This month marks the fourth year of the GaymerX convention, an event organized to celebrate LGBTQ inclusiveness in games and create a safe space for queer gamers and their allies. It proved again to be one of the best conventions I have ever been to. One of the most notable experiences I had there was getting to attend a talk by Mark Barlet, the founder of AbleGamers, where he detailed his efforts to get game companies to integrate accessibility into their games. That is just one example of how GaymerX has expanded its reach and been able to provide a venue for open discussion about all of the ways video games and be made more inclusive for everyone.
During a lengthy Q&A session the last night of the convention Matt Con and fellow convention organizers listened to about two hours of feedback from attendees. At one point a con-goer relayed the fact that they were facing adversity at home due to coming out to their parents and thanked everyone for allowing them a space to be who they are without judgment. It may be hard to grasp the importance of having a place to freely express who you are especially when talking about a convention based around video games.
Much of the hostility directed at the queer community over the years is derived from how we are represented in media and entertainment. Take for instance the absurd bathroom bills that started popping up after equal marriage became law of the land. These laws are born out of misconceptions. These misconceptions and unfounded fears were created by decades of false representation, making trans people out to be villains or comedic elements of storylines. Doing this turns them into caricatures instead of letting them be real people, functioning within the stories they are supposed to be a part of. The same can be said for many individuals represented at GaymerX, including gamers with disabilities and people of color.
It’s clear that GaymerX has evolved into a convention that has been able to serve various understated communities within the gaming industry and has more than lived up to its motto, #everyonegames. They have not yet set a date for a GaymerX convention in the U.S next year, but I am sure this won’t be the last we hear from Matt Con and the rest of the MidBoss crew. For now, we can look forward to an east coast installment of the convention this November 12th and 13th, GaymerX East, and the second year of GaymerX Australia, August 29th-30th.