Written by Michaela McCready
I’ve never felt compelled to be a committed fan to anything until I started watching the TV series, Wynonna Earp. I started watching the show after finding myself heartbroken and in the middle of an identity crisis. Coming out as queer is never easy; doing so right before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020 left me searching. Soul-searching in a house that’s full of family members can be daunting, but it became painful in the midst of a broken heart during quarantine. Former love shattered by a beautiful woman aside, I couldn’t understand myself. Where do I belong? That is where Wynonna Earp came into play.
During a summer of quarantine, I was trying to find representation wherever I could. This is when I realized that there was a difference between representation and positive representation. I watched shows like 100 and Atypical. 100 killed off a fan-favorite lesbian character faster than a cheetah after its prey. Atypical made a relationship between two women difficult to get into, because it focused too much on the ‘coming out’ of the main female character over the relationship that developed between her and her best friend. There were characters in these shows that I was supposed to find relatable through a shared identity, but I never saw a positive outcome in their relationships. Then, YouTube recommended a video of … “Wayhaught”? After watching the video, I realized that this “Wayhaught”, a relationship between Waverly Earp and Nicole Haught, was exactly what I had been searching for, and it drove me to start the show, Wynonna Earp.
Wynonna Earp is a supernatural western that follows Wynonna Earp as she sends demons back to hell with her magic gun, Peacemaker. I know. It sounds ridiculous. However, it didn’t take me long to realize that the show captured themes of found family, pregnancy, women empowerment, sacrifice, and resilience. All of that along with giving positive LGBTQ representation. Wynonna Earp herself is described as “whiskey soaked and reckless” and makes plenty of mistakes; yet, she is a superhero that is loved by her found family of misfits. She even had an unplanned pregnancy in the second season of the show, and it didn’t slow her down which proved that women are capable of accomplishing anything. That brings me to her sister, Waverly Earp. Waverly, a bubbly and tiny half-angel, would wield a shotgun and a fiery rage at anyone that hurts her loved ones, including her girlfriend, Nicole Haught. Theirs is a story that wasn’t about coming out. Waverly didn’t know she was bi-sexual before their relationship, but there was never a question of whether her sexuality would be a difficult topic to tackle. She had just never met a woman, or man for that matter, that she connected with. Until, Nicole, a Sheriff’s Deputy, shamelessly flirted with her when they first met. It was the beginning of a love story that I could finally find relatable, because it was so natural without a dramatic focus on the fact that they were two women. Their “Wayhaught” relationship attracts people to the show, but the people stay for all of the antics that the plot brings to life. In fact, Wynonna Earp has a fandom that spreads far and wide.
All over the world, Earpers, fans, gather at Wynonna Earp conventions purely to experience the energy brought on by a shared love of the show. It is a fandom like no other, because the actors, writers, and crew of the show radiate positivity which spreads kind interactions between fans. Some Earpers have met through twitter while talking about the show and have ended up married. More Earpers find the courage to come out and live their most authentic selves. Other Earpers meet their best friends while at conventions; even if that friend lives across the world, they end up being in contact for years. There is no great divide based on plot points and the writers make sure to stay true to the story while also thinking of their fans when creating scripts. The mutual respect between fans and people involved in making the show is what creates such a safe environment for fans to rally and support one another in a community that strives to build a more accepting world. Wynonna Earp has even allowed one of the actresses, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, to gather the resources to start a non-profit organization, Start the Wave, that tackles projects around sustainability, LGBTQ issues, racism, physical health, and spirituality amongst other things. The abundance of good acts that have come out of the show comes to give an example of how an art form can provide widespread positive change. It is what makes me feel proud to be part of a fandom; to be part of a community based on positivity. So watch Wynonna Earp, or don’t. However, if you give it a chance and love it, you can rest assured that there will be a great group of people out there ready to show you kindness when you need it. Being an Earper means never being alone.