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GLAAD Sets Its LGBT Sights on Video Game Industry with New Report

glaad-sets-its-lgbt-sights-on-video-game-industry-with-new-report
GLAAD Sets Its LGBT Sights on Video Game Industry with New Report

Entertainment

GLAAD Sets Its LGBT Sights on Video Game Industry with New Report

 By Bryan Chai  February 14, 2024 at 3:16pm

It speaks volumes that you pretty much can’t find what GLAAD stands for on the actual GLAAD website.

Nominally an acronym for “Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation” (a term GLAAD has since ditched) the LGBT advocacy group now does far, far more than defend against defamation.

In an ironic twist, GLAAD now shames (stopping itself just short of defaming) entire industries for not having enough LGBT “inclusion” and “representation.”

Hollywood — still reeling from a rough 2023 — is one of the primary punching bags of GLAAD, but the group has now set its sights on a different entertainment medium: the rapidly expanding world of video games.

On Tuesday, GLAAD revealed its first ever “gaming report” and the results of the report were about what you’d expect from the advocacy group.

???? INTRODUCING GLAAD’S INAUGURAL GAMING REPORT ????

The 2024 GLAAD Gaming Report maps the quantity, quality and diversity of LGBTQ characters in video games during the 2023 calendar year.

Read the report at https://t.co/DCMKHcRugj pic.twitter.com/KTOVU3dErD

— GLAAD (@glaad) February 13, 2024

“This report was created to educate the game industry on the current state of LGBTQ representation that exists, make a facts-based business case for LGBTQ inclusion, and provide a playbook for more authentic representation,” wrote GLAAD CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis.

She added: “Statista data shows that the estimated global revenue of gaming surpasses that of filmed entertainment and recorded music combined.”

Do you think there needs to be more LGBT representation in media?

It doesn’t take long for Ellis’ rhetoric to jump the rails.

“Our research with Nielsen this year found that 17%—nearly 1 in 5—active gamers are LGBTQ,” she claimed. “And yet, in our analysis of currently available console games, we found that games with LGBTQ characters or storylines account for less than 2% of all games.

“We are nearly invisible in game representations despite being a significant percentage of gamers.”

First of all, Ellis is stretching the definition of “significant” as 17 percent fails to meet most metric standards of significance.

Second of all, given that a UCLA study from late 2023 found that 5.5 percent of American adults are gay… a roughly two percent “representation rate” in video games is not that far off from reality.

(And given that the most famous video game in the world involves an Italian plumber who travels via dimension-bending pipes, it’s odd to even care about “realism” in video games.)

“LGBTQ gamers also experience alarming levels of harassment,” Ellis continued. “This must change. GLAAD, together with game companies and industry leaders on our Game Advisory Council, is committed to not only increase LGBTQ representation in games, but create a safer gaming culture for LGBTQ gamers.”

Written like someone who has never actually picked up a gamepad, Ellis’ consternation about “alarming levels of harassment” reeks of someone who has never actually competed (or even played video games) in her life.

Are there “alarming levels of harassment” in video games? Given that you’re giving pre-teens a taste of keyboard protection, of course, there are.

But to suggest that it’s specifically targeted at LGBT people is absurd. I’ve lost count of the number of times I, an Asian man, was called the n-word by a prepubescent punk in a “Call of Duty” lobby.

Gamers, very generally, can be immature and scummy — that behavior isn’t exclusively reserved for LGBT people.

The report itself claimed: “There are several reasons for the lack of LGBTQ representation in the game industry. Some reasons for exclusion are passive. Often, game companies have not considered that they should represent LGBTQ people, nor do they see us as a major part of the core gaming audience.

“Some reasons for exclusion are active. Companies worry about pushing away a core audience that they assume are resistant or hostile to LGBTQ content.

“This imagined core audience, however, is a myth, and it is one of the reasons it was paramount for GLAAD to create this gaming report. LGBTQ gamers are a significant part of the existing active gamer market and, by and large, non-LGBTQ gamers are not nearly as resistant to this content as many assume.

“Gaming represents a vast and lucrative market. By some measures, the global revenue from video games exceeds that of the film and music industries combined. Despite its reach, the game industry is out of step with contemporary media in terms of LGBTQ representation, and it is failing its LGBTQ consumers.”

This is the part of the report where I’d be remiss not to remind the reader (and GLAAD) that LGBT activism is a decidedly Western endeavor.

This GLAAD report seems to be aggressively ignoring the fact that other cultures aren’t nearly as in lockstep with the LGBT as the West is. And it’s just an aggressively stupid standard to apply to anything.

Take Pokémon, for example.

They are the ultimate example of a kid-friendly game (I’ve often pejoratively referred to Pokémon as “My First RPG”) aimed at families.

Modern Pokémon games only allow you to select a girl or boy as your avatar, and while the game’s stories can involve things like space exploration, time travel, and dimension-hopping, there’s never been much to say about any romantic storylines (straight, gay or otherwise) that’s ever been in any game.

Is GLAAD really dinging Pokémon for only giving you the option for selecting a male or female avatar?

Apparently so, which should tell you everything you need to know about this report.

Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.

Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.

Birthplace

Hawaii

Education

Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.

Location

Phoenix, Arizona

Languages Spoken

English, Korean

Topics of Expertise

Sports, Entertainment, Science/Tech

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