Gayble

I want to add a new tag–a new series of posts, not in direct succession of each other.

Fanny Fridays
, a concept I had a while ago, is something I abandoned because I realized (back when I was posting more frequently) that I was delaying posts just to post them on a specific day. Considering how often my interest is piqued by gender and sex, it began to feel more like a hindrance and one that wasn’t conducive to my own writing.

This tag I wish to add will be more focused and not tied to a single day.

Based loosely on the concept of a television show’s writer’s bible, I wish to write a series of posts giving suggestions of ways to include gay characters. Some of the backlash on Resident Evil 5 has been that this is why games don’t include black characters. It seems an argument full of folly, and hardly conducive to actual discussion. It does not address the larger issues at hand.


The idea occurred to me some months ago while watching a coming out/of age Canadian film that actually spoke to me, a person who has consumed enough coming out literature and film to have grown particularly jaded of the genre’s predictability. Analyzing it more closely, I came to realize why it did so and wrote about it in a personal journal. This then means that what I will be writing will be applicable to storytelling more broadly, not just to videogames.

Since many videogames do include a story, I feel this is applicable in terms of not only scripted-out tales, but those that allow more player input. Part of the series would also be dissecting and examining how examples from different media have worked, seeking to use games when applicable (though the examples there are rather thin). When using other media, I would hope to then examine how to implement it in games. Different media, different strengths, different possibilities, different hurdles.

Here’s what I do not wish this series to be: myself dictating a strict set of terms that draws a line. A common theme among my posts will likely be that sexuality in itself does not define all gay people, and when it does, there is something further to be said about the world around those characters (after all, many of these worlds videogames inhabit are not our own–are not fed by our history). That being said, there is still a wide range of possibilities along that spectrum of performance. No, I would prefer this series to be an engagement.

Having been the only out person in my high school and among only a handful at Wabash College, I have often been placed in the position of having to explain everything gay. I can’t, and it was a mantle I would often take on with a sense of discomfort. It’s not within my experience to relate all experiences. Hence engagement–I want you to challenge my own assumptions, add your own thoughts, and help me create a space and set of guiding principles to consider.

Because of the nature of this series, it will also include where sexuality intersects with race, gender, class, sex, et cetera. As a firm believer that one cannot simply extricate one of these factors from all the others, it will be beneficial to have as many different voices as possible helping me write this.

I will start in the next few days with the concept of coming out of the closet, and examine why certain stories succeed and others do not (also why this depends on the person experiencing it). If you have any suggestions or topics you hope to see me cover, please leave them.

N.B. I do not expect I will be serious all the time, and hope to not be didactic in my approach to this. For this reason, Cap’n Perkins suggested I use the term Gayble to merge the concept of homosexuality and the writer’s bible with some measure of silliness. I agreed.

About Denis Farr

Writer interested in intersectionality, games, comics, nerdy stuff in general, theater, and how it all mixes. Graduate of Wabash College, with studies in Theater, English, German, and Gender Studies.
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4 Responses to Gayble

  1. Everytime someone advocates for gay characters in games, I always feel guilty as I tend to forget about them. =/ To be honest though, I don’t much care about any specific demographic, just any person of color or varied sexual orientation would be fine for me.Everytime I think of such a character (preferably a protagonist), my mind wanders to my two favorite types of games…Stealth and Horror. I mean, it kind of goes against your sexual statement (and it runs the risk of steretotyping gay people), but sticking a homosexual character in Silent Hill for example, makes me wonder how one could take that game. Hell, I’d even suggest a African American in Silent Hill in a 1940’s backdrop.On the other hand, badass social minorities in general don’t really fit in the stealth genre either. Snake, Gabe, Altair, Garret, Sam…all are your typical roughly Caucasian character designs. Sure, I could use the fanboy argument to say that Snake is half Japaense and whatnot, but that’s not really my point. Hell, I’d be appreciative of a game that shows a female assassin or something, taking into account their reasonable individual perspectives on life.Hispanic characters only appearing in games like GTA these days is kind of sad. Hell, even most JRPGs don’t offer a wide variety of individuals to associate with. I wonder how tied this image is to the fundamentalist argument (which I detest) that a video-game must be a fun escapist hobby above all else? Touching on certain issues can rarely be called fun…seems like a barrier to entry to me.~sLs~

  2. Carlee says:

    I have often seen a movie or read a book, and thought “now why couldn’t this character be gay?” It seems so silly to not have it. And then when the occasion comes that a gay character is the main character in a book, it doesn’t represent “real life” just “gay life.”If there are so many colors in the rainbow and so many colors in the morning sun, so many colors in the flowers, why can’t we all see every single one? I feel like I should start researching film and screenplay writing so that I can make that crappy B actor fantasy movie with dragons for the SciFi channel, where the rebellious princess is a lesbian, and she’s with the stable hand that’s actually a genetic girl. And the story can continue like we’d all expect: princess rebels, finds dragon with help of peasant soul mate, fight evil duke, live happily ever after.

  3. Denis Farr says:

    @SLS: See, the thing that automatically jumps to my mind that it provides different nuances dependent upon setting. I agree that more variance in race, sex, sexuality, and gender expression is something I’d like to see, though I’m focusing on sexuality right now because it happens to be what I feel the most comfortable addressing (I’d love to see the same for the other topics).In the case of horror, it could certainly add a suspense based upon our own understanding of a social norm, rather than just creeping us out with the latest monster to jump out of a shadowy corner (as some of the poorer imitations have been doing).Then we have stealth, which adds a component that I find intriguing to explore the concept of the other. If these are people who are best served by not being seen in certain situations, it offers both the threat and the goal.I think the problem with fun is that its definition is often very subjective. Myself? I’m finding the challenge of reading something like deep philosophical texts as fun–which is not the case for everyone. There is also the case that a game does not have to be particularly long, and with more distribution methods, I believe we’ll see more options for such to exist. If something is uncomfortably shedding light on our own society, I’d agree that it shouldn’t necessarily be 60+ hours long.It’s all something with which we haven’t fully experimented. But games have so much exploration still ahead of them.

  4. Denis Farr says:

    @Carlee: Welcome to my frustration with a lot of media. In many cases of heterosexual characters, it can be easy to overlook it, because it’s the default and what we expect. It’s when in contrast with seeking LGBT literature, films, et cetera that are usually not as well produced and whose stories are so specific as to not speak to me that I grow frustrated.

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