Room 801 is a pop culture convention for over 18s – and more specifically, for fans of yaoi and yuri anime, manga and video games. While yaoi and yuri are both niche genres and have minimal representation at most conventions, they do have a sizeable fanbase. Organised and run by longtime fans with a background in conventions and fandom, Room 801 is a weekend where yaoi and yuri are the central attraction rather than a dirty little secret.
Room 801 is a safe and inclusive space for fans, regardless of their interests – it isn’t exactly a family-friendly convention, but it isn’t a nerdy Sexpo either. It’s a place where artists, writers, game designers, cosplayers, academics and fans interested in yaoi and yuri can meet up, share information, learn new skills and celebrate their passion. Our first event in February 2014 was a big hit and we got a lot of positive feedback from our guests, traders and attendees!
The organisers believe in putting our money where our mouth is, so any venues or services we work with are checked in advance to ensure that their ethics are a good match for ours and that they are inclusive and queer-friendly. We work hard on our event programming to ensure that a range of voices can be heard and represented.
Both Pirotess and LadyLuckDoubt have been participating in and enjoying fandom activities for years, though they didn’t cross paths online until 2009 thanks to the Ace Attorney fandom. After meeting in person at a convention in 2011, they hit it off pretty much instantly. Sooner or later, the idea popped up: wouldn’t it be awesome if we ran our own convention?
What started out as a rhetorical question somehow turned into a flurry of emails, which then formed the beginning of Room 801.
Pirotess discovered fanart and yaoi in her mid to late teens, self-published her first anime zine in 2000 and is still a total raging fujoshi. She’s had a hand in organising a few anime conventions in Sydney, participated as a trader and guest at even more and even appeared on TV to promote one. She’s currently working on a terrible Tekken AU doujinshi, as well as an original yaoi/yuri comic (it’s complicated) titled Follow My Lead. She also releases an anthology zine for fujoshi, Noble Rot, on an irregular basis.
LadyLuckDoubt was seeing homoerotic subtext in things before her household computer had a CD drive, and has been writing fanfic since someone in an online parenting community inadvertently introduced her to Harry Potter slash. She’s helped organise grown-up Harry Potter events in Melbourne, run the odd con panel here and there, had several name changes and spent the last few years hanging out on the Phoenix Wright Kink Meme in some capacity.