It was around 1992 when I first started noticing gothic literature and films. I was around 10 years old at the time, grew up in the middle of nowhere, and preferred reading classic horror novels to the required books of 5th grade. We didn’t get the internet until the next year and that would be the first year that I fully became aware of the gothic subculture.
By 1993, I had started to read Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. My mom and my aunt raved about the books and were eagerly sharing a paperback copy of Tale of The Body Thief, the fourth book in the series. We got our new windows-based computer sometime that year and also hooked up the internet. This was a momentous occasion. Not everyone had the internet. People were still trying to figure out the daily benefits of it. We were still on standard television channels (not cable), beepers were still a thing, and not everyone had a cellphone. Luckily, we had a few computers at school that were connected to the internet, so I had an idea of general use. Surfing the web at home led me to find people who had similar interests and awesome style. The gothic subculture!
It was during these early years of my wandering into the gothic subculture that I found the music and fashions. I was psyched to find modern goth fiction by authors like Tanith Lee and Poppy Z Brite. Dark Side of The Net, a website that started in 1993, was a favorite of mine. It was, and still is, a huge collective of gothic subculture links. You could find just about everything through that website - forums and usenet goth communities, fashion, music, beauty, literature, film, music tablature, etc. I started connecting with others in the subculture and I felt so cool (for once).
At the time I really didn’t realize the cultural significance that was taking place. Now, in 2020, it suddenly clicked in my head. 2020 has not been a good year for just about every person on the planet - Australia was on fire, COVID-19, social/civil unrest, racism is just in everyone’s face...it’s almost unreal. What has bothered me are all the issues that started to rear up since late May 2020 - race, sexual preference, gender, social class, etc.
Geez...Didn’t we already move beyond all this? Apparently not.
I questioned myself. I was never bothered by anyone’s race or sex or preferred gender or social class. I was only bothered by bigotry, lack of intelligence, and terrible grammar.
It came to me at the beginning of August 2020 - I grew up goth. I grew up being totally accepting of people with crazy hair and make-up, being of whatever sexual preference, some preferring androgyny, some preferring fetish club looks, race never seemed to be an issue, and participating in a subculture that was fueled by intelligence and music. We could laugh at ourselves.
I don't have any solutions for fixing the current state of things, but I absolutely know that there are others out there like me. It's just unfortunate that we appear to be in the minority. Bringing this up felt like a good thing to do even though I know it's half-assed. I haven't fully worked out my thoughts on this and I really have no one to talk to about it.
Let me know if you have thoughts and opinions on this.