Homophobia in online gaming

“So here it is – I’m a queer gamer, one who comes from a community of similar left-of-center types. This is me trying to come to terms with the whole issue, focusing on the homophobic behaviour that impacts me, personally, the most. It is ferociously complex,” This from David Hollingworth writing in an article entitled “U R so gay: Homophobia in gaming, and why it hurts” in the November issue of the Australian site Atomic: Maximum Power Gaming.

At Worlding.org, we have been pleased to report on efforts in the online gaming community to turn around regressive norms and biases. But these problems continue to proliferate and are especially vexing considering the popularity of gaming among young people, where such media function as a powerful “teacher.” Hollingsworth writes that in most games  “sexism, racism, and homophobia is A-okay, and that if you’re offended by being called a fag it’s ‘just your fault’. My lamentations were due to the increasing feeling that even in our own Atomic community, there’s a degree of similar behaviour that is considered the norm.”

It’s not that these problems are going unnoticed. Quite the contrary. But a degree of resignation about intrenched attitudes remains in place. As Hollingworth continues, “It is ferociously complex, and you will find people arguing over the same thing pretty much all over the internet. I’m not even sure there is an objective right or wrong (well, actually, I am), and I’m certainly not sure that I can change any minds; but, subjectively, I certainly know how I feel when I’m around this kind of behaviour. That, right there, is probably the best place to start working out what the issue is, and how it might be addressed.”

See also in Atomic: “Yes, there is a rape culture in gaming – so let’s do something about it.

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