” Foad says.
Addressing the audience, Con O’Neill give a heartfelt speech about the love he has for the OFMD fandom. “To be part of a community that is rich, and diverse, and proud, and creative, and loving, and hating, and generous and kind to each other. For me to be a part of that community, I’m usually quite private with my life, and private with my work. I’ve found that this show has kicked the fucking doors off that. I’m honored to be a part of your community. My journey is my journey, and I believe that each of yours is yours. Please don’t feel at any point in your life that you have to announce yourself until you’re ready. I’m ready, and I’m blessed, and I love you all. Thank you for being part of my community,” O’Neill said.
Bigotry still plagues the queer community, especially in the wake of anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation. O’Neill has strong words for the bigots. “When you look back at those days, and the anti-gay bigots in those times, they’re saying the exact same thing as the anti-gay bigots are saying these days. It hasn’t changed, it’s the same rhetoric. So as far as I’m concerned, we can do historical queer shows, we can do contemporary queer shows, we’ve just got to keep making queer shows. And we’ve got to remember that the bigots are so lazy that they’re still using the same rhetoric they used 300 years ago, so fuck them!”
You can watch the entire Our Flag Means Death panel from Florida Supercon 2023 here.