This upcoming weekend is Arisia '12, which is billed as "New England's largest and most diverse science fiction and fantasy convention".  Transcending Boundaries will have a table in the community space, as well as many TBC volunteers and presenters attending and participating in panels. We will let folks know over Twitter when we are at the table, so please come by and say hi during the weekend! 

An outsider to the sci-fi/fantasy community might think sci-fi conventions like Arisia are all about Star Wars and Star Trek, but the convention covers a lot more than just movies and television.  Arisia includes some topics you might expect, such as comics, anime and writing, but also some you may not, such as music, science and crafting.  There is also a communities track, which includes topics relating to gender, polyamory and BDSM. There is actually a large crossover between the Transcending Boundaries and Arisia audiences.


Some panels are about how gender, sexuality or relationships are expressed in sci-fi or fantasy.   Poly in Sci-Fi will be discussing how different forms of ethical non-monogamy is portrayed in various authors work.  Since so much of science fiction is about creating new worlds, the traditional relationship models can change as much as the technology.   Race, Gender & Disability Politics in Comics will look at how politics are reflected in comics and their creators.   Gender Limitations in SF/F will look at how the gender mold is or isn't being broken in the genre.  Sexuality and pleasure are sometimes lacking, in favor of a more stoic existence in Science Fiction which will be examined in SF vs the Body.  

 
Other panels during the weekend will focus on issues relating to gender, sexuality and relationships in fandom.  Self-Objectification and the Geeky Girl will discuss the geeky girl's sex appeal, and how it can shift if she's rocking jeans and a clever t-shirt or cosplaying the scantily clad heroine.  The Alternative Lifestyles and Fandom panel will look at why so many fans identify as queer, kinky or poly, and how cons can be inclusive of their needs and interests.  How gender is portrayed in video games and the gaming community, including several recent events, will be discussed in Gender and Video Games.  Other topics such as sexual assault and disability will also have panels on how they intersect with fandom, and how conventions can create safer spaces for all participants.  
 
Some of the panels featured at Arisia have very little to do with geek culture, but there is enough cross over in attendance to feature a slew of panels on other topics on different types of relationships and sexual identities.  There will be introductions to polyamory and BDSM, as well as a panel on how the idea of gender has changed over time, and what it may mean in the future.  More advanced panels include Non-Monogamy: A Diverse Set of OptionsGetting Started in the Public BDSM SceneBootblacking 101Religion and Kink and Building a Poly Home. There is even a panel on Being a Sex-Positive Parent.  
 

In past years many TBC staff and attendees have attended Arisia, and found it a safe, welcoming community for all its attendees.  There is a full gaming schedule, a long list of movies and television show screenings, and a memorial filk (a sort of folk music with a sci-fi/fantasy twist) for Alice Washburn, better known as Badger.   This year several TBC staff and previous presenters will be speaking on panels, or just attending the con, and we hope to see some of you there.


The hotel for the con is sold out, and the Turtle Track (childcare for children 2-6) is also sold out.  Full memberships for the convention, however, are still available, for $60 or $25 for students 13 to 25 with a valid school id.  Day passes are also available at the door, and vary from $10 on Monday to $40 on Saturday.  

 

For more information and a full schedule, please go to http://2012.arisia.org.