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|Kris Harter on Dr. Who vs. Capt. Picard, LGBT characters in sci-fi, and Alabama football|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|April 29, 2011 00:00|
Kris Harter is the registration chair and public relations committee member for OutlantaCon, which hosts Gaylaxicon, the annual national LGBT sci-fi convention, in Atlanta May 13-15.
Special guests for Gaylaxicon include Amber Benson of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fame and Melissa Carter, recently retired lesbian DJ for Q100’s the Bert Show.
As a bisexual woman, Harter, 39, of Chamblee, says she finds friendship and camaraderie in working and playing with those interested in science fiction, fantasy, horror and super heroes.
GA Voice: What was the first show that intrigued you enough to become interested in sci-fi/fantasy?
Kris Harter: The first show that I really liked was “V.” It had a dark element that really attracted me. Having rewatched the original series recently, I realized that it must have intrigued me to see society turn on scientists the way they did, as I was a budding scientist at the time. Even today, scientists seem to have a little bit of a mystique and I think it’s interesting that “V” used that.
In a battle, who would win: Capt. Picard or Dr. Who? Why?
Now this is an interesting twist on the Picard vs. Kirk question! I have to say that “Doctor Who” has replaced “Star Trek” for me as my favorite fandom and I think that the Doctor with his TARDIS and sonic screwdriver would definitely beat out Picard. The Doctor also has over 900 years of experience to pull from. I’d definitely have to go with the Doctor in that fight.
Describe the atmosphere at Gaylaxicon.
Gaylaxicon is a really relaxed convention, but not a “relaxacon.” The days are filled with panels about LGBT issues in sci-fi, fantasy, comics, horror, and (later in the evening) erotica. We also have games such as Project Cosplay, our own Drag Race, and design your own superhero.
The hotel has a great space for mingling and really getting to know other people and the guests at the convention. It’s an intimate affair, not one where you are jostling for position.
Who is your alter-ego?
My alter-ego!? I might go with Catwoman. She’s kinda flashy, and out there with herself. She is a villian, with a long twisted history. My life has been straightforward with school and then work, and working behind the scenes to help put on and promote some wonderful events.
Why is it important to recognize LGBT characters, or lack of LGBT characters, in sci-fi shows, movies and books?
It is important to recognize the characters and their absence because it gives our community space to come together.
For so many years, we’ve provided a space at DragonCon for LGBT people to come together both Saturday and Sunday nights at great parties, and every year, the people who come up to me afterward and express their thanks, say they met someone, say that they felt welcome and free to be themselves … well all of those things are why I feel that having these discussions still needs to happen.
When the time comes that we can all feel comfortable all the time, wherever we are, then the discussions will have a different meaning, more like what will the characters in the show drink, coffee or tea. For now, though, the presence or absence or LGBT characters is a very real issue, and one which brings our community together.
What are you reading now?
Right now I am reading “From Peanuts to the Pressbox: Insider Sports Stories From a Life Behind the Mic” by Eli Gold, the voice of the Bama nation. I am from Alabama, and I know not everyone is a sports fan, but I love football, and grew up listening to Eli Gold on the radio calling Alabama football games.
Top photo: Kris Harter says Gaylaxicon is ‘no relaxacon.’ (via Facebook)
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