HI, there peeps! Welcome to another edition of Fangirl Friday! Because fangirling is pretty much my fave thing to do these days. #realityavoidance
ANYWAY. So Jove and I have been chatting this event up, and I am so incredibly stoked to go that I practically squee any time I mention it and I then double squee because I will be in attendance as press. OMG.
That would be ClexaCon, the inaugural media and entertainment convention for LGBTQ women, slated for Las Vegas March 3-5, 2017. HOLY QUEER WOMEN’S REP GATHERINGS, Batwoman! ARE YOU FOR REAL WITH THIS?
For those of you who don’t know much about fandom cons and comic cons, they’re about way much more than comics, movies, and TV shows. They’re also about the various industries that produce these things, the people involved in the movies and TV shows and who are working on the comics. They celebrate fandom in all its myriad manifestations, but they also have panels and workshops, vendor rooms, and other events going on. They’re often huge gatherings, with tons to see and do.
ClexaCon, named for the iconic ship between the characters of Clarke Griffin and Lexa in the post-apocalyptic TV show The 100, is being launched as a vehicle to explore, address, and celebrate queer women in media. 2016 was a horrible year for queer women in TV, especially, and the organizers of ClexaCon realized that hey, this is terrible, and let’s do something about this, and let’s make it something awesome about queer women’s representation in media.
Here’s the vision of this gathering:
ClexaCon provides a platform to build community, bringing together a diverse group of LGBTQ fans and content creators from around the world. Networking events will connect filmmakers, actors and industry professionals while panels, workshops, and autograph sessions will connect creators with fans.
In a nutshell, queer women’s rep in media, friends. Some of the people who will be in attendance are actress Kat Barrell (Officer Nicole Haught in TV show Wynonna Earp and one half of the WayHaught ship) and actress Dominique Provost-Chalkley (Waverly Earp and the other half of the WayHaught ship); producer and writer Emily Andras, who is also the showrunner of Wynonna Earp; writer director and filmmaker Shamin Sarif (I Can’t Think Straight, The World Unseen); writer and director Alice Wu (Saving Face); actress and activist Lynn Chen (Saving Face); and actress Mandy Musgrave (Ashley Davies in South of Nowhere).
This is not an exhaustive list. THERE ARE SO MANY MOAR WHO ARE GOING.
And there are tons of panels and workshops that address things like bisexual rep in media; how to write damn good TV for women; creating an original web series; fanblogging; ethics in storytelling; gender diversity in fandom; and writing love scenes in fanfic (to name a few). And so many awesome speakers and panelists. And there’s a film festival. In other words, A GIANT BUCKET OF AWESOME.
AND I was able to score an interview with some of the folks who are organizing this event. They’re hard at work behind the scenes and I promised not to reveal identities, so just think of them as the mild-mannered reporter-types by day who just might be superheroes by night. So the collective was gracious enough to respond to my questions.
So let’s go have a looksee at what’s up with ClexaCon!
ANDI: Hi, everybody! Thanks SO MUCH for doing this. So how did the idea for ClexaCon come about? Was there an epiphany moment? Or was it something that developed over a period of time? I mean, most people who have not been under a rock (though I’ve actually met several people who apparently have been under that rock. . .) know about Clexa and can make the leap to ClexaCon, but throw some enlightenment our way.
CLEXACON: This has been a difficult year in terms of female LGBT+ representation on television. The idea for ClexaCon was to create an event for the community in which we can celebrate the characters and shows we love while providing a positive space to come together. We received an overwhelming reaction and realized that the larger LGBT+ community was hungry for this type of event.
ClexaCon has since morphed into so much more than we had originally imagined. We are currently expecting thousands of attendees over three days along with celebrity guests, panelists, content creators, journalists, media personalities, vendors and artists. We are excited to share with you that we are providing a platform for upcoming queer filmmakers to showcase their work. The ClexaCon Film Festival will include feature films, short films, web-based series and documentaries. Several filmmakers have already confirmed their attendance to present their films and take part in audience Q&A sessions. We are linking content creators directly to their base audience.
ANDI: THOUSANDS? Wow! That’s…wow. Can you tell us a bit about the organizers and how they came together to get this off the ground? That is, did everybody know everybody else and somebody just started networking or were there bunches of serendipitous moments or something?
CLEXACON: We have an amazing group of volunteers from many backgrounds and from around the world. The original idea came about from a small group of people who had first become friends by discussing fandoms and representation on Twitter. As the idea grew and the word spread that we were planning the event, many people reached out wanting to help.
If you’re interested in helping to make this event a success and have time to commit before or during the event, please reach out. It takes a great team to make events like this happen and we’d love to have you join us!
ANDI: Thanks for that. So yeah, folks, if you’re interested, drop them a line. Are the organizers fangirls/bois/boys of anything in particular? Could you share a couple or a few of those things that they fanswoon over?
CLEXACON: We’re fangirls of loads of things! Some of us just love television, all of us want to really change the landscape of media and others seriously fangirl over social justice. Many of us came together originally over our love for the relationship between Clarke and Lexa as portrayed in The 100, but we’re also fans of and part of communities related to many other shows – especially ones that include diverse, queer characters and stories that represent our communities in positive ways.
ANDI: The vision of ClexaCon includes helping to build community and to provide networking opportunities for fans and content creators, but also to empower media creators to produce and distribute more LGBT+ content. In the wake of the shake-up at AfterEllen, it seems that some queer women’s media spaces and representation therein are contracting. Do you see ClexaCon as perhaps helping offset that and maybe even open new opportunities for collaboration?
CLEXACON: The AfterEllen situation is a sad example of what happens when communities lose their voices to corporations and people who are not part of and do not understand the communities they are working for. It really highlights the importance of publications and spaces like Autostraddle, Curve and Diva which are all owned and run by LGBT women.
We hope that ClexaCon will provide an opportunity for content creators to network and build support systems for people who are interested in creating media that is representative of our community. We also want to help introduce audiences to some of the great content that has already been created and to help ensure that creators are supported and able to continue their work.
ANDI: I really hope that, too. So let’s talk a bit about mechanics. How does ClexaCon differ from other con events? What makes it special? And will it offer opportunities that other cons do, like cosplaying and vendors?
CLEXACON: At most conventions you’re hard-pressed to find actresses and content that are LGBT-friendly, let alone geared specifically toward LGBT audiences. While there are a couple of LGBT conventions popping up (check out Flame Con in NYC!), there have never been any conventions geared specifically toward LGBT women. ClexaCon will be the first convention, that we know of, that is run by LGBT women for LGBT women. We will focus entirely on queer female characters and stories from film, TV and online while highlighting LGBT actresses and content creators. This is the only con where we have the opportunity to celebrate the media we love for an entire weekend with a community of thousands of other like-minded people.
ANDI: SO excited! What would you like to see result from ClexaCon?
CLEXACON: We want to see an increase of positive LGBT+ representation in the media! We hope to be a place where creators can network and breathe life into characters and stories that represent the LGBT+ community in positive ways. And we hope that more LGBT women will be inspired to become active in media creation and supporting those who are creating positive media. We want ClexaCon to be a place where fans from around the world connect and form friendships.
ANDI: That’s giving me all the feelz. Wowzers. Yes, please. More of this. So who would you love to have added to the special guest roster at ClexaCon who isn’t yet listed?
CLEXACON: Our DREAM guest list? Ellen DeGeneres, Rachel Maddow, Kristen Stewart, Kate McKinnon and Ellen Page.
ANDI: I can hear people out there reading this yelling “YES YES YES.” 😀 Who would some of the organizers cosplay as?
CLEXACON: We don’t want to give specifics yet, but there might be a Lexa, a Cosima, a Root, a Shaw or even a Piper Chapman. But you’ll have to come to the convention to find out!
ANDI: Oh, I plan to. MUAH HA HA! What would you like to see happen and What’s next?
CLEXACON: If we can impact just one person’s life positively then we have accomplished our goal. This event is for the LGBT+ person sitting in their small town feeling completely alone and alienated. This is for those of us that have felt like we were less than the rest of society, just because of our sexuality. ClexaCon is for those of us that have placed our hope in a fictional character just to have been let down. We are powerful and we are important. It’s time our community felt that. It’s time we are the change we want to see in the world.
What’s next? We hope this will be an event where we can come together annually to celebrate and keep working for change!
ANDI: Thanks so much, everyone, and see you in Vegas!
And there you go, friends! The superheroes behind the scenes of ClexaCon. And in case you wondered, here’s what the plus means next to LGBT+.
Where to find ClexaCon online–check their Twitter feed and website, because they add content as they confirm more guests.
And if you’d like to get involved somehow, CONTACT CLEXACON.
Thanks, friends. And now, more than any time in recent memory, may the odds be ever in our favor.