In a time where it’s been difficult to maintain social relationships, queer media has been a source of comfort for many and a way to connect with friends and family across the world. Launched in part to foster these connections and raise money to support queer women’s media, Tagg Magazine and Fairy Gaymother Media will be hosting a virtual Queerantine Con this Saturday, May 23 from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. EDT. The con, which will be streamed from Tagg Magazine’s Facebook and YouTube channels, will be filled with music, creative workshops, and community discussions, and will also feature LGTBQ celebrities and allies including Fun Home’s Beth Malone, Orange Is the New Black’s Alysia Reiner, and queer comics Dana Goldberg and Bridget McManus.
Queerantine Con was the brainchild of entertainment writer and pop culture critic Dana Piccoli, who recently founded Queer Media Matters, a website dedicated to discussing LGBTQ-inclusive media. Earlier this month, Piccoli came to Tagg Magazine’s founder Eboné Bell with the idea for the con. On her inspiration, Piccoli explained, “When I saw that Tagg needed to raise funds to stay afloat during this pandemic, I knew I had to do something. . . . Tagg is important to so many people in our community and I wanted my part to be more than words, so I came up with the idea to do a live event to try and raise the remaining amount that Eboné needed for Tagg.”
Bell was absolutely thrilled at the idea. At the beginning of May, Bell launched the #SupportTagg fundraiser to make up for the revenue Tagg had lost from its advertising clients due to the coronavirus pandemic. Adding a Queerantine Con element to the fundraiser was a no-brainer for Bell, especially given that Tagg is one of the two remaining queer women’s print publications left in the United States. Bell explained, “Tagg has never been about me. It’s bigger than me. It’s a community! Tagg was created to give LGBTQ women a voice and visibility, a chance to tell our stories. Since 2012, it’s been our mission to provide great content, resources, and events for our community. I don’t want us to lose that.”
Bell and Piccoli are both extremely excited about the lineup for the con as well as the diversity the con will showcase. The nine-hour event features performances from LGBTQ people who have been on Broadway and The Voice, sex and relationship advice from two queer comedians and a sex educator, as well as a two discussions focusing on representation of queer women of color in the media, something that is very important to Bell as a lesbian and a woman of color. “As we see more studies showing less funding going to people of color–owned organizations, I’m truly grateful to the community members who recognize this and want to see a QWOC-owned business succeed,” she explains.
Other items on the con’s schedule include a podcast show from the popular lesbian podcast Lez Hang Out, a discussion on the state of lesbian bars, a Q&A with out lesbian candidate Abigail Medina, and a closing party from DJ Tezrah. But the con is as much about the featured content as it is about showing up to support Tagg Magazine. Piccoli explained, “Queer media is struggling. Over the last few years, we’ve watched as our favorite sites have shuttered or turned into shells of their former selves. If we want queer media to survive, we need to support it. . . . If we take anything away from this pandemic, let it be to put our words into action for each other.”