The yearly celebration of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror that is Dragon*Con commences this weekend as 30,000 dedicated fans converge to celebrate their shared passions.
One of the largest conventions of its kind, Dragon*Con is a weekend where fans can don costumes, play complicated board games and see and hear their favorite actors and writers. The convention plays out between four Atlanta hotels — the Hyatt Regency, Marriott Marquis, Hilton Atlanta, and the Sheraton Atlanta — over the Labor Day weekend.
Although not specifically a gay event, Dragon*Con offers some gay programming as well as non-judgmental atmosphere. The departure of Eric Watts, the only openly gay program director, may have left a void in the convention’s management, but Dragon*Con spokesman Dan Carroll said the convention’s approach is color blind.
“I’ve had kind of a hard time finding someone because we don’t look at it that way,” Carroll said. “It’s like asking what kind of African American programming do we offer? We don’t look at our programming in terms of race or sexual orientation.”
The annual Rainbow Flag Party, the largest gay event at Dragon*Con, will be held in the ballroom of the Atlanta Sheraton at 10 p.m. Saturday night.
A number of guests have played gay roles in some of the genre’s biggest hits. Nelsan Ellis, who plays gay prostitute Lafayette on “True Blood”; Michelle Forbes, who once portrayed lesbian Admiral Helena Cane on “Battlestar Galactica”; David Gerrold, the writer who unsuccessfully tried to introduce homosexuality to the “Star Trek” universe; and the cast from the Plaza Theater’s weekly “Rocky Horror Picture Show” have all agreed to appear this year.
Those who do not wish to buy a ticket but still get a taste of the experience can check out the Dragon*Con Parade. The march of costumed characters starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 4, around the convention’s hotels.