After 11 years of bringing you local reporting, the team behind the Vancouver Observer has moved on to Canada's National Observer. You can follow Vancouver culture reporting over there from now on. Thank you for all your support over the years!
feminista.v5 copy.png

Upcoming GaymerX convention addresses sexual orientation in video games

The GaymerX convention is happening on August 3-4 in San Fransisco, California. Created by Matt Conn and Kayce Brown, GaymerX was created for the LGBTQ video gaming community as a safe place for expression for them.

“A closer integration of our experiences, our lives in the gaming community helps not just to expose to the other players, but also game developers, helps them develop more interesting stories, and how we are represented will become more realistic, more colorful, more of everyday life," says Tim, operations lead at Xbox Live in their promo for GaymerX.

"Why is sexual orientation such a big deal in video games?"

But GaymerX is also the target of a homophobic backlash. The question people ask most often about the event: "Why is sexual orientation such a big deal in video games?"

Some initial responses from when GaymerX (formerly GaymerCon) was being set up were found on the forum off the popular gaming guide website, GameFaQs:

ValedictorianXD  I agree that a gay gaming convention is somewhat idiotic and/or unnecessary. There is no such thing as asian, black, republican, tall people, football jocks, etc gaming conventions.

Naturally in the gay culture, however, they need something to stick out because they are loud and proud and we need to get used to it.

More recently, a popular game site, Joystiq put out a PSA to remind the public of the pre-registration price of the convention coming to an end. Even a harmless announcement drew backlash:

warezman12342 responds:

Why can't we just leave sexual orientation out of video games? If I tried to start a convention for straight gamers to get together, I would be deemed a bigot.

The more you try to point out that race and sexual orientation shouldn't matter, the more attention you bring to those very things.

xdirtysouthx adds as well:

I'm not against gays but this is f***ing stupid. What the f*** does being gay have to do with being a gamer?

What's next? A gay only Cannabis Cup?


Is "Gaymer" exclusionary? 

Let's think about the exclusionary part though. Is a "Gaymer" con or identifying with a gay game convention exclusive, even for the LGBT community?

In a conversation with an openly gay Vancouver-based video game developer, Bryant Drew Jones offers his criticism of the convention:

"I'm definitely not a gaymer," Jones said. 

"It disappoints me that the organizers of GaymerX chose that word to represent themselves. I don't need GaymerX because I already live in a safe space surrounded by loving and supportive people who share my interests. But I know others do, so I hope it's a success."

Jones has worked on Sleeping Dogs, a game developed by United Front, he has also worked as a designer at Silicon Sisters and recently formed a start-up company.

But despite his critique of GaymerX, Jones acknowledges the complete lack of representation of gays in video games.

More in Feminista

What Once Upon a Time does for feminism *Spoiler alert*

Is Once Upon a Time's re-imagining of classic fairy-tale characters a feminist feat of modern TV?

Feminism and the weapon-wielding women of The Walking Dead: spoiler alert

Let's take a look at two of The Walking Dead's kick-ass female characters, Andrea and Michonne.

Sexy Halloween costumes are okay, now let's stop mocking them!

Halloween should be a time of year that you can dress however the hell you want, without any judgement
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.