After what was possibly the most intense and hotly contested Femslash Tournament in AfterEllen history, Emma and Regina (or SwanQueen, as they are called by fans) took the top spot. SwanQueen’s legion of dedicated fans came out to support their ship, and even formed an allyship with the Bering and Wells fans.
What happened in this tournament showed how powerful fandom can be, even when it’s presented with opposition from an unusual source: People voting not for a ship, but against one. It’s no secret that we dealt with some serious cheating during this round of the tournament. (And yes, we heard your requests, and we will look into a more secure system of voting with captchas for next year.) It’s the reason why we had to restart the poll. Queer shippers still deal with people who don’t like the idea of a same-sex ship, especially when it involves a member of their own preferred ship. Once Upon a Time has many ships, but there’s no denying that the chemistry and powerful story between Emma and Regina makes their relationship compelling, whether or not that is ever acknowledged in the actual show.
Subtext has been a part of queer lives for as long as there has been television. (You know people shipped Lucy and Ethel.) Now that we have lesbian and bisexual characters actually having relationships on television, subtext isn’t the only way we have to consume these romances, but it’s still there and has a strong legacy in our community. OUAT may never give us SwanQueen, but that doesn’t mean that SwanQueen doesn’t exist. It already does in the hearts of shippers. So, come on, OUAT, what are you waiting for?
Congratulations to SwanQueen for their second win in a row. And congrats to all of you who spent time voting and campaigning. So cheers, this is your win just as much as Regina and Emma’s.