ClexaCon Continues Its Push For More Positive LGBTQ+ Representation In London

ClexaCon Continues Its Push For More Positive LGBTQ+ Representation In London

By Jasmine Lowe

In late 2017, a study by LGBT Fans Deserve Better, a website dedicated to “educating people on the importance of positive LGBT representation in the media,” found that 62 lesbian and bisexual female characters died over the past two television seasons. This figure was the highest number of lesbian and bisexual character deaths in a two-year period since the trope of killing LGBTQ characters was first analyzed in 1976. The year 2015/2016 had the single highest number at 42, which accounted for 10 percent of the deaths on scripted television shows that year. The death of the character, Lexa, from the CW show, The 100, was one of them.

“That character death sparked a lot of outrage online and a lot of anger for the way her death came about, but also the way social media and fan interactions were used to hype the show, said Danielle Jablonski, one of the founders of the largest multi-fandom event, ClexaCon. “It was interesting to see that the death of this particular character had such a big backlash. Fans were able to pull sponsors from the show. Communities popped up, and they were able to raise over $100,000 for the Trevor Project. It was inspiring to see that fans were able to do something in response to this.

“The tragic trope of killing off queer women,  in media reinforces prejudiced views of queer people and their relationships.”

The original idea for the convention was to do something fairly small around that fandom to celebrate the positive characters and celebrate the fans. However, that TV season ended up being such a terrible year for queer female representation that we decided we wanted to create an event that was more encompassing of all queer female rep on TV and all fans of queer female characters and stories.”

The amount of outrage that stemmed from the death of the character, Lexa, after queer-baiting the show’s audience ignited the conversation around lesbian and bisexual representation to the point where the female LGBTQ community and its allies were inspired to create the annual media and entertainment convention, ClexaCon. Although the convention’s name was formed from the two popular LGBTQ characters on The 100, Clarke and Lexa, the convention has evolved into a movement aimed to do so much more than address the issue of the unexpected death of Lexa.

“The convention aims to educate and ignite dialogue around the importance of positive representation, especially female LGBTQ representation.”

“Even from year one, once we had an event, it’s not just about one fandom. It’s about all queer fandoms,” explained Jablonski. “We reached out to actresses and filmmakers and academics across the field and tried to get them involved because there hasn’t really been anyone else doing anything specifically for LGBTQ women. A lot of people were really eager to get on board, so we were really lucky that we had so much support from fans and from creators and academics who really cared about these issues and we’re glad to finally see something happening like this convention.”

The tragic trope of killing off queer women, or “bury your gays” trope in media is often overused, rooted in historical homophobia, and reinforces prejudiced views of queer people and their relationships. It’s an inaccurate and unhealthy form of LGBTQ representation that causes a lot of harm to all those who consume the piece of media. The death of Lexa had crushed so many young impressionable queer females who once looked up to the character as a positive role model, and the idea behind ClexaCon was to facilitate further discussion and discourse that would prevent the trope from reoccurring at the rate that it was climbing in television shows and films.

The convention aims to educate and ignite dialogue around the importance of positive representation, especially female LGBTQ representation. The goal is to break the mold, encourage content producers to create more representation for the community, and continue facilitating the conversation on how to solve the lack of positive diversity problem.

clexacon

“If you are into fandom, into celebrities, and you want to meet your favorite actresses this is the best place to do it because we have so many people in one place who are queer or play queer characters,” said Jablonski. “On the other side of it, we’re also all about representation in film, TV, and print and bringing together people who are making content or who want to make content and supporting them through workshops, networking, and making sure people see their work.

We also have an academic side that we are building out for our next event in Las Vegas where we are working with universities to talk about LGBTQ women representation in academia and how to include queer rep into the curriculum. We are trying to get more queer women representation in media, and we are trying to get it at a few different angles to make a difference.”

The convention will be expanding its reach to Europe with ClexaCon London, which will be held at the Novotel London West November 3-4, 2018. Like its U.S. counterpart, the convention will continue to create a platform for the advancement of both the LGBTQ community and women. You can visit clexacon.com for more information on the upcoming event.

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