In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide
, Blair Cooper, a graduate student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, confronts the term "gaymer," which is used to describe lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) gamers.
In this excerpt, Cooper wonders if, despite the fact that the number of 'gaymer' community sites has been growing quickly over the past year, there are still some uncomfortable with the label:
"In a recent online discussion, some LGBT people expressed their discomfort with “gaymer.” After all, it does construct a straight-gay binary that leaves no room for in-between space, fluidity, or alternate identities. The potential for exclusion is great. Furthermore, “gaymer” is also used derogatorily. UrbanDictionary.com, a site dedicated to slang, lists five definitions for “gaymer” and three of them reveal that it’s meant as an insult. It’s no surprise then that some people dislike “gaymer.”
“Gaymer” raises other interesting issues regarding identity. The modification of “gamer” implies that LGBT gamers are somehow different than their straight counterparts. Applying the concept behind “gay gamer” to similar phrases underscores the difference: Do female law students aspire to be “women lawyers?” Does an African American programmer wish to be labeled just that: an “African American programmer?” Isn’t the former simply a future lawyer and the latter a programmer?”
You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature
with more Cooper on the origins and the issues surrounding the LGBT gaming community (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).