One of my favorite things about gaming is that it is transformative: you get to become someone (or something) else: you can be a warrior mouse, an anthropomorphic mushroom, a dragon, or anything else that the game setting allows for.
You can also become a new friend to someone who shares the same passions for games that you do.
There are plenty of stories about players creating groups to play together, forming real-life relationships, or whose lives evolve because of the game and the people they’ve met playing it. This year, at GeekGirlCon, I got to sit in on a panel with Featured Contributor Elaine Chase, who has a direct hand in influencing people’s lives in this way.
I recently tabled a community event for GeekGirlCon and thought I’d share some of my personal thoughts on the experience.
I admit that when I first suggested that GeekGirlCon have a table at last month’s Trans* Pride celebration (organized by the awesomely named Gender Justice League), it was a bit of a test. Would this group o’ geeks want to be at an event for trans folks? Over the years, I’ve worked on being an ally to trans communities (always a work in progress), but sometimes there’s resistance or ignorance in groups, and if that was going to be the case here, I wanted to know sooner rather than later.
Happily, the answer was a quick and resounding “yes!” and “that sounds awesome!” and “of course we should be there!” This confirmed my suspicions that I’d gotten involved with a rad group of people who really are committed to creating a space that is welcoming, inclusive, and celebratory for all.
My partner-in-crime Alison and I got to Cal Anderson Park early in the evening to set up our half of the table, with our banner, info cards, and candy (candy is a very important community outreach tool). It was gorgeous weather, with the sun beaming down on a half-circle of tables and canopies at one end of the green and a full stage at the other, volunteers scurrying about between.
As Alison and I were chatting with a few attendees, over 2,000 marchers began to arrive at the park, and soon we were inundated with visitors to our little table. What’s GeekGirlCon? What do you do? When is it? How can I get involved? We talked about comics, Trans*H4CK, intersectionality, Buffy, biology, and much more.
We heard questions about our name and our tagline. Everyone I talked to was happy to see an event focusing on geeky girls and their achievements and interests, and even happier to know that everyone is welcome at GeekGirlCon, regardless of gender or type of geekery.
Of course, using words like “girl” and “female” can sometimes feel limiting; in general, our culture is deeply invested in there being only two genders, even though there clearly are more ways to express gender than that. It’s often challenging to figure out the best ways to talk about supporting and celebrating geeky women and girls in a sexist culture while not ignoring or disregarding those whose gender identities don’t fit neatly in boxes. I have no doubt that GeekGirlCon, as an organization full of dedicated, passionate, and thoughtful people, will continue to grow and evolve as we explore gender and geekery over the coming years.
Alison and I talked a lot about GeekGirlCon’s mission and values (and of course, how much fun we have at our events!), and I do believe we managed to recruit not only attendees to the Con in the fall, but new volunteers as well! I had so much fun talking to people that I completely missed hearing one of my favorite thinkers, Julia Serano, speak, and one of my favorite musicians, Rae Spoon, perform. C’est la vie; I’m sure I’ll have another opportunity to see both of them. And since they’re both pretty geeky in their own ways, perhaps they’ll even come to GeekGirlCon someday!
The atmosphere was so happy and celebratory, and I’m glad GeekGirlCon was a part of it. My hands-down favorite part of going to Trans* Pride as a representative of GeekGirlCon? Watching the faces of trans women as they read our banner and then came up to the table, exclaiming, “Hey, I’m a geeky girl—this is for me!”
Yes, yes, it is. And we can’t wait to see you in October!
It’s another year and another 365 days for geekery and nerdiness! When asking the GeekGirlCon Staff what their geeky resolutions for 2013 are; here’s what some of them said:
This would be a great cosplay!
“I have two geeky resolutions this year. My first resolution is to attend a convention that I am not volunteering at in any way. For most this may sound easy, but I work a lot of cons, so it’s more difficult than it seems. My second resolution is to cosplay at least once this year. Maybe I’ll dress up as Illyria, even if it’s just from the neck up.” – Jex Ballard, Manager of Volunteer Administration
These two adorable creatures are already into Kristine’s goals for 2013.
“I don’t so much believe in making resolutions just because it’s a new year. I DO believe in continuing to treat people as I wish to be treated, making healthier choices in life, and lastly being true to myself so I can be happy. There’s also the matter of planning a honeymoon this year… Happy New Year’s everyone! Thanks for making GeekGirlCon a reality and see you in 2013!” – Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator
A fantastically decorated page.
“My resolution this year… well, one of a couple, actually… is to start writing things down. This includes everything from tasks at work, to outings with friends, to starting up an altered journal so that I can note day-to-day activities, movies, good and bad times, everything that I possibly can! That, along with the usual of eating better, more exercise, just generally treating myself better — this should keep me busy.” – Kris Panchyk, Exhibitor Services Manager
I’m right there with you.
”Save Community from cancellation and get Dan Harmon back on the show. Should be easy enough, right?” – Abby Reinheart, Manager of Hospitality and Transportation
So what say you, readers? What is your geeky resolution for 2013?
Hiya, readers! For this edition of Ask GeekGirlCon, we asked our staff what their favorite part of being on staff was. Here is what some of them shared:
Kristine on the GeekGirlCon clock giving you the updates from the Twitterverse!
“Joss Whedon once said that he was a great believer in ‘found families,’ and I really lucked out with the family that I found in GeekGirlCon. I don’t have to explain my current nerd obsession or be apprehensive about my fandoms — they just get it and then share their own! My co-workers are smart, witty, and all-around amazing people that never cease to inspire me and crack me up. I less-than-three you all.” – Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator
Erica with the Chicks Dig Comics Panel geeking out and sharing in camaraderie
“I love being part of GeekGirlCon’s staff because I truly do believe we can change the world or, at least, geekdom. We’ve created a wonderful space for celebrating geeky women of all stripes. The best reward for being on staff is the smiles on our event-goers faces; seeing amazing cosplay; meeting creators, shakers, and makers; and hearing all the incredible stories. We’ve helped women (and our allies) get new jobs, build skill sets, make new friends, and just generally have a safe space to gather.” – Erica McGillivray, Marketing Director and President
Great minds think alike! Melanie with another Princess Peach cosplayer
“My favorite part is being able to look back on GeekGirlCon ‘12 and know I totally made some little geeky girl’s day. :D” – Melanie Werts, Customer Service Coordinator