Sometimes, I wish I had the power to help, to answer the call of “save me!” in a real and tangible way. Still, I try to do what I can with what I do have, which includes publishing and imagination.
The ongoing pogrom against LGBTQ people, particularly queer men, in Chechnya has filled me with deep sadness and anger, as has the tepid response of the American government. As much as I would like to be the hero who can swoop in and save people—my people—in desperate need, the best I can do for now is to imagine that hero, breathe life into him, and ask for fellow gamers and superhero fans to donate in order to get to know him better.
So, I give you…The Champion! Chosen by the Aristos Eremenos, bearer of the Four Golden Gifts, protector of the people. All profits from the sales of this short pay-what-you-want PDF will be donated to the Rainbow Railroad, a nonprofit dedicated to doing the real heroic work: Getting people in danger out of harm’s way and to somewhere they can be safe. With persecution of LGBTQ people on the rise around the world, not just in Chechnya, their life-saving work is more important than ever. Whether or not you include the Champion in your heroic universe, please consider offering them your support. Be a hero, because the world needs more. Thank you.
We interrupt our ongoing Icons and gaming-related geekery (which resumes as usual tomorrow) for recognition of National Coming Out Day. In which I come out as:
- Gay (a Kinsey 6 and double-gold-star gay, if you’re curious).
- Polyamorous (I’ve been in a poly triad relationship for 10 years now).
- Pagan (minister and co-founder of a neo-pagan temple; not an orientation issue, but one of religious freedom, which I also believe in strongly).
I’ve already blogged on my favorite “coming out” story and the importance of NCOD and being out, so I won’t repeat myself here. Instead, I’ll just say that the reason why National Coming Out Day is important, and why I keep coming out—in-person, online, and in social media—is because it still matters, and I’ll keep doing it until it doesn’t. When Joss Whedon was asked why he writes such strong female characters, he said, “Because you keep asking me that question.” It’s the same for being out. It matters to everyone until it doesn’t matter to anyone.
We’ve come further with sexual and gender rights in my life than I would have imagined when I first became aware of my own orientation. We still have a long way to go, however, when it’s still legal to discriminate in employment and housing based on sexual orientation and gender identity, when some 40% of homeless youth identify as something other than heterosexual or cis-gendered, when violence against trans-people is on the rise, and when being queer is still a literal death-sentence (or prison-sentence) in many parts of the world.
So “come out, come out, wherever you are,” because visibility matters, you matter, and the willingness to stand up and say, “We’re here and we’re queer” has been one of the greatest forces for change in the modern world.
One of the things I very much looked forward to at GenCon this year (after a year away in 2013) was the third-annual “Queer as a Three-Sided Die” seminar. It got started, as such things often do, to address a need that the initial panelists and I perceived — it is, in many ways, the seminar I wish I’d had during my early years at GenCon, when the notion that there were other “gaymers” was completely foreign (I didn’t meet any until around my sixth or seventh year of attending).
We looked to expand the panel this year, and did in an unexpected way. Matt Conn (founder of MidBoss and GaymerX) and Philip Jones (co-director of Gaming in Color) contacted me just days before the con to say they were attending and were interested in the seminar. They joined me and our other panelists from prior years:
The Know Direction podcast was also kind enough to create a video recording of the panel, so I’ll direct you there if you want to see and hear everything that was discussed. Topics ranged across the queer spectrum from the light-hearted and celebratory to quite serious and emotional, and Qd3 (as I abbreviate it) was by far the most well-attended seminar I experienced at GenCon.
We also had the benefit of “GAYMER” badge ribbons from Tabletop Gaymers again this year. Feel free to check out their consolidated reference links, and to register or donate to the covering the cost of the ribbons this year and for next year, as they were quite popular!
Members of the gaymer community are already talking about adding to the slate of offerings for next year’s GenCon—social events, seminars, gaming events, and so forth—and I’m already looking forward to the potential for next year’s panel. If you are interested in joining us as a panelist, or know someone you think would make an ideal panelist, please email me and let me know!
If you have ever considered the possibility of offering something queer-related or more inclusive at a convention (GenCon or any other)—do it! Like I said, these things get started because we see a need and look to fill it and, let me tell you, the need is there. I’m already looking forward to all the amazing things our community is going to do in the years to come.