Allow me to set the scene.
Convention center. Gays. Cosplay. Games. Graphic novels. Geekery. Diversity. Safe space.
That was my world this past weekend.
On Friday morning, I flew to San Jose for GaymerX (AKA GX3). 2015 was the third year for this conference that targets gay gamers, and OF COURSE I had to get in on that. The awesome definitely outweighed to not-so-awesome. Here are the highlights:
- At the Portland Airport on the way to San Jose, an honest-to-gosh working dog walked through our line for security. He sniffed all our bags and, thankfully, nothing terrorist-y or explosive-y was found.
- Because of the sniffing dog, we were allowed to keep our shoes on and our laptops in their cases.
- Before takeoff, the flight attendant moved me to a row with fewer people, so it was less crowded!
- The San Jose airport is adorable. Tiny, easy to navigate. Super friendly.
- Satellite hanging from the ceiling in the San Jose airport.
- Cab driver didn’t laugh at me when I took a picture of myself with Lily’s stuffed unicorn on the way to the hotel. He did smile, but he totally got it. I could tell.
- I was able to check into my room at eight in the morning. EIGHT IN THE MORNING, PEOPLE!
- Free internet because I downloaded an app. Score.
- Free tiny bottles of soap, shampoo, etc. And they smelled amazing!
- Power strips on the seats at the airport! LOVE!
- Spent Friday hanging with Ylva author Blythe Rippon. She makes me laugh.
- Preferred gender pronoun tags. I chose she/her. But I could have done he/him. Or they/them.
- Free play Dance, Dance Revolution. No, I did not play, much to Blythe’s annoyance. But, still, awesome!
- Spiderman playing computer games. Very intense.
- Tabletop gaming rooms.
- Panels galore, many of which were focused on inclusion, agency, and representations.
- Queer Chamber of Commerce.
- Unicorn booty T-shirt!
- Free play Ms. Pacman! This I did play.
- Christmas town!
- There was a rental bike station next to the hotel. Members slide their cards, leave a quarter, and take a bike. It can be returned later at any location around the city. Think Uber for bikes. Yeah, that’s totally badass.
- Yummy ham and cheese croissant! Because butter!
- Six-foot-tall Amazon woman told us all about her Olivia cruise with Melissa Etheridge.
- Quist app. This is an app that gives you the queer version of the day in history. For example, on December 15, 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders. Yeah, you totally need this app. Find it HERE.
- Blechdel test T-shirts!
- An adorable gay boy gave me a graphic novel as a “special treat.” Giggling slightly with his hand over his mouth, he said, “It’s a little risqué.” Yeah, it shows, in graphic detail, little graphic novel boys with unrealistically large cocks sucking each other off. The things I love about this are many. First, how awesome that it exists! Second, how cool that the vendor didn’t assume I wouldn’t want it since I’m clearly not a gay man. Third, HELLO, he covered his mouth and giggled. ADORABLE. Fourth, it was free! Who doesn’t love a nice gift? Fifth, my queer-boy neighbor (who is an actor, darling!) loved it!
- Free swag! T-shirts, hats, stringbags. What’s not to love in all that?
- Freddy Fazbear T-Shirt, Foxy plush, and Five Nights at Freddy’s gaming tokens. Yeah, my kids scored on that one.
- One vendor sold handmade charms, bracelets, necklaces, cuff-links, etc. One of their product lines was “Feminist as Fuck.” Yeah, I totally bought one of those charms (ten percent of sales from that line goes to the National Organization for Women), plus a charm that says “Screw Calm and Raise Hell.” I love everything about those guys. And, incidentally, one of them wore a pronoun tag of they/them, the other he/him. He/him told a fabulous story about how he periodically checks in with his partner thus: “Honey, are you handsome or pretty today?” I love that they found him!
- I bought lunch for a cool homeless dude who introduced himself in the parking lot of the Chevron. He offered to be my tour guide.
- All gender bathrooms.
- Japanese popcorn.
- Skype with my family. Not as good as being with them, but far out ranks being in a different state without Skype.
- Japanese octopus balls. They had a different name, but that’s what they were nonetheless. Sadly, they sound way cooler than they actually taste.
- Blythe has TWINS! SQUEE!
- Fairy wings that fit on your ears!
- Birds living in the airport. This is on the awesome list because it was surreal to watch them. I saw two and they were both couldn’t be bothered by the humans sharing their space. But, they were still birds, and that’s still terrifying, so this goes on the not-so-awesome list as well.
- Hotel pillows. OMG comfy!
- Fresh fruit cup from room service was sooooooooo good. All of the fruit had excellent flavor. Yay for fruit!
- Racial and ethnic diversity by the buckets.
- Chihuahua as service dog. Because. Chihuahua!
- Limited sales of bottled water. Because plastic. Not sure I understand exactly the whens or wheres of that particular rule/law, but I know for sure that I couldn’t buy water to drink in the convention center. And I was thirsty. I didn’t like being thirsty, but I like that one person’s thirst, in this case mine, doesn’t override the ecological needs of the planet and future generations.
- Flight home landed ten minutes ahead of schedule!
- $5 bottle of Voss on the desk.
- Despite the bike stand, didn’t see anyone actually riding a bike.
- Birds living in the airport.
- Everything was crazy expensive.
- Missed my family like crazy.
- We ate breakfast/lunch at a bakery on Friday. The people working there were less than friendly. One even glared at me. That might have been because I knocked Blythe’s credit card out of her hand and it bounced off her co-worker before flying across the service area. But still. Glaring. Not nice.
- Room service was unreasonably expensive. I know this is not news to anyone, but that didn’t change my sticker shock.
- TSA did a higher level security check on the Arab dude in front of me. Yeah. Not cool security people.
- All service positions filled by people of color. They were great, but it made me wonder if they couldn’t find other jobs, regardless of their qualifications.
Gay gaming is a thing. A really awesome thing. And, barring any major disasters, I’ll attend again next year. Y’all should come and hang out with me and Blythe. There will be much fun.