Tag Archives: lgbt

Gen Con Releases a New Statement Concerning Indiana’s SB 101

We’ve been covering Gen Con‘s reaction to SB 101, the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” Gen Con, which threatened to leave the state if passed, has issued a new statement about the legislation being signed into law calling the decision “disappointing,” and “not unexpected.”

The short version, the convention has a contract to stay in Indianapolis until 2020, however bidding on where the convention will head after that begins about 5 years out, so in other words, within the next year.

The convention said in the mean time, they will focus on inclusion and fun. They have also want to hear about any positive or negative experiences with local hospitality during the convention, and will solicit feedback from the community about their experiences.

We stand behind the convention fully, and are proud they have stood up for inclusion and against bigotry.

You can read the full letter below.

GEN_Con_SB_101_Follow_Up

With SB 101 Signed, What Will Gen Con Do? Follow Salesforce?

Gen_Con_LetterOn Tuesday we brought you the news that Gen Con, the four day gaming convention (and one of my favorite conventions of the year) sent a letter to Indiana Governor Mike Pence warning the convention may leave the state if SB 101, the supposed “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” was singed into law. The convention, as many else also feel, felt the legislation is discriminatory, and would “allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees.”

The Governor is so proud of the bill, he signed it into law in a private ceremony. Indiana becomes the first state this year to enact such legislation out of the dozen or so states in which similar proposals have been introduced.

The fallout from the legislation signing was quick and fierce. Salesforce, on the the top software as a service companies out there, has decided to “dramatically reduce” their investment in Indiana. The CEO of the company Marc Benioff said in a series of Tweets:

gen-con-logoGen Con isn’t the only convention to take place in the state. Awesome Con expanded this year to host a convention in Indianapolis as well. We’ve reached out to both conventions for further comment as to their plans or reactions, but have not heard back as we went to press.

Geek conventions don’t have the best record when it comes to these things. In 2010, Arizona signed into law SB 1070 which some say unfairly targets Latinos, and is a violation of the civil rights of all Arizonans. Boycotts of the state due to the law cost the state over $141 million in 2010. Announced in 2010, but launched in 2011, the Amazing Arizona Comic Con was launched, though calls for boycotts were still in full effect. We questioned the choice of not just the convention, but those attending and supporting it. Companies who “champion” diversity and inclusion, and “pushing comics forward” have had no issues pumping money into the economy of a state which clearly cares little of these things. Though, in fairness, Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a bill similar to the one Gov. Pence just signed into law. So, they just dislike people of darker skin there, but homosexuals are ok.

We’ll keep on this story as Gen Con has promised a follow up letter today. The convention in 2011 committed to stay in Indianapolis until 2020.

Pence released the below statement after signing the pill into law:

Today I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith.

The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action.

One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.

Fortunately, in the 1990s Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act—limiting government action that would infringe upon religion to only those that did not substantially burden free exercise of religion absent a compelling state interest and in the least restrictive means.

Last year the Supreme Court of the United States upheld religious liberty in the Hobby Lobby case based on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but that act does not apply to individual states or local government action. At present, nineteen states—including our neighbors in Illinois and Kentucky—have adopted Religious Freedom Restoration statutes. And in eleven additional states, the courts have interpreted their constitutions to provide a heightened standard for reviewing government action.

In order to ensure that religious liberty is fully protected under Indiana law, this year our General Assembly joined those 30 states and the federal government to enshrine these principles in Indiana law, and I fully support that action.

This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it. In fact, it does not even apply to disputes between private parties unless government action is involved. For more than twenty years, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has never undermined our nation’s anti-discrimination laws, and it will not in Indiana.

Indiana is rightly celebrated for the hospitality, generosity, tolerance, and values of our people, and that will never change. Faith and religion are important values to millions of Hoosiers and with the passage of this legislation, we ensure that Indiana will continue to be a place where we respect freedom of religion and make certain that government action will always be subject to the highest level of scrutiny that respects the religious beliefs of every Hoosier of every faith.

And a Tweet by the Governor:

Gen Con Threatens to Leave Indiana Over SB 101

This afternoon Gen Con, a four-day gaming convention, sent a letter to the Republican Governor of Indiana Mike Pence warning that if SB 101 becomes the law, the convention may leave the state. Gen Con LLC’s CEO and owner, Adrian Swartout, said in the letter (which you can read below) that passage of the bill “will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years.” The convention focuses on gaming of all types including board, card, miniature, and role-playing.

Gen Con proudly welcomes a diverse attendee base, made up of different ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds. We are happy to provide an environment that welcomes all, and the wide-ranging diversity of our attendees has become a key element to the success and growth of our convention.

Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state’s economy.

Proponents of SB 101 would prevent state and local governments from “substantially burdening” a person’s exercise of religion unless the government can prove it has a compelling interest.

Opponents of the legislation says it gives a license for businesses to discriminate, particularly against gays and lesbians.

The legislation is being pushed by social conservatives.

The digest description of the legislation:

Religious freedom restoration. Prohibits a governmental entity from substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless the governmental entity can demonstrate that the burden: (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest. Provides a procedure for remedying a violation. Specifies that the religious freedom law applies to the implementation or application of a law regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity or official is a party to a proceeding implementing or applying the law. Prohibits an applicant, employee, or former employee from pursuing certain causes of action against a private employer.

Some have said the legislation is similar to what led the Supreme Court to side with Hobby Lobby concerning contraception. This legislation could be interpreted much further allowing systemic and widespread discrimination by businesses, for example a bakery refusing to serve a gay couple.

The legislation passed the House in a 63-31 vote, and Senate a 40-10 vote.

As of this post, the convention has garnered support and positive feedback from their Facebook community. Some dissented feeling this is “social justice warriors” making their way into gaming.

According to Facebook demographics, 10% of the convention’s “likes” are “interested” in the same-sex.

The convention, which began in 1968 in Lake Geneva by D&D creator Gary Gygax, moved to the city in 2003. It’s the convention center’s largest annual convention, bringing in excess of $50 million in revenue for the city of Indianapolis every year.

Last year’s convention, held August 14-17, saw another year of record attendance numbers and unprecedented growth. That makes it the fourth consecutive year, Gen Con grew by more than 10%. The year saw 14% year-over-year growth with a weekend turnstile attendance of 184,699 and unique attendance of 56,614. 2013’s previous record was 49,530 unique attendees. Since 2009, Gen Con’s annual attendance has more than doubled.

The convention also does good, selecting a charity partner each year to raise money. Last year also saw a record year in donations. The convention raised more than $40,000 for Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana’s BackSacks program, which provides weekend food to children at-risk for hunger. This donation includes a $20,000 check provided by Mayfair Games’ Cones of Dunshire event, a charitable game played Saturday, August 16 on Georgia Street. This year’s partner is the Julian Center.

It is unknown how other conventions in the state have reacted to the legislation, but we have reached out for comments.

Gen Con 2015 returns to Indianapolis July 30 – August 2, 2015! And we’ll be there in full support.

Here is the letter for you to read:

 

Gen_Con_Letter

Prism Comics announces The Queer Comics Showcase

Prism Comics announces The Queer Comics ShowcasePrism Comics, the leading non-profit organization supporting LGBTQ comics, comics creators and readers, is proud to announce the creation of the Queer Comics Showcase, an annual digital book of information and art promoting LGBTQAI comic art, to be published in June 2015. The project is now open for submissions of titles and advertising space requests.

Prism now has an online form available for you to submit your title for inclusion into the book. Apart from queer content, your series or graphic novel can be included if it is currently available in any public form: print, digital, web-series, mini-comics, strips, etc. If your work is not currently available, they will accept it if it will be publicly released or published before May 2016.

This year’s title submission window will close on May 1, 2015. You can find more information and links to submission forms online.

Every title can be listed for free, with information and sample art in a standard format, single page. However, additional pages can be purchased for story reprints. If you could like to donate original, exclusive art or story pages to the anthology, Prism will give you story reprint pages for free.

An adult-version of the Queer Comics Showcase will be created and published separately.

Display ads and classified may also be purchased by any interested party.

The funds for the creation and selling of this book will help fund the various projects of Prism Comics, a non-profit 501c3 organization committed to supporting queer creators, publishers and fans.  Prism’s projects include the annual Prism Comics Queer Press Grant, redesigning the Prism website and presenting booths and panel appearances at major conventions and events across the U.S.

Rat Queens Wins GLAAD Media Awards

26GMA_long_r1a_0The winners of 16 of this year’s 31 media categories for the GLAAD Media Awards were announced at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards March 21. The awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives.

In one geek related award, GLAAD previously announced that it was acknowledging BioWare’s hit video game Dragon Age: Inquisition with a Special Recognition Award.

This year’s nominees in the comics category were:

  • Hawkeye, written by Matt Fraction and published by Marvel
  • Lumberjanes, written by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis and published by BOOM! Studios
  • Memetic, written by James Tynion IV and published by BOOM! Studios
  • Rat Queens, written by Kurtis J. Wiebe and published by Image Comics
  • Saga, written by Brian K. Vaughan and published by Image Comics

Last night it was announced the Kurtis Wiebe’s Rat Queens had won. Congrats to all the nominees and Wiebe on the win!

26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards Nominees Announced

26GMA_long_r1a_0GLAAD every year hosts an award ceremony to recognize some of the best entertainment when it comes to the LGBT community with their GLAAD Media Awards, and this includes a category for comics. The awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives. They also fund GLAAD’s work to amplify stories from the LGBT community that build support for equality.

The nominees for the 26th annual awards have been announced and those being honored are:

  • Hawkeye, written by Matt Fraction and published by Marvel
  • Lumberjanes, written by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis and published by BOOM! Studios
  • Memetic, written by James Tynion IV and published by BOOM! Studios
  • Rat Queens, written by Kurtis J. Wiebe and published by Image Comics
  • Saga, written by Brian K. Vaughan and published by Image Comics

The awards ceremony will be held on each coast, March 21 in Beverly Hills, California and May 9 in New York, New York. Congrats to all of the nominees!

2015 Queer Press Grant Now Accepting Submissions

Prism Comics have announced that they are now accepting submissions for this year’s Queer Press Grant. The Queer Press Grant is specifically awarded to independent queer comic book creators. The grant was established by Prism Comics in 2003 to assist in the publication, and promotion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender comics.

Comic books, comic strips, webcomics, and graphic novel projects are all eligible. Entries are judged first and foremost by artistic merit, followed by concerns such as financial need, proposal presentation, and the project’s contribution to the LGBT community.

The submission deadline for the QPG is March 10th, 2015, with the recipient announced during Wondercon Anaheim, April 3-5th. Applicants can submit online now at prismcomics.org/grant.

The $2000.00 Queer Press Grant is funded by donations from comic book professionals, readers, and the fundraising efforts of Prism Comics members. For those interested in donating to the Queer Press Grant you may do so here.

queer press grant

The Queer Press Grant Moves to WonderCon

queer press grantPrism Comics are shaking things up a bit, and moving their Queer Press Grant award ceremony to WonderCon. The 2015 Annual Award Ceremony will take place at WonderCon Anaheim on the weekend of April 3-5, 2015.

In the past, the award has been presented in the fall, but this move will bring “more opportunities for the Queer Press Grant to help LGBTQ comics creators.”

The Queer Press Grant is a financial grant of $2000.00 that assists one LGBTQ comic book self publisher get their comic, web-comic, or graphic novel printed, and into the hands of readers. Since its inception in 2005, the Queer Press Grant  has been awarded to fourteen outstanding comics creators who have gone on to contribute greatly to the queer comics community.

Submissions for the 2015 Prism Comics Queer Press Grant will begin January 1, 2015 and end on March 10, 2015.   The recipient will be announced at one of Prism Comics’ panels at WonderCon. Which panel will be announced in the spring.

The grant is entirely funded by donations. You can do so here.

Prism Comics announces winner of the 2014 Queer Press Grant

Calvin GimpelevichFor the last ten years the Alternative Press Expo (A.P.E.) has been the home where Prism Comics announced the recipient of the Prism Comics Queer Press Grant. Traditionally taking place after the annual Queer Cartoonists Panel, moderated by Justin Hall, this year’s Queer Press Grant winner was revealed as Calvin Gimpelevich, along with the artist Emiliano Quale, for their comic book series Wolfmen.

Wolfmen is a supernatural comic series exploring the life and community of Aiden, a transgender werewolf, as he medically transitions from female to male.

Prism Comics’ Queer Press Grant is awarded to assist comics creators in publishing comics with LGBT characters or themes. Entries are judged first and foremost by artistic merit, followed by concerns such as financial Wolfmenneed, proposal presentation, and the project’s contribution to the LGBT community. They are reviewed by the Prism Board, past recipients of the Grant, and Prism’s Advisory Board.

The Queer Press Grant is an all volunteer organization funded entirely by donations from comic book professionals and readers. Since its inception, the Queer Press Grant has been awarded to –

2005: Steve MacIsaac – Shiftlifter                          2010: Tana Ford – Duck
2006: Megan Gedris – YU+ME                                2010: Jon Macy – Fearful Hunter
2007: Justin Hall – True Travel Tales                     2011: Robert Kirby – Three
2007: Tommy Roddy – Pride High                          2012: Christine Smith – The Princess
2008: Pam Harrison – House of the Muses            2012: Blue Delliquanti – O Human Star
2009: Ed Luce – Wuvable Oaf                                 2013: Hazel Newlevant – If This Be Sin
2009: Eric Orner – Storybox

You can support and donate to the Queer Press Grant.

Submissions for the Queer Press Grant are Now Open

Queer_Press_Grant_QPG_Logo_mail_chimpPrism Comics, the leading non-profit organization supporting LGBT comics, graphic novels, comics creators and readers, has announced the opening of submissions for the 2014 Prism Comics Queer Press Grant, Prism’s annual grant to LGBT comics self-publishers.   The deadline for proposals is Monday, September 1, 2014. The Award is to be announced at the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco October 4-5, 2014.

prism comicsPrism Comics offers an annual financial grant to help aspiring LGBT comics creators publish and promote their comics. The Queer Press Grant is funded by donations from readers, established creators with the desire to help those just starting out, and fans who want to see more LGBT stories get published.

Prism Comics will be exhibiting at San Diego Comic-Con July 24-27, 2014 (Booth #144). In addition to promoting and raising funds for the Queer Press Grant, Prism Comics will be presenting panels and offering portfolio review by noted comics professionals for comics creators and those interested in submitting for the Queer Press Grant.   Please check the Prism website in early July for a list of comics creators who are scheduled to do portfolio review and appear at the Prism Comics booth.

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