Being Trans at Epic Nerd Camp

By: Seth Thomas Day

As a trans person, it’s rare that I feel comfortable and respected outside of exclusively queer spaces. So when I first heard about Epic Nerd Camp, I was a little bit skeptical. While the nerd community is wonderful for so many reasons, it doesn’t always have the best reputation for being inclusive of Queer folks. And this was a camp taking place in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect, or what kind of people I would encounter. I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised.

The first thing that stood out to me was that right in the FAQ on the website, they stated clearly that camp was an LGBT friendly space and that if you had any concerns about bunks, you could contact them. The fact that it was something that they had thought about ahead of time was definitely one of the reasons I ultimately decided to go. It wasn’t ‘if, you’re trans, we’ll make accommodations for you’. It was built right into the structure of camp, which is the way it should be. Queer folks weren’t an afterthought as they so often are.

Right at orientation they informed everyone that there was a safer spaces team, and that if anyone felt uncomfortable for any reason, they could touch base with someone. The bunks were co-ed or gendered depending on your preference, and they respected everyone’s gender identity. The bathrooms in each bunk were private stalls and all-gender. There were a few gendered bathrooms in some spaces like the dining hall, but you were free to choose whichever you felt the most comfortable using. When half the people are in costumes, it’s pretty hard to police anyone’s gender expression.

As far as the other campers, I couldn’t have imagined a more amazing group of people. I’m very out and open about my transness (you might have noticed, considering I’m writing an article about it). And on the shuttle on the way up to camp, I outed myself because it happened to come up in conversation. There was no shock, or inappropriate questions, we just kept talking and that was that. It took my wife and I less than thirty minutes the first day to find other Queer folks, and by the second day we had a solid group of friends I know will be long-lasting relationships.

During activities, there wasn’t unnecessary gender segregation (i.e. girls vs. boys, girls do this, boys do that, etc.) And in general, camp was not a place where gender really ever mattered.  It was truly one of the most inclusive spaces I have experienced. So I could enjoy dressing up in my Hufflepuff robes, flying trapeze, playing quidditch, learning card tricks, playing board games, roasting marshmallows, sword fighting, and making stained glass without having to constantly worry about gender. At the risk of sounding cheesy, Epic Nerd Camp is a place where you can truly be your authentic self in every sense. I’m already getting ready for next year. See you nerds there.

Being Trans at Epic Nerd Camp

By: Seth Thomas Day

As a trans person, it’s rare that I feel comfortable and respected outside of exclusively queer spaces. So when I first heard about Epic Nerd Camp, I was a little bit skeptical. While the nerd community is wonderful for so many reasons, it doesn’t always have the best reputation for being inclusive of Queer folks. And this was a camp taking place in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect, or what kind of people I would encounter. I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised.

The first thing that stood out to me was that right in the FAQ on the website, they stated clearly that camp was an LGBT friendly space and that if you had any concerns about bunks, you could contact them. The fact that it was something that they had thought about ahead of time was definitely one of the reasons I ultimately decided to go. It wasn’t ‘if, you’re trans, we’ll make accommodations for you’. It was built right into the structure of camp, which is the way it should be. Queer folks weren’t an afterthought as they so often are.

Right at orientation they informed everyone that there was a safer spaces team, and that if anyone felt uncomfortable for any reason, they could touch base with someone. The bunks were co-ed or gendered depending on your preference, and they respected everyone’s gender identity. The bathrooms in each bunk were private stalls and all-gender. There were a few gendered bathrooms in some spaces like the dining hall, but you were free to choose whichever you felt the most comfortable using. When half the people are in costumes, it’s pretty hard to police anyone’s gender expression.

As far as the other campers, I couldn’t have imagined a more amazing group of people. I’m very out and open about my transness (you might have noticed, considering I’m writing an article about it). And on the shuttle on the way up to camp, I outed myself because it happened to come up in conversation. There was no shock, or inappropriate questions, we just kept talking and that was that. It took my wife and I less than thirty minutes the first day to find other Queer folks, and by the second day we had a solid group of friends I know will be long-lasting relationships.

During activities, there wasn’t unnecessary gender segregation (i.e. girls vs. boys, girls do this, boys do that, etc.) And in general, camp was not a place where gender really ever mattered.  It was truly one of the most inclusive spaces I have experienced. So I could enjoy dressing up in my Hufflepuff robes, flying trapeze, playing quidditch, learning card tricks, playing board games, roasting marshmallows, sword fighting, and making stained glass without having to constantly worry about gender. At the risk of sounding cheesy, Epic Nerd Camp is a place where you can truly be your authentic self in every sense. I’m already getting ready for next year. See you nerds there.

WHAT IS EPIC NERD CAMP?

At ENC, adults who enjoy gaming, fantasy, and sci-fi can spend up to a week playing tabletop games, live action role-playing, and doing activities IRL that characters do in-game.

LEARN MORE ABOUT EPIC NERD CAMP
REGISTER FOR CAMP
2018-04-11T21:44:48+00:00