Thomas and Don had missed the first two Gaylaxicons, and now they were kicking themselves.
The very notion of a gay sf convention would have sounded like utter fantasy to Don at SunCon, or to Don, Lisa, and Melissa at Noreascon 2 -- yet here it was, real as could be!
The hotel and the attendance were both small enough to be cozy; the sense of being surrounded by people like oneself was tremendous. Gay fans are hit by a double-whammy: in gay society, they often feel like misfits because they're fans; in fannish society, they often feel like misfits because they're gay. At Gaylaxicon, the two come together, and the sense of belonging is intensified.
And then there were the panels. Gaylaxicon was loaded with serious, intelligent, thought-provoking panels -- even the ones that sounded silly on the face of it.
Don's panels included: "SF: Wish Fulfillment or Cautionary Tale?" "Outsiders Envisioning New Worlds: Making Use of Our Oppressions," "Gay Men in SF: What Would We Look Like If We Weren't So Hard To See?" "Family and Gender Constructs in Alternate Societies," "Building a Sexuality/Gender Benders of 2001," "The Future Evolution of Computing," "Why Gay Men and Lesbians Like Science Fiction and Fantasy," and "The Fat Boy Network: Is Fandom Sexist?"
Thomas was on "Elements of Style: Complete Costuming," "Gay Men in SF," "Midnight Horror Stories Panel," and "The Fat Boy Network."
In fact, the main complaint of most program participants was that the crowded schedule left us with too little time to eat, socialize, or (in some cases) go to the bathroom.
Participating in panel discussions is hard work, intelligent ones even more so. We were all exhausted -- but happy -- by the end of the con.