Keeping “the gays” out of gaming

I wrote a piece for The Daily Beast on Nintendo’s response to wanting same-sex relations in one of their games. For many – including gaming fans – this may seem like so much nonsense. Yet, what it speaks to is a greater problem of exclusion and targeting, of how you do harm by doing “nothing” or ignoring, within a popular medium – in this case, games.

You can examine all sorts of mediums, but the one I’ve dealt with here – because it is my passion – is games. I do challenge you, though, to read the comments without wanting to build a spaceship and find other planets. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I‘ve been Tweeting a bit about so many stupid responses.

It’s pretty bizarre how there still exist such mindsets with such deep-seated hatred for gay people and same-sex attraction. Why? It’s simply something I cannot fathom – and I say that as someone who advocates understanding your opponent in debates. I’m not gay myself, so I’ve never had to face such horrible treatment (Homophobic slurs tossed at me don’t count as experiencing homophobia, merely because I write about sex equality – I think I made some commenters* angrier when I indicated I’m not, in fact, gay).

I just don’t know whether there even exists a debate about whether gay people are persons – so it means I don’t have opponents, so much as people holding completely strange and bigoted worldviews. Of course, this doesn’t mean swearing or treating these opponents badly – it just means that any bridge for comprehension collapsed some time ago. I’d like it to return to have them change their mind, but I don’t know. It is very difficult.

Why hate gay people so much? I mean, geez! Equating them with Nazis? Friggin‘ hell.

*Not ALL commenters.

Human Rights Watch video on homophobic attacks in Russia

Good luck watching this.

Thugs. Terrified thugs launching fists at the harmless, at the innocent.

Gay rights isn’t just a gay problem, just like sexism isn’t just a woman’s issue, or racism isn’t just a non-white issue (all of this assumes sexism, racism, etc., only directly negatively affects one group, too).

Nobody is unaffected by these things: We just think we aren’t. Being straight I am affected by not being oppressed about my sexuality. But the point is, no one group alone should benefit from a lack of oppression – everyone should.

I have no idea what to do about that. I don’t know how to combat sexism or homophobia or any kind of bigotry. I’m not well-versed in the politics, in the psychology. I don’t know why it happens, how long it’s been happening. I don’t know where it began, where it exists, where it thrives.

I only know its wrong. I only know that more of us, at least, should proudly support and stand up against bigotry. But keyboard warriors aren’t sufficient; digital petitions aren’t enough; this attitude at the very least can be articulated “live” to friends, loved ones, when they make homophobic remarks, when they dismiss women as dumb, when they try sneak a racial “observation” through conversation. Maybe that will help, maybe it will make them think twice about being so comfortable in their lack of concern for people who aren’t part of their group.

Again: I don’t know. This realisation that things are wrong anchored by having no fucking clue what to do is, for me, almost as horrible as knowing that, tomorrow, bigotry will continue and innocent people will be hurt because they’re not the “right” sex, not the right race, not the right sexuality, not  physically built right, not the right height, not the right weight.

I hate this species.

(This is an important piece, by Marc Bennetts, on responding to Russian situation.)

I wrote a letter to Straight Male Gamer

And it allowed me to convey what I keep trying to say in other ways.

This isn’t solely about games but the dismissal of those who are not what John Scalzi calls “the lowest difficulty setting” in life: the straight (white) dude.

The frustration can turn turn to apathy and giving up. I don’t want to do that, which is why I often try alternate ways of conveying my arguments.