“What, you play video games? Aren’t you supposed to be watching Top Model? What do you know about gaming?” Surely a lot of you gay-mers are tired of hearing these.
Sadly, like any other thing in this world, video games are also labeled. Gaming has always been identified as part of the “boys club.” It often contains some sort of violence that is very much associated with being masculine. Speaking of masculinity, a term that’s ironically supposed to be tough and strong but in reality is just so fragile. Push the wrong button and the system will crash with guys being threatened by the slightest bit of homosexuality in the air. That seems to be the reason why the “manlier” the game is, the more discrimination gay-mers get.
Living a life of a gay-mer isn’t easy. Even in the gaming world, gay-mers also have to prove themselves. Given that majority of gamers are just behind a screen, discrimination in the gaming world is more rampant, and they tend to be more offensive. Gamers gang up and bully gay-mers, until they got beaten in a game. A basic example is when I experienced it first hand. I was playing Team Fortress with the other players at a certain gaming shop. I was doing so well in the game. I was on my way to the top of the rankings. But when they learned that I was acing the game, they all decided to hunt down my character until my ranking fell. I remember being so irritated by the fact that I could have won the game, but I can’t really do anything about it. I felt helpless.
Bullying, unfortunately, is very rampant in the world of gaming. Most often than not, gay gamers would just feel helpless. This is so sad considering that, according to a study in Radbound University Nijmegen, gaming is supposed to help with trauma and anxiety — not cause them. What’s worse is that big game developers seem to support this kind of behavior. A few years back, Blizzard Entertainment went under fire for being sexist. They threatened one of the payers, Sarah Andrews, when she was recruiting players for her gay-lesbian-friendly guild. That if she didn’t stop doing it, she’d be banished from the game. Saying that bringing in such touchy subject would create a negative environment for the players. But if you type “/silly” while playing male characters in of the Tuaren Race, you would hear a pre-recorded voice saying “Homogenized? No, I prefer the ladies.”
This type of behavior is just straight up unacceptable, but there are ways to turn it around and stop the atrocious act. You can use this as positive motivation to get better. Everyone may have there own ways of dealing with stress, but try your best not to be discouraged by all the negativity; just keep practicing until you get so good you can beat them. Sometimes, the best revenge is to get better. I used to get a lot of shit every time people learned that I play video games, until they actually see how I play. I remember being challenged one on one by my classmate in DOTA and I beat him, twice. They were so shocked and nothing feels better than seeing their faces when I beat them, and I made sure to do it twice for that extra “in your face” effect. After that, I started to notice that they already enjoy my company and respect the true gamer that I am. They realized that video games are for everyone and I gained new friends. It was a win-win for everyone.
In reality, video games shouldn’t really be a boys club. Video games can be appealing to everyone, male, female, gay or straight. It is a rapidly evolving medium that anyone wouldn’t want to miss out on, it is made for everyone to enjoy. Video gaming is a free for all platform. Don’t be held back by all the stereotypical beasts, smash those buttons, defeat the monsters and show them what it truly means to slay in gaming. It’s about time the gaming world meets diversity.