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Creating Safe Space at OutlantaCon by The Chameleon & Pinky Shear

by Ethan Tussey

Some folks have asked why we are doing these. "I already know about gay people, why take up so much time on stuff everybody knows?" That statement alone is exactly why we are taking up so much space. To many, the idea of having to teach the LGBTQQIA community about the LGBTQQIA community seems as pointless as teaching English to people who were raised speaking English. Ultimately, the LGBTQQIA family is filled with as much diversity as any language is filled with hundreds of dialects and nuances.

Curator's Note
OutlantaCon is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year. Aside from hosting GaylaxiCon 2018, we are also home to everything “out of this world” in LGBTQQIA sci-fi, fantasy, pop culture, gaming, and entertainment. This is also OutlantaCon’s first year hosting the Culture & Activism track. This track formed as a spin off from the previous Fandom & Culture track. OutlantaCon recognizes the ever growing challenges faced by the LGBTQQIA community and created the C & A track in response to our family’s need for strength and unity. Creating “Safe Spaces” required a bit of ground work. It’s one thing to say “All are Welcome”, it’s another entirely to GIVE a voice and platform to other members of the community. The space we have created in our Culture & Activism track begins with working to know and understand what we all face in the nerdy LGBTQQIA family. Our family and community have become so diverse that often times it is our Fandoms and Geekiness are the only common ground we have to bring us all together. The idea was to take each letter of our community and set up panels dedicated to them, sharing information that will help us find common ground in our uncommon little world. We culled some challenging topics from each of our daily experiences, and those we know others face: the toxicity related to stereotypical binary gender, negativities between each other, discrimination and exclusion.

We use the phrase "Unmaking the Others." The folks who are asked to speak for these panels represent the diversity found within each "Letter" of the LGBTQQIA community. There is no ONE way to be Gay or Trans or Queer or Disabled. There is not a “right” way to be a fan, to suffer from mental illness, or to be an Ally. Creating this safe space means giving folks an opportunity to tell the rest of the family what they always wanted everyone to know about how they experience life through their identity. We want to expose the challenges faced inside and outside of the community. We hope to dispel the myths through real discussions that enlighten each other without fear of judgement. We grow closer by openly sharing our experiences, the joy and the pain. We see each other as children do, wonders of our world.

OutlantaCon 2018 Safe Space Promo

Post for IMR week on Queer geek spaces

from OutlantaCon 2018 Safe Space Promo (2018)
Creator: Tanya D. Zuk
Distributor: YouTube
Posted by Ethan Tussey
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