My partner and I went to PAX East last weekend and we had a blast! I felt very blessed to be completely comfortable (emotionally. Physically, it was a 20,000 people sauna of sweat and testosterone in there) in my surroundings. Sexually, my partner and I weren't doing anything because we were being respectful of his family which we were sharing a room with. You just don't do that to family...
I looked online at some policies because I wanted to know what would happen if someone felt unsafe at a convention. Here are a few examples:
Unsolicited physical contact is part of their prohibited contact policy and will be dealt with according to their "Reprecussions and Violations" policies depending on the severity of the action.
(There wasn't much on this topic, so I didn't add the link because I didn't have any legit blurbs)
With these in mind, how could one keep themselves safe at a convention sexually and personally?
I went to a panel on gender inequality in video gaming where one of the panelists mentioned that a cosplayer for her video game was approached by an attendee and he asked if he could grab her ass because he liked her costume. I would say this is a huge no! But it brings me to my first topic:
1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings and Your Cosplay
If you're feeling uncomfortable right off the bat with your cosplay and others making gestures or comments towards you, I think it's time to change. I suggest bringing a small bag with extra clothes in it so you can change at any time. Likewise, be aware that your cosplay may entice others to make passes at you, grab you, make comments, etc.
Personally, I wish I had thought about this. I dressed up as Kaylee from Firefly and my coveralls were too tight. Wedgies galore...
2. No Means No
If someone asks an inappropriate question, make sure they know the answer if you're not into that. Some folks think that when they're in cosplay that they are that character. I know a few people who dressed up as characters from Hetalia and they're engaged. One of them was groped by another Hetalia cosplayer because those characters are often shipped together. Also, please ask others if you can have hugs and get pictures taken.
My partner and I got to meet our favorite Youtuber, Markiplier. One question that I was asked by a friend was "DID YOU TOUCH HIS BUTT?!" My first reaction was no, but I should have. Realistically, I probably would have asked to touch considering he might have said yes and grabbing might freak him out or something. I want to be polite, not get kicked out of PAX.
3. Consider a Group
By that, I mean tag along with a group of people! If you're 18 and younger, it's a good idea to go with friends or family. At least there's someone there to help if you feel unsafe. If you're 18+, still consider traveling with a group in case there's a problem. Make sure to get contact information so you could meet up if someone is lost.
4. Know Your Exits, Ride, and Stay-Over Location
Be sure you know where your convention location is and to arrive on time to get inside and without trouble. You never know, these things happen. Also, give yourself enough time to get your things together. You're going to want a water bottle or another water-storage device, a pen for autographs and stuff, money for merchandise and prostitutes (not really), protection in case there will be some sexy times (you never know), and food.
You should know where your ride will be (if you're getting driven by a friend, walking, taking a bus, etc), and how you're getting to where you're staying for the night.
5. Consult Security
Please feel free to talk to security if there are any safety concerns you have during your time. They're pretty friendly folks and I'm sure they wouldn't mind to help.
This was just a brief overview of what you should do for a convention. I hope it helped! I'll be posting more in the near future during summer vacation :)