Steampunk is fairly new, especially in its current incarnation. While K.W. Jeter invented the term in 1987, and some people have been doing Steampunk things for a long time, the Steampunk world we know – the profusion of art, culture, music, conversation, literature, and delights we now enjoy – has taken off within, at most, the last eight or ten years (edited to be a bit more accurate).
Steampunk is still NEW. That means that everyone has a voice. We get to DECIDE what Steampunk will be. And those of us who are doing Steampunk have made it clear:
We want to try to embrace everyone who wants to participate in our strange and wonderful world! We want to enjoy everyone’s imaginary Steampunk universes! We welcome people of every race, creed, gender, background, and orientation. We want you to be a part of it!
The actual era included sexism, racism, and homophobia. The imaginary 19th century would like to remind you to keep those things out of the 21st century, please. Hate is not a Steampunk value!