I ran across this the other day and I am stoked. It’s not going to happen for another year (and not going to happen at all if it doesn’t get funded) but just the fact that this exists makes me happy inside.
That’s right: I’m talking about Gaymer Con. Glorious Leader E has been making gaming and geek conventions friendly for straight singles for years, and this year is the first year that queer geeks will have their own space to rock out with their pride out. The manifesto of the con is directly from their website:
Gaming is a common shared experience that helps us escape, educates us and helps to define who we are and want to be. Gay, Black, Latino, Lesbian, Asian, Kinksters, Women, Transgendered, Bi, Nuns, Swedes, Hipsters, Brownies, Trekkies, Xbots, Robots, Holograms, Dwarves, Lawyers and Monsters #everyonegames
Insert predictable joke about excluding the lawyers here. I was going to come up with one, but “Kill the lawyer!” turned into my head chanting “Ru! Fi! O!” on repeat and I had to go lay down for a while until it passed.
So why is a queer-centric gaming con so awesome, as opposed to a regular old gaming con? Well, there’s never been one like it. I am so excited to see what comes out of this weekend in terms of game development, exposure, and community building. In the Venn diagram of life, the slice incorporating gays and geeks always looks to be a more slender one than it actually is. There are few queer role models in games, and often a gamer’s choices are limited to a gender binary, which in most games is a necessary first step to setting up a user profile.
I’m not what you would call a hardcore gamer. I’m not even a softcore gamer, really. But I am hooked on the Japanese import Harvest Moon. A big part of the game is the social aspect – making friends and, eventually, dating, marriage, and babies. Even in a game setting I’m not really interested in dating Bo the Carpenter or Owen the Miner; I always set up my profile to play as a boy. If I had the option to play as a girl and still befriend, date, and marry another girl, I would gladly take that option.
In a world where in many places it is still illegal to marry Anissa instead of Owen in real life, a game subtitled Waku Waku Animal March seems a little silly in the grand scheme of things. It shouldn’t matter. But it does. For gamers, games are a part of our world. Sometimes their entire world. And when being gay is not only against the rules of that world but is actually impossible, it can be hard to believe that you are alright. That being gay is alright.
Games are an escape, but not much of an escape if what you’re escaping is written into the laws of the universe.
This is why I’m so excited about Gaymer Con. It promotes discussion of these very issues, especially at a time when an increasing amount of our lives is lived online. Part of Gaymer Con’s prime directives (god, I love nerds) are to increase awareness and acceptance of diversity in the wider gaming community, as well as to provide queer gamers with a place to gather and share experiences.
What are your experiences being a gay gamer in a straight gamer’s world? Are you planning to attend Gaymer Con? Let me know in the comments!