They/Themming It Up at VidCon

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I just got back from VidCon in sunny Anaheim, California. In case you’re unfamiliar, VidCon is the go-to annual convention for creators to meet fans, rub shoulders with marketers, and party. Daily panels discuss the biggest (brand-friendliest) stars and topics of the creator economy. It takes place in Anaheim every summer, with a new convention added in Baltimore in September 2023.

Overall, the 2024 Cali VidCon felt similar to last year’s. Brands like e.l.f. and Fanta tried to sell children things they don’t need. AI was still a hot topic. And many industry panelists preached “scaling” your business (aka chasing endless growth) as the next big thing. 

By contrast, elsewhere at the convention, creators complained about burnout, toxic work cultures, and various companies screwing them over. It’s worth noting how far apart these two sides of the creator economy are.

VidCon invited me to moderate two panels — one called “Breaking Boundaries: Amplifying LGBTQ+ Voices” and the other called “Beyond the Binary,” which was about non-binary and gender non-conforming creators. 

One prevailing sentiment in both panels was that creators didn’t want brands to tokenize them or boil them down to just their LGBTQ+ identity. A couple of creators on the “Breaking the Binary” panel noted that VidCon only (or primarily) invited them to speak on LGBTQ+ panels and not on panels related to any of the other content niches they are a part of — fashion, beauty, comedy, DIY projects, etc, etc.

Still, there was an overriding sentiment that wow it was a really good thing we were there. We were all pretty sure VidCon had never held a panel for non-binary people before. The thought that we could be breaking the industry mold felt special.

Anyway, I wrote more about my experience here. Thanks for the invite, VidCon. I had a great time. And for all the L, G, B, T, and Qs out there, happy end of June. Year-round, remember what one wise TikToker once said: Be who you are. For your pride.


They/Themming It Up At VidCon Anaheim 2024

vidcon 2024

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