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GaymerX convention a hit for furries, gamers, gay and "geek culture"

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (6 votes)
Fursuiters with 'free hugs' signs at GaymerX
Corron, Patch, Harley, Fry, and Gravy take a furry message to the street

Acceptance between cultures makes them thrive. At the GaymerX convention on August 3-4, acceptance was a basic idea for a popular panel- "Natural Allies: Gaymers and Furries".

GaymerX, the first gaming convention focused on LGBT themes, won media buzz and crowds through active inclusion. Inviting allies in "geek culture" to an "arms-open party for anyone who wants to join", it drew over 2,000 to San Francisco's Japantown (a heavy turnout for a first con, compared to established furry conventions.) Founder Matt Conn called it "just the start".

Natural allies

Furs were with GaymerX when it was only a dream, and when that dream became reality. At Further Confusion 2012, I was fursuiting on the street for the first time, when I bumped into Agius. He was an acquaintance through San Francisco's monthly furry nightclub, Frolic, which was how I was introduced to Furry fandom (besides a brief visit to Anthrocon '99). Word had gotten around San Francisco through the world's most dense population of furries. It made me curious, but as a non-gay, I wasn't sure if I wanted to visit a gay bar. After a dance with a fursuited otter, I would never miss going. It brought me to Further Confusion.

Agius (now tech director of GaymerX) introduced me to his friend, Matt Conn. Matt told me about his idea to start the convention. Months later, Matt wore a snazzy business suit to shake my paw for a loan. It funded a website and a Kickstarter campaign to make GaymerX happen.

Further Confusion ran a table at to the convention, bringing fursuiters who drummed up interest for the "Gaymers and Furries" panel. There, a standing-room only audience of non-furries lined up out the door to get their first introduction.

Gaymers and Furries panel

Panelists Groggy, Dax, and Vulpinfox answered a lot of questions about topics such as fursuiting. They also discussed one of the reasons why GaymerX exists: negativity.

"Fag" is a common label to hear in online gaming. Sometimes it's a form of hazing accepted among friends, but like any hazing, it's most often harmful and unnecessary. Vulpin explained that in furry fandom, that isn't the norm. Even cis/hetero furries are likely to be LGBT allies. Furries accept others because "we're all others" when you judge by character. A gaymer agreed, explaining:

Frolic is the nicest party I've ever been to in my life. It's so chill, there's very little drama.

Another audience member responded:

How can we be more like furries, and bring that acceptance to gaming?

(Check the attached .mp3 for 5 minutes of panel audio.)

Fursuits, cosplay, and drag

The team of So Much Drama Studios was excited to tweet about a visit by furries, while promoting their "first-ever mobile game serving drag queen realness"- RuPaul's Drag Race: Dragopolis.

Dragopolis and furries at GaymerX

The average gaymers looked like a casual crowd on any city street, except they were mingling with a drag performer playing Storm from X-Men, a fursuited snow leopard, and others displaying lovingly assembled cosplay of game characters.

Gaymer cosplayers

Furry "Hug-In"

A separate Furry meet was organized independently from the con. Gaymer furries found out and joined on the spot, like Donovan and Dimby from Minnesota. We were also joined by Todd, a non-furry friend who came for his first introduction. Todd asked:

What do you call a group of furries? Is it a herd or a flock?

We were a Pride. Our plan was to upstage a protest threat by the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church. (It was probably the first time furries would encounter them, but the threat has happened before.) It was a non-confrontational plan to ignore them and their notorious "God Hates Fags" signs, while being positive and demonstrating a "hug-in."

Despite their threats, WBC chickened out and didn't appear. However, we were demonstrating something positive that needed no adversary, so it got public appreciation on its own. We brought pro-hugs signs down the street to Japantown's 40th annual Nihonmachi Street Fair. "Free Hugs" collars were given out. Todd gave essential support by building signs and hauling a wagon with music and bubble machines. The street fair responded by asking us to lead their Fun and Furry Pooch Pageant and Doggy Parade (a benefit for San Francisco Animal Care & Control).

Responses

I'll ask the FC team and Matt Conn if they can respond in comments.

On Gaming Furever, Gabe Fox has a furry GaymerX con report. You can judge the con's success by these reports:
"Connections and Camaraderie at GaymerX" and "Geeky, Adorable Gay Marriage Proposal at GaymerX Convention".

I like to report about interaction, but not so much this time. My voice got destroyed by laryngitis, with a sore throat and shouting in fursuit over loud music. (It was totally worth it.)

However, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has something to add:
Woof

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (6 votes)

I think I am beginning to notice a pattern.

Well, I'll be...

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Go on. Let's hear how you can twist this to say it's totally not furry news. I've noticed a pattern, too.

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

I was one of the folks manning the Further Confusion booth, so I missed a lot of the actual convention (sadly, including the panel!). However, I was blown away by how welcoming and amicable the crowd at GaymerX was. Naturally, a few folks were apprehensive and pretended not to see the fursuiters, but many, many more wanted hugs, photos, interviews, or all of the above :)

We had a blast, and I hope we can do it again next year!
-Latte
FC2014 Marketing

Your rating: None

I think you were "foxing" the Further Confusion booth :3

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Whoah, two con reports in a row!

(I've got a story in the queue that'll explain why that's surprising ...)

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About the author

Patch Packratread storiescontact (login required)

On-the-scene reporter
Animator, teacher and business owner
Road biker and fursuiter
Unconditional hugger

I support creators, dreamers, individualists, and anything fabulous and furry. Expect assertive stories with bold claims and jaunty opinions. I call fursuiting "the theatrical soul of furriness" and it's most original product, that liberates expression by playing with identity and absurdity. Street fursuiting is where the magic is.

"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth."
- Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist (1904)

“The child intuitively comprehends that although these stories are unreal, they are not untrue ...”
- Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (1976)

"All the World's a stage" comes from the melancholy Jacques in Shakespeare's play As You Like It. It is a sigh of lament at life's meaninglessness. Can the experience of children suggest, on the contrary, that the play of existence is precisely what makes life meaningful?"
- John Wall, theoretical ethicist (2011)

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