Becoming aware of privilege is never comfortable.
But it’s always necessary.
I’m in San Francisco for the weekend, the “awkward straight” girl at a gaming convention for “queer geek culture.” And I’m loving every minute of it.
My awareness of the world is heteronormative. And, as a straight person, I get to take that for granted.
This weekend, the lenses are coming off. Or at least, slipping a little.
As a writer, I feel a tremendous responsibility to create truthful characters. To avoid stereotypes. To make space for voices and experiences other than my own in my fiction.
Never has the necessity of this felt so urgent. Hearing from several panelists that games saved their lives, that games helped people accept who they really were and then come out to others, I realize this responsibility is a lot more than theoretical ethics.
It matters that those on the fringes–those who have been marginalized by mainstream society–get spaces where they not only feel safe to create and play and voice themselves. But where they can explore what one panelist called “the limitless possibilities of the spectrum.”
Because the spectrum of the LGBT movement is the spectrum of humanity. The colors of the rainbow flag represent the range within us all.
Sex. Life. Healing. Sunlight. Nature. Magic. Harmony. Spirit.
By including the full range of human experience and identity, those in narrative and media can make room for all of us. Stories become richer. Creativity becomes possible–because those judged “different” don’t have to fight merely to survive. Games matter. Just as art matters.
As a great champion against censorship, the openly gay poet Allen Ginsberg, once said, “Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture.”
And it’s imperative that those marginalized come together in places like GaymerX to negotiate those images and enter into control over representations of themselves.