Benjamin Williams is the co-founder of the PAX Diversity Lounge, a safe space at Penny Arcade Expo conventions that offers marginalized groups free tables and booths with which to represent their products and services. First launched at PAX East 2014, the room has been host to many groups and attendees and has been well-received by many, though concerns over segregation still exist. Benjamin comes to the Diversity Lounge having previously co-founded the Queer Geek community group and having spoken on PAX panels on creating diversity playgroups.
In this interview, Benjamin and I talk about what prompted the founding of the Diversity Lounge; how to tell if the Lounge is doing its job, and if it will ever not be needed; how the room has evolved in its short life; the problematic nature of PAX; what constitutes a diversity playgroup; and whether “white knighting” has an undeservedly bad reputation.
Download the audio edition of this interview below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Overcast, Pandora, Pocket Casts, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, RadioPublic, or the Internet Archive. Click past the jump for links to resources mentioned in this episode.
Links mentioned in this episode:
- Benjamin Williams on Twitter
- Creating Diversity Playgroups at PAX East 2014 & PAX Prime 2015
- Announcing the PAX East Diversity Lounge
- Queer Geek! Seattle
- Lady Planeswalkers Society
- Northwest Press
- Together: Amna & Saif
- Last Kiss
- Take This
- Jeffrey Veregge — comic book superheroes in a Native American art style
- “The Diversity Lounge is engineered to eventually go away.“
- Elizabeth Sampat: Quit Fucking Going To PAX Already, What Is Wrong With You
- Lilian Chen on benevolent sexism
- “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” from Avenue Q