In recent months, legislation in states such as Florida and Texas have been passed to limit the education and embracement of LGBTQ+ youth and adults. With laws such as these moving schools and workplaces away from a safe space, it’s crucial to recognize spaces in which these groups are empowered – and ways that even more progress can be made.
Convention Safe Spaces
One of the biggest conflicts for transgender and GNC (gender non-conforming) individuals is bathroom policies. Having access to the bathroom of your gender or to a gender neutral bathroom is unfortunately unreliable, and while geek spaces are often embracingly LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual and many other terms such as non-binary and pansexual) positive, there are so many necessities that organizers can overlook, especially those who are cisgendered and/or heterosexual. Additionally, with growing fears of mistreatment for being public with one’s gender or sexuality, it can be daunting to attend a convention and not know if it’ll be a space that helps or hurts you.
In the last two years, conventions have been adding more and more gender neutral bathrooms and accommodations. Usagi Med intern Allison Marrero attended Florida Supercon over the Summer and was delighted to see several all-gender bathrooms throughout the convention center. Many conventions, such as Anime Expo, have detailed anti-discrimination policies on their site, their core message being “Assaulting, threatening, behaving inappropriately to another person, discriminating conduct of any nature whatsoever, making racial, religious, ethnic, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or other slurs, bullying, and/or expressing any act of hatred towards another” (Anime Expo). Additionally, Anime Weekend Atlanta has LGBTQ+ medical staff on hand who specialize in proper care, in the event of any harassment or discrimination.
Progress to further improve the convention experience for LGBTQ+ individuals is still deeply necessary. Pronoun pins or stickers available at a station near badge pickup would be a great trend for conventions to continue. Especially when in cosplay, trans and GNC folks frequently get misgendered at conventions, creating unneeded stress in a space that is intended to be comforting. Luckily, this has been a rapidly progressing conversation that many conventions have begun to listen to, and the next step would be to continue to engage conventions and events to include these LGBTQ+ necessities.
We’re all about improving safety and reducing your con’s liability. Call on us so we can be your event partners. As you plan and prepare, we will answer any questions you may have about LGBTQ+ Acceptance, drafting policies, and creating a safe space for all your attendees. Feel free to drop us a question and we will answer you.