This started as a Pride month post.
Then last week happened.
I struggle to find the words to express the deep exhaustion and frustration shared amongst peers as so much is rapidly sliding backward, as we struggle to find purpose in a world growing in its hatred toward us and toward our most vulnerable. Part of me understands the responsibility of representing Pride, LGBTQ+ identities, and inclusion. Especially right now. But it's scary how hard it is to feel safe and how easy it is to stay small, keep quiet, and just hide.
Being out, proud, and visible is complicated. The rising increase of anti-trans bills. Don’t say gay. Denying or restricting life-affirming care for children. Aligning queerness with grooming kids. Measures focused on controlling, scaring, and humiliating trans kids (or anyone who doesn’t fit someone else’s ideas of what is masculine or feminine enough). Active harm and alienation directed toward trans children. The constant emphasis on the risks to kids from gay boogiemen while children are still being murdered in classrooms by actual monsters with guns. And through all of this, power structures that are unwilling to instill any significant preventative change are standing idly by, scanning the horizon for scapegoats, seemingly oblivious to the homegrown terrorism that has made its way into nearly every facet of our culture in order to normalize itself.
This started as a Pride month post about how attacks on queerness are canaries in coal mines for broader issues, how we must always remember that Pride started not as a celebration, but as resistance.
White supremacy grows more confident every day, nurtured by 4chan and gamergate, then given wings by the previous (and current) administration. It constantly and consistently pummels us with atrocities until we cannot escape an environment overflowing with horrible things, too many to keep track and fight back against them all. It's a system designed to shut us down by desensitizing us to the onslaught and by moving the goalposts of what state-sanctioned inhumanities toward others we're willing to tolerate. It's a system of control over the marginalized and different, of control over those who have always had to fight to maintain their autonomy under systemic oppression. The overturning of Roe v. Wade hits a far wider swath of us than the attacks on BLM and LGBTQ+ rights combined and sets a precedent for a far more troubling future.
This started as a Pride month post about why we weren’t going to do any of the usual “queerness in games” episodes that usually come up during Pride. We’ve done plenty of those already, and that kind of isolated and tokenized treatment simply isn’t as applicable or appropriate anymore. We'd rather have discussions throughout the year as part of our regular normalizing discourse instead of tucking it conveniently away and compartmentalizing it to “the gay month." We are not interested in prioritizing other people's discomfort while sidelining queerness to stay small, keep quiet, and hide during the rest of the year.
It has become increasingly clear that a neutral stance (or a lack of any stance at all) is in itself a statement, and one we are not interested in aligning with anymore. It is past time for us to be clear:
Those of us behind Gamers With Jobs believe that Black lives matter, trans rights are human rights, climate change/science is real, and accessibility/healthcare are human rights. We are pro-choice, for more gun control, and believe in police abolition/reform. We support indigenous rights and the plight of MMIW and children. We strive to be feminist and anti-racist, and choose to embrace the socialist ideals of community over company and people over profits.
Though games allow all of us to get away from the world from time to time, that does not absolve us as an organization from being uninvolved in what’s happening in the rest world. Remaining neutral is no longer a reflection of who we are or what we stand for.
Happy Pride. Never stop fighting.