So it was with a very heavy heart (and sadly, utter lack of shock) when a friend pointed me towards this article: http://latining.tumblr.com/post/14156727
Sadly, she's not wrong. Tabletop role-playing is and seems intent on remaining a white male's dominion. Too many participants enjoy using gaming as an excuse to throw away social mores and act like... well... terrorists to those who aren't like them.
I hate this. I really hate this because so many people are striving to blacken the art that I love best. Over the past few decades we've seen more non-White non-Male non-CIS gamers embrace the hobby. I've really enjoyed trading perspectives with them and seeing what interesting things come out of those narratives; I feel that I'm much richer for it. And yet we still do... well, this. Something absolutely inexcusable and something beyond tolerating.
I remember participating in a game a couple years back where I was playing a female character; and throughout the game, one of the gamers' characters (a thin expy of himself) interactions with mine generally included the words 'stupid bitch' or some other gender-targeted slur. If this is what I got from just pretending to be a female for three hours I cannot imagine how much worse this person and people like him must be to actual women! I have a standing policy that he (and others like him) are not welcome in any game that I run; but that's barely a slap on the wrist to someone like that, who is no doubt emotionally rewarded for his intolerant misogyny by others in the gaming community who share his particular brand of sickness. Happy ending, though... I haven't seen this guy at any convention I've attended recently. I hope to high Heaven that he's been banned.
Speaking of which, creating spaces that are intolerant of intolerance is probably the best thing that we (gamers) can do to push back against this trend. If you're living in the Bay Area, the best convention I've ever attended (and I will move heaven and earth to never miss this con) is the Big Bad Con (http://www.bigbadcon.com/
). This convention is explicitly tolerant along the entire spectrum (gender, gender identity, sexuality, etc) and is filled with the best gamers I have ever known. Every year that I've attended this con, I've left with a few new friends and gaming sessions so intense that I can still remember them almost verbatim years later. This is a place for friends, no matter their shape or form or belief.
I want to see more gaming spaces like this created. Not 'safe spaces' but spaces that are outright intolerant of intolerance. Places where you can be celebrated for who you are rather than just tolerated because we don't wanna rock the boat. And then I want to be a part of as many of these spaces as I can, because the rewards have always been rich.