At Publisher Collective, we’re made up of an amazing, diverse collection of passionate people. We spend a lot of time celebrating the things that bind us together, like a deep love of gaming in all formats, as well as heralding creativity, hard work, and innovation within our team.
But we need to remember to celebrate the things that make us different and unique, and provide new perspectives and voices to enrich our environment and our work. The LGBTQIA+ community has contributed to major advancements in gaming, both on the development and the players’ side. We owe some of our best storylines and characters in modern gaming to LGBTQIA+ devs pushing for representation within their favorite franchises. And though there’s a long way to go, we chatted with our staff about the heights the LGBTQIA+ community is reaching within gaming.
A change in the atmosphere
We’ve discussed the lack of meaningful inclusion in gaming on the blog already, but there is progress being made towards equal representation. Our Network Operations Executive Sam Grant shared his perception of the changing character demographic.
“It’s honestly been amazing to see the changes in LGBTQIA+ representation within videogames over the past few years,” Grant says. “I remember growing up there were barely any characters around that properly represented the community. But now, there’s a much wider pool of characters of various genders and sexual orientations to show how unique every person can be. It’s so important to have this kind of representation within the media, especially for young people as it helps to show that being LGBTQIA+ is normal, not something to hide or be afraid of.”
A shift in the community
So many gamers are turning to social media and streaming to share their favorite games with fellow fans. There’s been increased accessibility and community surrounding different game titles, with platforms like Twitch and Discord being utilized to find fans. With so much of the gaming community identifying as LGBTQIA+, how have they found the online spaces?
“The gaming community has been growing so much over the years and so has the queer gaming community as well,” Grant says. “There are now so many different groups, Twitch streamers, and safe spaces that you can go to and feel safe and respected, it’s incredible to see.”
“Whenever I go on Twitch nowadays there is always a wide variety of streamers with the LGBTQIA+ or Ally tags which is so great to see,” he continues. “These communities form where you are safe to just be yourself without the fear of being judged. I truly hope that this progress continues to develop further, and more companies include representation within their games while also continuing to support the queer communities surrounding their titles.”
A difference made for all of us
The changes don’t just stop at video games. Role-playing games have always allowed players to step into different skins and portray identities that might feel closer to their own ideals. Our head of platform products Elspeth Hinde loves the freedom that RPGs have given her.
“For me, using RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons to explore fluidity in gender and sexuality,” Hinde says. “People like the cast of Critical Role have been vocal in that area from my perspective, and the general normalization of simple things like the acknowledgment of pronouns across the TTRPG streaming community has been heart-warming.”