Yesterday I attended NaNoCon 2018. To date there have been three of them and I have been at each one. This convention continues to grow each year as word gets out about secular conventions in the South.
I’ve also been going to gaming conventions for well over 30 years now. And what I noticed at the earliest conventions I attended was that they were exclusively white and male. As the stigma of science fiction and gaming went away the conventions became more diverse over time. First women started attending and then there started being more racial and sexual orientation diversity in attendance. Now if you were to attend DragonCon, or any other convention for that matter, you would see a vast diversity of people. Science fiction conventions now look much more like a slice of America rather than an exclusive subset of it. It’s taken 20-30 years to get there but it is happening.
While atheism does still have a strong leaning toward being white and male, there was a wide diversity across race, gender, and sexual orientations attending NaNoCon. And people didn’t divide up across those imagined lines into smaller camps. They mingled as if those lines didn’t exist (and they shouldn’t). It was wonderful to see the diversity of people there and to see how rapidly it has come together in the secular world. People met to share ideas and emotions as one big group. Everyone met as equals. It was everyone being accepted for who they are and where they were in their life journeys.
Don’t get me wrong, we still have quite a ways to go to break down barriers in the secular community and be welcoming to everyone. What I saw yesterday gives me a glimpse into what the future of our movement holds.