Over the summer I went to My first hypnosis convention. I approached it with cautious optimism as I'm not unfamiliar with conventions (kink or otherwise) but hadn't been much involved with the hypnosis community until recently. When I arrived I could immediately tell the attendees were "My people"; alternative hairstyles and colors, dark clothes, rainbows, and witty puns abound. There were quite a few individuals I finally got to meet in person after having solely interacted with them online. "Oh, it's YOU!" was a frequent exclamation upon being formally introduced. Despite not having met many of them previously, everyone was extremely helpful and friendly.
Consent played a prominent role throughout the convention. In addition to being emphasized during the mandatory orientation, there was a Consent Team on site the entire duration of the convention (including set-up and tear down). Consent Team, which was separate from the Convention Committee (ConCom), was easily identified by the green ribbons on their name tag or green bandannas on their arm. Additionally, Consent Team was able to be contacted at any time on the Beguiled Discord server via a command or any individual with their name in green. It was also made known that Consent Team would be able to be contacted post convention via Discord or email should there be a delay in making a report.
For many people, coming to a hypno-con was like coming home. As someone who normally goes to conventions with the intent of attending as many classes as possible, I found it interesting to hear a few individuals state that they were there for the people rather than the classes or events. There were definitely groups of people who stayed together, but it was refreshing to see that though they were close-knit, it was by no means cliquey. Efforts were made to include newbies and make new friends, such as having the con-suite almost always open as a place to hangout and play games.
Though I didn't formally participate, I found the Scavenger Hunt most effective in having people socialize. Various private rooms were decorated by their costumed residents, and opened up for the participants to come and go as they completed small trials while searching for their treasures. It was very reminiscent of Halloween, My favorite holiday. Through the Scavenger Hunt I found My favorite people to spend time with. Even though I stayed it one spot, I still met new people as they cycled through the room.
Evening activities had been arranged as well: the Speakeasy Welcome Party on Thursday night; a Stage Show followed by a Trance Disco on Friday night; and a Stage Show Redux then Electro Play tasting followed by a Zombie Outbreak game on Saturday. There were also a few unofficial events. A Femme Flirt on Friday night for female identifying individuals to get together and flirt without outside pressure or the feeling of being watched. Hypno Scouts for the ambitious 'Tist (hypnotist) or trancee; a chance to collect "badges" for various hypnotic accomplishments or convention participation.
Classes were structured so you could easily choose your own adventure or track: beginner, intermediate, advanced, or all levels. All the courses were valuable, and I was happy to see so many good basic classes for beginning kinksters on topics such as safety, self-care, enjoying events solo, and BDSM 101. I, of course, chose to follow the more advanced track and attended heavy classes on mind breaking, death play, electro hypnosis, vampires, and nightmares--topics infrequently taught. Many of the other classes were tempting such as bimbofication, humiliation, robotization, the science of BDSM.
Science of BDSM is a group of researchers from both inside and outside the kink scene, studying BDSM and presenting their findings. I've seen their call for volunteers to study at other events, such as parties at Galleria Domain 2. At Beguiled, Science of BDSM was measuring brainwaves with EEG headsets while participants hypnotized and were under hypnosis. Fun fact: violet wands will throw off EEG readings! Sadly, I did not get to attend the Science of BDSM panel as I was learning how to make someone think they were being electrocuted, but I did have an enjoyable time speaking to the Science of BDSM team at their table between classes.
For a first year con, I was very impressed! There were hiccups, bumps, and mishaps, but they were all handled extremely well. I was surprised how many new friends I'd made by the end of the weekend and have been inundated with pleas to attend the other upcoming hypno cons. For those who are curious, they would be Mindquake, Charmed!, and NEEHU.