Cosplay culture and Drag culture Collide
by Bryan Santos
Comic books, video games, Cosplay, oh my! Pridelines forged a new relationship with the producers of Supercon(“Con”), ReedPop to create their Miami events first LGBTQ+ Lounge for youth and young adults! An amazing first step in the direction of supporting the LGBTQ+ community that identifies within the fandom and nerd space, the LGBTQ+ Lounge, programmed and staffed by Pridelines was a huge success. Last Friday and Saturday, September 10th and 11th, our team created a safe and affirming space for youth and young adults seeking fun and engaging LGBTQ+ programming, including educational panels, drag performances, Cosplay runway, and gaming.
Not to toot our own horn, but we came through at our first Supercon with programming that supported the diversity within the fandom space which historically has not provided opportunities to address the intersecting identities of the community (Toot toot). Our programming included two panels focusing on the history of and intersections between Cosplay and Drag, and Diversity and Inclusivity within the “Con” space. These provided opportunities for participants to share their personal experiences within such spaces, including the challenges of navigating the heteronormative culture, consent within cosplay, and body positivity, among many other issues. Panelists included local Cosplayers Rasaki, Radski, Guppy Chi, Kelsy and yours truly!
Additionally, we hosted a Drag show and a Cosplay runway that empowered youth and young adults to take pride in their art and their self expression knowing they’re supported by their peers and community, and accompanied by local artists, including Kevin Dixon, Adalaide Rose, Davina Sins and Ivanna Hue. Throughout the day we offered fun games such as Giant Jenga and Connect Four, tabling opportunities for community partners, and HIV testing. Our daily Supersocials also offered the opportunity for young people to meet like minded individuals, make friends, and create supportive peer networks.
“Con'' participants enjoyed the LGBTQ+ Lounge programming to the extent that there was “Safe Social Distancing” standing room only and many watching from outside the hall. The excitement and energy was only matched by the love and compassion the participants were sharing throughout the event. The engagement and community questions kept our panels going way beyond the scheduled time.
Our team is so proud of Pridelines’ partnership with Supercon allowing us to engage with our young people in new fun and meaningful ways while also introducing us to many new youth who otherwise may not have known about the resources we offer, including our program, services, and Centers.
We’re excited to mention that Supercon has invited us back for their May event! Planning will begin next month and we welcome community support to produce another successful LGBTQ+ Lounge for our youth and young adults. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can support our next “Con'' event, please reach out to me via email at email@example.com.