From comic cons to gaming gatherings, there are many different types of geek conventions that exist in the world. Among these fantastic events is a group of cons that focus not only on geeky interests but also on the queer community that loves and contributes to geek culture. Many conventions may be friendly to LGBTQ+ fans and creators, but these specific conventions offer a much-needed focus on them. Their inclusive, open environments provide a space that makes them great for queer fans and their allies to attend.
For Pride Month, I wanted to highlight some of these amazing conventions. Here are seven LGBT conventions from around the country, listed in order of when they'll be taking place so you can start marking them on your calendar!
Flame Con was started by the non-profit Geeks OUT and is New York City's first LGBTQ comic convention. It has everything you're looking for in a comic con and much more. It's grown to include a wide-range of programming since it was first held in 2015 including more panels, performances and guests from all over the industry, which in the past have included writer Marguerite Bennett and illustrator Kevin Wada. The founders told us in a recent interview that there's a lot for fans to look forward to at this year's convention as well. Already the list of special guests is impressive, featuring Gotham’s Robin Lord Taylor, writer and artist Kate Leth, and writer Steve Orlando. You can check it out for yourself when it takes place at The Brooklyn Bridge Marriott on August 19 and 20.
As you might have guessed by the name, GaymerX is a LGBTQ gaming convention that has the tagline "everyone games." It was started in 2012 and hopes to make "the gaming world safer and more inclusive to marginalized people, especially those in the gender and sexuality spectrum." Their mission statement lists three ways they aim to do so: making progress fun, creating better practices and holding a yearly GaymerX event. They've so far had four conventions in California, created the game jam GXdev: Everyone Creates and even expanded overseas with GX Australia. In addition to panels and speakers, attendees can fittingly play a variety of games and there are other events such as parties as well. This year the convention will make the leap to the east coast with GaymerX East in New York City on November 4 and 5.
The slogan for Texas' HavenCon is "Everyone needs a haven" and that's exactly what it strives to offer queer geeks and gamers and their allies. The Austin-based convention was held in April and featured a range of artists, vendors and events. Speakers and guests included BioWare lead editor Karin Weekes and actress Denise Crosby, and adding to the inclusive environment was the presence of ASL interpreters at some panels. HavenCon is already set to return for its fourth year, "A Cosmic Journey," on March 29 and April 1, 2018 and is currently raising money on Indiegogo to help with the convention.
ClexaCon is a media and entertainment convention for LGBTQ women and their allies. It's named after the Clarke and Lexa ship from The 100, which fell into the “Bury Your Gays” trope when the CW show killed off Lexa. This caused anger among fans, who tried to raise awareness of the trope and why better representation is needed. ClexaCon wants to provide "a platform to build community, bringing together a diverse group of LGBTQ fans and content creators from around the world" and "empower media creators to produce and distribute more positive LGBTQ content, providing educational resources for the community to aid in the push for better representation." The first convention was this past March with an attendance of about 2,200. Speakers included Person of Interest's Amy Acker and Wynonna Earp's Dominique Provost-Chalkley, with activities including workshops and a film festival. After a successful first convention, ClexaCon plans to return to Las Vegas next year from April 5 to 9.
Outlantacon will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2018. For the last decade, the convention has been offering a fun welcoming place for queer geeks to gather in Atlanta, Georgia, where they can show their love for everything from anime to horror. At Outlantacon, geeks can take advantage of a range of great programming that includes a game room, short film festival and Project Cosplay. With such a big anniversary coming up, next year's event is sure to be something special! Already it’ll have an extra element as Outlantacon will host Gaylaxicon, an international convention run by the Gaylactic Network, at the same time as its convention from May 11 to 13.
Queers & Comics
If you want a convention with more of an academic spin, you should check out Queers & Comics. The biennial LGBTQ conference is university-based and first took place in New York City at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Center for LGBTQ Studies in 2015. This year it was held in April at the San Francisco campus of the California College of the Arts. The conference was started by cartoonist Jennifer Camper and "celebrates, explores, analyzes and documents the impact, craft, history and future of queer comics and cartoonists." Writers, artists, scholars and fans from around the world attend the two-day event which features workshops, special events and more. There's been no announcement yet about where and when the next convention will take place, but keep an eye on their website to find out!
OUT Con has become known as Florida's first geek convention to focus on the LGBTQ community. It welcomed more than 1,000 people to the Miami Airport Convention Center for its first con last year. Created by cosplayer Jonathan Stryker, OUT Con returned to Miami in May with content that included contests, game tournaments, lip sync battles and more. The convention is set to return sometime in 2018, continuing to be a great annual event for those who want a friendly queer geek space in the area.