I've been quiet on this for the whole of the GUFF race because I didn't want to add controversy or whatever and I think that Sue Ann and Trevor winning is a great, and right outcome. And honestly, I really am really happy to be going to Swancon.
The thing is... I felt stupid running in a race with a less than two year old in it - the child is not consenting and therefore was as good as a teddy bear being nominated, and there was something distasteful in that for me. (That a baby is like an inanimate object). Further, I felt that it detracted from the race and what it meant - the other candidates ran on platforms on what they hoped to offer as the winner and on their contribution to fandom. The baby was not even eligible to vote for herself, being not alive in 2006.
I felt stupid because *other* people read this blog who are not in fandom and would ring me up and say, but ... hang on? You're running against a baby? And all I could say was, what everyone says to me, "oh you know what fandom is like" or "that's fandom for you" which by the way doesn't translate to people outside of ... fandom. And does nothing to bring credibility to the scene.
I have voiced my opinion on the matter in private - that the prize is a ticket to London and back, which is not nothing, it's a lot of money to be cavalier about. And I have been told that nominating a baby is "fun" - which in retrospect feels a lot like pointing out someone said something sexist/racist/antisemitic and being told you just don't get the joke. A lot of people encouraged me to run in order to bring fan funds out and made visible to a wider audience. And I was happy to do that till I found out there was a "joke" entry. It kinda made me feel like what I was standing and running for was a bit of a joke, then, too, by extension. And I smiled sweetly and got on with it, but I have felt very uncomfortable about it for the whole race.
Does controversy bring discussion and audience? Yes, but what it doesn't bring is respectabilty and I believe that is something that fan funds should be about - it's about choosing candidates who will bridge the geographical divide, will make new friends, will exchange ideas and forge friendships.
I'm more than happy to stand back and laugh when teddy bears get nominated to run in races. But I am not the sort of person who will take that race seriously. And this is the biggest reason why I have said I won't stand again.