As comic con culture grows, and more inexperienced show runners get into the game, it’s worth pointing out that accessibility issues are incredibly important to con goers. Comics have long had a devoted following among the physically challenged, and going to conventions is a key part of fandom for this group. The San Diego Comic Con and Dragon Con are known for having extensive services for the disabled, and accessibility issues are always a hot topic at the talk backs.
There’s a Facebook group devoted to this topic, Fans for Accessible Cons, and they’ve been running through some suggestions on making cons open to all. This includes not only the mobility impaired but people with sight and hearing issues as well. You can see the actual suggestions there but some points:
- Aisles wide enough to accommodate mobility equipment, and wheelchair accessibility taken into account in all con areas
- Enforcement of disabled seating by con personnel
- Line management that takes accessibility into account
- Volunteer training for sensitivity to issues and knowledge, such as elevator location
- Setting up a task force in advance to work on these issues with fans and the venue
- Making sure elevators are available for those who need them
As the world of comics and fandom continues to be a bright spot of inspiration and imagination, making sure it’s available to everyone is something that improves the entre community.
Here’s a list of conventions with accessibility polcies. Hopefully it will grow.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.