Natasha Negovanlis (Carmilla, Almost Adults) @natvanlis
My favourite things about Clexacon are the sense of community it creates and seeing friendships form in front of my eyes. During one of my meet-and-greets I also got to ask everyone to share one trait they liked about themselves and I think it was really therapeutic for all of us. Last year I saw a spectacular Cirque du Soleil performance; the Beatles inspired LOVE. So this year I thought I’d see another… but let’s just say, if you’re a feminist queer gal like me, Zumanity might not be for you! The whole time I was just like, is this what heteronormative folks find sexy or am I just a prude?!
Editor’s note: here is one of the ubiquitous posters from Zumanity, and if not liking this makes me a prude, then I will gladly lock myself in a chastity belt.
Katy Fox @katyknowskungfu
I was so nervous getting onto the plane to Vegas. What it the con wasn’t what expected? What if I didn’t get on with anyone?
The moment I stepped it the plane though, I knew I didn’t have to worry: I felt home.
There’s something incredibly calming about a group of people coming together and just being. To be able to be your true authentic self is sometimes a massive challenge, but ClexaCon made it feel easy. That is a huge testament to the organisers, the guests and the 4000+ members of our community who attended and who were able to create this incredible space for people to just exist in, without stigma, without fear. Every panel I went to, I either laughed until I cried, or just straight up sobbed (see Chyler’s panel). The guests really bought into the whole atmosphere of the weekend and every discussion felt so open and honest, something I feel you don’t always get at other cons.
Was it perfect? Hell no. I wish that the Autograph lines had been organised better as I know people waited 2+ hours and still got turned away. I wish that panels such as the Black Lightening panel had been arranged at a different time so that people stuck in those lines had been able to attend. I wish that maybe the whole con wasn’t situated in such an overpriced city (ELEVEN DOLLARS FOR A STRONGBOW). Mostly though, I just wish it could have lasted forever.”
Germana Belo (co-creator, RED) @_Germana
Being at ClexaCon has been one of the most intense experiences I’ve had in years. For the first time, we had the chance to actually meet and talk to fans. Hearing from so many people, from all over the world, how our work is so meaningful to them, to the point of impacting their lives, has deeply touched us.
We have been so welcomed by everyone, and that was the major feeling running around a safe place for so many people who sometimes don’t feel that kind of acceptance in their own homes.
Spinoza, a classical philosopher, used to say that we go through life affecting and being affected by people, and when that turns out to be positive we call that a “good encounter, ”one that potentializes and brings out the best of us. I feel that ClexaCon became an oasis of good encounters, and this is something to be cherished.
I only wish there were more opportunities and events where we could spend more time and connect with other fellow guests. Networking and exchange experiences with other creators is always important for us.
Elaine Atwell (editor of The Dart) @elaineatwell (pictured here getting bottle service, god help us, with @danijanecox, @aeressler, and @bigeasybreesy)
ClexaCon was at once the most challenging and the most rewarding experience I’ve had in some time. It was challenging because I find the spirit of Las Vegas to be very much at odds with the ethos of queer fandom, which celebrates authenticity, vulnerability, and positivity. Las Vegas, on the other hand, is best encapsulated by the slot machine: a loud, garish, toy that offers only the shallowest type of mental stimulation and really exists only to take your money. The entire city, erected in the middle of a desert, in an affront to nature, so it was inherently stressful simply to navigate it every day.
That being said, I came away from ClexaCon with a renewed sense of energy, community, and faith in our shared mission. I finally got to see and hug and embarrass myself around people I’ve known online for years, and I met several new friends I am delighted to know. I have rather a stuffy sensibility which prevents me from enjoying autographs or photo opportunities, but it was a joy to witness people for whom those interactions were deeply meaningful, gleefully exchanging pictures and anecdotes.
Perhaps most important for me was the chance to hear about the work that writers and creators are doing for queer media. As a fan and critic, it’s easy to forget that making TV and films is a messy, difficult job, and hearing from the people brave and tough enough to fight for representation reminded me to balance my own wild hopes with gratitude for the people brave and tough enough to do the hard work.
What were your thoughts on ClexaCon? What did you love? What could be better next year?