So this weekend, by grace of a Grand Arbiter - I should say, THE Grand Artibter- my main compatriot clown and I were able to attend the steampunk convention in San Diego this last weekend. Overall, we had a magnificent time. We were not performing per se, so we allowed ourselves to goof off and relax in equal measure while being available to help out our friends’ events when asked.
We helped facilitate tea dueling education by being the mimes the educators controlled. Showing everyone how to properly tea duel and no lose by splattering your weapon (a cookie) all over the floor or person. It was fun. People enjoy our antics when we help with the tea duel because we can fill dead time by being sloths, making puns and just in general causing pleasant chaos.
We also participated in the SCREAMPUNK fashion show. Nickolai, my performing partner, went as Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. Which surprised many of our friends as, he normally doesn’t wear shirts with sleeves or coats or quiet colors - typically wearing his “bear training” outfit that is an open vest with a fake fur pelt and colorful pants. I went as a clown as I figured with the scary clown sightings it was a good idea to show a nice clown on stage amongst the monster hunters, fairy tale creatures, and fictional characters based on the books of the guest of honor (GAIL CARRIGER GUYS OMG).
We had plenty of pictures taken by Tobias and Cat - who are always so nice about letting us take over their set for a little bit longer than other convention attendees - as we usually let everyone go before us (since we know we will take more time) and tend to help other people out with poses and ideas.
We went dancing - the ball is always fun and we even got the entire floor to do the Time Warp! Which was hilarious and reminded me of when I used to do that show. I confess I did all the callbacks while dancing on the top of my lungs.
Generally, we had a great time. Enjoyed doing lots of events and spending time with the people we only get to see a few times a year. However, Saturday night was a weirdly unpleasant one for me.
I had a few instances on Saturday night where boundaries were not respected & consent was not discussed. The excuses about age, being drunk, orientation, or my performing arts are not reasons that allow people to touch parts of me without asking. I had people decide to touch my breasts, my ass, and grab me by the hips while saying rude things in my ear during the rum party. This was not one person invading my privacy, but multiple people.
Yes, my costumes are fun and have interesting elements to them, sparkles, chains but that does not mean I give anyone full consent to molest my person & make me feel uncomfortable. Cosplay is not consent and I will always be open to hearing a question. I am generally a very playful person at cons & want to make that judgement call myself, rather than having my autonomy taken from me. I was uncomfortable & honestly set back a bit & that is really disappointing on multiple levels.
Normally I am with Nickolai or other performers & quite safe because no one wants to mess around with us, but alone or accompanied by another friend I was accosted & felt exposed in a way I haven’t in my time performing as a burlesque dancer. I shouldn’t have to be guarded by my friends to feel safe.
I reached out to some of the organizers to let them know what happened in greater detail and they have already promised to talk about it with the committee and talk about better ways to address this. One of the people on facebook whom I am friends with has already realized he overstepped a boundary and apologized to me.
Overall, today I am better, Sunday and Monday I was still processing and upset. I talked about it publically on FB and a lot of people were appalled and its reassuring to know that so many people comiserate, empathize and are already figuring out solutions.