ClexaCon Organizers talk the Whys, Hows, and Evolution of Starting a Convention for LGBT+ Women In Media
In case you haven’t heard, the inaugural convention for LGBT+ women in media, ClexaCon, is next weekend, March 3rd-5th, in Las Vegas, NV. Fandomentalist editors Elizabeth and Gretchen are both going to be there as panelists (woot!) and fangirls. From creators of films like Saving Face and I Can’t Think Straight to femslash pairings like WayHaught, Shoot, Hollstein, Spashley, and BAM, ClexaCon has gathered an impressive array of special guests, diverse panelists, and interesting programming to appeal to LGBT+ women and allies of all backgrounds and fandoms. For a first time convention, it’s positively astounding what they’ve been able to accomplish in such a short time.
We wanted to get a bit more information from the talented organizers about how this amazing convention came about, and they were gracious enough to take time out of their busy schedule to talk with us. We don’t know how they do it all, but we’re impressed!
Fandomentals: How did you all find each other?
ClexaCon: “As crazy as it sounds we found each other on Twitter!”
FM: In light of all the other responses to the Clexa debacle, why did you choose to organize a convention?
CC: “We really wanted to move the conversation forward in a positive way and provide a space that would encourage more LGBT people to get involved in content creation. ClexaCon is the next step for us.”
FM: Did you encounter any unique or interesting challenges in the process of organizing a wlw-focused convention?
CC: “Getting the word out to the LGBT community can be challenging, but we’ve had incredibly positive feedback from everyone who has heard about the convention.”
FM: What has been the most rewarding moment of this experience thus far?
CC: “We get some pretty emotional emails and messages from women from around the world. We’ve received a lot of feedback from people who are excited to be connected with other fans and content creators and to be part of a movement to encourage more and better representation. Every single story we hear means the world to us.”
FM: Are there any ways that the con has evolved beyond your original vision in new and/or exciting ways?
CC: “This con has grown in ways we never imagined. When we get approached with new ideas, or we come up with a new event, if we can make it happen, we make it happen. We love providing powerful women with a platform to communicate their thoughts and ideas.”
FM: One of the unique elements of this convention is the multi-generational representation of wlw characters, actors, writers, producers, etc. Tell us a little bit more about how that came about and why you think it’s important to have many generations of wlw at the same con.
CC: “It doesn’t matter what your age or background is, we all want to see ourselves and our families represented in media. The push for better representation has no age boundaries.”
FM: Was content creation always something you wanted to include in the con or did that evolve over time?
CC: “We have always wanted to really encourage positive content creation. This idea evolved into The ClexaCon Film Festival. We have the space and the time to link content creators with their base audience. It felt like the logical next step.”
FM: Can you think of anything you weren’t able to make happen this year that you’d like to see happen in a future ClexaCon?
CC: “Yes! Of course. Next year we want more events more guests, more of everything!”
FM: What is one thing that you hope attendees walk away with?
CC: “We hope the attendees walk away feeling valued. Our stories matter, because we matter.”
Telling Our Stories
So there you have it! What could be better than a con created by, for, and about LGBT+ women in media? Especially at a time when our stories have been mishandled as disastrously as they have been. Last year may have been the year of the Spring Slaughter, but we all hope that with events like ClexaCon, 2017 will be the beginning of a Spring Celebration of LGBT+ women.
Elizabeth will be giving a presentation at the con about her favorite topic, lady-loving ladies in video games. This panel, titled “Queer Women in Video Games,” will discuss the unique characteristics of queer female video game characters, the studios that create them, and the history of queer women in video game media. This panel will also discuss the unique aspects of playable queer women, and how these protagonists have evolved over time.
Gretchen will be participating in three panels at the con. The first, “Ethics in Storytelling” will focus the place of morality in media creation and how that relates to the stories of LGBT+ persons (see her ongoing ethics in storytelling article series here). “Queer Representation in Steven Universe” will discuss the strides this kids show has made for representation of queer and gender diversity. “Writing with Style and Diversity” will explore integrating LGBT+ diversity into novel writing as well as more general writing tips for aspiring authors.
If you make it out to ClexaCon, stop by our panels (you can find the schedule here) or find us on the floor and say hello. We’d be so excited to meet you! Hope to see you there!
Thanks again to Ashley Arnold and all the rest of the ClexaCon organizers for making this interview possible. We appreciate it so much!
Images Courtesy of ClexaCon.