Around the end of last year, I started researching sci-fi/geek cons outside of Ohio. There were a couple that appealed to me in surrounding states, and I finally settled on going to a new one in Indianapolis, the Midwest Toy Fest. It looked like it would be big enough to be worth going to but not overwhelming and not too far.
Last week, the state’s governor signed a “religious freedom bill” into law. In the days leading up to this event, groups as diverse as GenCon and Disciples of Christ protested. The day it was signed, George Takei called for a boycott of the entire state. Shortly afterwards, Angie’s List cancelled a planned expansion. Even the NCAA is getting in on the act. And I don’t disagree with any of these people. I support their responses and love that this measure is receiving the backlash it deserves. But I still plan on travelling to the state for several reasons.
First, not everyone in Indiana is a douchebag. Likely, many of the people attending such a con will be as opposed to the Governor and this bill as I am. This Bill isn’t their fault any more than some of the stupid stuff the lawmakers in Ohio is mine. So do they deserve to be punished by being denied my awesomeness? Of course not. Okay, so I’m being facetious, but I do have a good product. And a fun one that makes people smile. Why not spread a little chocolate love? As I commented on a Facebook post the other day, my religion is chocolate – dark, dark chocolate.
Second, I’m invested in this show already. I’ve paid my fee for a table. To be fair, I could make the opposite argument. It wasn’t an expensive table and I could cancel the hotel any time. Realistically, I wouldn’t be out that much if I backed out. But I’m also counting on some of the stuff I’m making now to last through this show. It’s part of the planning process and why I’m making so much – why I’ve already made so much of certain designs.
Further, I plan to minimize the amount I spend in taxes. I can’t do anything about the hotel but I will fill up with gas before exiting Ohio, and if I need more while I’m in Indiana, I will get as little as I can to get me back across the border. I can also take some of my own food and drinks.
Finally, staying away feels like running and hiding from the big, bad bigots. I refuse. While I’m not usually one to advertise my queerness or wave a rainbow flag, I will be there. Let the bigots run from me. If they want to refuse me business, fine. If they want to have a conversation, fine. But fellow queers will also know they are supported.
Until this law is repealed, I doubt I will go back. I don’t think I could make this decision again. But for now, I’m going, and I’m going to make a statement while spreading the sweet, sweet love.