Despite having one of the WORST governors in the United States (bald fascist Rick Scott), Florida remains a tropical, pastel-colored haven for many LGBT Americans. The Florida Supercon, one of the South's largest comic book, fantasy, and sci-fi conventions, always includes some attractions for our crowd—this summer they have George Takei!—but this weekend sees the debut of Animate! Miami, an all-new convention aimed squarely at the particular passions of many queer fans and convention-goers: COSPLAY!
Founder of Super Conventions and organizer of Animate! Miami, Mike Broder, explains:
“There tends to be a lot more openness in anime than in western cartoons…they're more likely to have openly gay characters in the stories and treat these characters in more realistic way. There is [also] a huge segment of Yaoi and Yuri, which is anime (and manga comics) dealing explicitly with gay and lesbian relationships.”
The current schedule of programs at Animate! Miami does not list anything LGBT-specific. However, Broder emphasized events that could reach out to the LGBT audience, particularly anyone who does cosplay, i.e., dressing up as a character from anime or an animated series: “The Saturday night costume competition or the Sunday night Masquerade Costume and Performance Competition, the raves, karaoke.”
Other presentations that may be of LGBT interest are those by Urban Ronin, a stunt combat/ cosplay group, and Cheesy On the Outside, a performance group that will stage shadow casts of Dr. Horrible’s Sing A Long Blog and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
“We have a very open community, where everyone is welcome to express themselves. In the seven years since we've started these events we've never had any issues,” stated Broder. “Our only rules are that costumes have to be PG-13 during the daytime until the exhibition room closes.
“We're a little bit more relaxed for the evening events, but it still has to be in the bounds of keeping it legal. But as far as expression goes, we have a zero tolerance towards intolerance. We're all one big community and these events are where geeks of all shapes/sizes/sex/orientation/religion, etc. are welcome. I don't want anyone at our events that would make someone feel unwelcome because of some perceived difference.”
Every July in Miami, Super Conventions presents Florida Supercon, a four-day comics convention that celebrates comic books, sci-fi, fantasy, cosplay, anime, animation, and pop culture galore. What's even better is how they offer many LGBT friendly celebrities and panels - one example is George Takei who is scheduled to appear at Florida Supercon 2013.