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Interview with Dan Deevy of Gaaays In Spaaace and 1st ever Diversity and Inclusion Con being held in Philiadephia

Interview with Dan Deevy of Gaaays In Spaaace and 1st ever Diversity and Inclusion Con being held in Philiadephia

Dan Deevy

1 – Dan Deevy, Introduce yourself to everyone here at GeekyKool.

My name is Dan Deevy and I founded Gaaays In Spaaace Back in 2016. Prior to that I spent 20 years working as an entertainment journalist and celebrity interviewer. Over the course of my career I was fortunate enough to have spent a lot of time interviewing and working with the various Star Trek actors and we became very good friends which is why the GaaaysInSpaaace parties were able to bring in the support of so many of the actors from day one.

2 – What science fiction did you watch growing up, Cartoons, Series etc.

My introduction to science-fiction was absolutely Star Wars at a very young age. And it wasn’t until 1987 when the next generation premiered that I became hooked by another sci-fi franchise. And honestly other than those two I didn’t spend a whole lot of time watching other sci-fi shows. When it came to cartoons, I was absolutely dedicated to Transformers, ThunderCats, & He-Man. In retrospect those choices made absolute sense… cause let’s face it, gay. 

3_ Besides Star Trek, what shows(doesn’t have to be scifi) had the biggest impact on you growing up?

Star Trek absolutely had the biggest impact on me growing up, but there was another, very different show that also had a huge hand in helping me become the man I am today. Jackie Gleason’s the honeymooners was a half hour black-and-white comedy set in the 1950’s about the enduring and everlasting love between a loudmouth dreamer and his devoted wife, who wasn’t afraid to challenge him or to push the boundaries of what a woman was “supposed” to be at this time, and his unbreakable bond with his best friend whose loyalty and love was something I always envied. I watched this show nightly with my grandmother who was the most influential person in my life. She was the person that I looked up to, respected and loved more than anyone. So the time that I shared with her watching this show, which ultimately was about the deepest, truest, most loving connections to other people that one could make, made me believe that one day I would be able to find that in my own life. 

4 – Star Wars Vs. Star Trek, which is better and why?

This is always a really interesting question for me because I grew up on Star Wars in fact the return of the Jedi was the first film that I ever saw in the theaters, end it is the perfect retelling of the heroes journey but as I got older and started watching Star Trek I really appreciated it for the morality plays that Star Trek was it was very much an examination of humanity end of our world today or feelings you know all the various aspects of human personality not to mention all of the interactions between alien races and the politics and all of that so I just found that the Star Trek universe ultimately was a deeper one and watching it was more than just fun Star Wars was always very very fun to watch but Star Trek was some thing that was more gratifying and I think at the end of watching an episode I came away with a whole lot more from it than I ever did from Star Wars.

5 – MCU, do you like it, not like it, watch just the movies, or both movies and Tv Shows?

OK, I absolutely love the MCU in fact when I saw avengers for the very first time in theaters it was back when I was still reviewing movies and as I walked out of the theater I said look everyone else just stop making movies there’s just no reason to keep going because it has been done to perfection this movie is the perfect film so everyone just stop. And then as the years went on and more and more films were released after each one I said the same thing somehow they continually manage to top them selves which I thought was absolutely amazing. Plus when you think of the long-term financial investment that marvel made into creating this universe it was one of the balsie list moves made by any studio in Hollywood ever. When you would watch a movie that was made eight years after another and there was a reference to that first movie and you knew that everything you were seeing was mapped out ahead of time I mean not completely obviously there were a lot of changes to the movies based on how other things went but overall the story ended up being exactly what they wanted it to be over the course of X amount of films. when it comes to the TV shows I am less impressed, so I don’t watch all of them but I do think that they contribute to the universe in a very important way. You can’t have 1 million movies even marvel can’t make that happen so having the TV shows in between the release of the films to keep the story going in to make a deeper and more complex is great for me I just feel they do the movies to perfection but could use a little work on the TV shows.

6 – GaaaysinSpaaace, how did it start, how did you come up with the idea for representation for the LGBT+ community?

I found it GaaaysInSpaaace back in 2016 to celebrate the fact that after 50+ years there were finally gay characters in Star Trek. In the film Star Trek beyond we  see that Sulu is gay and he has a husband and a daughter it was the very first time that our community got to see themselves included in the  incredible tapestry of equality that Roddenberry created for humanity. And from that moment on no one could ever again postulate the theory that the reason you have never seen a gay person in Star Trek is because it had been cured by the 23rd century. And believe it or not, there were many many people who found that to be a completely logical and completely reasonable explanation. And so it goes without saying that I thought this was a really significant moment especially for Gay Star Trek fans that we were suddenly there and it seem to me that the moment was going by very unceremoniously. There were no big announcements no big celebrations there was almost nothing happening acknowledging this history making moment and so I was getting ready to go to the big Star Trek convention in Las Vegas to cover it as a member of the press so I decided that while I was there I would throw a party to celebrate this and I thought well if it turns out that no one else really cares and it ends up just being myself and three friends raising a toast to this moment then so be it it it’s worth it to do. And it turned out that there were so many other people who cared just as much as I did that the event was incredibly successful incredibly well attended Nana Visitor from deep space nine she was our very first special guest and one of my favorite stories to tell is that she said to me Dan I can come but I can probably only stay for about 20 minutes and I said oh my god just just having you there will mean the world to us she stayed for 3 1/2 hours and then the next day she found me on the convention floor to tell me that she absolutely loved it and that anytime we did it again she would be there with us. And from that moment on I knew that all of a sudden hey this is what I do now. And so here we are almost 7 years later and Gays In Space has done 250+ events all across the country we’ve done Star Trek The Cruise, we have done panels and talks at things like San Diego comicon, New York Comic Con, wonder con and a bunch of others. And now we are hosting our own three day long convention called the galactic diversity and inclusion convention May 5 through the seventh in Philadelphia and it is a sci-fi meets science event from the perspective of under represented communities. We have over 25 celebrity guests confirmed from shows like Star Trek the Oreville killjoys the expanse and more still to be announced. We also have a bunch of people from the actual space industry joining us so that we can talk about how science fiction and science influence and affect one another. And how we can address the issue of minority groups not being included to the extent that they should in both.

7 – We met at STLV55, your parties are one of the must attend after parties, does that make you happy, especially when you get cis allies to attend?

I can’t tell you how much it means to me to hear you ask this question. Which I think actually answers the question. The fact that our parties have always been basically a 50-50 split between the LGBTQIA+ community and also the non-queer community has meant the world to us, and I truly believe it’s the reason that GaaaysInSpaaace has continued and flourished the way that it has. Because we are not simply preaching to the choir. Our events have successfully brought people together that would never have met or interacted we’re at not for these events. What we discovered very early on was that because everyone spoke the same language, the language of Star Trek that’s what everyone noticed people stopped thinking about or even recognizing the differences between them and they embraced their common love and devotion for this franchise and so that at the end of an event people would walk away with new friends and many would walk away saying hey I had never met a gay person before and it turns out hate they’re just like me. And then they went home with that impression with that knowledge and hopefully it’s spread to the people in their town in there Family circles and lead to a greater understanding and a greater love for people embracing differences and seeing them as positives not negatives. And having been able to be just the tiniest tiniest part of helping to make that happen means the absolute world to us.

8 – D&I Con – who came up with the idea, location etc?

We had been talking and dreaming about doing our own convention basically from year one, but it didn’t become a reality until my fiancé (who is the most practical person I’ve ever known) said it was time. He had figured out the best location and was convinced it would succeed. So the next step was figuring out when to do it. I looked at the convention calendar for the year and the only weekend that wasn’t already taken by another major convention was the first weekend in May. We were super lucky that our first choice venues were available and excited to work with us, so we got those booked and began to assemble our list of special guests.I don’t think I can describe what an incredible feeling it was when every single actor I contacted in that first wave of invites said YES!  Our guest list grew from there and is now over 2 dozen of our favorite sci-fi actors from STAR TREK, THE ORVILLE, KILLJOYS, THE EXPANSE, and still more TBA. It’s also been so many years since there was a major sci-fi convention held on the East Coast that we knew doing it in Philadelphia would be very well received by fans. After all of the years of having no choice but to travel almost 6 hours by plane to Las Vegas or down to Florida, they were going to really appreciate the fact that it was finally happening in their own backyard. And not just for people in Philly, the train ride from NYC is under 2 hours, from DC it’s only about an hour and a half and is within driving distance from tons of areas in New Jersey and the rest of Pennsylvania. Another essential element was creating new experiences for our attendees that have never been done at any previous conventions. There will of course be convention mainstays like panels, autographs, photo ops, a vendor’s room, etc. but D&I Con goes far beyond those. We’re introducing unique experiences called ‘Actor Away Missions,’ which are led by one or 2 of our celebrity guests and are limited to 24-30 people each.The perfect example is the ‘Bat’leths for Beginners’ stage combat class with JG Hertzler (Chancellor Martok) & Robert O’Reilly (Chancellor Gowron).Each participant is given their own full size Bat’leth as seen on STAR TREK, made of foam; making them perfectly safe to use in this setting.At the conclusion of the class, each ticket holder receives a ‘Klingon Medal of Honor,’ bestowed upon them by our Chancellors, an 8” x 10” group photo and they will also have their Bat’leth signed by both legendary Chancellors! Plus, GIS has always been known for hosting mix and mingle events where fans and celebrities can spend time together in a casual setting and really connect on a very human level. So we will definitely have a few of those happening as well. 

9 – Since it is the first year of the con, what were some of the challenges in getting it up and running, how much pre planning went into it?

You know, for most first time Conventions the greatest challenge is putting together an impressive guest list to entice people to come to your event. Finding funding and financial support is something that honestly really anyone can do so that tends to come more easily for most. For us it’s been the reverse… Assembling this phenomenal list of special guests for our event has been for me kind of the easiest step in making DN icon a reality. I’ve spent so much time working with these incredible people and forming these relationships that honestly when I told them that we had reached the point where it truly was time for us to do this and that I told them it will happen they trusted me to be able to make it happen and so they came on board. And I can’t tell you how happy and proud I am of the fact that we did in fact come through and this thing is happening and it’s going to be one of the most talked about events of the year or perhaps of  the last several years. Pulling together the financing for an event that is focused on promoting under-represented communities in both sci-fi and the space industry… that’s been a bit more challenging. Slowly both industries are coming around to recognizing the value that our communities bring, so part of what we are hoping to achieve and establish with this event is that value not just in the way that we can attract people to come to an event but also in the way that we are demonstrating the support and the need for our inclusion that will be personified by the attendance of this event.

10 – where can people find out about information about the Con, Gaaaysinspaaace contact you personally(if you choose to share it).

Please visit us at www.dnicon.org and our main website www.gaaaysinspaaace.org for more details and information on our organization, it’s beginnings, it’s supporters, etc.


You can also contact us by sending us a DM on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter all of which are @gaaaysinspaaace 

Dan Deevy
Gaaays In Spaaace
Founder / President
Instagram: @gaaaysinspaaace
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DNI Con BAnner

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