San Diego Comic Con 2014
Stop sexual harassment at San Diego Comic Con, create a formal anti-harassment policy!
Sign the petition today and spread the word!
Awesome Con 2014
COMIC CON ANTI HARASSMENT EFFORTS
Comic conventions are about celebrating the things that make us geeks, in a place where we can feel free to embrace our favorite stories and characters freely without judgment. When we saw the opportunity to use our anti-harassment experience to improve the comic-con experience for cosplayers like us, we immediately merged our two passions. Our effort started with the creation of an anti-street harassment comic book, which has been used to draw parallels to gender-based harassment and groping at conventions. Throughout the rest of 2013 and early 2014, GeeksForCONsent and various branches of the Hollaback! anti-street harassment network attended/will attend various conventions, sit on panels and in Artist Alleys, and take roving anti-harassment teams to spread the word about CONsent. Another part of the work is more behind the scenes, where our team audits convention harassment policies, determines whether or not those policies are enforced, and especially focuses on whether volunteers are trained/equipped to deal with reports of harassment. The end goal is not to criticize conventions, but to work together to come up with a comprehensive plan to actually create these conventions as safer spaces.
As experts in dealing with harassment, training women and LGBTQ folks in coping and responding to harassment, and training people how not to harass, the GeeksForCONsent team has been conducting workshops on gender-based harassment and better ways of communicating with each other in public for over 3 years. In applying this experience to comic conventions, and the rampant harassment often present at these conventions, we are taking over HollabackPHILLY’s national comic-convention tour to spread the message. Part of the comic book tour has involved offering offering national conventions the opportunity to work with us on their anti-harassment policies and internal procedures for collecting reports. The project also offers trainings to be sure their staff is equipped to appropriately respond to reports of harassment.
Our first convention as the ‘in-house anti-harassment team’ will be at Awesome Con in Washington DC, April 18-20. Their volunteers will be trained in understanding and responding to harassment at the conventions, and we will be on-site to assist with any issues that arise.
The GeeksForCONsent team spread the Cosplay =/= CONsent message by tabling at Wizard World Philadelphia in 2013 and Locust Moon Fest 2013; presenting a panel at GeekGirlCon 2013; and interviewing cosplayers at Baltimore Comic Con 2013 and New York Comic Con 2013. Our sister advocates in Boston took the comic and message to Boston Comic Con 2013 and MicExpo 2013. Over 100 cosplayers have signed petitions, sent in photographs, and provided video testimony of their comic-con harassment experiences – all empowering our mission to hold conventions accountable for making their conventions safe and inclusive spaces for EVERYONE in attendance. Our 2013 efforts paid off, and our training manual is being used to train all the Awesome Con 2014 volunteers – and Geeks for CONsent will be the in-house anti-harassment team at the convention.
After contacting both San Diego Comic Con and Wizard World staff, but repeatedly being ignored, our team decided it was time to increase the pressure. All of our 2013 efforts are culminating in a final push to encourage San Diego Comic Con and the Wizard World circuit draft and publicize a formal anti harassment policy, and that they actually enforce the policies. Stay tuned for the April 2014 petition requesting they actually respond to cosplayers concerns, take the harassment seriously, and commit to making their conventions safer spaces.