ClexaCon 2018 in Las Vegas: The Media and Entertainment Convention for LGBTQ Women and Allies
In April 2018, the second edition of ClexaCon will take place in Las Vegas. I am going to be there and in this blog, I will tell you what you can expect. Who knows, you may become as excited as me and get a ticket yourself. If so, let me know, so we meet! But first, let me tell you why I find a convention like ClexaCon so important.
This blog was originally written in Dutch for my Dutch readers. Most of these shows are from America and Canada, so I explained quite a few things in it because not every one of my readers knows these shows or ships. Maybe you already know all of these things because you are from these countries or you have visited the first ClexaCon edition; if so, just skip them!
Lesbian movies, TV shows, and web series
I first fell in love with movies, TV, and theater when I was a little girl. When I was a teenager, I joined an amateur drama club and those Wednesday evenings were my way of surviving high school. I found my inner peace there and I was able to understand myself as “only gay in the village” even though at the same time, I did not completely realize it yet (and, of course, I was not the only one!). You know, that whole confusing puberty thing…
When I was getting my bachelor’s and master’s degree in American Studies, my minors were Film and TV Studies and Gender Studies. These subjects continue to fascinate me and because I have no colleagues in my office (yet), I love discovering lesbian movies, TV shows, and web series during my breaks. We all need distractions 😉 I also like contributing to crowdfunding campaigns that enable web series and movies with LGBTQ themes, such as recent campaigns for Carmilla, Couple-ish, Clairevoyant, and Swerve.
Finding your identity in movies, TV shows, and web series with LGBTQ themes
Actually, I have been looking for movies, TV shows, and web series with LGBTQ themes since right before I came out. I honestly knew nobody else who was non-heterosexual, so I had to find SOMETHING or SOMEONE to learn what that whole non-heterosexual thing meant. I was panicking and analyzing myself from top to toe, from my clothes and my posture to my way of walking and my hair. You see, I thought it would be terrible if people immediately knew I was a lesbian, whatever that “looking like a lesbian” meant. Now I can laugh about it, but I will never forget that suffocating and disheartening feeling.
And that is exactly why movies, TV shows, and web series with LGBTQ themes are important to our community. You want to see yourself reflected on the screen: your life, your thoughts, and your feelings. Not being the norm in society can be quite confusing, especially if you are just finding out about it. You can probably imagine how happy I was the year I came out when I heard there would be a show on TV called The L Word…
Unhappily ever after
Fortunately, our society is changing (here specifically, I am speaking as a woman from the Netherlands) and it seems as if things are easier for the generations after me than they were for me in my coming-out period (and I know very well that things were already so much easier for me than for generations before me!)
Luckily, the quality of the movies, TV shows, and web series with LGBTQ themes has also improved greatly and one can find much more diversity, especially on YouTube and Netflix. You can now find more LGBTQ themes in mainstream shows, like Orange is the New Black, even though many lesbian women on screen end up unhappily ever after one way or another.
ClexaCon: meet the actors, creators, and other fans
The latter is precisely the reason why ClexaCon was founded. ClexaCon wants to celebrate the representation of the LGBTQ community in media and entertainment. ClexaCon understands that sometimes, you just want to enjoy two ladies falling in love with each other or to see that your superhero is a kick-ass lesbian, without worrying whether these lesbian characters die or end up very sad and lonely. That is why as of a few months ago, they have started bringing together actors, creators, and fans in Las Vegas to network, enjoy each other’s company, and support each other.
It is supposed to become an annual event and the organization has at least succeeded in organizing this event the second year in a row. You will find panel sessions, workshops, signature sessions, meet and greets, and a film festival. This year, there is also room for an afterparty, two afternoons at the swimming pool, and Speed Friending, so you can quickly find some buddies if you are going by yourself. All this will take place at Tropicana, where you can book a room at a discounted rate via the ClexaCon site (based on availability, of course).
Guests at ClexaCon 2017
I learned about the event on YouTube when I suddenly saw videos of Elise Bauman and Natasha Negovanlis (Laura and Carmilla in Carmilla), Zoie Palmer and Rachel Skarsten (Lauren and Tamsin in Lost Girl), Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Katherine Barrell (Waverly and Nicole in Wynonna Earp), Gabrielle Christian and Mandy Musgrave (Spencer and Ashley in South of Nowhere, with Aasha Davis playing Chelsea), Amy Acker and Sarah Shahi (Root and Shaw in Person of Interest and hellooo, Carmen 😉) and Elizabeth Keener (Dawn Denbo in The L Word with her lover Cindi). Pretty amazing guest list, right?
Guests at ClexaCon 2018
Currently, they are still adding names to the guest list but there are already quite a few cool names on it: Elise Bauman and Natasha Negovanlis (Laura and Carmilla in Carmilla), Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Katherine Barrell (Waverly and Nicole in Wynonna Earp), Anna Silk, Zoie Palmer, and Rachel Skarsten (Bo, Lauren, and Tamsin in Lost Girl), Dot Marie Jones (Coach Beiste in Glee), Christin Baker (CEO of Tellofilms), Katherine Brooks (director of Loving Annabelle), Elizabeth Keener (without lover Cindi), allrounder Bridget McManus, Whitney Mixter (The Real L Word), and Dutch YouTuber Elke.
Enough ships to see “IRL,” as last year’s sticker shows. By the way, that is also where the name of the convention comes from, the Clexa ship: Clarke (Eliza Taylor) and Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) in The 100, in which Lexa eventually dies.
Hmm. If I am taking a moment to dream, who else would I like to see on ClexaCon? Well, how cool would it be if the organization was able to have some actors from OITNB or PLL visit the convention or some more actors from Glee? Who knows, the actors of the recent movie Below Her Mouth? Or the cast of Starting From Now? Or hey, Charlize Theron? The organization still has about six months, so I am going to let them surprise me 😉
What will I do at ClexaCon for you?
I am going to try to describe ClexaCon to the best of my abilities, so you will feel as if missing the convention is not the worst thing in the world. I know, that is hard 😝
Indeed, such a convention is an excellent opportunity for more ways than just blogging, so I am going to see what I can do for you in terms of photos and videos/vlogging. Who knows, I may be able to hold interviews with guests. And, who knows, we may be able to find a babysitter for our son and my wife can come help with the videos and photos. Options, options. You will find out more about this later.
In the meantime, you can sign up for my newsletter, share this blog post with all of your friends, and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay informed of all my plans. I have also created a YouTube account, just in case I decide to upload videos (pretty sure, but that requires a camera 😉).
Later, I will provide you with the opportunity to come up with questions that you would like to ask the guests, so you can start getting creative. Then I will do my best to have your questions answered.
Please leave a comment below if you are also planning on going!