Representing the spectrum of experiences with mental health is something we value strongly at Green Ribbon Club. Something that also matters is representing how different aspects of a person's identity can interplay with mental health conditions, such as race, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.
A leader in fighting to highlight representation for mental health in the LGBTQ community is ClexaCon, a convention in Las Vegas that seeks to celebrate LGBTQ women and allies in entertainment and arts. Recently, our very own Nikki Daurio (Chief Communications Officer) spoke with Holly Winebarger, the Executive Director and Co-Founder of ClexaCon, on why diverse representation and conversations surrounding mental health matter. Nikki will soon be going to ClexaCon in Las Vegas, which starts April 6th.
Here's the what Nikki and ClexaCon had to talk about:
Why did you want to include more of a mental health and illness presence at the convention this year?
ClexaCon was born from the death of a beloved queer television character that many of the younger demographic saw a lot of themselves in. With her death, among others that happened that spring, we saw a correlation between poor representation on TV and how younger (and even older) generations are affected mentally. This year, it was very important to you that we elevate those discussion that need to be had.
How do you see the intersection between mental health and LGBTQ representation?
There is queer representation. And then there is mental health representation. But we rarely, if ever, see those intersect. This is important because someone with a mental health illness that is also queer may relate more to the mental health representation if it is positive, rather than the queer representation, which is usually negative. We would love to see more content that shows both of those intersecting and portrayed in a healthy way.
How much do you believe the actors at ClexaCon have a responsibility to be there for their fanbase?
We think they genuinely enjoy interacting with their fans. It has never been the feeling that any of our guests feel obligated to come. If anything, they are making sure they are a part of a discussion that is bigger in the scheme of things. And they are advocates, allies and supporters of the LGBTQ community. We are very thankful for that.
How do you feel knowing that you, and ClexaCon as a whole, are bringing people together, helping LGBTQ youth, and improving mental health overall?
It makes our hearts swell knowing that we are able to provide a space where it is okay to talk about the issues that need to be discussed, addressed and elevated.