Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Christie Young

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Christie Young
Interviewer: Franzeska Dickson
Interviewee: Christie Young
Date(s): July 11, 2014
Medium: aural
Fandom(s):
External Links:
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In 2014, Christie Young was interviewed at Con*Strict as part of the Media Fandom Oral History Project.

Total time: 51:54.

For more information about the origins of this interview, where it is housed, contact information, suggestions regarding future interviewee candidates, and how to become volunteer interviewer, see the Media Fandom Oral History Project page.

Some Topics Discussed

Excerpts

Okay. I guess I do need to know the difference between “fandom” and “hobby” because I'm going to start crossing the fuel lines. But the fandoms that I've been in: at least twelve. Goes back to when I was seven years old, and I was reading comic books. And I was “slashing” males before my menarche, which was like ten years old, I started slashing. And then, ten years old in 1966, in the fall, was Star Trek. So, I've been in Star Trek fan- or, a fan of Star Trek, since the beginning, because the fandom wasn't even in existence...

[snipped]

...Comic books is interesting enough, even though it is my first interest that would become fandom. It has been, in various points in my life. Back then, I was seven, eight, when comic books cost a dime, or twelve cents. And then, you know, that kind of went away, because you go to school – sixth grade, junior high, high school. And but when I was in college, my boyfriend of the time, who I lived with for five and half years, he was also in to comic books. And this was the Silver Age, this was from the mid-seventies to '79. And, unfortunately, when we split, he took the box before I could take mine that I bought. But anyway.

But anyway, so I had a second time with the comics then. A third time with the comics is when I moved away from Vegas for ten years and I was in San Diego County. One of the people I met through the gay community when I was involved here was a comic book person, and he encouraged me to go to Comic-Con. So while I was living in San Diego I did go to about five Comic-Cons, and the last one I attended was the twenty-fifth anniversary, in 1995. And that's when Comic-Con was still only like twenty-five thousand people, when it was still about the comics.

I'm very old-school, as you can tell. So though this is more stuff that I've read about than actually experienced. After a few years, Bjo Trimble was the lady who really started Star Trek fandom, where you collect people who enjoy a particular topic. And they were going to have some people meet. And the first meeting was, you know, 230 people. The next year, they actually were kind of like opening it up to the public, and they were swamped. They were not prepared for the number of people that showed up.

Having those conventions, or a place where people, like here at Con*Strict, where people can actually meet, and they can see what's going on in the fandom – you know, I see this, but you see that. “Oh really? That's kind of interesting.” You know? But back then with the Star Trek thing, it was the fans, and nothing but the fans. And that's why Gene Roddenberry had a general rule, that he told Paramount Studios, “Just keep your hands off the fans.” Because the fans is what kept Star Trek alive. For him to then go in the early – well, no, I'll have to say, late seventies? Early eighties? - about doing a Star Trek movie. That didn't happen, but they even cast it, because Leonard Nimoy did not want to come back as Spock. And so they cast a guy to play a Vulcan, but it was a different character. Because I think William Shatner was signed up at that point. But there are still photos of this guy in his full Vulcan makeup. And his character name was Zahn. Because in Star Wars fandom, my Jedi name, that I created, is Gia Zahn Le. I actually have a Star Trek reference in my Star Wars name, but only the very, very die-hard trivia Star Trek people will get that.
Count 'em, three [television stations when I was a kid]! We had, it was NBC and CBS first; then we got ABC. There was no PBS at that time. It was three channels, that's it. And if they were all, arguably, yeah, I can understand it in retrospect, but at the time, as a kid, I mean, “Why are you taking up all three stations?” [quiet laughter] And even on the radio, there were, you didn't hear the baseball games, you didn't hear anything but the coverage of Kennedy's funeral. You had no choice. There were no other alternatives to turn to. And so, even like with Star Trek, when it went into reruns, it was unlike anything else on TV. And so that's also why it was watched a lot. It was the color, and it was done purposely. Star Trek was made, in color, to sell TV sets. To sell color TVs. And we have to admit, TOS is very colorful.

Was at a (don't tell them!) Creation Con. [laughter] [when I saw my first slash zine]. Heaven forbid. But I deem it, look, I have to go back up a little bit more. Given the era that I was born and childhood in, that, on TV, married couples slept in separate beds. It was so, sex was sooo underground. We didn't even hear the word homosexual. And when I, to this day I've never done K/S. Even for as much as Star Trek's been my life. But I, in the eighties when I found out that the fic, from a Star Wars collectible book, they had a section that was fanfiction, and it came in four categories: action/adventure, Mary Sue, I always forget the third one, and there was K/S. And I'm like, “What's that?”

“Oh, Kirk and Spock are lovers.”

“Huh?”

Because I had been slashing males, and at that time, it was RPS because there was nothing else. It didn't even dawn on me to do fictional characters. And it might be primarily due to my sexual orientation, because I'm hetero/poly/fi, which, we didn't even have a term for that until the mid-nineties.

Before the Internet, and people had to connect by mail and phone. It actually connected people, more so, and there was this sense of family, that would be the term that was used. Whether it was the slash, or going to the Star Trek cons – well, not Star Trek, so much, no. Like I saw with the The Moody Blues, it was that sense of family.

And one of the, because one of your questions here was about adventures and that kind of thing, one of the greatest stories I have in fandom was when I found out about The Moody Blues fandom, in '95, that there was a couple of guys who put out a fanzine that started in 1984. And so when I got in to it, I bought all the back issues, to get myself up to date, so to speak, on what was going on in the fandom. Not necessarily what was going on with the band, but what was going on with the fans. And this fanzine called Higher and Higher, after the opening song on the Moody Blues fourth album. Graeme Edges, the drummer, his poem, “Higher and Higher.” Something about, you know, four million butterfly sneezes, or something like that. I'd have to remember. This Higher and Higher came out quarterly, and I remember reading one of these letters from the fans that they would publish, because this is a fanzine.
Doing anything on dial-up – I could not link on to videos. The last time I did that, I went to Weird Al Yankovich to see “White and Nerdy”, okay? That video literally – I timed it – took fifteen minutes to download. That makes it really impossible to do a lot of things that I was aware of other people were doing. Also in the meantime, besides the technology, I became disabled, because of my back. I'm on disability, which is why you're seeing me shift a lot. I cannot sit in front of a computer for more than an hour. And when you have time restrictions like that, doing anything, and especially with dial-up, doing research was slow....I just talking even research. I'm not talking about reading. I can't – could not get to reading. And to this day I have not read slash on the Internet, because of my technological and physical limitations.
I did stop going to Creation conventions a few years ago, because they were just getting out of line. And it wasn't worthwhile, especially with the Star Trek conventions, I mean, how much. I had been to, what, thirty Star Trek conventions? I had seen almost everybody. When I started going to Star Trek conventions in 1987 DeForest Kelley had already retired. He's the only person I have not seen live in Star Trek. When I lived in San Diego, I went to Creation Cons in both San Diego and LA. And the big one in LA that I attended was the fifth anniversary Star Trek: The Next Gen, and they had the entire cast on the stage. Right there. Unfortunately, my seat was way over, so I didn't even bother taking any kind of pictures.

References