Anime Boston, a convention dedicated to manga and anime took place March 31–April 2 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. This year was the convention's 15th Anniversary and the theme was "Retro," which prompted many cosplayers to dress up from their favorite series both older and newer. It was also a personal anniversary for me! It was my 10th year going to Anime Boston, and my first while writing for Geeks OUT, so I felt I should talk about why I feel this convention is so great.
Anime Boston Mascots, A-chan and B-kun, dressed to fit the "Retro" 2017 theme.
I think Anime Boston 2017 was the best one yet both personally and for the convention overall. It was great for me because I was able to go with many friends who have similar interests, some of whom are also in the LGBTQ community. The reason this year felt like the best year overall for the convention itself has a lot to do with how things were handled: for instance, the staff responded really well to feedback from previous years to fix problems that had been occurring such as slow security lines. Also, everything generally felt like it ran smoother than past years, at least from the perspective of someone who is not on the staff, which meant that even if there were problems they were handled internally and quietly.
Anime Boston has always been very accepting environment and accommodates well for the LGBTQ community. Gender neutral bathrooms were not only available, but very well advertised. They were located on the third floor of the Hynes Convention Center and this was made known with posted signs and slides on the TV screens that are used for announcements. In the Artist Alley, there were artists with items for sale in the colors of many different Pride flags. Some artists also had pronoun buttons, so attendees could be addressed by their proper pronouns when meeting someone new at the convention. I also saw some attendees, both in and out of cosplay, wearing Pride buttons on shirts, jackets, and bags, carrying Pride items from the Artist's Alley, and a few were even wearing Pride flags as capes.
Gender-Neutral Bathroom Signs
There's also a lot of great content at Anime Boston for LGBTQ people, particularly the panels. The staff that selected which panels were to be scheduled were obviously accepting of discussions about queer-themed manga, anime, characters, and how it is to be a fan who identifies as queer—so much so that there were at least three of them this year. I was able to go to one of them titled "That's Gay" and it was very informative and had many manga and anime suggestions, one of them being the manga What Did You Eat Yesterday?, which I recently reviewed right here!
If you're looking for an anime convention on the East Coast but aren't sure where a good place to start is, I highly recommend Anime Boston. It's a convention that feels safe and accepting to attend as someone who is a part of the LGBTQ community and anime fandom!