n 2022, the time was right to bring back our signature comic, sci-fi, fantasy, anime, and media fandom event. This time, we decided to make it our largest self-produced event ever, and we chose Pride Month as our event date.
QTCON PRIDE! was the second version of our original 2019 QT-Con event. Held at the SOMArts hall in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood on a sunny Saturday afternoon, we welcomed over 150 attendees to this indoor / outdoor queer & trans comic-con Kickback. This event was sponsored by Blue Shield of California.
Outside, attendees were greeted by event signage and two step-and-repeats on the entry path into the SOMArts grounds. We partnered with Soul Skillet, the pop-up soul food kitchen, who served maple wings, mac & cheese black bean burgers, chili cheese fries, and more right on the patio.
Inside, we partnered with the Good VBZ (@goodvbzparty) event group to create the mood, with three DJs to set the pace all day – DJ Reeact (@djreeact), DJ Möscöné (@moscne), and DJ Climaxxx (@climax3xmusic).
Our midday show featured an hour-long drag performance cosplay super team-up with: Tila Pia (@tila_pia_), Sgt. Die Wies (@diewies), Pearl Teese (@pearlteese), Nia Politan (@nia_politan_), and KaiKai Bee Michaels (@nostalgiajunki3).
Filling our Artist Alley were: Tre’Beyond (@trebeyond), Cassandra Tran (@madebycas5), Cheyne Gallarde (@artbycheyne), KaiKai Bee Michaels (@nostalgiajunki3), Baruch Porras Hernandez (@barruchporrashernandez), and the team from Oakland’s Cape & Cowl Comics (@capecowlcomics).
Throughout the day, we hosted three on-stage talks in the SOMArts space. Ricardo Padilla (@latinocomicsexpo) and Baruch Porras Hernandez (@barruchporrashernandez) lead the discussion in “How They See Us: The challenges and beauty of creating a safe positive space for BIPOC Queer creators.”
Ajuan Mance (website) offered a presentation on expansive Black queer representation in comics in, “As Black As It Is Gay.”
Cheyne Gallarde (website) shared his journey as a creator in his presentation, “The Rise of the Superqueero.”
On our custom-built map on Gather, we welcomed our community to our virtual space. Every in-person panel was streamed to the virtual QTCON, providing those who are disabled, immunocompromised, caregivers, and out of town the opportunity to participate in this Kickback community event. Plus, we held two exclusive virtual panels for folks not at SOMArts.
“Queer Stories in Small Press” featured Breena Nuñez (@breenache), Lawrence Lindell (website), and Trinidad Escobar (website) in a virtual conversation in our Gather space.
The next online-only panel, “Queerness in Gaming & Game Design” focused on “storytelling as possibility” through gaming. This talk was joined by André / Tricki Visaj (@trickivisaj), Toto Lin (@jellolin), and Kazumi Chin (website).
COVID Protocol included checking vaccinations, KN95 masks indoors (we purchased extras just in case), and reminders to give people their personal space when outdoors.
As one of our supporters told us, “If you make even one person feel safe and loved, you have everything to be proud of.” We set out to create a space for joy for our community. We wanted to show our people how storytelling can give us the possibility to perceive the world differently, and make our world reflect possibility.
This event was such a deep, unique success for our organization and our community. And we vowed to bring QTCON Pride back in 2023.