Havens, A Safe Place For Cosplayers

Havens, A Safe Place For Cosplayers

We’ve all heard about Cosplay Is Not Consent. We’ve seen the signs at various conventions and we’ve read all the blogs on the internet that we can find. But what we have not seen is a safe place for those who need it when they feel scared, harassed, or just frightened. 10nant Cosplay has come up with this idea and when it hit my news feed on Facebook, I immediately reached out to him and asked if I could interview him. He being the awesome guy that he is agreed, and we set the date for the interview.

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Created by: Larry Lee Moniz (Baker Street Cosplay) and 10nant Cosplay

Now a little about the idea that he came up with. Its called Havens or Cosplay Haven, because that it simply what it is. It’s a safe place for con goers and cosplayers to go when they need a safe place from someone who is making them feel uncomfortable. There are 3 simple steps to Haven’s for the fact that, when someone is scared or panicking, they can’t think clearly. So what should they do? Where should they go? How can they tell someone what has just happened to them? This is where Havens comes in. The steps are simple:

1) IDENTIFICATION: The Lantern or “Havens” flag (designed by Larry Lee Moinz or Baker Street Cosplay) should hang at all areas safe for victims to seek refuge and report harassment.

2) LOCALIZATION: Place a station outside the Dealers Hall or the Main Door at smaller venues with the “Havens” flags hanging all around it and a large banner over it reading “Harassment Ends Here.” Personnel should always be present at the table, and should have direct contact to security.

3)UBIQUITY: Ask every vendor to participate by flying the flag and providing a safe place for victims to collect themselves behind their table.

See,simple right? And that’s why I sat down with 10nant Cosplay to ask him questions about why and how he came up with this.

Question 1:

Me: What gave you the idea for Havens(Cosplay Havens)?

10nant Cosplay: My idea for Cosplay Havens came because I became one. A guest a convention was touched inappropriately and was in shock- as most people become. They saw the Tardis and associated it with safety, which was very humbling, they came to me and told me what happened.

I gave them a chair and some water, and talked to them while they calmed down. I realized then, that this happens all the time at cons, but the Tardis is not always there. No one knows where to go and what to do. Since then, I’ve asked at cons if they knew where security was or where to report offenders, the answer was no. No one knew what to do, everyone knows about cosplay is not consent, they know that it shouldn’t happen. That’s great, nothing wrong should ever happen. But what do you do when it does happen? No one knows. Everyone says that its posted and there is security. But if a guest does not know, then it does not matter. The guest needs to know immediately, whatever state of mind they are in-cause it won’t be normal, once they’ve been assaulted. Literally that is what it is, it is assault.

So people need a sign or a symbol to know that they are surrounded by friends. That they are not all alone in the middle of a thousand strangers after they’ve just been groped by someone who is already gone. And that was the trigger for Havens. Someone came up and used me as a Haven and I knew right then we need this at all conventions, not just the ones I’m at but the ones I’m not. No one should be afraid to report someone who assaulted them. Everyone whom I have talked to about this concept has told me “ If they had just told me” , but they don’t know you. Your just some guy behind a booth, they don’t know your story, or that you’re a dad or a brother, they don’t know that you would protect them. They know that they have been assaulted and that is all that is in their head. So the concept came from knowing how people feel when they’ve been victimized and wanting to stop that and giving them the power to speak up.

Me: That is cool that someone felt that they could come to you because you were the Doctor and you had a Tardis.

10nant Cosplay: It is so humbling when someone says “ You must be safe because you’re the Doctor and you have a Tardis. You’re a good person because you look this way.”  And I’m like really? Oh my god you just trust me instantly it’s incredible.

Question 2:

Me: How successful has Havens been since you started it?

10nant Cosplay: Um, it’s been wildly successful with the people who ask about it. Everyone loves the concept but I’m very frustrated because the first convention this happened at was in September. So from September-October I had this concept in my head and I sent Larry Lee Moniz  (Baker Street Cosplay) a picture of my lantern and he designed the logo for me since he is a graphic designer by profession and he is awesome.

So in October I found a button maker named L Squared Handcrafted Geekery, at a convention. She makes custom buttons and I wanted a muffin button. So she made me the muffin button and it was awesome. After I had the Havens logo designed I was posting it around and she came to me and asked me if I wanted her to make buttons for it. I was like yes! So she and her partner made over 100 1″little buttons for me to pass out at the next convention. And she did all this for free because she’s an awesome person and just because she wanted to. She also asked if I had a signature and I said sure, sent it to her, and she attached the pins to little cards that had my signature on it. I went to the convention and passed out all the pins and flyers. It was awesome, L Squared Handcrafted Geekery and her partner are amazing.

So after the convention I passed out all those buttons at, there was another convention I was attending who was supposed to incorporate the Havens concept. They asked for flyers, Larry and I rushed to get the layout ready. I had another buddy of mine help me figure out the wording and the flyers were made. The convention said that they printed 500 of them out, I didn’t see one of the flyers. There was one flag, but unless you were heading to a panel near the back of the convention, you could not see it.

But, SacAnime Winter (January 1st-3rd) is going to try it out. So we will have to answer this question again after the convention.

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Created by: Larry Lee Moniz (Baker Street Cosplay) and 10nant Cosplay

Question 3:

Me: So what are some of the hopes and dreams for Haven’s?

10nant Cosplay: My hopes for Haven’s is that it’s everywhere. Not just my idea, I’m not saying that because I came up with it that it needs to be everywhere. But the ability to report harassment should be. It’s like neighborhood watch for conventions. This should have been a thing when the first case of harassment at a convention was reported, and I’m kind of embarrassed because it took so long for me to come up with the solution I did come up with.

So dreams, I would love to see this at other conventions in the state, nation, and world wide. When you see the Haven’s Flag at a convention you know no matter where you are, you know that it means safety and that someone will be there for you.

Me: That’s a big dream, it’s an awesome dream but a big one.

10nant Cosplay: That’s why it’s a dream. My hope is to at least get it at SacAnime. If I can make my home con safe, that means my cosplay family is safe and that’s a step in the right direction for me, knowing that all my baby brothers and sisters are safe.

Question 4:

Me: What was the inspiration behind the logo for Haven’s? I know you mentioned that your Tardis was part of it.

10nant Cosplay: Uh failure to follow through is where it came from. I asked so many people what the logo should be and all they ever told me was that it should have a pink background. It also took me forever, longer than I’d like to admit to remember that Larry is a graphic designer by trade. So when I finally remembered I went to him and asked if he could make it for me, he said sure no problem, because he is awesome. Then he asked what I wanted it to be and I was like, well I don’t know. I asked a couple of people and no one said anything except that it needs to have a pink background. I wanted it to be a universal symbol like the safety signs on light poles.

Since no one told me anything about how it should look, I decided that I would use my Tardis, since it worked the first time. So I took pictures of my Tardis’ lantern and it became a graphic for the Haven’s logo. It’s a beacon of light where you can be safe and no one will judge you.

The double hearts is also another nod to Doctor Who. The Doctor has two hearts and the overlap in them is two hearts coming together.

Question 5:

Me: Next question is about the steps. How did you come up with the 3 steps for Haven’s? You mentioned before that you wanted it to be really simple, but why these 3?

10nant Cosplay : Oh, they came from my knowledge of humans. I’m an EMT and I’ve studied a lot of physiology, and when you’re in shock your brain does not function normally. So I wanted to make it as simple as possible or shock proof, as well as easy for conventions to implement, and free. Because not all convention have a ton of money to throw around. So simple was what I wanted and felt it needed to be, so that’s why it is only 3 steps.

Identification is for the attendees. I made a simple flag with a simple design that stands out from the background no matter where you see it. So again, shockproof so that no matter what state of mind you are in, you can identify that flag.

Step two is Localization. No one knows where security is or knows where to report harassment. Ask the staff and they all know, but the attendees don’t. And it’s great that the staff knows but they are not the ones getting harassed. Put things where people can’t miss them, makes it shockproof.

For larger cons a good place to put it would be near the dealers hall because eventually everyone will go there. It does not need to be a big table, just have someone there, the stand that says security and the Harassment Ends Here banner. Smaller cons only have one room, so the main door is a good option for them because it is centralized. You could also invite some of the vendors to fly the flag so that people know where to go and then more people can walk them to the Harassment Ends Here table. Localization is the biggest thing when it comes to conventions, it comes down to logistics and actually doing something.

Step three is ubiquity. If everyone has it and everyone is asking about it, and more cons are getting more attendees because of it, they’ll do it. Steps 2 and 3 are all about getting the con to do it or making them feel like they have to. Which sucks, but I’ve taken away every excuse for them not to do it, to not have a way to make my cosplay family safe.

Question 6:

Me:Has anyone thanked you for Havens or is there a story about Havens that stands out?

10nant Cosplay: Story about Havens, umm it’s relatively new. It was a concept in my head until September and was not at a convention until October. So there’s not a lot of stories about it. The convention I was at in October, the D20 Girls were there and they were great neighbors to have and took interest in Haven’s. Some of the guys from the 501st Legion were there as well, and they asked about it.

Question 7:

Me: I know that you have the pin, the flyers, and the flag as a way to gather awareness for Haven’s. What are some of the things you planned for the future?

10nant Cosplay: Again it’s on the conventions right now. It’s getting the conventions to add the logo to their stuff and security, and implementing the steps for Haven’s.

For me though, I have a super power that is making awesome friends. And I have some buddies that are going to make me a standee of the flag so you can’t miss it. I’m also going to get a vinyl made as well. I do hope to get a sponsor so I can get these made bigger and more of them. And if the picture starts getting grainy just talk to Baker Street Cosplay and we can get the image resized in the format that graphic artist use. That way you can put it where ever you want, however big you want and not lose any quality.

But for now I really want to get the little things made so I can pass them out. You know maybe little flags because the big ones get a little expensive. So for now I have the laminated one that I can tape up and carry with me to conventions. I just want to make my space as noticeable as possible so people see it, they ask about it, and awareness is brought to the convention goers and conventions so we can make this grow and become a huge thing.

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Created By L Squared Handcrafted Geekery

Question 8:

Me: Last question. If you had one word to describe Havens, what would it be?

10nant Cosplay: Hope. I want Havens to be a sign of hope, I want them to be a thing. Because Haven’s is hope to me, I want Haven’s to be a hope to others. I want people to see the love and that I put into this, and I want them to love Haven’s as well. This is all about keeping my Cosplay family safe while at cons. I #cosfam alot because that’s why I go to conventions. I go to see my friends and my family, and that’s why everyone goes really. Yes, they go to see the stars and get their figures and take pictures, but ultimately they go to see their friends and family. I want everyone to know that they have a brother, sister, mom, dad, grandfather or grandmother there, they have family there watching them and keeping them safe. That’s my hope for Haven’s to keep the cos family safe.

Question 9:

Me: So we know all about Haven’s. But what about you, they guy behind Haven’s?

10nant Cosplay : Uh, well it’s kind of a deep story. My first con was Anime Expo back in 2009. My friends were into it,  my girlfriend at the time had friends who were into cons and Cosplay. So shout out to Sheik Chan Cosplay, I think that is what she calls her Cosplay page now. Also shout out to Paper Sword Party. They came to my house and made cardboard swords and they got me into it so we ALL sat down and had a paper sword party.

I went to AX and loved it, the first Cosplay I did was Ryu from Street Fighter 4. It was the new game out at the time.

So, went to AX and was just blown away by everything there. And was reminded of how fabulous I was not, and I wanted to be better. I didn’t even go to a panel. I went to the dealers room and bought a t-shirt that had a wizard on it and says “Don’t interrupt me I’m casting” and it had a loading bar.

Anyway, I was there for the cosplay. I was just blown away at how these people had taken 2D characters and made them look the way they did in 3D. I wanted to know how half of the cosplays were being held up and how they made them look so amazing. Everything flowed and looked perfect and it was like magic. And that’s why we Cosplay, we play to feel the magic or feel young again.

Do you listen to Kirby Krackle?

Me:Um no, I’ve not heard of it.

10nant Cosplay: Well they are a band, nerd band actually, and they have a song called “Going Home.” It describes going to a convention perfectly, because going to conventions does feel like home. The catch line for it is, “Where you can meet all your heros, and none of them can fly”, when you think about it, it kind of gets you weepy. And that was how it was when I meet Ron Lim. He’s not a comic book hero, he doesn’t have laser eyes, he’s not anyone special, but he is my hero. He doesn’t have to fly, he changed my life and brought me into a new universe. He actually does the cosmic comics, and he brought me into the Marvel Universe. He introduced me into so many characters, and so many fandoms. When you’re a teenage kid you feel alone and awkward to start with. I was in a new town and I didn’t have many friends. But he made me feel like it had a place, that I had something and I was accepted, and I had a family. He’s just a guy doing his job. But he’s a hero because he made me a nerd and he made me feel okay with being a nerd. So meeting your heroes even though they don’t fly is what going to a con is all about. It’s why I go to cons and Cosplay. I will always stop for photos and give a hug, because I understand it. I know to someone out there that I am the Doctor and I will do everything in my power to be as Tenant as I can. I’ll jump around and be goofy and as weird as I can be. I love doing it because I want people to feel as welcomed as I did my first time out, because it might be their first con. And part of it is the fangirling, which there seems to be 3 reactions.

The first is fangirl where they squee and pull their arms really close to their chest and crunch themselves up. And yes, they do make a noise that only Time Lords can hear, and I do hear it.

The second is freeze. They see you, their eyes fly open and they stop in their tracks, their mouth flies open and you hear them inhale. I give them a little wink and keep walking until they can unfreeze.

The third one is flee. They come around the corner and they see you. Their eyes get wide and they turn around and bolt, and there is nothing left but a vapor trail of fan girl and they are gone.

Me: I don’t think I’ve seen that one.

10nant Cosplay: I have a few times and it is so humbling. Anyway, those are the 3 types of fangirling that I’ve seen for any fandom or type of nerd.

The first couple of times I had someone turn and run from me, I looked behind me to see if their was a titan behind me like what is going on? Then it happened a couple of times when I was alone in a hall and I figured out that it was me they were running from me.

Wonder Con has to be my favorite fan girl story. And I hope she reads this, or somehow she finds it and it gets back to her. Because I love her for being a fan. I was in the hotel lobby just walking around when she came up to me all weepy and out of breath. And she was stuttering as she was trying to tell me that she knew I was not the real 10th Doctor, but he is her favorite and she wanted to know if she could give me a hug. So I wrapped her up in the biggest hug I could, and I was so red in the face because it was so humbling. She later came back after she collected herself, still a little bit weepy and asked if she could have another hug. It was the most adorable thing that happened to me and it will be the most adorable thing to ever happen to me. If she reads this, or follows me, I hope she knows that that will always be near and dear to my heart. And that’s the dream. When you put on that costume it’s to bring it to life and have someone fall in love with it.

Question 10:

Me:Who is your Cosplay hero?

10nant Cosplay: Cosplay hero? Like a character to cosplay?

Me: Or someone who is a cosplayers and you look up to them.

10nant Cosplay: Oh okay. Someone who impresses the crap out of me. Uh, I can’t think of anyone in particular because it’s always Cosplay specific. Like if I see another great 10 we pick each other apart and ask where the other got a specific item and we help each other. So it’s really Cosplay specific or character specific. Living Ichigo is amazing, I met him at at a con while  just walking around. He’s a very humble guy, but he really dedicates himself. Like he changes his whole body to be the perfect Goku. So I respect that.

Another Cosplay hero are my friends Dan and Dave, they are identical twins and opposite twins, and they work with that and they do Tomax and Xamot from the original G.I. Joe cartoons. They are a mirror of each other, so just like the brothers on the show one is left handed and the other is right handed. They are amazing and the do bring costume play to life, because the entire time they are in the cosplay, they are the characters. They make amazing Cosplay and they do it on the cheap and they will help you. They keep no secrets, they are not in it to be the best, so those two really impress me.

Umm there’s a girl and I can’t remember her name. But I saw a picture of her as Spider Girl with the yellow eyes. And she posted that she had made it in one day. But she had a body suit that fit her perfectly and it moved with her. She even had the mask made out of that rubberized material. She made it in one day and wore it to a con! I was like alright fine, I hate you but I love you, and I’ll follow you.

I respect people that have talent just rolling out of them. They make art out of nothing. So all good craftsman impress me. There’s no one I want to be, I just want to be my hero and happy with my cosplay.

And no cosplayer is truly happy with there cosplays. There is always something that can be added to make it a little bit better. Which is why I built the Tardis. Cause all the Doctor Who cosplayers get together and we pull out all our gadgets and gizmos. So I built the Tardis and was like I got a 10 ½ foot prop, what do you got? Theres always a little one upmanship going on.

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Me: So why did you build the Tardis? Besides the previously stated reason.

10nant Cosplay: The Tardis was built because my girlfriend is a recreation major in college and the end of one of her classes was to make an event. That’s it, very open and the only instructions was that it had to be an event. Some people did cooking classes or did hikes. She had to host the event and there had to be like 12 people attend or it had to be a certain size, something along those lines. She decided that she was going to hold a con because she likes cons. So in 2 months, she planned and organized the convention. The city of west Sacramento volunteered the hall and the power, everything else needed for the con was donated. They did everything we needed and helped us put on the convention because they wanted the convention as well.

She named the con Quantum Con and asked me to build the Tardis since we were having a time travel themed con and she cosplays Rose. So I was like sure! My friend Steven is a contractor, so I reached out to him and asked him if he would help out and he agreed. Fun fact, BBC will never give you the proper dimensions of the Tardis and they are all in metric, so you would have to convert them anyway.

So we took a high definition picture of the Tardis, and sat there and laid out the specs for all the parts of the Tardis. We did all the conversions and came up with a list of things I would need. I spent about $1,500 on the wood, so in all it’s a $2,000 box. It took us about 4 working days to build it, and then a few more days to paint it and put it all together. I had all the signs made and found the exact handles that BBC used for the doors. You will spend more money on shipping then you will on the actual handles. I bought and ERA lock which is the brand of lock they use. I made everything as screen accurate as I could with the information I was given. So the Tardis was built for a school project and I had one month to build it.  So I did.

Me: That is all the questions I have for you. I would like to thank you for sitting down with me and allowing me to ask you all the questions.

10nant Cosplay: You are welcome and I’m glad you asked the questions.

Tardis Information and Fun Facts:

  • The Tardis I built is 10′ 5″ and I learned that because I set it up in a comic book shop that has a 10 foot ceiling and we have to pop out a ceiling tile to stand it up. So anyone in the Sacramento area, Comics and Collectables host my Tardis in between conventions. They are gracious enough to let me put it up in there and I give them a key and they play with it, cause you know their nerds and they own a comic book shop.
  • One of the handles is actually bigger than the other, which is a detail that no one really notices. Also, the screws are stacked vertically.
  • They actually show the key on the show and it says ERA on the key.
  • I found out that the lantern on the show has pillars on it to hide bolts that hold the light on.

 

All links to the names of people and places can be found in the article or below.

Cosplay Havens https://www.facebook.com/cosplayhavens/?fref=ts

Larry Lee Moniz (Baker Street Cosplay) https://www.facebook.com/bakerstreetcosplay/?fref=ts

L Squared Handcrafted Geekery https://www.facebook.com/weareLsquared/?fref=ts

SacAnime http://www.sacanime.com/

Paper Sword Party https://www.facebook.com/PaperSwordParty/?fref=ts

Kirby Krackle https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kirby-Krackle/138134976216032?fref=ts

Living Ichigo https://www.facebook.com/LivingIchigocosplays/?fref=ts

 

 

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