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ClexaCon – Interview with the Organizers

ClexaCon is back for 2018! You can find all the details on their website at Fangirl Shirts attended ClexaCon 2017, where we were vendors, panelists and fangirls; you can find our recap here. We’ll be back in 2018!

The ClexaCon 2018 Directors, left to right: Holly, Danielle, Ashley

ClexaCon tweeted this a couple of weeks ago:

Ummm…heck yes! Half of Fangirl Shirts (Sally) lives near the northern half of their route, so we made a plan to meet up for an interview.

Who is behind ClexaCon 2018?

We spoke with the core group of organizers for ClexaCon 2018 – Holly, Ashley and Danielle. In 2017, ClexaCon spoke of themselves almost exclusively as “we” – the group of organizers and volunteers that made the con happen. This year in 2018, they will continue to speak of themselves as “we,” but also a bit more as individual people this year. Meet all the ClexaCon organizers and coordinators here!

We’re glad, because these three are friendly, thoughtful and committed women who made something amazing happen in 2017, and are working hard to bring it back bigger and better in 2018.

First we closed down a Starbucks, so we did the second half of the interview in a grocery store, because fangirls make it work!

Philanthropy and giving back are core values of Fangirl Shirts, and it’s the same for ClexaCon. Official charity partners in 2017 were The Trevor Project, providing suicide prevention and crisis intervention services for LGBTQ youth, and The Tegan and Sara Foundation (beneficiary of the Cocktails for Change event) working for economic justice, health and representation for LGBTQ girls and women. There will be even more charity partners in 2018.

We asked the ClexaCon ladies what their personal philanthropic interests are:

  • Holly is involved in disability rights charities and Alzheimer’s research & treatment organizations
  • Ashley supports nonprofits working to end human trafficking and forced marriages of women and girls
  • Danielle’s primary nonprofit interests are environmental protection and LGBTQ rights

These women are awesome, fun to talk to, and are working tirelessly to bring ClexaCon back in 2018. They’re not in it for fame, fortune, or personal aggrandizement, and that’s very clear when you speak to them in person. ClexaCon surveyed all the attendees from 2017 and is taking the feedback for what people liked and what else people wanted seriously – you’ll see it reflected in the programming for 2018 and continued announcements about what’s coming next.

How ClexaCon Came About

Lexa’s death on The 100 was a turning point for a lot of queer fans who were fed up with seeing characters like themselves be killed on TV. In the case of queer women characters, this inevitably seems to happen after they’ve had sex with another woman. It’s a trope with a name: Bury Your Gays.

Bury Your Gays has its roots in the Hays Code, a set of “morality guidelines” for the movies that started in the 1930’s and was enforced by the Motion Picture Association of America. These so-called “morality guidelines” also spilled over into television and comics. Even though the Hays Code was officially abandoned in 1968, writing punishing endings for LGBTQ characters had become an enduring part of the industry. For more on this, watch the excellent movie The Celluloid Closet.

Back to 2016: there was a record number of LGBTQ character deaths, and the hits just kept coming. Lexa’s death was in many ways the straw that broke the camel’s back, creating a backlash from fans and critics alike who were mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. Holly was talking online with some friends and said “We should have a convention to talk about representation of LGBTQ women in entertainment and the media, and to enable fans to get together in a safe space.” Things just snowballed from there.

The original group quickly realized they would need a lot more help to make the con happen. Ashley and Danielle both saw a tweet from ClexaCon asking if anyone wanted to get involved, they emailed their skill sets to ClexaCon, and signed on to help. As well, an enormous number of volunteers signed up to help.

ClexaCon is a great example of creating the change you want to see in the world.

What’s In Store for 2018?

The official attendee count for ClexaCon 2017 was over 2,200 attendees. The venue for 2018 is the Tropicana, which comes with more capacity and the potential to take over the entire space if enough people sign up. ClexaCon has secured a room block with a great rate for attendees, and you can reserve a room online from their website.

The con has also been expanded. The panels, workshops, photo ops and official party will happen over three days, Friday – Sunday, April 6-8, just like in 2017. There will be additional events on Thursday and Monday that are designed to help promote a safe and welcoming space, and a sense of community and friendships.

One such idea is a Thursday “speed-friending” session, which is like speed-dating but for making friends. If anyone will be coming alone to ClexaCon, this is a great way to meet a large number of people in an organized way to see who you click with, and then have a friend or several to experience the con with.

Other ideas the organizers are fleshing out are a pool party during the con, and post-con on Monday, an outdoor hike.

Tickets went on sale May 22. Half of the VIP classes of tickets were on sale May 22, with the rest to go on sale June 5, 2017. This is so people who want or need to save up and budget for a VIP ticket will have a little more time to do so.

The vendor and artist alley applications are open also, check them out! Fangirl Shirts will be there, and we hope to see everyone again who we met last year, and meet more of you! If you want to volunteer for the con, you can apply here, and this is where to submit a panel idea.

Guest announcements will also be announced as they are finalized. The first guest announcement already happened, and we’re super excited about it. #Fandras

Follow ClexaCon on twitter, tumblr, Instagram, YouTubeFacebook and on the ClexaCon website.

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