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Dragon Con and Disability

dragon con

As I sit here suffering from con crud and thinking about my weekend at Dragon Con, a few things stand out. I had an amazing, wonderful, better-than-even-Christmas experience, just like every con. I managed to stop by briefly to see my father for his 60th birthday on my way home, and he said it was the happiest he had ever seen me. Keeping in mind he saw me get married less than six months ago…that’s a big statement.

He wasn’t wrong. I was still basking in the post-con glow. I shook hands with my favorite Star Trek actress, I made instant friends with people in line, I had too many “only at Dragon Con” moments to count. I fucking love conventions, and Dragon Con does it like no other. It certainly wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but it’s easy to feel that way looking back at the high points.

I have a hard time winging it, especially when it comes to travel. Dragon Con forces me to go with the flow. And it isn’t so bad! Twice we started a game in the gaming  dungeon  basement, and before we had even assembled the game, others came along to join us and made the games that much better. We made friends with a Floridian cop who tried to help us defend Camelot from evil until the wee hours (unfortunately for him, I was a wildly successful traitor). You can’t plan for that.

By far though, my greatest surprise this year stemmed from hanging out with a disabled con-goer. I first met Victor as a friend of a childhood friend. We happened to live in the same neighborhood. I noticed he was using crutches at the time, but didn’t think anything more of it. The next time I saw him he was hurtling down a hallway at GMX. My husband pointed him out, so I ran over to say hello. He made it most of the way down the long hallway (including stairs!) before I caught up. He was dressed as Iron Man, and still had crutches—his idea of a joke. He had just frantically started speaking to a volunteer when I burst out my enthusiastic greeting and sort of surprised both of them. I started to chat when he told me he was absurdly drunk and had been ejected from his informal crash space with nowhere to sleep and no way to get home. (This is when I learned the term “sexiled.”) I didn’t even think twice before offering him a ride home at the end of the night. We were neighbors, it wasn’t even inconvenient! But for Victor, that act truly cemented our friendship. When he asked to share a room at Dragon Con a few years later, I (again) didn’t even think twice. At the time, I didn’t realize how much Victor’s disability—or rather, people’s lack of consideration for Victor’s mobility—would impact our shared con experience. Continue reading Dragon Con and Disability