New Disruptors 61: Attention to Convention with Matt Conn

Matt Conn wanted to organize a safe event for gaymers — that's people who game and are part of the LGBTQ continuum. The GaymerX event is meant to be inclusive of all people, but especially those harassed, marginalized, or ridiculed in mainstream gaming. The first GaymerX took place August 2013; the next happens in July. We talk about what it's like to help a community be part of birthing a new convention.

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Things we mention in this episode:

Matt is America's worst driver.

Brianna Wu has written a few pieces from the perspective of a female gamer and game developer for The Magazine. "Choose Your Character" was about the group dynamic challenges of her firm, Giant Spacekat, as its team sorted out life choices and personalities while pushing forward at a breakneck pace to ship the game. Revolution 60. (Which is about 50 days away now!)

In "GOTY 2013: Badass Girls Need Not Apply," she explains that the relative lack of women in games journalism (and the negative attention women-identified people receive in writing reviews) contributes to disregarding the interests of a large segment of game players. (She also wrote a follow-up to that piece to address positive and negative critiques.) Carolyn Petit wrote the review of Grand Theft Auto V that received over 20,000 comments, mostly negative and many horrible.

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media (what an awesome thing to exist in our universe) commissions research studies "on gender prevalence in family entertainment." Davis cites a study (though doesn't provide its name) in an NPR interview that found, "If there's 17 percent women, the men in the group think it's 50-50. And if there's 33 percent women, the men perceive that as there being more women in the room than men."

The initial GaymerX Kickstarter raised over $90,000 towards its $25,000 goal. GirlGeekCon in Seattle is another show that is designed to provide a safe and fun experience free of harassment. While it is oriented towards the interests of women across geek culture, science, and technology, it is inclusive of all people.

Chi-Fi (not ChiCon, as I erroneously called it) said a few weeks ago that it was canceling its 2014 convention because of its concerns that the hotel would be able to work with its anti-harassment policies. However, just a few days ago, the convention said it was able to book a new hotel! Chi-Fi is on for one day: March 29, 2014.

Matt and the Gaymer team funded an Ouya gaming system game just a few weeks ago, and will launch a Kickstarter soon for the 2014 convention, GaymerX2, July 11 to 13! Be there!

The New Disruptors is a podcast about people who make art, things, or connections finding new ways to reach an audience and build a community. Glenn Fleishman is the host, and he talks with new guests every week. Find older episodes at the podcast's home.

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