|You can tell it's a thing. They have a logo.|
Some people dislike folks who identify as LGBT and, thus, oppose GaymerCon on principle. To those people I have little to say other than express my concern over how the actions a person takes in their most distinctly personal spaces somehow affects your ability to respect them or appreciate them outside of those personal spaces. That is not what I hope to address here because nothing I can say will remedy that deficiency.
|I bet that they don't support GaymerCon.|
|Okay. So this may be construed as surprisingly gay.|
On the other hand, there are some gamers who consider themselves as much classier than those people. They have no intention of judging somebody on such a basis. But they still have a problem with GaymerCon. A reoccurring theme in comment threads and discussion boards suggest that everything would be fine if LGBT folks would stop making a bid deal about their gender and sexual identity. Stop waving the flag! I have even read discussion threads and post comments suggesting that LGBT gamers are just making it worse by promoting their own convention. This is an important thing to think about and address. I want to address this by looking at my experience at PAX and similar conventions while also looking at my experience as a Seattle game event organizer. Hopefully, I can provide a perspective that will properly and sufficiently address the concerns regarding GaymerCon.
|I've heard Birdo has a LGBT story|
that she wants to tell the world.
The idea of a separate convention for a specific subgroup of society may still seem strange, even coounter-productive. I had the same concern a few years ago. Living in Seattle, I discovered GeekGirlCon. It was a gaming convention designed to create a safe space for women gamers. It was also open and welcoming to those non-women who desired to help create that supportive space. I actually wondered what the point was at first. Was not the gaming community supportive and welcoming enough? Why a separate convention? Why segregate? I figured such a separate convention would only further harm the position of women in gaming. Or, so I thought.
Then I spoke to a few women gamers. Gaming, as an industry, tends to target straight, male, white gamers, typically ages 18-30. So many games present their world through a very specific lens, targeting a very specific audience that seems to fancy scantily clad, big busted, sexy women. Women in games, and especially female protagonists, tend to look more like sex objects than heroic figures. There were exceptions, but rarely did I find a game that felt like it targeted (or, often, even considered) women. Or, for that matter, gay men. The fact that these other groups, these fringe sub-groups, liked these games seemed more like a convenient accident than anything else. The bulk of the target market was young, straight men.
|Wait! You're suggesting that this character wasn't|
designed to appeal to female gamers?
|At CES, this is as close as you get to a male booth babe.|
But, it is more than just that. I have heard on multiple occasions that the emphasis, both at conventions and in development, is the way that it is (in favor of young, straight men) because straight, young, white men make up the vast majority of the gaming market. I have heard suggested that it is not a prudent business decision to try and be inclusive of such small sub-groups at the risk of the target demographic. Perhaps these speciality conventions can show businesses that the market has changed or that it is different than they assumed. This year, GeekGirlCon moved into the Washington Convention Center. That is the same convention center that PAX Prime is held in. The argument that women gamers are a niche market seems, in this light, a gross understatement. I believe the rapid funding of GaymerCon is not all that different. These are communities that exist and are important but have been ignored or disrespected by the industry for a long time. These conventions are a way for the gaming industry to learn that they are not dealing with fringe sub-culture. It is a big deal.
In thinking about all of these things, it does not surprise me that geeky women should want their own convention. And, keeping that in mind, it does not surprise me that LGBT gamers would want their own convention. In an ideal world, we would not need conventions intending to provide safe, inviting space for specific classes of people. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world. Until we do, I am proud to be a public supporter of both GeekGirlCon and GaymerCon. I may not be going to either event, but I realize that women and LGBT gamers should have a space to come together and share with fellow gamers while not feeling afraid, intimidated, or ostracized because of who they are. The rest of the gaming community should look at this and recognize that it is a relevant part of their market that needs to be considered.