There are various types of gamers out there, from hardcore Destiny players to casual Tetris fans. There’s also a large group of gamers that are either gay or lesbian, and the yearly Gaymer convention recognizes these folks, looking to celebrate the LGBT lifestyle within the gaming community.
It’s not always easy though, as GaymerX creator Matt Conn reflected. “It was really tough growing up as both geek and gay,” he said. “I remember growing up, being super geeky, and I had to leave schools because I was so bullied and it was just really bad. And that was when I was like 9 or 10. So when I came to terms with my sexuality, I was so afraid: My life was already kinda not great, if I have to deal with being gay on top of that, I feel like I’m condemning myself to a life of shittiness.”
Through communities like Gaygamer.net and Reddit’s r/gaymers, Conn noticed an outpouring for a convention of its own, thus his creating of GaymerX. The convention, since renamed GX: Everyone Games – is about inclusiveness in general, and not specifically about revolving LGBT issues. In other words, everyone is invited to come and play, even though it focuses primarily on a unique kind of community.
There’s a need for certain communities to feel safer,” said Mattie Brice, a game developer, media critic and former GaymerX panelist. “To feel explicitly welcome. And I think a lot of people don’t realize what is needed for people to feel welcome.
“There’s a lot of things baked into gamer culture that make it unwelcome for certain kinds of people, and because that’s what ‘gamer’ is, our mainstream conferences don’t address those types of qualities, traditions, and attitudes,” Brice said. “GaymerX does.”
For the next show in the convention series, GX3, Conn took to Kickstarter in an effort to raise funds for it. The community donated in droves, driving past the initial $80,000 goal and clearing nearly $90,000 in its final hours yesterday. This isn’t the first time that the convention has turned to Kickstarter for support, but this is easily its strongest yet.
As far as why the show exists, Conn kept it simple in terms of explanation. “The reason why GX exists is that a lot of people don’t feel safe,” Conn said. “Whether it be at other conventions, or online, or within the gaming community in general.” He compared recent incidents surrounding Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian, as well as certain security policies regarding the highly popular PAX events.
“Even if you completely disagree with everything someone says, they’re still human,” Conn said, “and these people treat them as if they’re not human. They set up these organized campaigns to discredit them or harass them—it’s just cruel, and I don’t get it. This isn’t slavery. We’re not talking about embezzling millions of dollars. We’re not killing people. This is videogames. We all have that commonality. I don’t understand why people can’t just treat people with respect.”
To learn more about GaymerX, check out the video above, or check out the KickStarter page.