Why Minority Tailored Events are Great for Everyone

Why Minority Tailored Events are Great for Everyone

As a straight, white male raised in middle class Australia, I am not someone that has experienced the hardships of growing up as part of a minority group.

I can’t honestly tell you where my passion for embracing diversity and equality comes from, but then again that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that as a society, we should be able to come together and recognise that, even if we have not experienced them directly, we can fully support and do our best to understand the hardships of those who have not been treated equally in the past and strive to do so in the present.

When I heard that GX Australia would be happening I was elated. An event tailored to the queer gaming community just makes so much sense. GX Australia aims to be a place where people from the LGBTQ community and their friends can come together and share in their passion for gaming. Naturally, I jumped on the Kickstarter and secured myself and my best friend tickets, then promptly began sharing my excitement and desire for the project to be successful via social media.

Logging in a few hours later I encountered a comment on one of my posts that read something along the lines of “LOL. Why can’t queer people just go to non-queer tailored events?” At first I was a little angry, I thought to myself, “Well of course yes they can and do go to non-tailored events, but how does this person not understand why this event is so great? Why can’t they be happy that there is another great gaming culture event about to happen in Australia?”After considering the comment for a while, I opted to directly message the person that had posted the comment and explain why an event like GX Australia is so important. Being somewhat aware that this person did not intend to be so abrasive I opted to share the GX Australia mission statement with them.

GX Australia seeks to create an inclusive, safe space for everyone with a passion for gaming and geek culture. Its mission is to celebrate the diversity already present in the community while encouraging developers and publishers to continue improving on issues of representation, community safety, and anti-bullying initiatives.

In my encounters with other straight people particularly in conversations about my desire to help spread a better understanding of LGBTQ issues, I have come to understand that many of the beliefs that people have when it comes to the topic are borne from a lack of education or exposure to the LGBTQ community. Reactions such as the one I saw in that comment are really common, and while on face value they come across as an attack – and sometimes are – most often they are out of confusion or a misunderstanding of the purpose of events such as GX.

GX, aside from being a safe place for queer and straight gamers alike to come together and celebrate gaming, is an event that tailors its content for an audience with a common understanding of what it is like to be queer and those who wish to see level of queer representation match that of straight representation in games and gaming media. It is a place where people can come together and be passionate about games without fearing judgement for being who they are. GX is a super important event because it is giving voice and momentum to the conversation about equal representation.

You might still be wondering why minority tailored events are great for everyone like I suggested in the title? Well, minority tailored events are great for everyone because a society that comes to represent all people equally will be much richer than one that does not. With a diversity content creators and consumers represented equally we will be capable of designing more interesting and more meaningful stories. We will have more welcoming spaces for people to socialise in and we will have a society that can truly work towards solving problems that face all of us, irrespective of sexual orientation, gender, race or any other arbitrary identifier. After all, we are all human and we all have the capacity to treat each other equally.

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Jair is a running, climbing, jumping, video game making ginger roustabout. People tend to yell "Oh jeez, Fentooooon" as he walks by. Youtube will explain that one.
  • Dave C Haldane

    It’s interesting that you mention opinions regarding other gaming events as “coming across like an attack”. I’m one of those people whos immediate thought is “but isn’t PAX a place where gamers of all types come together to share a hobby?”. I think the main reason for this is because I generally perceive the promotion of these events as an attack on the others. E.g. I saw a tweet recently which read something along the lines of “support GaymerX. The only gaming convention to support queer gamers”.

    Immediately got me on the back foot as it came across that PAX -didn’t- support queer gamers. My perception is most likely incorrect however it’s the automatic mis-perception of written text that, more often than not, begins these arguments.

    Speaking with a gay friend about this recently he mentioned that, despite how it might look and how PAX take steps to ensure everyone’s comfortable, the gamer culture is still quite “anti queer”. Plenty of people in battlefield calling your stupid move “gay” or calling you a “faggot” for not performing some task well.

    Now while I personally think this is very much a video game thing as opposed to a board game thing… that really made me see his point. An event like GX Australia is important because it identifies with being gay. Therefore anyone who is likely to spout stupid lines like those mentioned above will probably steer clear of the event – leaving reasonable, open minded, accepting people as the only attendees. Which, in turn, makes for a comfortable event for all involved.

    The key point there is that, while people being idiots might be part of general gaming, it would be nice for people to be able to go to at least one event where they don’t have to be concerned that someone, somewhere is going to say something offensive.

    Just goes to show that, without having experienced it myself, I can be quite naive.

    On another note can I just mention that I hate the term Gaymer? Nothing to do with what the word means… I just really, really hate puns! Yeah… I’m one of “those wankers”

  • Dave C Haldane

    I think that linked forum thread and all of it’s three posts sums it up pretty nicely 🙂 It’s a great idea, clearly signed and they had numerous places where people who felt uncomfortable on the main floor could go. Even a quiet room for those who get anxious at events!

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