I’ve been to Dragon Con three years running, and every year I’m struck by the attention and care brought to the convention in order to ensure that everyone is treated equally. This doesn’t just filter down to the choice of cosplay (cross-play, like male Slave Leias, or dressing as Lord Voldemort and Delores Umbridge) and the enforcing of the no harassment policy, but rather spreads throughout every aspect of a person’s experience at Dragon Con.
No matter your political or religious affiliation, you are welcome at Dragon Con. There was a table at the AmericasMart with stickers proclaiming “Jesus Loves Gamers”, there were people in various religious garb (Hindu and Islamic, mostly), and of course there were discussions on paganism, wicca, and spirituality happening during the convention.
Dragon Con is also inclusive when it comes to gender and orientation. Crossplay and drag are welcome (and even encouraged), and there are multiple panels on LGBTQUIA+ positive stories, alternative lifestyles, and safe sex. Marriage proposals from a variety of genders and orientations happen nearly every year. It’s a welcoming, friendly, safe space for many of us who aren’t completely out, and a good place for those questioning or exploring their own genders and orientations to ask questions, knowing that they will not be treated poorly.
It’s also heartening to see a massive group (over 70,000 members this year) take equality to heart in such a way that the convention is attended by people of every ethnicity, whether they are on panels as guests or in the halls as attendees. It’s inspiring and encouraging to see us all united in one cause — our love of story. It reminds me that we aren’t that different from each other, and that unity is possible. We can change the way we interact with each other, and the effort is worth the work we put into it.
Another way in which Dragon Con is inclusive is when it comes to ensuring that those with disabilities are able to experience the Con as fully as those who are abled. I have a friend who volunteers as an interpreter for the deaf, and with my background in disability services, I pay close attention to places that take extra care that each and every person’s needs are met. Dragon Con is especially determined to makes sure all attendees are able to take advantage of all the exciting opportunities it offers over the four-day convention.
With priority seating, medical attendance, and a host of helpers on hand to meet each and every request, Dragon Con’s dedication to providing a quality experience for all attendees should be a model example for others, whether in a business or personal environment.
I can’t say enough about what a positive experience Dragon Con is for us. I have likened a trip to Dragon Con to a four-day stay at Hogwarts, a thrilling, joyful time where we all join together and share our love for the stories that have changed our lives. At the end of the day Dragon Con, regardless of what makes us unique, ensures that we come away knowing that we matter.Image Credits: The Nerdy Girls