Lost & Found: Finding Virtual Communities & Belonging in Fandoms

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We hear about being a part of a community in areas such as work, school, sports, religious, and cultural communities, for example, but what about non-traditional spaces? What can they offer? Jamila Mahfudh, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Boontarika Sripom MA (ENFP 4w5, neurodivergent), and Lorran Garrison MAEd, PPS and School Psychologist (she/her) discuss how non-traditional, online spaces provide opportunities for people to feel connected and accepted. Virtual spaces allow people to embrace the nuances and complexities of identity, intersectionality, and authenticity, especially for BIPOC, LGBTQIA, neurodivergent and marginalized people, and find a place to belong. To this day, there continues to be identities and communities that are valued less or silenced, but with the existence of fandoms and online communities, people can reclaim their voices, their preferred narratives and identities, and have reparative experiences in community with others. Join in on the discussion and explore ways in which you can support others in finding their community—or find a new one for you!

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