I’m making a note here…on August 6, 2013 at 4:42 pm
Holy cow, if you had your first-year reservations about GaymerX, throw them all away for GaymerX-2! It was an amazing convention, with great attendees, staff, location, and programming. Most significant was the environment- people of all genders got to celebrate together without anyone having to run through awkward discussions about orientation or identity before getting to what everyone wanted to enjoy: pure, undiluted geekery.
It’s always made me so unhappy to see how transsexual people are treated at anime cons. We think that the anime scene one of diversity and acceptance, but when it comes to transpeople, I’ve never seen that to be the case. If a transman corrects someone’s pronoun usage, they get weird stares or questions before they can just talk about the new Evangelion movie. If I transwoman walks by in a Sailor Moon costume, people snicker and make faces. Or best of all they’ll shout “Nice crossplay!” As if they deserve an award for “figuring” something out. I’m just sick of it, and it’s difficult for everyone else too. The non-binary fans. Cisgendered women trying to enjoy games. Cosplaying people of color. We have to answer stares that say “Why would YOU like that?” “Do you even PLAY that?” and “Why should I give you SPECIAL (read:equal) treatment?”
The short of it is that a geek experience shouldn’t be hampered by assumptions about our identities. Because for a lot of us, our sexual or gender identities aren’t related to our love of games. And while there was backlash about “exclusivity” when GX was conceived, I think it achieved what I was hoping for a con calling itself “GLBT oriented.” Which was an experience safe for everyone, including the GLBT community.
GX wasn’t just about creating a safe and equal environment, though. Some of the programming was oriented towards how GLBT experiences inform gaming experiences and the industry — a welcome and overdue opportunity to have these important conversations. With them, we can advance towards a society where GLBT conventions aren’t the only places where your geek experiences aren’t precluded by conversations about your identity.
I had a wonderful experience spending more time with the Scuttlebutt team (Mahou Shounen Fight) and having retroactively-celebratory-frozen-yogurt when their Kickstarter passed their funding goal! Getting to talk more with Alex Woolfson (Young Protectors) was fun and enlightening. And everyone else I met — I can’t name everyone, but it was a pleasure to meet each and every one of you!
I got to hug Pandora Boxx. I got to dance with Ellen McLain. I even got to chat with Anita Sarkeesian! I saw people wearing and buying the t-shirts I designed for the con, flipping through the program books I designed and illustrated. I got to eat fresh mochi in Japantown and buy sexy gay underwear in the castro. I was sad to leave, and can’t wait for next year.
But life goes on, and I’m already in Baltimore, MD, getting ready for Otakon! I’ll be at dealer booth AA09, presented by Neko-Jin Designs. More information to come about what I’ll have to offer there soon!
Thanks for all of your support!
Photos: (in order) “Paper Mario” sketchcard drawn by me at GaymerX, Pandora Boxx performing at GaymerX VIP party. Photos taken by me.