People like us
Many visitors of the Manga Comic Con 2018 poured their hearts out to us on social media. The reason: They felt they had been treated differently. Differently because they attended the Leipzig Book Fair in costume.
An open letter to Messe Leipzig.
“People like you.”
This statement expresses a distance. It shows that someone is not one of them; that they are different.
Cosplayers heard exactly this sentence again and again on the weekend of the Leipzig Book Fair.
“people like us” were supposed to use another entrance, were laughed at and had to leave their suitcase in another dressing room. “When the lady at the dressing room told me that “people like us” had their own dressing room, I was completely surprised,” reports Stephanie, for example. At the entrance, many already felt treated differently because of their cosplay – unlike the other visitors who visited the Leipzig Book Fair without a costume. Many were turned away at the entrances despite the onset of winter, including cosplayer Julia: “So we walked through snow, ice and wind to the rear entrance of the fair. But we weren’t allowed in there either – after all, “Entrance 5 would be for people like you.” The decisions of some employees seemed to be incomprehensible and led to the fact that one was not sure whether one was treated differently because of his costume. “It didn’t have to be cosplay. We were told the dressing room is full. Two minutes later, someone else is allowed to hand in his things. We wondered why,” Inken describes her observation.
Even exhibitors have had similar experiences: “When I wanted to enter the Book Fair, I was told that “people in cosplays and with colourful hair” should only use the entrance in Hall 1,” reports Jessica, who visited the Book Fair and the Manga Comic Con in Leipzig as an exhibitor. She had to go to her booth, her workplace.
The congress centre is a popular shooting location. However, many were treated less friendly there. After ten minutes, many were asked to leave. “We’ve done nothing but talk. When we asked, it was said that the CCL was only for congress participants. However, the definition of “congress participant” seemed to be “not dressed up,” Julia says. Some were not even let in and controlled, while persons without costumes were allowed to continue.
We heard these and many other similar stories from you this weekend. “I have the same ticket to the fair as all other visitors. I was expected to be walking through the snow, though.” Another visitor reported that she should get a marker for her identity card because she was dressed up.
We have also heard positive voices. Many reported good experiences and friendly behaviour on the part of security and employees. A cosplayer tells that a security staff member kindly pointed out to a photographer not to take photos of her without asking for permission. Others told us that the dealings were always friendly and professional. This is great and we are very happy about it.
Of course, respect should be mutual. Even cosplayers and photographers have not often enough covered themselves with fame. Loud music, garbage and blocked corridors are not good manners. Actually, we all want a peaceful coexistence, we want to celebrate the things that we love. Most Cosplayers also find it annoying when people set up their photo studios and turn the corridor into a flurry of flashbulbs without any chance of getting through. We should kindly point this out to them and set a good example.
Some problems or misunderstandings are certainly also based on incorrect communication or training of employees. However, these are things that can be solved quickly and easily. For example, it could be officially communicated on the trade fair channels that from 3 p.m. onwards the CCV will only be open to trade visitors – without making a distinction between cosplayers and people in civilian clothes.
The Book Fair is not a convention – correct!
Many cosplayers know this for certain. Transparent and clear rules on the part of LBM/MCC are important to ensure good relations. Seemingly indiscriminate decisions, which on the one hand are in stark contrast to the event’s own claim and on the other hand contradict themselves minutes later, are not only obstructive, but also incite anger and mistrust.
Dear Messe Leipzig, you invite us and even create an exhibition hall with dealers for us. You hang posters on which you show goodwill and demand respect: “A manga comic-con without cosplayers? Unthinkable.” Unfortunately, many of your visitors did not feel respected this weekend. “People like us” are “people like you”! Cosplayers are also interested in the Book Fair. They attend book readings and get in touch with publishers and authors on site. The ticket entitles you to visit the other event in both directions, so it should be a matter of course that everyone is treated equally!
The Cohaku Team.