Seattle is widely known as one of the geekiest places in North America (at the very least). Whether it’s due to the rain, the glut of software and game companies in the area, or some other factor, you’d be hard pressed to find a city with more game stores, arcades, conventions, bookstores, and various havens to explore your love of comics, science fiction, and video games.
In the last several years especially, geekdom has expanded into events targeted towards geeks who are also queer. Huge, mainstream conventions such as PAX and Gen Con have added panels about inclusivity and areas to explore more diverse content. There are new conventions solely targeting LGBT gamers, SF and comic book fans. Most major cities have “gaymer” groups on Facebook and Meetup.
Whether your interest is in advocacy and inclusivity in geeky mediums, or you just want to meet fellow queer fans of your favorite genre, Seattle is one of the best places to do it.
Here are some options to fulfill your queer geek cravings:
Whether your tastes run to complicated European worker placement games, improvisational storytelling games, or dungeon crawlers, there are tons of stores and venues to play at. Capitol Hill-based board game stores, Phoenix Comics and Games and the Raygun Lounge /Gamma Ray Games are both very queer-friendly. The Raygun Lounge also features a spot to eat and drink while you move your meeples around. Both venues are also great places to find players for tabletop role-playing games.
If you’d like to meet up with fellow queer board game geeks, there are some great options. For queer-specific gaming, Queer Geek currently hosts several meetups. The second Saturday of the month features a general GLBTQ board game meetup at Phoenix Comics and Games, from 1-5pm, and is always a busy, fun crowd. It’s been popular enough to expand into a second eventon the 4th Sunday of the month at the Raygun Lounge. Every other Monday, there’s also a ladies’ board game night at Phoenix, aimed primarily at female-identified queer gamers, but open to all.
While some events are LGBTQ-focused, there are also some great groups and meetups in town that focus on inclusivity. Donna Prior runs a group on Meetup called Inclusive Geekery which features regular Monday game nights among other events. Verne and Wells is an LGBTQ-owned club in Kirkland with a variety of events. Seattle All Inclusive Gaming has a monthly game night at the Wayward Coffeehouse. Morgue Anne Presents puts on various events including a monthly inclusive board game night at The Mercury.
Northwest Press, based in Seattle, is a top independent comic book label focused on queer content. Their founder, Zan Christensen, has been profiled in the Advocate and Out Magazine (as part of the Out 100).
GeekGirlCon is a celebration of female geekdom, with numerous queer and queer-related panels and organizations present. The next one happens October 10-11.
Most of the major local conventions have made efforts to include queer content. The Penny Arcade Expo (better known as PAX) added a diversity lounge this year, with meetups, informational booths, tabletop gaming and a safe gathering space. Both Penny Arcade Expo and the Emerald City Comicon have queer-oriented panels, and Emerald City Comicon’s speed dating, Sci-Fi Speed Dating, includes same sex dating.
In addition to these conventions’ official events, there are a number of queer-focused events that crop up around the same time. For the last several years, Charlie Logan from Queer Geek has put on the Pink Party Prime during the same weekend as PAX. It’s a huge gathering mecca for local and visiting queer geeks. Last year’s party, produced by Jetspace, was the hugest yet, featuring over 650 attendees and a major industry guest, voiceover actress Jennifer Hale.
This year, Jetspace and Queer Geek created a new party, Pink Party Comicon, that took place during Emerald City Comicon and featured the amazing Kristian Nairn (Hodor from Game of Thrones) as a special guest.
The next Pink Party Prime will be at Neumos on Saturday, August 29 at 9pm, and will featuring voice actor Troy Baker (Bioshock Infinite, The Last of Us, Shadows of Mordor.) Tickets are available online or at the Neumos box-office. make sure to check it out along with the all-ages Official Pre-Party at Raygun Lounge!
Magic: the Gathering:
Queer Geek also puts on a Magic: the Gathering casual play event once a month at Phoenix Comics and Games, typically the first Saturday afternoon of the month, although occasionally pre-empted by other store events.
There are a ton of local SF/fantasy-focused conventions, and most of those have some queer panels and presence, including Norwescon.
There are a few local groups aimed at queer SF/fantasy. Gay Romance Northwest has co-presented various events with Gay City and Queer Geek that feature local LGBTQ SF/fantasy authors. Minor Arcana Press features a number of queer writers.
While this fits in a few different categories, gaming, cosplay and dance party, Insert Coin is a monthly event held at the Seattle Eagle.
Invisible Arcade is a recurring video games expo/concert mashup event, with periodic events on Capitol Hill and an inclusive, LGBTQ-friendly crowd.
While there may not yet be any specifically queer, anime-focused, local events, Sakura-Con is a popular local anime convention that features some pretty amazing cosplay.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, so feel free to chime in with your favorite thing we’ve forgotten to mention! Queer geek out.