Totally Unofficial Queer Guide to PAX West 2019
The Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) is here! Once again, PAX West gathers thousands of gamers at the Washington State Convention Center to play the latest video games, explore new RPGs and tabletop worlds, dress up in fantastic costumes and indulge in general geekery.
While PAX continues to get queerer, given the sheer amount of content, it can be helpful to have a guide to point you in the direction of the best and brightest. So, following in our annual tradition, here is our totally unofficial queer guide for your enjoyment!
Please note we list lots of events that do not require a PAX ticket.
This list is subject to changes and updates. Descriptions are taken from PAX’s official schedule or event pages whenever possible.
The queerest place all weekend has to be the Diversity Lounge. Now an annual tradition, the Roll for Diversity Lounge features a ton of amazing organizations and companies featuring diverse content. Many of your favorite standbys will be in attendance including Northwest Press, I Need Diverse Games, GaymerX, Geeks OUT, Toronto Gaymers, OrcaCon, AbleGamers, GeekGirlCon, Houston Gaymers, Take This, Phoenix Gaymers, and PAX Pokemon League. New participants include Queer Geek! Seattle (featuring Queerspace Magazine editor Robert Roth, Eric Starker, and other Queer Geek organizers), where you can buy Pink Party tickets, as well as Qweerty Gamers. Stop by and visit on the 6th floor of the Main Convention Center all weekend!
Queer content is emphasized in the panel
A game is featured in this panel that has queerness as a central theme (aka Life is Strange, Coming Out on Top, Gone Home).
This is a party or after-hours event. No PAX badge required
This panel features an openly queer panelist(s)
Inclusive content is emphasized in this panel. While queerness may be a part of that, these panels are either broader in nature/intersectional or featuring a different diverse representation.
Kremwerk (1809 Minor Ave)
$13 Advance, $15 Day of Show
Dungeons & Drag Queens returns to Kremwerk for its 3rd annual PAX-adjacent live show! A party of fabulous drag artists embark on an all-new role-playing comedy adventure, played live on stage for one night only! This time our heroes venture to a swampy settlement where the basements aren’t all that’s flooded. This village is overrun by sashaying serpents, luscious lizards, and a ravishing reptile goddess.
Arrive early for seating! Geeky drink specials all night long! Come in costume for a chance to change the fate of the queens: Arson Nicki, Butylene O’Kipple, Fraya Love, Londyn Bradshaw, and Special appearance by Irene Dubois!
Neighbours Nightclub & Lounge (1509 Broadway)
21+ / Free
It’s time to return to Seattle to kick off our 6th ANNUAL PAX West GGP Party. Join us for an evening celebrating PRIDE and Gaming with DJs spinning, cocktails pouring, an Oculus Quest Lounge and a night full of revelry! Our headliners, GRIMECRAFT and DJ King of Pants will keep the beats spinning and the feet jumping. Co-hosting the party are our long-time supporters Seattle Gaymers and Gay Geeks. No need to have an PAX pass or be in the industry to join the party—just be 21+ and bring your ID.
Join Michel Koch, Co-Creative Director of Life is Strange 2, and the Voice Over cast of the game for an exclusive in-depth discussion where you will discover the stories behind the performances, and behind-the-scenes secrets of the research involved in creating the relatable characters, grounded settings and extraordinary events that define Life is Strange. The panel will be moderated by Andrea Rene, Co-Founder of What’s Good Games.
Over the past decade, gaming communities have created a new form of charitable fundraising pioneered by programs like Extra Life and Child’s Play. Explore how to use live streaming platforms to connect fandoms of people to the causes they care about. We’ll explore how Influencers, community managers and nonprofit leaders can ignite a philanthropic passion in their community, nurturing a spirit of joy and playfulness along the way.
Panelists: TheOnlyRyann [Content Creator, Playing with Fire], Deejay Knight [Content Creator, GAMINGtruth.com], Tanya DePass [Dir. & Founder, I Need Diverse Games], Mallory Loar [Community Manager, Discord], Jon Brence [SPM, Partnerships, Twitch], Lou Adducci [Senior Manager of Community, Extra Life / CMN Hospitals]
Humanity in all of its diversity has been depicted in various forms since the advent of the hobby. This panel explores how transgender representation in roleplaying games has evolved. We will examine an analysis of trans-representation in the tabletop industry, as well as discuss inclusion & implementation of transgender narratives from both a player & GM perspective. Join a panel of notable gamers, with a myriad of gender identities & experiences across the gender spectrum.
Panelists: Kikka Delarose [Streaming talent, Independent], Greyson Simon [Voice Actor / Sound Editor, Heroes Not Included], Crystal Frasier [Game Designer, Green Ronin Publishing], Angela Lemus-Mogrovejo [Content Creator, Independant]
2:30PM Championing Diverse Voices »
Leaders from inside innovative game, VR, and streaming companies discuss what they are doing in the games and in the gamer community to make everyone’s uniqueness valued, so that everyone can feel like Player One.
Panelists: Gordon Bellamy [President, Gay Gaming Professionals], Trinidad Hermida [Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Niantic], Paula Cuneo [Head of Partner and Experience Marketing, Oculus], Dan Lingen [Head of Social, Twitch]
The casts of our favorite video games are getting more diverse with every release, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. Issues of character creation and representation, “historical accuracy”, and tropes and narrative shorthands can still leave entire demographics of gamers feeling lost and excluded. How can we fix that and make gaming inclusive and accessible for gamers of all backgrounds?
Panelists: JC Lau [Technical Producer, Harebrained Schemes], Andrien Gbinigie [Product Marketing Manager, Ubisoft], Tanya DePass [Director & Founder, I Need Diverse Games], Raffael Boccamazzo, PsyD [Clinical Director, Take This], Cherry Thompson [Accessibility Consultant and Developer, Independent]
Are you a cosplayer trying to get photos of your hard work? Or a photographer looking to shoot cosplay photography? Both? We’re all nerds, so let’s work together! This panel is all about making cosplay inclusive for both cosplayers and photographers. Join local photographers and cosplayers to discuss networking, organizing photoshoots, working with different types of body types, and even how to take your own photos (this ain’t your average selfie!). Perfect for anyone new to cosplay photography or wanting to take their portfolio to the next level!
Panelists: Jamila [Cosplayer/Photographer, Black Bettie Cosplay/Light+Ink Photography], Dahlia [Cosplayer, Dahlia Darling Cosplay], Ling [Photographer, Pexiing Photography], MissAmandaStars [Photographer/Cosplayer, Pretty Prism Photography], m0rkl [Cosplayer, m0rkl_gram Cosplay], Niko [Photographer, EagleRockets Photography]
Art Marble 21 (731 Westlake Ave N)
What’s Good Games is partnering with Square Enix and Life is Strange 2 for another PAX West party! Come hang out Friday, August 30th from 7-10pm at Art Marble 21. You might want to get there early – the first 100 people in line will get a free drink on us! And we know liquid calories aren’t necessarily the best calories, so we’ll have yummy snacks available as well. This event is free (PAX badges aren’t required) and is open to all ages until 9pm, at which point you must be 21+. We’re also raffling limited Life is Strange 2 posters at the event. Winners will have the opportunity to take a photo and meet Co-Creative Director Michel Koch!
Kremwerk (1809 Minor Ave)
Kremwerk proudly presents a video game-themed drag show, just in time for PAX weekend, where all performers will be showcasing performances inspired by all things Nintendo, Sega, Atari, & beyond! RSVP for updates.
This panel is for anyone interested in the Latinx experience, hearing Latinx folks defining what their culture means to them, and building a community. We invite all Latinx and those interested in our culture to join us as we explain how we’ve defined a space for ourselves in the gaming scene while elevating each other through community. Attendees are also invited to share their experiences and network with the Latinx in Gaming community.
Panelists: @ohmymithrandir [Founder and Editor-In-Chief, But Why Tho? A Geek Community], @dianamoon & youtube/twitch xdianamoonx [Editor/Writer & Sensitivity Reader, Freelance], @corapiki [Senior UX Designer, Scopely], @Latinascribbles [Test Analyst, Google], @race2thefinish / Carlos Roberto [Host & Producer, Race to the Finish Podcast], @tentacletomato [In-house QA, Camouflaj]
A fun and candid discussion of LGBTQ life and careers in the game industry! What’s it like? What is the state of queer content in games and community. How do you balance identity and fitting in? What resources are available? Vets from all facets of the craft share their experiences from the inside!
Panelists: Chris Wright [Sr. Test Manager, Bungie], Bryant Drew Jones [Lead Designer, Kabam], Chris Millar [CEO, Fun Bits], Dan Lingen [Head of Social, Twitch], Cherry Thompson [Accessibility Consultant and Developer, Independent]
For decades now, the science fiction & fantasy scenes have overwhelmingly been dominated by cishet white creators & their worlds built on European narratives & traditions. Yet there has always been plenty of queer & POC creators that have been building new, breathtaking worlds, & narratives with their own perspectives & messages. The aim of this panel is to help showcase current creators, the past creations & creators that inspired them, & to inspire new voices to make their own unique worlds!
Panelists: Sharang Biswas [Game designer, Independent], DC [Game Designer, Freelance], Kikka Delarose [Diversity consultant, Streaming tallent, Independent], Adam Koebel [CEO and Founder, Adam Koebel Broadcast Corporation], Mike Balles [Creative Developer, GEEKTOPIA], Angela Lemus-Mogrovejo [Content creator, Independant]
Most days, Black Twitter dominates the top 10 trending topics near globally, and continues to be a force to be reckoned with. And in there lies a thriving and vibrant community, as well as opportunity. How does one tap into the zeitgeist, contribute to, and benefit from one of the most powerful influence defining online groups there is? Come join this panel of Blerds for a discussion into what makes Black Twitter so special, and how you can make it benefit you.
Panelists: Andrien Gbinigie [Product Marketing Manager, Ubisoft Toronto], Shamanom [Twitch Partner & 2019 TwitchCon ambassador, Streamer], Tanya DePass [Director & Founder, I Need Diverse Games], Gabie Jackman [Host and presenter, Game Fanatics]
Video and tabletop games offer thousands of experiences. Have you ever explored an entire virtual world just because you could? Ever play as a different gender or another sexuality? Games not only offer us a glimpse into fantastical universes, but can allow us to experiment with our own identities. This can be especially influential for LGBTQ+ folks. Join GaymerX & friends in a retrospective of queer quests, sapphic stories, bi battles, and terrific transformations in games that helped discover who we are.
Panelists: Katie Kaitchuck [Executive Director, GaymerX], Tanya DePass [Founder, I Need Diverse Games], Kyle-Steven Porter [Board Member, Geeks Out], Soraya Een Hajji [Volunteer Director, GaymerX], DC [Game Designer, Mostly Harmless Games], Katherine Cross [Contributing Writer, Gamasutra]
9PM Pink Party 11 »
Neumos (925 E Pike St)
$15 / 21+
It’s back after more than a decade in the making, and it’s better than ever. It’s Pink Party 11, presented by ArenaNet and brought to you by Queer Geek! Bring your PAX party to our party, the premier queer geek party during PAX West. You don’t even need a PAX badge to come! All the queer gamers, geeks, and nerds will be there. If you only come out of your parents’ basement once a year, then you’d better come out for this!
Come check out the plethora of console and arcade gaming stations in the PINK PARTY GAYMING LOUNGE brought to you by Bungie, enjoy a few geek-themed featured drinks, and dance your heart out to some amazing music from DJ ESSEX and DJ BenTraxx. Don’t forget to get your cosplay ready for the OFFICIAL PINK PARTY COSPLAY CONTEST, hosted by the legendary Arson Nicki (Queens of Adventure, Rapture), where you could win some serious cash and prizes.
In addition to getting tickets for Pink Party 11 online, you can also get them directly from the venue (for a lower surcharge). Just swing by The Runaway from 4pm to 2am every day.
Presented by ArenaNet and brought to you by Queer Geek. Special thanks to Queerspace Magazine, Bungie, Best Buy, GaymerX, Niantic, and Northwest Press for their generous support!
Attractive, sexy video game characters… they’re not just for straight dudes, you know! Join a diverse panel of developers and industry veterans for a frank discussion of their video game crushes and lust objects… how their favorite sexy characters are created, how they can engage and inspire audiences, and how – and why – the industry can do better at producing them.
Panelists: Michelle Clough [Writer / Narrative Designer, Talespinners], Souha Al-Samkari [Vice President, Truant Pixel], Tanya DePass [Director, I Need Diverse Games], Matt Baume [Producer, Queens of Adventure], Jennifer Allaway [Game Writer, Pixelberry Studios], Arden Ripley [Writer, Date or Die]
We as POC and LGBTQ people feel that the cosplay community is vast and diverse but still has a lot to learn. This panel provides an important opportunity to help educate and lift each other up and give people the motivation to create that dream cosplay. We want to show that it doesn’t matter what your background is when it comes to cosplay – and each of us have our own way of making cosplay work for us. The cosplay community is an integral part of the con scene and we want to transform it to be more inclusive and positive. Our panel will feature presentation slides and a moderated discussion as we share our experiences, helpful tips and advice that attendees can apply to their own cosplay experiences.
Panelists: Dahlia Darling Cosplay [Cosplayer, Dahlia Darling Cosplay], Black Bettie Cosplays [Cosplayer, Black Bettie Cosplays], Feral Kiwi Cosplay [Cosplayer, Cool by Proxy], Pedxing [Cosplayer/Photog, Pedxing.Photography], Depechemope [Cosplayer, Depechemope], Aceveria Cos [Cosplayer, Aceveria Cos]
12:30PM The Couple That Games Together »
Join these nerdy couples as they talk about the trials and tribulations of being in a gaming couple. We’ll discuss the importance of communication, how to handle competition, and answer your questions about being a couple that games together.
Panelists: Tifa Robles [Product Marketing Manager, Xbox], Mike Robles [Community Manager, Xbox], Kristina Horner [Partner Account Manager, Microsoft], Joe Homes [Community Manager, Microsoft], Alli Steele [Digital Product Manager, Wizards of the Coast], Christine Steele [Maple Systems, Application Engineer]
Every community suffers from toxicity but you don’t need to put up with it! Come along to our round table with a panel of community professionals talking about the strategies and tools you need to grow and keep a community healthy, be it on Twitch, Discord or the more typical social channels like Facebook and Twitter. Hear our tales of trolls, diversity, harassment, moderation and other more fun experiences. Come, listen, join in and leave feeling empowered and ready to grow an awesome community.
Panelists: Susie McBeth [Marketing and Communications Manager, Milky Tea], Samantha Abernathey [Social Media and Community Manager, Skybound Games], Cristina Amaya [Evangelism Events Manager, Unity Technologies], Margaret Krohn [Community & Marketing Lead, Community & Marketing Lead], Victoria Tran [Community Developer, Kitfox Games.], Fiona Martin [Community Ambassador, Paradox Interactive]
A lot of people think Streaming is easy, you just turn on the console, PC, get a cam and go! We’ll have a real, maybe difficult to hear convo on what actually goes into streaming whether or not you consider it a serious hobby or want to make a career out of it.
Panelists: cypheroftyr [Dir. & Founder, I Need Diverse Games], Amy T Falcone [Illustrator & Content Creator, Independent], Will Wiggins [Content Creator, Independent], Shamanom [Twitch Partner & 2019 TwitchCon Ambassador, Streamer], Cherry Thompson [Accessibility Consultant, Independent], Adam Koebel [GM Extraordinaire/Game Designer, Independent]
This biannual Indie MEGABOOTH and pals panel will bring together a new diverse group of indie dev allies who are actively working in the video game space to help bridge cultural gaps and create positive communities. The panelists will share personal stories of how they overcame cross-cultural challenges, both in their own backyard and across the world! Come hear fascinating anecdotes and learn how you can break down barriers in your local communities! We promise there will be loads of laughs! BONUS: each attendee will get a raffle ticket for a chance to win a limited edition Indie MEGABOOTH pin—an official Pinny Arcade—woot woot!
Panelists: Kelly Wallick [Founder, Indie MEGABOOTH], Kahlief Adams [Host, Spawn on Me], David Condolora [Co-Founder, Brain&Brain;], Oleg Chumakov [CEO, Luden.io], Genevieve St-Onge [Co-Founder, popagenda], Bruno Briseno [2D/3D Artist, Behold Studios], Greg Rice [VP of Business Development, Double Fine Production]
Back for its triumphant third year! Join our panel of industry experts as we take a glimpse at the best – and worst! – sex scenes that video games have to offer. Panelists offer a unique, in-depth look at how some of your favourite games handle (or fail to handle) sex, intimacy, and relationships. But you, the audience, have the final vote! Will you love and lust after these sex scenes, or just laugh out loud? And in the end, are they sexy… or stupid?
Panelists: Michelle Clough [Writer / Narrative Designer, Talespinners], Souha Al-Samkari [Vice President, Truant Pixel], Tanya DePass [Director, I Need Diverse Games], Jennifer Allaway [Game Writer, Pixelberry Studios], Vlad Micu [Freelance Consultant, VGVisionary], Arden Ripley [Writer, Date or Die]
Dungeons & Dragons & Drag Queens come together in Seattle’s hit comedy-show-turned-podcast! A party of local drag performers make their triumphant return to PAX, playing an original Dungeons & Dragons adventure for a live audience. Come see the cast of Queens of Adventure roll the dice in a special one-hour game that blends death drops and death saves!
Panelists: Matt Baume [Co-creator, Queens of Adventure], Arson Nicki [Performer, Queens of Adventure], Fraya Love [Performer, Queens of Adventure], Butylene O’Kipple [Performer, Queens of Adventure], Irene DuBois [Performer, Queens of Adventure]
There is a lot of discussion on inclusivity and equality for women within game spaces, but what happens when the criticisms become internalized? How do you navigate geek and gaming spaces if you doubt you even belong? Join this panel of accomplished authors, content creators, and gaming professionals – all of whom happen to identify as women – as they discuss their personal experiences and struggles existing in geek and gamer communities. They will share how they care for themselves, persevere, and flourish.
Panelists: Trish Heinrich [Author, Freelance], Sarah Sawyer, PsyD [Content Manager, Take This], Tanya DePass [Founder, I Need Diverse Games], Britt Brombacher [Co-Founder, What’s Good Games], Andrea Rene [Executive Producer, What’s Good Games], Alicia Archer [Owner, Archer Inventive]
The NPC Collective is a group of nerds of color performers and artists making sure they are supporting each other, lifting each other up, and representing the changing face awareness of geek culture. They will tell the tales and journey of their experiences as nerd performers of color, and just generally their experience as people of color. All are welcome to come, laugh, and learn from this group of talented geeks!
Panelists: Shubzilla [Nerdcore MC, Shubzilla], D&D Sluggers [Main Performer, D&D Slugger], Lex the Lexicon Artist [Nerdcore MC, Lex the Lexicon Artist], MC Ohm-I [Nerdcore MC, MC Ohm-I]
JOIN OUR PATREON
Creating this content is rewarding, but it’s hard work. If you enjoy this content, and want to be a part of the process that brings it to light, then you can join our Patreon. There are some pretty cool rewards.