The Freak Nation Manifesto
The Freaks are coming together. At science fiction cons, at nightclubs and play parties, at Ren Faires and counter-cultural gatherings from Burning Man to Free Spirit, we are finding each other. We’re hooking up and coalescing.
It’s time we saw who we all are, and how much we have in common. And it’s time we noticed how much power we have. And it’s time we saw just who we all are, instead of trying to talk about “ummm... us-types. Pagan, poly, queer, kinky, go to cons and play RPGs... you know, folks like us!”
A group of families comes together to make a clan. Many clans, when gathered together, constitute a tribe. And many tribes come together to make a nation. In our case, we are the Freak Nation.
The tribes that form our nation are many and varied, and each has its own sub-clans. But the seven major tribes are these:
|The Fans: Not just science-fiction and fantasy fans, but also the fans and collectors of comics and animé — these groups have been together for a long time as a united tribe, and the classic fans are one of the oldest of the freak tribes. (Maybe this is why sci-fi cons are where practically everyone in the Freak Nation winds up really meeting.)|
|The Re-Enactors: Originally an offshoot of the Fans, this tribe has expanded into its own community of SCAdians, boffers, Ren Faire people, and similar folks who re-create the Medieval and Renaissance eras.|
|The Goth/Punk/Industrial Scene: Though goth and punk diverged a long while ago, they’ve been coming back together again lately, driven partly by the industrial scene as an intermediate “glue”. Now the three form a stylistic trio that the mainstream occasionally makes a failed attempt to assimilate.|
|The Mystics: The shamans and hermetic mages, the Thelemites and Chaotes, Pagans (including Wiccans), and members of other alternative religions and mystical world-views — they’re all exploring reality and religion in ways that fuse the old and the new, and break out of the mold of mainstream belief.|
|The Alt-Sexers: Not just the BDSM/fetish community and the gay, lesbian and bisexual communities — the alt-sex community also takes in the polyamorous, the polyfidelitous, transgendered, and others who are experimenting with new and different models of relationships and sexuality.|
|The Gamers: Since the dawn of AD&D, these people have been playing RPGs. In later years, they’ve branched out into LARPs, MUDs and other types of computer and video games... but even after the recent CCG explosion, the core of the tribe remains the same.|
|The Geeks: The hackers who have flourished since the advent of interactive computing. Builders of the Internet, tinkerers with computers and programming, they’ve forced the whole world to sit up and take notice of the power that we “outcasts” can have.|
None of these groups exists in isolation from the others. The goth-punks have been becoming gamers since the early ’90s, and have gone way past Vampire: the Masquerade in their gaming tastes. In the meantime, gothic style and punk activism have infused various other tribes — the geeks, in particular, are having to engage in a lot of activism involving intellectual property and freedom on the Net, while gothic fashion and fetish fashion are becoming harder and harder to tell apart. Pagans and other Mystics have been showing up at Ren Faires, SCA wars, and other Reconstructionist events since at least the mid-to-late ’80s. The Reconstructionists were originally an offshoot of the Fans in the first place. The overlaps between fandom and the geek-tribe are so deep that many fannish terms are enshrined in Eric Raymond’s “Jargon File”. Nearly all of the Freak tribes have been experimenting with alternative sex styles, some even to the point of getting noticed by mainstream news. And the poly community got a major boost from Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land.
Whether or not we have noticed our overlaps and our commonalities, society certainly hasn’t failed to lump us all together: after Littleton, at least four of the seven major Freak groups were targeted by the media and/or public opinion as being somehow “responsible” for Harris and Klebold’s rampage:
Additionally, the persistent suggestions that Harris and Klebold were gay lovers and held hands in the hallways helped intensify hatred against gays and, by extension, the rest of the alt-sex communities.
Whether they’ve paid attention, whether they consciously realize it or not, the mainstream knows that we all belong together. It’s time we learned it, too... and started to live it.
The tribes mentioned above are only the broadest strokes of color that make up the freakish rainbow. There are countless sub-groups, including ones that are hard to categorize... ones that are best described as overlaps or hybrids between the tribes. For example, the bod-mod people, and the closely related Modern Primitives: they share a variety of characteristics between the alt-sex and fetish communities, the industrial crowd, and the Pagan/shamanic groups. They’re not particularly one or the other, but they are able to interact with them all — and they are definitely fellow freaks! Who cares if they don’t fit into one simple pigeonhole? Half the point of this site and its name is that hardly any of us fit into just one of these tribes!
This Web site exists for many reasons, but primarily to bring the freaks together. To make us all realize how much we have in common with each other, how much we can learn from each other, how strong we can be together, and how much we all enjoy each other’s company anyway. It’s about community. It’s about fun. It’s about living our lives together, the way we want to.
Welcome to the Freak Nation.