GeekPlanetOnline Interviews

Gillian Coyle talks to Katie Logan about her blog supporting women in live action role-play.


GeekPlanetOnline Interview: Katie Logan



Katie Logan is currently an unemployed Tory nightmare, who will shortly be embarking upon ADVENTURES but is currently spending her days having to press the button on her console to say yes, Netflix, she is ‘still watching’ Jessica Jones, shut up.


What is Ladies Who LARP and why did you start it?

Ladies who LARP is a Tumblr blog celebrating women who LARP, through such means as featuring photos of them being badass and amazing, and the 100 LARPing Ladies project showing the range of ladies who do the hobby and the things they encounter.

I started it for a number of reasons: because I knew so many awesome ladies who LARPed and wanted to celebrate them in some way; because I felt that LARP is still perceived, by those who’ve even heard of it, as a stereotypically “male nerd” hobby, when most of the events I attend have many, many ladies, and wanted to change that assumption; and, ultimately, because it was International Women’s Day and I had a day off and wanted to do something!


How has the response been from the LARPing community?

Really really amazing?? Like, the sheer enthusiasm with which people have gotten behind the project, sending me photos and profiles and promoting it to other people, has completely blown me away. People say such nice things about it, and about me, and its reputation precedes me in some cases – I went from barely knowing anyone in the fest LARP scene to having people go, “Wait, you’re one who runs Ladies who LARP, right?


In your 100 LARPing Ladies profiles, you give each Lady Who LARPs the opportunity to get on their soapbox about an issue that concerns them. What commonalities have you noticed? Any surprising responses?

I really, really, really, really, really, really hate how many soapboxes there have been talking about instances of sexual harassment, or even abuse, they have encountered in games. It burns me up that it has happened to so many people I know. It’s a difficult thing to talk about, because the overwhelming majority of LARP experiences and people are extremely positive and rewarding and wonderful, and that’s why we all love our hobby so much. But you get assholes, idiots, misogynists and dangerous people everywhere, and LARP is sadly not an exception. Thankfully they are the tiny minority. But even one such creep in a field of a thousand people is still too many for my liking, and that all these ladies have suffered these things pisses me off.

However, that there are so many badass awesome ladies willing to speak out about it and share their experiences also gives me at least a little hope that things are, slowly, changing, or at least have the potential to change.


Given you ducked the question on your own 100LL profile - Here. Have a soapbox to stand on. Tell us about an issue very close to you, related to being a lady who LARPs.

I have trouble when playing a character who doesn’t swan around in a dress. Finding good armour and other kit is harder just because I have, well, a chest. It makes borrowing kit and buying it second-hand quite a bit more difficult.

For example, I recently had real difficulty trying to find suitable kit for a World War 2 horror game. The available stuff on ebay that most players were using just wouldn’t fit me – funnily enough, not many squaddies back then were built with hips and a bust. The year before, I’d panicked at the refs and they agreed that, as I was starting the event having been apprehended and locked up by SOE, they could have very easily caught up with me whilst I was on a date, and so I got to spend the entire event wielding a rifle in a 40s dress and heels. And looked fabulous. But I couldn’t get away with that twice.

Ultimately I ended up literally taking a jacket off a dead character’s back, which was a little too small but could be hand-waved as our unit being poorly funded, and buying trousers that had to have SIX INCHES taken off the bottom of the legs to fit me. At least berets are unisex.


You've made efforts to make LWL intersectional and welcoming. How well do you think that's worked?

I like to think so, but you’d really have to ask the people who I’ve tried to be welcoming to. There’s never been any bar on who can submit photos or profiles: I don’t want to list off the different kinds of lady we’ve had because it feels horribly like an inclusivity checklist, like I’m trying to reach some kind of quota. It wasn’t so much a conscious thought of “oh, I should include these people and these people”, it was just never an option that occurred to me to not – LWL is intersectional and welcoming because, fuck, I’d be some kind of bigoted monster if it wasn’t.


You welcome submissions and questions on the blog. What question did you never think you'd have to answer?

Do lots of people have sex at LARPs, or is it just my mates?” Best part was, I actually ended up doing a long involved answer about the logistics of sex at Fest LARPs, including a personal story shared by a reader involving infections and a tent nearly catching fire – and right after I posted it, I got a request from an old family friend who’s known me since I was three for the link to the blog so he could read it. And the article at the top of the page was… WELP.


What has been your proudest moment since starting LWL?

Honestly? Receiving a message saying that the blog had given her the confidence to try LARPing for the first time. Like, I love that everyone enjoys the blog, I’m frankly astonished that it’s become so popular, but I’m proudest that I was able to help give someone the confidence to try something new and awesome.


What five pieces of advice would you give to a LARP-curious lady?

1. Look at what’s going on near you, or within travelling distance, that seems up your street. Google is your friend, nerdy shops are your friend.

2. Also through these means try to find other people who attend. Or, if you already have friends who LARP, talk to them! LARP is a pretty big hobby, and it’s always helpful to go in for the first time with people you know, or at least have chatted to in the pub beforehand.

3. There are lots of different kinds of LARPs out there. Big ones in fields, little ones in pubs, extravagant costumes, modern-day clothes, high fantasy, gritty horror – find what suits you. Again, try to hear personal testimonials if you can. If you have a LARPer mate, odds are, they’ll have a hundred stories for you.

4. Give it a go! If it doesn’t go great, don’t be deterred – try something else. Don’t ever feel like you’re ‘doing it wrong’. Remember, in the end, it’s a game, and it’s only working if everyone’s having fun. (In this case, crying in terror alone in the woods covered in blood can count as ‘fun’.)

5.Go look at photo albums of different LARP events. That’ll give you an idea of what they’re like and help you decide if that’s a thing you want to do. My main contributors are Tom GarnettOliver Facey and Beth Dooner. And, of course, my blog. Ahem.


You have an exciting LWL Kickstarter project coming up. Could you tell us a little about it?

I’m attempting to publish a colouring book of art based on some of the characters featured on the blog! Because colouring books are rad, the characters are rad, and I know many many awesome lady artists. I just felt like we had all this incredible creative potential together and wanted to do something with it. The Kickstarter is just to cover the artist costs and initial print run, all subsequent copies sold will have the proceeds donated to charity. I’m really excited, though the planning to get it off the ground is taking considerably longer than I imagined – I probably won’t be able to launch it till next year at this rate!


You're also working on a LARP project with Split Worlds author and Tea and Jeopardy co-host Emma Newman. What can you tell us about that?

We’re hosting a LARP Masquerade Ball in Bath based on her Split Worlds series! Tickets are currently on sale, and we’re designing it specifically to be accessible to people who’ve never LARPed before, as well as having plenty going on for experienced RPers. There’s going to be dancing, music, tea, drama, and scandal. Again, I’m so excited about this project (and a bit scared!), I can’t wait to see how it turns out!


Do you have any other plans for the future of LWL that you can tell us about?

I want to get more people involved in the running of it and the content that gets featured. It was never supposed to be a blog of One Lady’s View of LARP, it was always intended to be a collaborative thing, which is why I ask people to choose which photos to send me where possible. I’m hoping to take this one step further, especially as I get busier in the future, and hopefully get Guest Editor weeks, where people volunteer to run the blog for a week and choose what to feature.


How can people get involved with LWL?

Many ways! 100 LARPing Ladies has come to an end, but I’m always looking for more photos to feature and ladies to hear from. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any photos or ideas in mind, or just keep an eye on the Facebook page and the blog itself for new features.


Interview conducted by Gillian Coyle. Our thanks to Katie Logan for taking the time to speak with us.