Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The first same-sex couple Guests of Honour at a major SF convention?

From: Jack Hastings

I am curious. Are you and Kelley Eskridge the first same sex couple co-Guests of Honor at a major science fiction convention?

I must say that I hope so. As a Sacramentan it would make me very proud.

In any case I am an admirer of you both, singularly and in tandem, and look forward to seeing you both at the convention.
Kelley and I are the joint writer Guests of Honor at Westercon 66 next month (Sacramento, July 3 - 7). It's definitely a major SF convention. We're definitely a same-sex couple. We're obviously Guests of Honour. But are we the first to claim that honour? I haven't a clue; it's never occurred to me to wonder. Huh.

One queer couple I know of who do this kind of thing are Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman. They've done Gaylaxicon and Mythcon and Darkover Con. Offhand--as I say, I've never thought about this before, and a cursory web search gives me nothing--I can't think of anyone else. (A big Sorry! if I'm being utterly clueless here. I'd be delighted to be corrected.)

Hmm. So, okay, let's say that if by "major science fiction convention" you mean "big general science fiction convention" we're among the first. ETA, because I had been thinking purely of writer guests Particularly when you consider the other guests at Westercon this year!

How cool! Sort of. Because...wait, what? It's taken this long? Seriously? I mean it: if Kelley and I are not the first same-sex couple to be GoH's at a major con I will be deliriously happy to be corrected on this.

Being kind-of first* for anything is kind of cool. And kind of not. It's not always easy or comfortable going first. (See list below.) Obviously mostly it's turned out well, but at the time each and every one was hard. Except, okay, the digital immigrant/digital native thing. That was just fucking cool.

But back to Westercon.

Westercon 66 is going to be a blast--the most fabulicious convention ever. Kelley and I are going all-out to really have a tub-thumpingly amazing time and to help everyone else there overflow with joy and ideas and conversation and connection. What I want more than anything is for people to talk to each other--about books, about their lives, about writing, about story, about love, about the future and the past and the present.

We don't have our schedules yet--I'll do another blog post when we do--but we'll be on panels, we'll do readings, we'll do a staged interview, we're having a Clarion/Clarion West/anniversary party, an Outer Alliance get together, we'll hang out in the bar a lot, and--if I'm feeling particularly wicked--I'll bring my ukulele.

This is a convention that allows registration at the door, and one-day registrations (I think). So if you're in the area, I urge you to drop by at least for one of our readings. And a party or two.

Why the party? Because it will be the 25th anniversary of when Kelley and I met at Clarion. This is a big deal: our silver anniversary! And our Class of '88 will be having a reunion at the convention. And it's Clarion West's 30th anniversary. So how can we not party??

We hope you'll join us. 

* Because, really, how can we ever know? If a human being has thought about it, a human being has done it, somewhere, somewhen, with/to someone. But here are some things that, maybe, I/we have been one of the first to/with:
  • Kelley and I were the first same-sex couple (as far as I know) whose wedding was announced in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and who registered at Macy's. It was in 1993. (And, oh, that's a story, a whole set of stories, for another time...) 
  • I was one of the first, apparently, to talk about the concept of digital native/digital immigrant. Which I still find difficult to believe. When I read it on Marc Prensky's blog my jaw dropped. I mean, this stuff was in the air, people. I'm sure a million people were talking about it. On the other hand, I distinctly remember the rush of pleasure that "immigrant in your own country" realisation gave me--a rush I associate with the click of understanding, and with novelty. 
  • My immigration case made new law: an out lesbian being given a National Interest waiver by the State Department. 
  • I suspect I might have been the first UK writer to join the Clarion workshop.
  • And, hey, woo ho, we're definitely one of the first queer couples to GoH a major con. I'm not seeing any way for this to be horrible!
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