Social Justice Warrior? How dare you! I am clearly a Bard.

The term Social Justice Warrior (SJW) is slung around as a hyperbolic insult, aimed at people from marginalized groups and those who defend them. This insult is usually used by people who crusade against the phrase "Happy Holidays" and other examples of "political correctness gone mad." This is the crowd who abhors trigger warnings, but doesn't mind film content ratings, even though they're essentially the same thing.

It goes beyond a fear of greater inclusivity and diversity: the insult "SJW" is also associated with armchair activism, impotent online outrage, and the general image of a coddled millennial who complains about the state of the world without doing anything about the "bigger picture." It's pretty ironic that these insults generally come from able bodied straight white men, for whom the world is one big safe space.

The bigger picture is different. Activists who take to online articles and parades also take to the streets, to their local charities, to petitions, their representatives, to boycotts, and to marches. What you see online is only the tip of the social justice iceberg. LGBT folk and people of color are no strangers to reclaiming abusive language and making it a banner of strength. So it isn't surprising that the land of Queer Geekdom should so effortlessly reclaim Social Justice Warrior.

Of course, an adventuring party made up of warriors is an unbalanced party.

Below you'll find a smattering of folks who work toward social justice in proactive ways, plus an outline of their Social Justice D&D class. What’s yours? How do you help your community or others? Are you a Social Justice Bard, who soothes LGBT seniors to sleep with your flute playing? A Social Justice Berserker who accompanies abuse survivors home with your keys clutched in your hand? A Social Justice Paladin who makes sure patients of Planned Parenthood are shielded from anti-choice protesters?

Note: All graphic T-shirts appearing in this article are designed by LGBT artists! So let's start with the creators themselves. To get your own, follow the links in each description.


Kate Nyx

Designer of these Social Justice Classes shirts

How do you fight for social justice in your mundane life?
I try to be a spokesperson when I can and try to cast a light on what I can, while also living by example, owning up to my past mistakes as a privileged cisgender white lady, and trying to use that privilege to promote the voices of the unheard. I'm also currently working on running a benefit to help the Women's Medical Fund, a Philadelphia charity that helps women get abortions they cannot otherwise afford.

Tell us something about your Social Justice Bard.
I feel like being a Social Justice Bard is just the best way to describe me personally! Being a musician and performer, I communicate mostly with my art and I am here to help my fellow SJWs become stronger by providing them with beautiful things to bolster their courage. This includes making socially conscious music or just providing light entertainment as a form of escapism from the grind of fighting injustice. The last RPG campaign I played where I designed a character I was a gnome bard named Jingle, if that says anything...


Aram Vartian

Game Master and creator of Godsfall, and designer of these Social Justice Class shirts

How do you fight for social justice in your mundane life?
I am a recent transplant to Chicago and still figure the city out, but while in DC I worked for two LGBT publications, Metro Weekly and the Washington Blade. I was part of the Blade's staff that stuck around when the parent company went under and helped save the company, and 40 years of LGBT archives, from fading away.

Tell us about Godsfall!
In our campaign I am the DM, or Dungeon Master, which means I write the backstory, the world and play all of the NPCs (Non-Player characters). The way I have introduced social justice into my world is by making it socially just. There is no internal racism among the humans of my land, because what is skin color or nationality compared to the alienness of the Elves? How do you perceive a "weaker sex" when people cast fire from their hands and call lightning from the sky? Who would mock an LGBT couple when the Gods were well known for all manner of couplings? Who would view being transgender as other when every dragon walks freely between both sexes?

Once I freed my world of these burdens I found I was able to tell stories of inclusion just by the virtue that we were inclusive. Our gay couple could simply be a couple like any other, and an arranged marriage between two (actual) Queens simply felt commonplace, and our LGBT fans have responded well to the idea.


Zelma

Playwright and modeling Geeks OUT's own Social Justice Warrior tee

How do you fight for social justice in your mundane life?
I get overwhelmed when I'm the only one in the room fighting the good fight, but I support my fellow queers in my friend group and listen and learn from people whose experiences are different than mine. I'm one of the writers on the comic Bash Back—a story of the queer mafia, and a playwright. All of my plays feature queer characters in historical settings that I find interesting. Because we were there. Even if our stories weren't told. In my plays, you will never find a straight cis white man and in this I hope to lead by example. 

Tell us something about your D&D character.
Every good balanced party needs a warrior! Though I may not get right up in the thick of battle in real life, my two-handed weapon wielding dwarf warrior, Dulcinea, has no problem getting bruised and bloodied on behalf of the team. She knows everyone is there to back her up and keep her alive even if she gets skewered, poisoned, or cursed.


Lewd Alfred Douglas

How do you fight for social justice in your mundane life?
I am an activist and speaker on transgender representation. I perform burlesque for LGBT fundraising causes, and donate regularly to LGBT homeless shelters.

Tell us something about your D&D character.
In our party, I am Olwyn, the human necromancer. He summons the spirits of disenfranchised people who have passed, so they may gain the revenge they deserve.


Anja Keister

How do you fight for social justice in your mundane life?
I am a queer feminist burlesque performer and producer. I often co-produce these shows with my girlfriend, so I use my shows and time on stage (and social media) to help promote body and sex positivity. We work to make the shows safe places for the performers and the audience by making sure the acts do not mock disability, gender, or race and that the acts are not culturally appropriative. It is my art, my business, and my friends, so I want to use this sexy platform for good!  I also produce or volunteer my skills for shows to help raise money for LGBT issues and feminist causes.

Tell us something about your Social Justice Sorceress.
In our Social Justice party I am RuthBadina Ginsburgeron, a lesbian half elf sorceress who sits on the magic courts and makes sure young sorceresses can also study magic and easily live in society despite the oppressive wizard patriarchcal traditions in some of the older cities.


Fyodor Pavlov

How do you fight for social justice in your mundane life?
I am a queer trans illustrator and comic artist, and I try to hold up marginalized communities, make them visible and serve them through my work. I speak on issue of trans and LGBTQ visibility in comics, art and popular media, and every year I am a Gay Santa for New Alternatives, an NYC LGBT homeless youth center. If you'd like to send a postcard to your representatives or the White House, you can find a free a template of the one I designed here.

Tell us something about your Social Justice Witch.
I use my witching powers to heal and nurture queers, and hex bigots. I am also currently creating a queer tarot deck.