Planned for next year in San Francisco, GaymerCon is meant to be "the first gaming and tech convention with a focus on LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) geek culture." The idea was born of the Gaymers subreddit. The organizers were shooting to raise $25k on KickStarter but pledges have already surpassed $50k and there's still two weeks to go in the fundraising. Turnstyle's Noah Nelson spoke with GaymerCon organizers Noah Silas and Ben Williams:
TS: Just how hostile is the mainstream gamer culture to LGBT players?
Noah: We've heard lots of stories from folks telling us about times that they have felt unwelcome or uncomfortable in gaming spaces. Mostly we are hearing about online negativity; in competitive gaming one of the most common insults is 'fag', which can create an extremely hostile environment for people who are already feeling alienated by their sexual identity. In real-space the discourse is usually better, but when an LGBT person comes out in gaming circles there is often a feeling of needing to prove ones-self, as if being LGBT and being a gamer are somehow opposed. Even in spaces that are more tolerant, the gaming industry is incredibly sexually charged, usually in a way that is extremely catering to straight men. The frequency of appearance of 'booth babes' at gaming trade shows and events is a huge indicator that there is an audience being pandered to…
TS: Has there been any gamer blowback– or are folks really getting this?
Noah: A lot of folks 'just get it', but there are also some who seem to believe that by creating GaymerCon our intention is to fragment the gaming community into LGBT and Straight segments. In fact, that couldn't be further from the truth! GaymerCon is expressly devoted to creating safe space in the gaming world for everyone, although we have a focus on LGBT participation and issues. Participation in GaymerCon is also not going to remove our presence in the larger gaming community; we believe that these identities are additive, and that we can celebrate all of them.
"GaymerCon: A Gathering For Gay Gamers" (Turnstyle)