Posts tagged lgbt

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Review: First Year of GaymerX

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This past weekend marked the first year of GaymerX, previously Gaymercon: “the first LGBT gaming convention focused on the queer geek culture” (http://gaymerconnect.com/). The con took over Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco’s Japantown for the weekend. There were some great special guests as well as several really fun activities, including a room full of every kind of gaming console available for con-goers to play. Having recently come back from SDCC, I was still kind of in that mode. However, I was pleased to find out that I could just decide spontaneously to attend GaymerX and that I could register at the door. The full-schedule of panels was accessible to both the hardcore fans and the casually curious. The floor was populated with artists peddling their creations, giveaways and demos.

I had never been to a convention’s first year, and it was really interesting. The programming declared that the convention knew who it was, and the vibe was all welcoming community and excitement. The staff members and volunteers were impressively organized. If there were any snafus, I never noticed one. It was small, but I think that “intimate” is the more appropriate word. You’re not going to get the big Hollywood exclusives at a small con like GaymerX, but that’s not why it exists. It has a higher purpose: starting a dialogue and connecting members of a community. When I got back from SDCC, I stated that it was powerful to be around hundreds of thousands of people that I had at least one thing in common with. That feeling was amplified at GaymerX because despite, or perhaps because of its smaller population, the whole experience is tailored more specifically. In this case, it was tailored to queer gaming geeks and allies.

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I was impressed at the intellectual level of the programming (http://gaymerconnect.com/panels). There were lots of meaningful discussions about building online communities, gender and sexuality in games, and LGBTQ inclusiveness in gaming. There were also panels on cosplay, breaking into the industry, and of course: special guests. Notable guests included Ellen McLain (the voice of Glad0s in the Portal series), David Gaider (lead writer of the Dragon Age series), and Pandora Boxx (RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant). I was unable to go to Ellen McLain’s panel, but I heard she led the audience in a sing-a-long of the Portal song “Still Alive”. I was so excited to see Pandora Boxx in person, as I am a huge Drag Race fan. I was especially excited that she walked into her panel as drag Harley Quinn. She talked about her love of Batman: Arkham Asylum, Dragon Age, and Alice: The Madness Returns. There was some Q&A that led to Pandora doing an amazing impression of what it would be like to have Grace Jones play Storm from X-Men.

David Gaider spoke on navigating gender and sexuality in video game characters. Dragon Age 2 is notable for having every follower be a romance option for the player character regardless of gender and sexual orientation. Bioware is consciously expanding the world of video game heroes to more than just straight white men. Mr. Gaider discussed how some of those strides are still difficult, and some are surprisingly easy. With him at the “Meet Bioware” panel was Bioware community manager Jessica Merizan, who spoke about what Bioware is doing to create a more inclusive and welcoming gaming community. That Bioware is aware and doing anything at all to combat the vocal minority of ignorant haters on the internet is both hopeful and encouraging.

Having spent Saturday having meaningful conversation and amusing interactions, I am home now and incredibly inspired. I had only been aware of the Gaymer community, but now I feel a part of it. Not only do I want to find more niche conventions, but I look forward to attending GaymerX again next year. Hopefully it only gets bigger!

Jenn Marshall
@jennnmarshall
jennnmarshall.tumblr.com

Platypus

Review: Anything That Loves

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Anything That Loves

Sexuality is not binary. The labels of gay and straight do not cover the fluidity of people, and that is a fact that the Anything That Loves comic anthology sets to remind us. Published by Northwest Press, funded by Kickstarter, and featuring art from such well-known names such as Adam Pruett, Erika Moen, Nick Leonard, Tania Walker, and many others, this is a book that is a must-read for all.

I’m a big fan of LGBT comics, so when I got a chance to review this book there were a lot of familiar names on the contributor list. I appreciate that they’re tackling such a sensitive topic as biphobia. The continued rejection and misunderstanding of non-binary sexualities is an issue that exists in both the heterosexual and homosexual community. Those who do not align with one or the other are see as “cheating”, over-sexed, or being untrue to themselves because they refuse to pick a side. This anthology tries to correct these misconceptions through engaging visuals and personal stories. There are no “sides”, there are just people who love who they love.

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A number of the comics get into deeper issues of prejudice that exist against, and sometimes within, the LGBT community. Kate Leth, in one of the first comics of the book, brings up the fact that even when bisexuality becomes more trendy or accepted, the choice of partners is not seen in the same light. Women with fluid sexuality may be seen as harmless, even cool, but as soon as a man explores his sexual identity with another man he is immediately seen as less than. Why the inequality? And why is there a continued need to put a label on everyone? If a man falls in love with a transgender man, is he gay or is he straight? The answer is that it’s no one else’s business. Sexual fluidity, existing outside the two extremes of the Kinsey scale, is a fact of life. This book, and others like it, are trying to make this point. Perhaps one day the world at large will listen.

With over 200 pages, this anthology is bound to have a number of comics that appeal to you, and the message in each and every artist’s contribution cannot be denied. It doesn’t matter what label you take, or if you reject labels altogether. No one has the right to deny the expression of your own sexuality. Love who you love, and do not give power to those who seek to tear you down because of it.

Rating: 5/5

Image Courtesy of riotnrrdcomics.com

Webcomic Review – Riot Nrrd

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Image Courtesy of riotnrrdcomics.com

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Convention season has been getting rather hectic as of late. Personal issues and business aside, I have wanted to review some webcomics, and as I stated in my last post, I am going to do it.

That said, onward. The first comic I’m reviewing is Riot Nrrd, a comic that is not only a joy for me to read, but one that should prove more than enjoyable to all Nerds out there in Babeland.

Riot Nrrd is the creation of R.J. Edwards, a self-professed nerd who likes to geek out about subjects such as anthropology, linguistics and of course webcomics. The story is focused on a small group of college-aged geek girls from all walks of life, sexual preferences and identities. Edwards states that her comic is aimed at nerds from many walks of life and geekiness, and the prejudices they might face, be it from a disability, race, sexual identity or even fat phobias. While the story focuses on the romantic relationships, friendships and all the awkward and comic moments therein, she also highlights the different levels of geekiness each of the characters have, be it one’s first introduction to the boffer LARP lifestyle, to the planned webcomic featuring female superheroes that are not of the typical swimsuit model variety featured in DC or Marvel comic book titles, but genetically altered and powered roller derby players. What is not to love about that?

Edwards shows a cool angle on how the various fandoms and geekdoms develop in a character. My favorite example of this, as well as the strip that made me into a fangirl myself, is “The Metaphorical Puppyverse” where a main character, Wren, compares following favored television series to owning a house full of active and messy puppies. With the number of TV reviews on this and other sites, fans as well as blog readers and contributors alike can relate!

The artwork is done in Photoshop save for the first two strips that were made using the GIMP program. Cute and very linear, the style reminds me of the art in “Dr. Katz” at first glance. Reading onward, I saw that each character is very distinct, giving the story more realism and credibility.

This is a slice of life comic with a geeky twist, but what sets Riot Nrrd apart from other geek stories are the different races, ages, sexual identities, sizes and disabilities of the characters along with the prejudices they may encounter from time to time in the course of their lives and friendships. All the same, these characters are very likeable and very real geeks, the kind of geeks and people we would definitely hang out with if our paths were to cross!

NYCC – Day 2 in Photos

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I meant to post this yesterday, but I was too busy being a student. Sorry. Here is Day 2 of NYCC in photos.

The line getting in before doors opened on Saturday was insane. It gave me a chance to check out some of the costumes for the day though, like…

…this guy, who was my first Doctor Who sighting. He was standing behind me, and I couldn’t not take a picture. The fez was too cool.

OM Nom Nom, I wants cookies now.

This was the MTV Geek panel. Third from the left is Stan Lee, who announced his new project with them.

The DC Universe panel was in the same room as MTV Geek, so I stuck around to get the latest news on that front.

I saw this person when I was leaving the cafeteria. I didn’t expect to see such an epically awesome Codex costume, so of course I had to compliment her on it.

The LGBT panel was in the same room as the zombie panel I was going to, and we were able to sneak in about midway through. I was pleasantly surprised to see the room was packed with people actually interested in the topic, and not just people who were waiting to talk about zombies.

Next was the “Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep” panel. It was quite entertaining.

Pizza time! The guys from the Roddenberry panel decided we deserved some pizza for sticking with them at the late hour.

Roddenberry panel. By the time we were finished, I was convinced I needed to add “Days Missing” to my graphic novel collection. I got to talk to the creator of the series the next day at his signing. He was super nice and a great start to my morning.

Day 2 was full of lots of fun things that won’t soon be forgotten. Although that can be said of the whole weekend. Up next, the third and final day. Stay tuned.

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