EA to Host GLAAD Panel on Homophobia in Gaming

By Nick Breckon, Jul 14, 2009 7:04pm PDT Electronic Arts will play host to a panel on homophobia in videogame culture organized by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation this Saturday.

Representatives from Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Linden Labs, GayGamer.net and the Entertainment Software Association will be present. Topics will include "how to provide safe spaces for LGBT people online, how to ensure the best policies are in place to prevent virtual attacks against LGBT people and how to educate the users of online communities about the effects of homophobia."

As Gamasutra points out, GLAAD has become increasingly active in the gaming sphere. GLAAD director of digital media recently published an editorial on "The Impact of Homophobia in Virtual Communities."

The event is open to the public, and is being held at EA's headquarters in Redwood City, California from 11am-1pm. More information is available on the GLAAD site.

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40 Threads | 211 Comments*

  • Do you guys even know what empathy is? Have you ever read a story and your teacher asked you how you thought the main character felt? I swear to god people talk about gays and their troubles like they actually know what the fuck they're talking about.

    You will NEVER truly know what it feels to be oppressed or a "victim" of societal bigotry if you are not on the other side. If you're white you can't know the extent to how bad racism is. If you're Christian you will never know how bad you're made to feel if you're a Muslim. If you're male you will never know the stigma attached to being a female (in the workplace, or gaming). You can go on and on...

    I wanted to make a few things clear. Nearly every situation around us screams out heterosexuality. This whole "I'm free to think it's wrong/bad/disgusting" reminds me a lot of the way people in the south think about white women dating black men. Sure people have the right to think what they want about any given situation but it's wrong to breed hate and that is exactly what this type of thinking does.

    Can someone's hate hurt you over the computer? Ask Ryan Halligan's dad. Ryan, a 13 yr old boy, committed suicide in 2003 over cyberbullying that included his classmates and peers accusing him of being a homosexual. I know most of you believe that children shouldn't be playing these video games in the first place but THEY DO. Hell, I did when I was 13 and I'm sure most of you did too.

    All in all I'm glad *pun intended* that they're opening up the subject of homosexuality in ANY medium. The way gays are treated in this society is abominable and the fact that people think they have the right to treat them that way just blows my mind.

  • I have seen footage where the gaming community has bashed a player for being gay but in the majority of cases, it would seem that it is because that person made it an issue i.e. their name has gay/lesbian undertones or otherwise identifies themselves sexually or because they themselves made it an issue via chat or VoIP. IMHO, too many homosexuals want to be 'special' and so they chalk up how they are different (be it their clothing, they demeanor, their interests, who/what they identify with or the name they give themselves in-game) to the fact that they are in fact a homosexual. IMHO, that is abusing your identity and is otherwise WRONG. I drink beer. I am of Irish ancestry. I drink beer but it is not because I'm Irish. While that may be a funny stereotype, that's just it: Typifying me as a drunkard because I have Irish ancestry is just as wrong as attributing my like of beer to my ancestry.

    Just the same, it bothers me to no end when a homosexual tries to explain that the night-life they lead or the music that they listen to or the fact that they do this or that is because they're gay. I love who I love because I love them and anything after that, be it sex, be it how I dress or who I hang out with or what I do with my spare time is my choice and is not a reflection of the sex of someone I prefer to love. Being a homosexual isn't a disease or something in your genes and until the homosexual community acknowledges that at some point they made the decision (conscious or not) to love a person of the same sex, we're going to continue to see groups like GLAAD, who it would appear don't get it either, making an issue with this.

    There are very devout and religious homosexuals out there and they look and dress and talk just like many heterosexuals. Aside from the fact that they can love someone of the same sex (and don't confuse intercourse with love as they are _NOT_ the same) they're just people playing a game trying to have a good time. That is not to say that having sex and being in love with some of the same sex are mutually exclusive, just that one does not imply the other.

    9news.com recently ran a story about how GLAAD is upset with the movie BRUNO because the studio did not remove some scenes in the movie. GLAAD felt that those scenes made people more uncomfortable about homosexuals. If you ask me, GLAAD missed the boat when they watched a satirical depiction of a homosexual who preyed on the fears and irrational misconceptions that some people hold today. What really blew me away was that they were more worried about certain scenes and not the fact that Bruno waked around the whole movie, scantly clad with a lisp and an obnoxiously boisterous demeanor.

    Last time I checked we (humans) had a brain and we are different from our surroundings in that we can make conscious decisions and rationalize things and for that I'm really surprised to see so many people being so irrational about this.

    SO: Shut up and play the game. If you don't like the gay bashing, you can report someone in many cases, kick them from the server in many situations, or even find a different place to go. Someday maybe people will stop being so irrational with their hate but in the mean time I guess the best we can do is walk away from it and keep the people who make gaming fun close.

  • Wow. I definitely did not see this one coming. This is kind of like having a panel on kids photoshopping each others pictures internet, but as a straight person I do kind of get annoyed by a bunch of whiney 12 year old kids obsessively talking about how everything is gay.

    Many people on the internet, especially those who play online games simply seem to be very socially isolated. I think it all comes from not every talking to real girls and thus not really ever developing that confidence in yourself..

    To be honest, I think heterophobia is pretty prevalent too. I think a lot of the internet has a very immature, sophomoric attitude towards girls... More than that.. I think the the internet has a very cynical attitude towards healthy social lives in general. Most internet memes reflect social inferiority complexes.

    For example, the "A/S/L lolo" thing is a sarcastic gesture towards dating.. Something that someone who spends his whole day in front of his computer playing wow and going "lollz look teh LFG lol" doesn't have much experience with.

    I agree with those who've said that this is reflective of a much bigger problem.. Many people on the internet are douchebags, and I think it 's because they are projecting their own frustrations with their own social shortcomings..

  • This panel seems like a waste of time. The atmosphere of homophobia in games is mostly caused by the overuse of "fag/dyke/etc". PSAs aren't going to change "faggot" or "you're so gay" from being used as insults by 12 year old kids. GMs are not going to ban every single immature kid/adult who uses homophobic language as a general insult because they would lose too much money. Unless video games hit kids on the head with a dictionary and tell them to look up a more intelligent insult, or pop culture finds another easy target, I don't reasonably expect video games to have a community like west hollywood or San Francisco.

    You know how you find a safe space for LGBT people online? COMMON SENSE. If your normal gaming crew of random strangers tosses "fag" around way too much, maybe you shouldn't bring up your bf/gf in random conversation. Being out online isn't the same as being out IRL.