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Panel List

Sign up for panels on the Programming page. This page has been updated on June 11, 2006. Only panels which made it to the final schedule are listed.

"           " Is The New "Queer"
When queerness is acceptable across society, what new prejudices might take its place? How can we watch for, and prevent, future instances of bigotry? Panelists: Billie Aul, Iain MacFarlane

Alternative Family Structures
The once-vaunted nuclear family, while still prevalent, is not the only possible family structure depicted in SF. Group marriage, line marriage, open marriage and polyamory are all possible arrangements. What are some of the works that depict these alternative relationships? Are they depicted in a manner consistent with how they work in the real world? Panelists: Claude Lalumière, Nalo Hopkinson

And The Winner Is...
Awards. We all love receiving them. Some of us even love watching other people receiving them. What awards are available for LGBT science fiction, fantasy and horror? How do they work; how do they choose who is worthy of recognition? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each of them? Panelists: Billie Aul, Thomas Straub

The Appeal Of Crossplay
What’s so great about drag, anyway? Why do some of us do it? Why do others enjoy seeing it done? Panelists: Derwin Mak, Rob Allison, Lars Colson

Becoming Our Own Metaphor?
Do LGBT writers run the risk that their writing will become merely a metaphor for their own lives? If so, how do we avoid that? And since the first rule of writing fiction is "write what you know," should we even try? Or is it valid for us to write these kinds of stories? Panelists: Billie Aul, Barry Webster, Christos Tsirbas

Better Loving Through Chemistry
Aphrodisiacs have been around since the dawn of recorded history. Some gain their reputation because they’re considered exotic; others, like oysters or rhinoceros horns, have connections with sympathetic magic. What might a future society consider to be an aphrodisiac? What might an alien society make of our obsession with them? Panelists: Timothy J. Anderson, Caro Soles

The Bitch Panel
Come and tell us what worked, what didn’t and what should happen at future conventions. Panelists: Lance Sibley, Iain MacFarlane, Sharon Vernon, Scott Tatum

Blood Ties: The Series
Blood Ties, based on Tanya Huff’s Blood novels (Blood Price, Blood Trail, Blood Lines, Blood Pact and Blood Debt), is in production as a new television series. How closely will the plot of the series mirror the books? Panelists: Joshua Bilmes, Tanya Huff

Brokeback Spaceship?
Homoeroticism in SF film and television has been around for many years, whether in the form of camp as "Batman," the suggestion of queer themes in "The Matrix," the Lestat/Louis relationship in "Interview With The Vampire," or the relationship between Frodo and Sam in "Lord of the Rings." What are some of our favourite moments of homoeroticism in science fiction, fantasy and horror films? Panelists: Carl Cipra, Lyla Miklos, Matthew Simensen, Joshua Bilmes

Building an Anthology
Have you ever wondered how editors put together short fiction anthologies? How do they decide on a theme? What is the process for choosing the authors and stories to be published? What about marketing? Come and learn how the process of creating an anthology differs from other forms of editing and writing. Panelists: Michael Rowe, Nalo Hopkinson, Caro Soles

But You’re Not...!
Does a writer have to be queer in order to be allowed to write queer characters into their fiction? Or female to write a female character? How do writers put themselves into the shoes of someone whom they’re not in order to accurately portray their characters? If we don’t complain that our favourite authors aren’t aliens, why should we expect them to stay away from portraying us just because they’re not one of us? Panelists: Claude Lalumière, Derwin Mak, Michael Rowe, David Nickle

Changing Society
Science fiction is less about predicting the shape of things to come and more about reflecting the way things are today. Ten years ago, same-sex marriage was barely a blip on the radar. Today, it’s a reality in Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, South Africa and Massachusetts. What else is going on in our society today which is going to find its way into our literature? And what’s being written about today, which will form the hot-button issues of tomorrow? Panelists: Claude Lalumière, Dale Smith, Timothy J. Anderson

Children Of The Night
Vampires have a raw sensuality that is described as immoral and evil. Gosh, where have we heard that before? And yet, since the first depiction of Dracula, vampires have been said to possess an almost hypnotic attractiveness. What is it about them that we find so fascinating? Panelists: Michael Rowe, Sèphera Girón, Joshua Bilmes

Closet Reapers
In the universe of Dead Like Me, Reapers are people like everybody else, but with a difference - they’re undead. They have their own subculture where they can feel safe from the living, and they maintain relationships within the community. How much is the life of a Reaper like the experience of being queer and closeted? Panelists: Ellen Muth, Colleen Hillerup

Constructing A Third Gender
Humans have two genders. Is that necessarily the limit of biology? Some species reproduce asexually, but is it possible to have a third gender? Or a fourth? What might it look like, and how might people of this third gender view themselves within society? Panelists: Don Sakers, Caro Soles, Fiona Patton

Costuming And Kink
>From Spandex to leather, costume designs are full of kinky elements. Discuss some of your favourite costumes, and why you find them so fascinating.

Dead Like Me: Gone Too Soon
We’re fortunate to have Ellen Muth, who played George on Dead Like Me, with us this weekend. Here’s a chance for fans of the show to discuss what it was about the show that interested them. Panelists: Thomas Straub, Ellen Muth, Colleen Hillerup

The Doctor Can’t Have Sex... He’s The Doctor!
Doctor Who fans were split by hints that the Ninth Doctor might make forays into the area of sexuality. His love for his Companion, Rose Tyler, has been hinted at. And Captain Jack Harkness even kissed him. What’s wrong with this - why can’t the Doctor be a sexual person? Panelists: Peter Knapp, Colleen Hillerup, Shaun Lyon

Does Gender Have A Future?
When body plans and the basic stuff of life are flexible, when we can be physical or virtual, flesh or machine or anything in between, what use are gender and gender roles? What does it even mean to be straight or gay in a universe where no one's sockets match your plugs? Or should we take this as an opportunity to embrace heretofore unthought-of of orientations and identities? Panelists: Billie Aul, Don Sakers, Carl Cipra

Does Sex Belong In Science Fiction?
Is there really a reason for sexuality to be part of science fiction and fantasy literature? Unless the story is specifically about the impact a character’s sexuality has, shouldn’t an author restrict him- or herself to writing about events that further the plot or theme? Panelists: Richard Arnold, Nalo Hopkinson, Caro Soles, Tanya Huff

Equal Time for Women - The Other Side
Authors often feel pressure to ensure that their female characters are strong on their own, without relying on male characters for support. Sometimes, however, readers view these characters as ringing false. If a story works less well because of this weakness, should the approach be abandoned? Does the sex of the character really matter? Panelists: Billie Aul, Tanya Huff

Erotica In SF - Can It Be More Than Whips And Chains?
Erotic science fiction and fantasy tend toward images of sadism and bondage. Is there such a thing as maturely written erotic SF or fantasy? Who is writing it? Where can we find it? And who defines whether it is maturely written or not, anyway? Panelists: Billie Aul, Caro Soles, Nalo Hopkinson

Fanfic: Tribute or Plagiarism?
J.K. Rowling is on the record as disapproving of fanfic, particularly slash fanfic. Other authors accept it as part of the price of being read. Is there a correct point of view? Once an author publishes a work of fiction, are their characters fair game so long as no profit is being made? Panelists: Don Sakers, Colleen Hillerup

The Forgotten Classics
For the most part, SF didn’t start openly addressing issues of alternative sexuality in the first few decades of its existence as a genre. Are there works which have faded into obscurity that we should be remembering as classics of LGBT speculative fiction? Panelists: Billie Aul, Carl Cipra

From The Page To The Screen
It all starts with the idea. From the idea, the story is developed. From the story comes the screenplay. And then from the screenplay comes the movie or show. But what does it take to shepherd a work through all of those steps to the finished product? Panelists: Richard Arnold, Joshua Bilmes

Gay Fallout: When Does Choosing Gay Characters Endanger the Story?
Writers, especially genre writers, have so many decisions while designing their tales. How does magic work? When did the dominant culture achieve space flight? Just how many Venusians does it take to change a light bulb? But seriously, when the author includes a gay character is the story at risk for alienating 90-94% of the reading public? What about the major markets? Are they willing to buy stories that are queer-themed? Panelists: Steve Berman, Michael Rowe, Sèphera Girón, Lyla Miklos

The Gay Guild Controversy
Recently, a group started an LGBT-friendly guild in the online game World Of Warcraft. The company that runs the game notified the founders that their effort to be inclusive violated their anti-discrimination policy, claiming that it could open players up to harassment. While it’s admirable that such a large community would have a policy against harassment, did they go too far in shutting down an openly queer-friendly community? Is there a need for an identifiably queer presence in gaming?

Gaylactic Jeopardy Round 1
Come out and enjoy the first round of this Gaylaxicon staple.

Gaylactic Jeopardy Round 2
Come out and enjoy this Gaylaxicon staple.

Gaylactic Jeopardy Round 3
Come out and enjoy this Gaylaxicon staple.

Gaylactic Jeopardy Final Round
Come out and enjoy the finale of this exciting Gaylaxicon tradition

Gaylactic Network AGM (2hrs)
The annual business meeting of the Gaylactic Network. Open to all attendees of the convention.

Gymbunny Superheroes
Comic book artists frequently depict characters who look as though they shouldn’t have time for crimefighting because they’re too busy working out. Why are there so many gymbunnies in mainstream comics? Where are the superheroes that we can relate to? Panelists: Colleen Hillerup, Matthew Simensen

Have You Tried Not Being A Mutant?
It’s generally accepted that mutantism as depicted in The X-Men is a metaphor for homosexuality. Aliens and monsters of all stripes abound in SF, fantasy and horror. How do we relate to these "outsiders"? Panelists: Don Sakers, Lyla Miklos

In The Midnight Hour
Many cons, if they have LGBT programming at all, tend to schedule it late at night when we’d all rather be at room parties. It’s still an uphill battle to convince people that we don’t always talk about sex. The fact that Gaylaxicon even exists tends to suggest that we’re still viewed as being on the margins of fandom. What can we do to convince the rest of the community to incorporate our interests more seamlessly? Or have we come as far as we’re ever going to? Panelists: Carl Cipra, Lars Colson

Is It Homophobia When We Do It?
Satire is a staple of authors who want to send a warning to society. Norman Spinrad did it to the Third Reich in The Iron Dream. Would a queer author be able to do the same, or must we take pains to be politically correct at all times? Panelists: Don Sakers, Michael Rowe, Sèphera Girón

Is Transgender Being Mainstreamed?
The mini-series TransGeneration featured four college students going through sex reassignments, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. People are transitioning younger, questioning their gender, questioning our society's gender definitions, refusing to define their gender, battling for intersex rights, etc. What's going on with gender? Where is it headed? Panelists: Thomas Straub, Fiona Patton

I’ve Looked At Love From Both Sides Now
In Dhalgren, the main character has sex with both a man and a woman in the first few pages. But otherwise, where are the bisexuals? Are they there but, as in society, blending in unnoticed because they’re in opposite-sex relationships? Panelists: Timothy J. Anderson, Tanya Huff

The LGBT Press
In the early days of Gay Liberation, shortly after Stonewall, there were vibrant underground gay and feminist presses. How has the mainstreaming of LGBT writing affected them? In this day and age when we can all just turn on our computers and access huge volumes of material, are these publishers now irrelevant? Panelists: Michael Rowe, Sèphera Girón, Christos Tsirbas

Lust For Life
A new anthology of sensual fiction featuring stories of interest. Attend and find out more and listen to readings from the anthology. Panelists: Claude Lalumière, Barry Webster, Nalo Hopkinson

The Merril Collection
Come and find out about Toronto Public Library’s Merril Collection. It is a non-circulating research collection of science fiction, fantasy, magic realism and experimental writing, for researchers, educators, and the general public. Panelists: Lorna Toolis

Monsters Under The Bed
There is a thriving queer horror field today. What is it about horror that appeals to the LGBT community? Sure, vampires are bloodsuckers, but surely that’s not the only reason? Panelists: Steve Berman, Thomas Straub, Sèphera Girón, David Nickle

No-Budget SF Filmmaking
The people behind the fan produced Pandemonium and others will be on hand discussing their experiences with all aspects of production of their film. Panelists: Paul Jack, Dex Craig

Not Queer Enough!
When we hear that a new book has queer content, what are we hoping to find? What if we’re disappointed? Should authors and publishers be out there looking for LGBT-themed work, or should they just be writing and publishing whatever stories come to them naturally? Panelists: Michael Rowe, Richard Arnold, Fiona Patton

Queer As Who
Doctor Who has long had an active gay following. In the revival, produced by openly gay writer Russell T. Davies (creator of "Queer As Folk"), there is even an openly bisexual character, Captain Jack Harkness, who is being spun off into his own series, "Torchwood". What is it about this show that has given it its gay sensibility, even before its current incarnation? Panelists: Peter Knapp, Shaun Lyon

Queer Sex
There’s a thriving erotica genre out there. How can the tropes of SF and fantasy be used to push the boundaries even further? Panelists: Barry Webster, Caro Soles

Queer TV Characters - Still Missing In Action?
In this day and age, one would think that television producers would be less afraid to depict LGBT people. But aside from Buffy and Babylon 5, LGBT viewers are left without regular characters to identify with. This may be improving with Doctor Who and Torchwood, but with all the sex on Battlestar Galactica, why no queer characters? Why are producers of televised SF, fantasy and horror still so reluctant to push the envelope?

Come and hear some of our professional guests read from their past, present and upcoming works.

Screaming Queens
Has the portrayal of LGBT characters in horror progressed past the stereotype of unfortunate victim? Why are there no queer heroes dispatching the monster? Panelists: Michael Rowe, Dale Smith

Small-Scale Publishing
Many authors are turning to vanity publishing these days. In a market where our fiction is perhaps not as well received as we would like, sometimes it’s the only way to tell our stories. Here’s what you need to know if you're considering self-publishing, starting a small press or publishing a zine. Panelists: Steve Berman, Don Sakers

Spectrum Awards
What are the Spectrum Awards? Find out about the awards, how they operate, who has won the awards in the past and who this years’ nominees may be. Panelists: Rob Gates, Carl Cipra

Straight Authors, Queer Characters
Obviously queer authors are going to create straight characters. But why do so few straight authors attempt queer characters? Is it a fear of getting it wrong and causing offence? Is it a fear of losing their audience? What can we, as readers, do to convince straight authors to create more LGBT characters? Panelists: David Nickle, Michael Rowe

The Token Straight Panel
We've all gone to them at mainstream SF cons - "The Token Gay Panel." Now it's time for our straight friends to live in our world for an hour. How are straight fans treated in queer fandom? What is the social impact of heterosexual relationships in science fiction? Is there too much straight sex on television? Panelists: David Nickle, Carl Cipra

We Can Be The Bad Guys Too, Can’t We?
The queer villain has become a stereotype. Ever since the beginning of the genre, effeminate men and strong women were seen as anti-heroic. This may have peaked with the portrayal of Jame Gumm, the cross-dressing killer in The Silence Of The Lambs. But sometimes it can be fun to be the bad guy, too. Do we always have to see ourselves as the virtuous hero figure in order to accept the story being told? Panelists: Michael Rowe, Sèphera Girón

Where Are The LGBT Characters?
The LGBT community is sparsely represented in speculative literature; possibly even more sparsely than in the real world. Why should this be so, when speculative fiction is supposed to break society's taboos? Panelists: Michael Rowe, Sèphera Girón

Where Are The Queer Literature Markets?
So you’ve written an 800-page fantasy epic in which the gallant knight fights his way through throngs of defenders to win the heart of Prince Charming. Who is going to publish it? Will you be the next Robert Jordan, showing up on the best-seller lists, or will you be relegated to the clearance bins? Is there a market specifically for queer SF, fantasy and horror? Or should you just concentrate on writing the best story you can? Panelists: Steve Berman, Nalo Hopkinson, Joshua Bilmes

Won’t Someone Please Think Of The Children?
We like to think that we’re a lot more accepting nowadays than we used to be as a society, but even in 2006, writers and artists are finding themselves being censored. Whether it’s the Little Sisters bookstore in Vancouver fighting with Canada Customs, or stories being toned down for public consumption, sexuality - particularly queer sexuality - is still viewed by a large segment of society as something that shouldn’t be shown, while most violence is ignored. In the year 2006, why haven’t we moved past this Victorian attitude towards sex - or is it correct that we haven’t? Panelists: Claude Lalumière, Dale Smith, Timothy J. Anderson, Carl Cipra

Writing Gay Characters
What makes a character gay or lesbian? Apart from sex scenes, how does a writer present gay characters in an identifiable manner? What are the challenges faced by writers when creating LGBT characters? Panelists: Steve Berman, Barry Webster, Sèphera Girón