[Pics taken from the CONvergence website, I do not own them.]
*insert joke about how dusty the blog is*
I always underestimate how much energy it takes to start a new job, especially if it’s a management position in a new company. (Means you’re often trying to manage other people while still learning the policies and norms of the company!) I’m very lucky to have a great team, my bosses included, but I suspect my silence here is a pretty good indicator of how tiring the last six months have been. Not necessarily tiring in a bad way…just tiring.
I think I’m at a point now where I can start to remember what I learned last Blaugust – sometimes it’s more important to get your words on the blog than to fret about how perfect they are.
[For those who don’t know, I’ve continued to be active on the Beyond the Veil podcast/livestream. Still talking The Secret World news most Thursday nights. I’ve also managed at least a couple streams with Otterdown, though lagging on my own streams. I’ve got all kinds of backlog on TSW and other games, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about tonight.]
If you follow me on social media, you may have caught me gushing about the scifi/fantasy con I’m going to this weekend. It’s exciting for me, personally, because I’ll be seeing some people I haven’t seen in a long time – some of them for nearly a decade. And because it’s a pretty kick ass four days of assorted geekery. (OMG panel about The Phantom Tollbooth!!! <3)
I would be excited about CONvergence (CVG) for the obvious reasons alone, but I’ve always been proud of our con here for extra reasons. They have been putting real effort, for years, into being a safe place for everyone. I was going to talk about why each of these things are good and important…but you know what? This is an informal blog, writing while tired. Take as truth that the things I list are important to me. (Though if I miss something that doesn’t mean it’s not important.)
Costumes Are Not Consent. It’s been a while and quick-post means I have limited time to search for my references, but I think it was 2012 when CVG was putting up “Costumes are not Consent” posters (along with having a specific, written harassment policy). [following pic from Costumes Are Not Consent: Combating Cosplayer Harassment]
“Costumes are not Consent” and the related “Don’t Harsh the Squee” posters are still very much a thing at CVG, as is having a written harassment policy that includes “non-consensual photography or recording.” I want to highlight part of it here:
If someone tells you “no” or asks to be left alone, your interaction with them is over. Do not follow or attempt to disrupt their convention experience in any way. If you continue, against their wishes, to attempt to have contact with people who have said no or have asked that you leave them alone, you may be removed from the premises. If you wish to offer an apology to someone who asked that you not interact with them, please come to The Bridge and CONvergence Operations can assist in relaying your message.
CVG also added something new this year – you can now report harassment by text from your phone and they will send someone to you. (Note: CVG does not feel it experiences more harassment than other cons, forgive me not citing but they’ve said they just want to make sure it doesn’t become an issue. In my own opinion, proactive is good.)
Safe Spaces There are designated Safe Spaces at CVG, locations that
are or can be made to be places of heightened physical, intellectual, and/or emotional security. If a member needs or desires help to feel that security, these locations either have volunteers present or will be able to call volunteers to the location to assist anyone who is feeling harassed or threatened. Designated Safe Space locations are a promise that assistance will be provided to anyone who seeks it, without judgement and without expressions of doubt.
Ongoing Accessibility Initiatives CVG’s page on accessibility covers a lot. There’s a Quiet Room, a Parenting Lounge (there are kid’s activities too, and a Teen Room), and information about service animals, wheelchair/scooter accessibility, seating, captioning, free ASL interpretation services, a plain text map for those who need it…
Gender Identity This is mentioned in a few places, but I wanted to collect them together. CVG is offering Men’s, Women’s, and All-Gender bathrooms with a clear statement that, “All are welcome to use the restroom that best fits their identity.”
They’re also offering pronoun stickers for badges. They/Them, He/Him, She/Her, and blank stickers for those who have other preferences.
Friends of Bill If you don’t know, you don’t need to – but I’ve seen this on the schedule, which is so good to see.
Smokers Paradise Okay, on a lighter note. I don’t smoke anymore, but I do vape which is equally illegal here if you’re inside or too close to an entryway. Nice to have a space for that, too.
Panels Folks, there’s panels about Representation in Headcanons, Why Are We Still White Washing?, Exploring Neurodiversity: The New Frontier, Why We Need Representation in Superheroes, PTSD and Geekdom, Superficially Strong Female Characters…(and so many more!)
And yeah, there’s also some on Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Thumbing Our Way Across Fandoms, Ingress Strategy, More Than Just Stats: Creating Characters for RPGs, and… you know…Remembering the Phantom Tollbooth. Plus gaming and movies and activities and the Masquerade. It’s a four-day con, there’s LOTS to do. I just happen to love that quite a few of the panels hit on topics of representation.
Full disclosure is I have quite a few old friends who help make CONvergence happen. But…I don’t love these things because my friends work on them, I love that my friends are dedicated to making this con something special, and fun, and safe, and inclusive. I’m not trying to say it’s perfect, I’m sure it isn’t. But I value that people are at least trying.
I also probably missed things, it is now 1am and I have to work tomorrow. D: If I can, I’ll follow up with some of the “why” these things matter at a later time. Thanks for sticking with me, those who have. The first post after a break is the hardest…right? ❤