Flying the rainbow flag over gaming – Robin Gray on celebrating the LGBTQ community in gaming

Robin Gray, Co-Founder, Gayming Magazine

Promoting and fostering diversity in gaming is a hot topic at the moment and it will continue to get hotter. LGBTQ representation specifically, while improving both in the industry and in games themselves, is still very low. This inspired me to do my bit in tackling this issue of inequality. Last year I was involved in the creation of two major earthquakes in the LGBTQ games world – the launch of Gayming Magazine in June, and helping form the Out Making Games initiative later in the year.

Working to celebrate LGBTQ video gaming, its culture and its development over the past year has been an honour for me. This industry is full of inspiring LGBTQ people – all contributing to the biggest entertainment sector that generates hundreds of billions of pounds of revenue globally.

That this work also feeds into the wider diversity conversation in games is equally important, and I recognise and celebrate the hard work undertaken by everyone in the industry to promote, increase and foster diversity of under-represented groups.

Gayming Magazine grew out of the recognition of several challenges: The gaming world is very hetero-dominated; There is poor LGBTQ representation; Storylines and characters are often very heteronormative; Only a handful of games have positive LGBTQ characters or storylines – though this is improving; There is an exceptionally high amount of homophobia in the community, particularly during online gaming; There is very little advocacy for LGBTQ rights in gaming industry; and gaymers feel isolated and struggle while growing up and even into adulthood.

Gayming regularly features industry interviews and stories to inspire industry readers and to demonstrate to LGBTQ consumers that the industry is changing. Within six months of launch, Gayming already has a monthly readership of over 22,000 people.

In October we held a week-long celebration of LGBTQ video gaming in Central London with our event ‘Gayming Live’ which was attended by over 500 people and watched by many more.

In November we launched The Gayming Podcast, which discusses the latest news and hot topics in the LGBTQ gaming world.

This outpouring of love and support shows how needed this resource was and how if you make something with love, diversity and good production values, people will come!

Out Making Games is another LGBTQ initiative that I’m honoured to be involved with. It was born out of having seen the work other diversity groups like Women in Games, G into Gaming and BAME in Games do.

Convinced it was time for an LGBTQ industry network, we launched in November and the response from industry has been huge, both from LGBTQ people in the industry and studios/organisations wanting to support us.

This all demonstrates that the LGBTQ community faces a wide range of issues within the industry. I am proud to be a part of this group and am excited to see what we can do together in 2020.

Robin Gray is editor and co-founder of Gayming Magazine and part of the Out Making Games LGBTQ initiative. Check out Gayming Magazine. The above article was featured as part of the January issue of MCV/DEVELOP.

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