From homophobic Easter Eggs to offensive gay and lesbian characters, gaming hasn’t always been accommodating of LGBT people
The video game industry has slowly but surely become more inclusive of LGBT community members over the years. Once upon a time we would see offensive caricatures of gay men or women as side characters in games, and you’d occasionally see something like the Call Of Duty franchise’s infamous homophobic Easter Egg (from the game Modern Warfare 2).
Issues like these have become less common, and we’ve started to see some specific changes made with the goal of making games more inclusive. Here are a few more ways the video game industry could better welcome members of the LGBT community.
Introduce Major Gay Characters
There have certainly been some gay characters in mainstream games over the years. You can find full lists of LGBT characters from fairly major games, and they may look more familiar than you’d expect, but we’ve yet to see a central protagonist in a big time video game come out. For instance, imagine if Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft were to come out, or if the next lead in a Far Cry or Assassin’s Creed game were gay. This would make a pretty serious statement to the LGBT community, as well as to gamers in general.
Cut Down On Chatter
Games are increasingly social across the board, and if you happen to play many games in which you can chat and otherwise interact with competitors online, you’ve almost certainly come across your share of gay slurs. It’s an unfortunate reality there’s a lot of material out there that’s either insensitive or directly offensive to LGBT community members coming from people talking on their microphones in online games. Developers and game monitors could probably do better to cut back on this sort of behavior. Freedom of speech should be upheld, but repeated abuse or obviously offensive behavior should be dealt with so that everyone feels comfortable in multiplayer environments.
Offer LGBT Areas For Online Gaming
Speaking of the popularity of multiplayer environments, there are few online video game communities larger than interactive casino games. Unfortunately, despite the incredible diversity of the market these games often cater toward an audience of straight males. These days, casino and card gaming sites are offering games run by live dealers with separate rooms for gamers to play together and this presents an opportunity to reach out to LGBT gamers. While the environment is still very inclusive of all players, offering a few rooms specifically catering to LGBT communities could go a long way to providing a safe space for online gaming.
Get More Explicit
This is by no means a suggestion that LGBT activity in video games needs to be over the top, but it’s perfectly fair to say that many modern games have gotten slightly more explicit about heterosexual relationships and activity. Where there are mentions of gay characters, they tend to be limited to just that—mentions. It would be exciting to see more developers go so far as to depict same-sex characters interacting romantically, even if in simple, non-dramatic ways. In other words, it would be nice to see a mainstream game show us a character’s LGBT sexual identity rather than simply tell us about it.
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