Flame Con 2017

Most people have heard of Comic Cons - the annual convergences of all things comics, games, movies, and more!  They are basically Nerd Nirvana, and hundreds of thousands of people across the country attend them (over 200,000 fans made their way to the Jacob K. Javits Center this year for the NYC Comic Con.)   Comic Cons however, are not the only major conventions out there that cater to “geek” media.   There is also Gen Con, Wonder Con, Book Con, and Anime Expo, but in 2015 there was the first ever Flame Con - an exclusively queer Comic Con to highlight and promote the contribution of LGBT+ people in Geek Media.

I have been lucky enough to attend Flame Con since the beginning, and in 2017 held my first panel: Writing Out Not Down: Speaking Authentically to Teen Audiences, where I spoke with authors Soman Chainani (The School for Good and Evil), Mackenzi Lee (A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue), Alex London (Proxy), and Adam Silvera (They Both Die at the End).  The panel focused on how young adult authors can continue to raise the bar in teen literature, and how keeping minority voices authentic has a positive impact on the lives of children.

You can read what School Library Journal had to say about the panel here.

While many conventions welcome youth audiences, Flame Con sets aside an entire day for the younger generation, offering free admission to anyone 20 years and under, making it even easier for teens to reach out to their favorite artists, authors, and creators.  Many panels saw kids waiting in line to get a chance to hear their favorite authors speak or to get a book signed.  There has been a lot of talk lately about “safe spaces” and I think Flame Con has shown its commitment to making all people feel welcome and accepted.  Attendees were treated to complimentary (and completely optional) preferred pronoun name tags, gender neutral bathrooms, out-of-this-world cosplay, and celebrity appearances.

If you have ever wanted to attend a convention, or are a seasoned veteran of the scene, consider giving Flame Con a visit in 2018!

If you cannot get to a convention, stop by your local library branch to find a wide variety of LGBT+ fiction and comics.  Ask a librarian if you are not sure how to start looking or try the NoveList database for ideas, available anytime through our website with your library barcode.  Click to browse by genre, scroll down and choose LGBTQIA Literature. 

Some library patrons with their favorite YA authors!

- Amanda, Hopewell Branch


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