oh goodness. thank you for the heads up!
to the anon who was asking: it’s probably best you don’t do those characters, excepting sherlock. i’m sure your intentions are nothing but good, and i don’t want you to feel demonized for liking these characters or shows, but i think we’d really rather steer clear of such violent characters, as mental illness is already pathologized as being violent and abusive.
i do apologize, and i hope that you understand. we do hope, too, that you’ll still participate in DF with characters such as sherlock.
I’m excited for this event, and I really admire what you’re trying to do here - but, respectfully, I really don’t think that this is okay.
First, as disabled people, we’re not exactly spoiled for choice when it comes to representation. The characters the original anon was asking about seem to coded as having psychotic symptoms and/or are frequently read as autistic, and it’s really, really common for villains to be coded as neurodivergent - much more frequently than heroes or more ethically neutral characters. When I identify with those characters, that’s usually not the only reason, but being able to see myself in them, when I can’t anywhere else, is important. They may be violent and abusive to fictional people, but they’ve done a lot of good for at least one real person.
And even if there were plenty of non-stereotyped, heroic neurodivergent characters, it would still be okay to identify with villains. This thread has more context, but the basic point is that there are lots of reasons why any given person would find those characters compelling and personally meaningful. It’s not about associating violence with mental illness or neurodivergence, it’s about relating to a character who happens to have those traits. And, yes, the fact that neurodivergent-coded characters frequently are violent is a symptom of our ableist society. But it’s not fair to penalize fans of those characters for the toxic environment in which those characters were created.
The onus is not on us to give mental illness a good name. Ever. Of course, combating the stigma of violence that surrounds (this specific type of) mental illness is important work. But it’s not the purpose of an event that is by and for disabled people to celebrate the characters who mean something to them. If someone identifies with a character and wants to create fanwork celebrating that, the stigma that they already face in their daily life is not a reason to prevent them from doing so.
And, by the way - Sherlock (I assume you mean the BBC version) is violent, as well as emotionally closed off, impersonal, etc. He displays a massive amount of ableist stereotypes. And disabled people relate to him. And that’s completely okay. Better than okay, even. There’s no arbitrary dividing line you can draw between the characters listed to say that some of them are nice enough to count as representation, and some of them aren’t. The only thing that matters is what they do for their audience.