A couple of weeks ago, my wife Rachel and I flew to the USA for two conferences.
The first was the Popular Culture Association‘s National Conference, held in Indianapolis this year. Presenting and attending PCA was a very exciting experience, which is not something one can say about all academic conferences. They cover a wide variety of subject areas, some quite quirky, and Rachel and I were part of the Gay, Lesbian, and Queer Studies section. Our paper was on the representation of queer and gender diverse people in popular culture and how this impacts on young people. Our panel included Joseph Lloyd Donica, assistant professor of English at Bronx Community College of the City University of New York, and Elliot N Long, who presented fascinating papers. There was a great turn out and very interesting questions, including a discussion of the recent film Call Me By Your Name. Apart from our own presentation, we attended a variety of panels (including one on The X-Files and another on Buffy the Vampire Slayer – our dream popular culture topics) and a film screening of Logan’s Run, a seventies sci-fi film that we unexpectedly enjoyed.
Just over a week later, we headed to a very different kind of conference: ClexaCon: a Media & Entertainment Convention for LGBTQ Women and Allies, held in Las Vegas. The event is named after Clarke and Lexa from The 100, but is a multi-fandom event exploring queer identity and shipping in popular culture. We attended with our dear friend Sharon Angelici, who was a volunteer at ClexaCon and wrote about the experience on her blog. We had a wonderful time, meeting new friends and some celebrities, and had a really positive experience as panellists as well. Our panel – Countering the impact of heteronormative and cissexist media on young people – consisted of Rachel and myself, Elaine Atwell and Amy Spalding. The room was packed, with standing room only, and we had a very engaged audience ask a number of questions at the end. It seems that many people in the LGBTIQA+ community are passionate about representation and making the lives of queer and gender diverse young people better than what we experienced ourselves.
Overall, our trip was really fun and successful, and I discovered that I loved presenting with my wife! So stay tuned for our future nerd-couple experiences. ♥