This insider perspective of BronyCon was submitted by a vetted source. For fear of being judged, the author requested anonymity. It is extremely important to The Geek Initiative’s editors that this site and its surrounding online communities remain safe spaces for our readers and contributors. Therefore, we do accept anonymous submissions (published under the NPC moniker) in some circumstances.
On the weekend of August 1st-3rd 2014, a convention by the name of BronyCon was held in Baltimore, Maryland. The convention was centered around the television show “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” a show that brought the old show “My Little Pony” back to life in a new light, thanks to the brilliant mind of Lauren Faust.
The most interesting part about the convention wasn’t the show, but the fans of the show.
Most people hear the term “brony” and tend to think more derogatory and negative thoughts: thoughts of introverts and people who live in their parents’ basements. These are also negative terms often used to describe “nerds” as well. I often feel people revert to these types of terms to explain things they don’t understand or don’t want to try to understand.
I attended BronyCon, along with some friends, to get a better idea of the community I’d heard so much negativity about. Before attending, I had to get a better idea about why the community liked the show so much. I had watched the show myself since it aired in 2010, more curious about the new writing and style of the show. I explored forums and art sites dedicated to the show and the fans of the show.
What I found were people who, no matter what, were compassionate and kind to one another. When I attended the convention, I saw exactly the same.
Arriving at my hotel Thursday, July 31st (the day before the convention), I was tired and exhausted from a long bus ride and a long walk. I found my friends sitting at a table with about 8 other people just playing a card game. I walked over and got hugs from the lot of the group: friends and those I’d never met before. People offered me a seat and to help me with my bag. I was surprised that people I’d never met were offering to help me with my things and give me their seats, as strangers usually never do. It was my first taste of how kind this fandom truly was.
Friday, I woke up early to get in line to buy my weekend pass for the convention. I got in line behind several other people. I was alone, as my friends slept in, knowing they already had their passes. As more people lined up behind me, I started overhearing conversations about the show, panels people were going to, video games, comic books, and several other topics. As we waited for the doors to open to allow us to register, I started talking with those around me.
We told stories of conventions we’d gone to in the past, our favorite comic books, video game trivia, all the while laughing and having a good time. As the line began to move, everyone was high fiving and laughing and having fun as we walked around the dividers that made up the line. Everyone had been friendly to people they had never met before for no reason other than the fact that they had one thing in common: a love for a children’s television show.
In the brony community they have a phrase, “Love and tolerate,” which is a reminder to them that the show teaches them to be nice to everyone, no matter how bad they seem or act.
I feel like this is how the brony community is so strong despite the negative attitude they get in the community. They keep smiling because they take the lessons of a childrens show to heart. The community also donates thousands of dollars to charities each year, holding charity auctions and fundraisers.
I went to this convention expecting children and strange people; what I found was a community that was compassionate and caring, no matter who you were. I found people with disabilities who were treated like everyone else. I found amazingly talented artists, musicians, animators, and writers who expressed their love and passion through pieces that inspire others.
I found a community that loves everyone no matter who they are and gives back to the world, even if they are looked down upon. Clearly the supporters of the “nerd hierarchy” could learn a lot from this caring and open community.