While our event video matron Conrad Zimmerman was off editing video at PAX East last weekend, Caitlin Cooke and I went to take a quick look at the much ballyhooed Diversity Lounge. I had heard from Conrad and Caitlin that the area was far off from the central PAX attractions, and that it was barely populated. When I got there, I was happy to see that it was quite well populated.
I found out later that that Penny Arcade's Mike Krahulik just happened to be at the Diversity Lounge playing his game Thornwatch when we stopped by to shoot this video. Apparently, things went back to "incredibly quiet" after he left. If Mike's appearance at the lounge (and the crowd he brought with him) is a sign that Penny Arcade's efforts to make PAX a more universally accepting place was a success or a failure is up for interpretation.
As for me, I did not feel very comfortable entering the lounge. Given how comfortable I am in general, that's saying a lot. On one hand, I felt like I may be intruding on someone else's space, as they may have gone to the diversity lounge specifically to get away from people like me. On the other hand, I felt like I would potentially come of as a "fraud" for treating the diversity lounge as place designed for me, when I don't feel that it was.
That's right, the diversity lounge made me feel irrationally defensive and paranoid that I might be accidentally offensive at the same time. Quite a feat for a place designed to make people from varied backgrounds feel at home together, though some of the exhibitors there seemed to have had a much more favorable experience with the thing.