Convention Programming

The Cosplayer Survivor Support Network is a volunteer organization dedicated to improving the convention community and providing peer-to-peer support for members of cosplay community who are survivors of harassment, trauma, sexual assault, and/or abuse. To that end, we provide convention programming to educate congoers on the importance of consent, the aftereffects of trauma, and how to be an effective bystander. We want to create a safe community where survivors are treated with the respect they deserve by their peers, convention staff, and society at large.

Our conventions team consists of:

  • Trickssi: An international cosplayer and formal ball specialist, Trickssi is the founder of CSSN and has over eleven (11) years experience teaching and speaking in front of crowds. In addition to presenting panels on consent and trauma, she runs dance lessons for convention formal balls and is passionate about accommodating every kind of dancer regardless of age, ability, experience, orientation/identity, partner acquisition, and any other factor that might hinder someone from enjoying dance elsewhere. She is also volunteer with Uplift on their conventions team.
  • Feytaline: A cosplayer and photographer, Feytaline has been with CSSN since its inception. She has been working with conventions for over thirteen (13) years and is a member of Uplift's social media team. As a survivor of trauma, stalking, sexual harassment, and bullying, she is devoted to creating a community where people are safe to express themselves and where harmful attitudes are not accepted or rewarded.
  • Fractali: A writer and cosplayer, Fractali has a bachelor's in biology and psychology with a focus on personality and social psychology. Her honors thesis studied the effect self-esteem can have on rape myth acceptance in individuals who identify as female. She has almost twenty years experience working and volunteering with survivors of intimate partner violence, child abuse, and neglect and has completed courses with the Office for Victims of Crime's Victim Assistance Training. As a writer for CSSN, she's examined prejudices in the nerd community and their impact on trauma survivors and those with mental illness.

If you would like to have our conventions team present CSSN-sponsored content at your convention, please contact Trickssi at info@cosplayer-ssn.org with the subject line "Booking" and details of your offer.

If you wish to help fund our programming, you can donate via Patreon or Ko-Fi. When you make the donation, please remember to use the platform or email to contact Trickssi to let her know you want the funds earmarked for CSSN. These funds will be applied to any costs not covered by the convention, such as travel expenses or purchase of research/technical materials.


General Convention Programming


Beyond Cosplay Is Not Consent

Description This panel is in a lecture format that documents the history of harassment at conventions, from the "glomping" and "yaoi paddle" days to the "Cosplay is not Consent" movement, as well as any current events relating to the topic. We analyze how the movement has functioned and where it fails us in terms of objective safety concerns. It also has a place in the overall conversation of #MeToo and concerns related to inclusivity (e.g. vulnerable populations who get harassed/assaulted more often than others).

The next section covers what makes a good convention harassment policy and give a preview on how to use our report card. We discuss the exact ways in which gaps occur, and how to avoid and/or fix them, as well as walk through an example of what our agency would rate as an A+ policy. Because the audience won't be exclusive to people who have positions of power at conventions, we'll also share ways that any attendee can speak up and bring awareness about these issues.

Finally, we offer resources. Beyond our own website, we speak about Uplift (which also runs Con Resources and has a YouTube channel here. We'll also discuss Erin Tillman's work The Consent Guidebook and her part in the journey to reform convention policies. We'll share basic resources for people who might be in a crisis (such as RAINN) and show how anyone can help our community at large tackle the problem of harassment by being an active bystander, responding to victims who confide in them, and bringing up tough conversations with friends and family. During the presentation, CSSN materials such as brochures, branded pencil/pens, badge ribbons, teal ribbons to support survivors of sexual assault, and contact cards for anyone in the audience to take and share, if they wish.

There is no Q&A session during the panel, but contact information will be provided to partcipants to reach out to us outside of panel time.

Throughout the panel, we share personal stories in terms of what has and hasn't helped us feel safer at conventions and online. While this presentation is generally rated for the 16+ age group, the resources and everything discussed will be aimed at a general audience; the rating is acknowledging that the panel covers disturbing themes such as rape, sexual assault/violence, emotional and physical abuse, and coping with complex trauma/PTSD. We've recently become aware of a large group of younger people who are in need of learning how to spot abusive behavior and get help, and this will be worked into the presentation.

It is our hope that by teaching alternatives to nonfunctional solutions at conventions where people might be hearing about it for the first time, we'll make real change in the community.
Rating Recommended for ages sixteen (16) and older.
Required Equipment Projector with HDMI connection, speakers, and microphone for each panelist.
Panel Length Usually one (1) hour.
Previous Presentations Fanime 2019.


Cafe Consent: A Casual Chat about Conventions

Description A guided group discussion/town-hall type workshop that focuses on recent events in the cosplay community, as well as how rape culture and current U.S. events are shaping the "nerd" community at large. Discussions include how "consent" in its many forms occurs in gaming of all types, anime communities/clubs, conventions, and/or anywhere else the audience volunteers to speak about. The audience will be asked what consent means to them and where the concept is or isn't working in their lives. We encourage—but do not mandate—audience members to share experiences or ask for advice.

Throughout and bookending, we provide resources for further education on peer-to-peer assistance, how to be an active bystander, how fandom can help or hurt its participants and/or creators, how consent ties into dating for geeks/specialized interest groups, support for survivors of sexual assault/abuse and those with mental health concerns, with a highlight on resources local to the convention. The workshop element develops organically as people present what they've noticed in the community.

The panel directly confronts themes of stalking, harassment, abuse, gaslighting, PTSD, depression/suicidal ideation, and rape/sexual assault; however, this information will not be presented in an obscene manner which would require an 18+ rating. We believe it's very important that all ages of audience be allowed to access the information of the panel. Even if it may seem that these themes may be difficult for younger attendees, it is vital to us that the resources and guidance from the panel be available for all ages, since these offenses can happen to anyone at any age.
Rating Recommended for ages fourteen (14) and older.
Required Equipment Projector with HDMI connection, speakers, and microphone for each panelist.
Panel Length Usually one (1) hour.
Previous Presentations Tekko 2019.


'Cosplay Is Not Consent' Is Not Enough

Description This panel is in lecture format and explains why "Cosplay is not Consent" fails as a sufficient harassment policy at conventions. We discuss their own experiences at conventions and highlight how the simple, ubiquitous catchphrase didn't help. During the panel, we focus on what "Cosplay is not Consent" doesn't cover—such as attendees out of cosplay, abusive content in panels and other programming, how to find help when needed, and consequences for those harassing others.

The final part of the panel covers how anyone—whether in a position of power or not—can help improve policies and help those in trouble, and discusses how organizations like the Cosplayer Survivor Support Network (CSSN) and Uplift are banding together to create a positive change for a safer community for everyone at anime/gaming/nerd conventions.
Rating Recommended for ages fourteen (14) and older.
Required Equipment Projector with HDMI connection, speakers, and microphone for each panelist.
Panel Length Usually one (1) hour.
Previous Presentations Tekko 2018, with a previous version presented at Anime Mini 2017, Tekko 2017, and Colossalcon 2017.


Let's Talk Cosplay Harassment

Description This is a group discussion/town-hall type workshop that allows individuals who have been stalked, harassed, bullied, abused, or sexually assaulted within our community to discuss their experiences with CSSN and discover resources for healing as well as bettering the nerd sphere. The panel serves as a "safe space" for people to talk about their concerns and experiences, as well as to ask for advice. Partipants are not required to share personal experiences, but for those who volunteer to, they are encouraged to avoid real names to protect the privacy of all involved. Anything that is shared during the workshop is not to leave the room.

As the workshop develops organically, we may touch on topics such as how to be an effective bystander, what to do if someone confides in you, and how to reach out to conventions to request that they update/improve their harassment policies. Resources—both national and local—are provided as needed and at the end of the workshop.
Rating Recommended for ages sixteen (16) and older.
Required Equipment Projector with HDMI connection, speakers, and microphone for each panelist.
Panel Length Usually one (1) hour.
Previous Presentations Fanime 2019.

Trauma in Media Panels

The "Trauma in..." series of panels examines the portrayal of traumatic events within popular or cult-classic video games/video game series. These discussions can help expand awareness as to how themes in games like these reflect and affect (or don't!) real-life people and situations.


Trauma in the "Tales Of" Series

Description This panel follows the psychological journeys of characters from Tales of Symphonia, Tales of the Abyss, Tales of Zestiria, and Tales of Berseria who have experienced trauma such as betrayal, body possession, grooming, dismemberment, and more. We confront the appropriate and inappropriate responses of the narrative to survivorship and recovery as it relates to the needs of real-life survivors.

Spoilers will be linear and explicitly noted for those who would like to hear about some aspects but not others.

This panel directly confronts disturbing themes such as gaslighting, PTSD, depression/suicidal ideation, and will reference rape/sexual assault. However, this content will not be presented in any obscene manner requiring an 18+ rating; in fact, it's important that all ages of audience be allowed to access the information of the panel, as we discuss important aspects of survivorship and provide resources that may be applicable to those of all ages.
Rating Recommended for ages fourteen (14) and older.
Required Equipment Projector with HDMI connection and microphone for each panelist.
Panel Length Usually one (1) hour.
Previous Presentations Maple Gel Con 2017, MAGFest 2018, Ohayocon 2018, Tekko 2018 (in Tekko Gakkou), FanimeCon 2018, and Aselia Con 2019.



Trauma in the "Zero Escape" Series

Description The Zero Escape visual novels' creator, Kotaro Uchikoshi, is known for subverting tropes in his works, as well as utilizing various science/sci-fi and philosophical themes (multiple timelines, anyone?). In this panel, we cover circumstances in the lives of some of the main characters that qualify as traumatic and look at how they deal with it. We also discuss implied themes of rape that never fully manifest and suggest options for how game makers can better support players who are survivors of sexual assault.

Spoilers will be linear and explicitly noted for those who would like to hear about some aspects but not others.

This panel is 18+ because the games themselves are 18+; the discussion will cover violence, kidnapping, child abuse, intimate partner violence, and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as other themes which may be disturbing. We will ensure that anyone who may need to de-escalate or need advice/assistance afterward is directed to the appropriate resources.
Rating Recommended for ages eighteen (18) and older.
Required Equipment Projector with HDMI connection and microphone for each panelist.
Panel Length Usually one (1) hour.
Previous Presentations Tekko 2019.