GaymerX Brings Inclusion to Gaming Conventions
LGBT culture takes center stage at this San Francisco gaming con.
By Elizabeth Harper
Gaming culture isn't terribly inclusive of women in general, which means lesbians are even less likely to be accepted in the gaming community. Even though plenty of us are avid gamers, we rarely see ourselves in the games we play: only 4% of games featured an exclusively female
protagonist and only 45% of games even offered the option of playing a female character. Lesbian characters in games are even more rare.
This means that gaming conventions are very much boys' clubs — even if women attend them, they may find themselves challenged on their gaming knowledge, harassed or worse. The fact that these spaces are neither safe nor friendly means we don't always go out to celebrate the
things that we love.
GaymerX, holding its second convention in San Francisco from July 11-13, is changing the tone for gaming with a convention that's inclusive for all gamers.
"The first GaymerX had a rather sizable lesbian presence which was very exciting to us as women in general are very sparse at gaming conventions, due to the rampant misogyny that tends to dominate other gaming events," explains Toni Rocca, President of GaymerX. While some conventions have been reluctant to adopt strict policies against harassment, GaymerX works hard to create a safe and fun space for every attendee.
"We open our doors to the statement that anybody being harassed for their gender, sexuality, race, class, or really any reason is absolutely not acceptable and will lead to an immediate ban," says Rocca. "Last year we told our audience that they were there together, with us, as our family. We weren't just a whole bunch of strangers, we were there supporting the same cause: promoting, exploring and celebrating queerness in games." GaymerX is still a young convention, but the result so far has been one of the friendliest gaming conventions on offer.
Though this year’s schedule isn't set yet, interactive fiction developer and writer Christine Love will be there as will Parsons Professor and Director of PETLab Colleen Macklin. And where games are concerned, you won't be disappointed, with tons of indie titles from IndieCade — as well as board games, tabletop RPGs, and even a Pokemon gym (we aren't sure what this entails but are interested in finding out). "After that will be cosplay pageants, parties, concerts and plenty of chances for women who play games (of any caliber) to meet other women without having to worry about some guy sliding in between them and demanding they prove their gamer prowess," says Rocca.
If that sounds like a good time to you, GaymerX is currently running a Kickstarter to cover hotel costs and you can pick up a badge at a reduced rate. If you've missed the Kickstarter campaign, don't worry: GaymerX is definitely happening and you can buy badges on their website.
GaymerX Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gaymercon/gaymerx2-everyonegames
Christine Love: http://loveconquersallgam.es/
Colleen Macklin: http://www.colleenmacklin.com/