In August I had the chance to attend FlameCon for the first time ever and while I could only really check out the vendor and artist area, I had the chance to chat through email with one of the guests. Kaitlyn Alexander is a very visible non-binary member of the LGBTQ+ community who you will recognize from Carmilla and their YouTube series, Couple-ish, as non-binary characters LaFontaine and Dee respectively. I greatly appreciate their giving me this opportunity to interview them about their work and their time at FlameCon.
Could you tell our readers a little about yourself?
Sure! My name’s Kaitlyn, I’m a non-binary actor, YouTuber and musician based out of Toronto Canada and I’m a really big fan of kittens and diverse LGBTQ+ representation in media.
You were just at Flame Con, what was it like attending the convention?
Flame Con was honestly one of my best convention experiences that I’ve ever had. The event was super inclusive and was filled with warmth, positivity, and SO much talent.
You were part of two panels, could you share some the details from them and what you specifically spoke about?
The first panel I was on was “Scripted Content on YouTube”, where I spoke about Couple-ish and the different complexities of finding your audience online.
The second panel was “I have Too Many Friends on the Internet,” which focused on fandoms online. I thought it was super important to bring two things to light in that conversation: that creators deserve the right to consent just as much as fellow members in a fandom do, and also that we need to promote diverse LGBTQ+ representation and raise our voices to promote those in our community who have experiences outside of our own.
What were some of your favorite moments at the convention?
I think my standout moment was when a lovely human being gifted me a LaFontaine cosplay jacket. I have it in my closet at home now and it literally makes me shocked that someone would go through all of the trouble to make something like that for a character I played!! And then they gifted it to me? Wild.
This year Flame Con moved to Times Square, while you were there did you get to explore the city at all?
I had a really good bowl of ramen when I was in New York. Unfortunately I flew in the day the convention started, and flew out right after my second panel so I didn’t get to explore too much.
Transitioning away from the convention, I wanted to talk a bit about you being a voice for the non-binary community. Could you give your personal definition of the term and what helped you to find and embrace this identity?
Non-binary, at least to me, is an identity for someone who doesn’t fit within the strict boy/girl binary. I use it as my identity, but some people use it as an umbrella term for the entire community!
I only found out about this identity because I played LaFontaine (a genderqueer character) on Carmilla. I remember going to research what genderqueer meant and just sitting there, mouth open, gaping at the computer screen, feeling SEEN for the first time in my life. It was that feeling of suddenly not feeling broken that immediately made me embrace the identity.
As an actor and creator you have portrayed two non-binary characters to date. Could you share some of your experiences and the connections you have to Carmilla’s LaFontaine and Dee in Couple-ish?
I have! I’ve been very fortunate to be able to play two non-binary characters! I think the main connection I have to LaFontaine is that they were the character that introduced me to myself, and I will never not associate them to that (otherwise, we are nothing alike in personality which was a fun acting challenge). Dee in Couple-ish is also someone not very close to me, personality wise, but their relationship with their mother and her character development in terms of accepting and learning about Non-binary identities is something that is very close to home. (My mom is lovely and accepting and a great ally, but initially was a wee bit resistant to my identity- people can grow!)
As attempts are being made to increase representation in the media, what do you think needs to be done to help promote non-binary people?
I think a few necessary steps to increase non binary representation in the media should be taken:
1) I think people shouldn’t be afraid to make Non-binary villains a thing. It’s often scary to put forward a “negative” character when a new identity is just breaking into the mainstream but I’d personally love to see a bad non-binary person on a TV Show. Personalities in our community are diverse! We shouldn’t shy away from that.
2) I also think it’s up to the community as a whole to increase the amount the highlight and talk about Non-binary characters in shows. There’s an alarming trend in media of the cis, white, femme love stories being the pinnacle of LGBT representation- but we need to diversify those stories because our community is plentiful.
3) Non-binary people are often portrayed as skinny afab white folx. Diversify the experiences of Non-binary people in media and we’re all better for it.
What are some of your favorite LGBTQ+ characters in the media currently?
I LOVE Rosa Diaz, a badass openly bisexual cop? What isn’t there to love? I’m also a big big fan of Kat on The Bold Type!
You do a podcast called How to Not, could you share a little about it and what led you to start podcasting?
Haha I did start a podcast called How To Not with my amazingly hilarious co-host Rob Moden. Basically, the podcast is us going through How To articles on the web (usually wikihow), and taking them apart while making very bad jokes. I know I wanted to start podcasting because it’s so fun to sit in a room with a good friend, without cameras to have to play to, and just be relaxed and genuine (and laugh a lot).
Do you currently have any projects in the works that you can discuss?
I’m currently in the early stages of development for a new series we’ve tentatively called “The Flat”. I can’t say much yet. But it’s going to be a riot.
Where can our readers find you online?
You can find me online pretty much everywhere @realisticsay, and on YouTube I go by Realisticallysaying.
Share your thoughts with us in the comments or on Twitter, @thenerdygirlexp. You can find me on Twitter, @kleffnotes, on my blog, kleffnotes.wordpress.com, on my kleffnotes YouTube channel, and I run The Nerdy Girl Express Snapchat, thenerdygirlexp.