The Austin Chronicle

Shout OUT: Shane Brown

By Blake McCoy, March 13, 2015, 8:35am, Qmmunity

Name: Shane Brown
Status: Austin, TX, Originally OR.
ID: Gay
Queerly Quotable: “I don’t care if you’re clean shaven, scruffy, wearing a fur suit, some outrageous cosplay outfit, or you’re just the person who wants to sit in the corner – we're not going to judge you for it.”

Prepare for Austin's gayest day of geekdom with Shane Brown, a recent transplant by way of “our weird little sister city”. Brown moved to Austin two and a half years ago. Basking in the idea of year-round sunshine, it didn’t take much to persuade this Portlander to take a raincheck and bounce.

Brown searched high and low for his niche in Austin’s diverse scene of homos. He found it difficult at first to find his fellow geeks. “I looked around and there were groups, but there was no activity whatsoever.” So he set out on a mission to unify Austin’s extensive geekdom by organizing the popular Gay Austin Geeks on Facebook. After some minor setbacks and fluctuation, Brown is happy to report that the group is currently at almost 550 members, give or take.

Like a gay Moses leading his brethren of geeks to the Promised Land, he gave up his 9-5 IT gig to start the first annual HavenCon, Austin’s (and, for that matter, Texas’) one and only conference for queer-oriented geeks. A portion of the proceeds raised at the event will be donated to OutYouth.

Having found the resources necessary to make the conference happen, Brown can now focus on the details. “The whole experience has been interesting," he says about getting out in Texas geek culture and talking to different groups. "I was recently at a convention called the Texas Furry Fiesta. I knew next to nothing about the furry culture … and it was very alternative.” Quickly becoming versed in all things furry, Brown relates it to being at an “adult Disneyland” with lots of huggable mascots. The experience validated his own expectations for HavenCon as a judgment-free zone. Participation, he insists, will be based on one's own level of comfort.

"I want to see HavenCon grow, and what we decide to do with it next year is up for debate. Hopefully we’re still going strong, and it’s something we can do and keep fresh, and get people excited about.”

Inside Scoop: A gamer at heart, Brown says his favorite game as of right now is Dragon Age and that if he had to choose just one superhero as his favorite, it would have to be Superman, "because he was the all American boy, but he wasn’t… He had to battle with trying to fit in while not actually feeling like he belonged, and people still admired him."

For more on HavenCon, catch up with Brown on Facebook.

Watch out for more Shout OUTs coming to a Gay Place near you!

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