I had been feeling the guilts that I was not at the marches on Saturday http://www.abortionrightscampaign.ie/ or Sunday, http://www.marriagequality.ie/ as I was involved with running a large scifi convention.
But as problematic as Scifi/fantasy fandom can be, nothing at the convention needed smashing, which given that it was the european scifi convention it had 1,300 people from 33 countries and we had 130 program items and 113 participants, is mind boggling.
Often at these events cis white men can dominate the panels, that wasn’t the case, in fact we did have a gender disparity as we had too many women on panels. Also we had more women moderating then men, I was delighted that Cheryl Morgan who is a trans right activist as well as is an Hugo award-winning British science fiction critic and publisher. took part on panels over the weekend and as I was moderating the Boycott panel and we talked about TERFS.
We had equal numbers of men and women displaying in the Art Show , non of the cos players were harassed, we had panels on women in 2000AD, women writers, Gender boxes in Game of thrones and real life, why women have had to use pseudonym to get published, the Hawkeye initiative, Missing Medieval Women, discussions on why fiction women write had been seen as lesser.
I let it be known that I was queer and a feminist and made sure our code of conduct included making the convention a respectful place including respecting pro nouns and the photograph policy. I had people tell me they felt safe. Our youngest and oldest panel participants were women and the youngest at 14 is the youngest ever for a Eurocon. We had 4 workshops and all of them were run by women. including Lora O’Brien. It was refreshing and awesome and all off the convention was accessible.
There were even scholar ship tickets for fans of colour and those who may not be in the financial position to afford to go http://con-or-bust.livejournal.com/. 2/5 of the guests of honor were women, Seanan McGuire andYlva Spångberg. Seanan McGuire was wonderful to interview and referenced the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and was able to cite figures from the studies, and one of the others was Jim Fitzpatrick who was one of the public signatories on the Anti Amendment statement opposing the pro life amendment in 1983, he is also a human rights activist.
Shamrokon got it as right as a scifi convention can be and I am proud of what we accomplished and the people on the committee and the staff who all had social justice awareness before we started.