Returning to Sin City for the second consecutive year, ClexaCon is a unique kind of media and entertainment convention for LGBTQ+ women and allies(Pictured: Sinful Party – Photo credit: Dana Lynn Pleasant)
Taking place in Las Vegas April 5th through April 9th, 2018 at The Tropicana Las Vegas, ClexaCon celebrates queer female characters and stories, comics, books, connecting fans, celebrities, creators and journalists.
It also hosts a series of panels on a multitude of topics, workshops, charity events, parties, as well as a three-day film festival and a loud message of gender equality, female empowerment, diversity and inclusion.
The event brings together actresses, directors, producers, writers, comic book illustrators, visual artists, academics and fans from over 40 countries and all 50 U.S. states to celebrate the best of LGBTQ+ TV and film and discuss how to improve representation across all media platforms.
Nothing is more crucial and urgently important today than diversity and inclusion, and not just in Hollywood but in all business models and fields. This is where ClexaCon comes in as a leader in an industry-wide conversation to effectively rally together the decision makers and influencers of our community to formulate and put forth real change to counter the lack of representation for LGBTQ+ women in front and behind the camera.
With that in mind, ClexaCon aims to foster dialogue around various aspects of diversity including gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and age, among others.
It also focuses on ‘inclusion’ with a series of panels tackling issues ranging from ‘Bias in the Media and Stereotype’, ‘Bisexual Representation in the Media’, ‘Decolonizing the LGBTQ Sphere: Indigenous Queer Representation in the Media’, ‘Gaysian: Queer Asian Representation’ and ‘Disabled LGBTQ+ Representation’, to name a few.
Continuing its endeavor to create a morally accountable event, ClexaCon is dedicating its social responsibility platform this year to The True Colors Fund. Co-founded by Cyndi Lauper, the nonprofit organization works to end homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, creating a world in which young people can be their true selves.
What started as a simple meet-up to unite fans of LGBTQ+ pop culture, evolved into a full-blown convention with over 2,000 attendees last year. ClexaCon is expected to welcome some 3,000+ attendees this spring.
In its first year, ClexaCon brought quite a variety of celebrity guests who are playing or have played LGBTQ+ characters on screen.
Last year, Sara Ramirez, known for her role as bisexual Dr. Callie Torres on the popular television series, Grey’s Anatomy joined the conversation at the queer women of color pop-up panel, speaking about her own bisexuality and struggles as a biracial woman.
Ramirez wasn’t the only celeb to get personal. Many others joined the convention and this year will be no different.
Featured guests for 2018 include Chlyer Leigh (Supergirl, Grey’s Anatomy), Caity Lotz (Legends of Tomorrow), Isabella Gomez, Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce (One Day at a Time), Anna Silk (Lost Girl), Dot Marie Jones (Glee), Nikohl Boosheri (The Bold Type), as well as many returning guests including Amy Acker (The Gifted, Person of Interest), Sarah Shahi (Person of Interest, The L Word), Katherine Barrell, Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Emily Andras (Wynonna Earp), Elise Bauman and Natasha Negovanlis (Carmilla), Elizabeth Keener (The L Word, Skirtchasers), Rachel Skarsten (Lost Girl, Reign), Zoie Palmer (Lost Girl, Dark Matter).
The name ClexaCon was born from the fan favorite ship ‘Clexa’ (Clarke & Lexa) on the show The 100. In 2016, lesbian Commander Lexa was killed by a bullet minutes after consummating her relationship with bisexual lead, Clarke Griffin, thus checking all the boxes of the ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope. This heartbreaking moment led the organizers of ClexaCon to create one of the first conventions geared towards LGBTQ+ women to move the conversation forward in a more positive way.
ClexaCon was created and is run by Holly Winebarger, Ashley Arnold and Danielle Jablonski with the goal to provide a safe space and a world-wide community of LGBTQ+ women and allies who love TV, film, comics and books; to encourage more LGBTQ+ women to get involved in content creation; to embolden allies to improve representation for LGBTQ+ characters in their creative work.
“We hope attendees feel empowered. We want them to leave knowing this industry, like all industries, is in desperate need of more diverse voices. Pick up a camera, grab a pen, start writing, start creating because there are other people who care about what you have to say,” says Ashley Arnold.
What makes ClexaCon relevant and current within today’s social, cultural and political landscape is that it is the only event of its size in the world. More and more comic con-type events are popping up all over the U.S. but it’s hard to find LGBTQ+ content in those spaces, let alone events that are geared specifically to our community.
At a time when lesbian spaces, festivals and publications are rampantly vanishing all across the country, ClexaCon becomes fundamentally necessary to reconnect a community – making an impact by providing a safe place for LGBTQ+ women from all walks of life to come together and act as agents of change.
ClexaCon is dedicated to being both a resource and an advocate for the value of diversity, equality and inclusion. It is now becoming a marquee destination for all things women in entertainment, proving that there is both quality and quantity to be found when it comes to creative work that represent LGBTQ+ women. Schedule available here: http://clexa-con.com/about/schedule/