I was getting ready to post the next rant of mine, and this video was recommended, so I clicked and what I say made me giggle, made think, and made me bouncy.
The creativity and situational positioning of some of these signs, made me so happy. In these dark times when the haters attack us with all their might, we need to remember to smile and to remember why being alive, gay and proud is so fantastic.
Here’s my own contribution, paraphrased from a few wonderful signs
“Solomon had 700 wives, and 300 concubines… can I just have one wife (and maybe a couple of concubines for us to share)”
I realized something today, and that is that gay and lesbian marriage exists in every country. It exists in Iran, in Saudia Arabia, and it exists in Alabama. Every day, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual, Questioning, Intersex, Pansexual, Polyamorous, Queer, and Asexual people form life long unions that are as strong and vital as heterosexual marriage.
We’ve been doing this since long before humans learned how to stand up right, in every society and in every culture we have had marriage. We’ve been persecuted, brutalized, tortured and subjected to genocides and pogroms as bad as any other in history, BUT we’ve kept fighting and being who we are no matter the evil arrayed against us.
Marriage between LGBTQIA peoples have existed always, the only thing we are DEMANDING is that our existing marriages deserve the same recognition that heterosexual marriages have. We are not redefining marriage, we are simply recognizing all marriages that are out there.
BioWare adopted a (sadly) very special and very principled stance in designing one of their recent games, Dragon Age 2. Their stance was simple: relationships are for everybody, whether gay, straight, or anything else in between. You can also have have more than one romance at a time with the game’s characters. In this game, everybody is equal. Too equal, it seems, for one particular straight male gamer who was upset to be on the receiving end of a little flirting from another male character in the game. The reaction of this Straight Male Gamer? – To post a new thread on Bioware’s forums to complain…
To quote the complainant;
To summarize, in the case of Dragon Age 2, BioWare neglected their main demographic: The Straight Male Gamer.
I don’t think many would argue with the fact that the overwhelming majority of RPG gamers are indeed straight and male. Sure, there are a substantial amount of women who play video games, but they’re usually gamers who play games like The Sims, rather than games like Dragon Age. That’s not to say there isn’t a significant number of women who play Dragon Age and that BioWare should forgo the option of playing as a women altogether, but there should have been much more focus in on making sure us male gamers were happy.
Now immediately I’m sure that some male gamers are going to be like “YOU DON’T SPEAK FOR ME! I LOVE DRAGON AGE 2!”, but you have to understand, the Straight Male Gamer, cannot be just lumped into a single category.
Its ridiculous that I even have to use a term like Straight Male Gamer, when in the past I would only have to say fans, …”
The irony of the complaint is clearly astounding. For those that do not play Dragon Age 2, there is yet a further irony in that the Straight Male Gamer clearly has a huge problem with LGBT people being catered to as well rather than a focus based entirely in Straight Male Gamers (and a little on women too, of course, just as an afterthought). but clearly has no problem with the game allowing inter-species romances between the human player controlled character and an Elf! You couldn’t make it up!
The response from BioWare’s David Gaider was exactly fit for purpose. In fact, BioWare delivered a sharp lesson to this gamer on the subject of Straight Male privilege! Kudos to BioWare for that! In fact, BioWare’s response is quoted here precisely because of how word perfect it truly is! Elements have been emboldened for emphasis.
The romances in the game are not for “the straight male gamer”. They’re for everyone. We have a lot of fans, many of whom are neither straight nor male, and they deserve no less attention. We have good numbers, after all, on the number of people who actually used similar sorts of content in DAO and thus don’t need to resort to anecdotal evidence to support our idea that their numbers are not insignificant… and that’s ignoring the idea that they don’t have just as much right to play the kind of game they wish as anyone else. The “rights” of anyone with regards to a game are murky at best, but anyone who takes that stance must apply it equally to both the minority as well as the majority. The majority has no inherent “right” to get more options than anyone else.
More than that, I would question anyone deciding they speak for “the straight male gamer” just as much as someone claiming they speak for “all RPG fans”, “all female fans” or even “all gay fans”. You don’t. If you wish to express your personal desires, then do so. I have no doubt that any opinion expressed on these forums is shared by many others, but since none of them have elected a spokesperson you’re better off not trying to be one. If your attempt is to convince BioWare developers, I can tell you that you do in fact make your opinion less convincing by doing so.
And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as “political correctness” if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.
The truth is that making a romance available for both genders is far less costly than creating an entirely new one. Does it create some issues of implementation? Sure– but anything you try on this front is going to have its issues, and inevitably you’ll always leave someone out in the cold. In this case, are all straight males left out in the cold? Not at all. There are romances available for them just the same as anyone else. Not all straight males require that their content be exclusive, after all, and you can see that even on this thread.
Would I do it again? I don’t know. I doubt I would have Anders make the first move again– at the time, I thought that requiring all romances to have Hawke initiate everything was the unrealistic part. Even if someone decides that this makes everyone “unrealistically” bisexual, however, or they can’t handle the idea that the character might be bisexual if they were another PC… I don’t see that as a big concern, to be honest. Romances are never one-size-fits-all, and even for those who don’t mind the sexuality issue there’s no guarantee they’ll find a character they even want to romance. That’s why romances are optional content. It’s such a personal issue that we’ll never be able to please everyone. The very best we can do is give everyone a little bit of choice, and that’s what we tried here.
And the person who says that the only way to please them is to restrict options for others is, if you ask me, the one who deserves it least. And that’s my opinion, expressed as politely as possible.
BioWare, David Gaider,… That, was AWESOME.
It is true that the gaming world is sadly dominated by Straight Male Gamers. Why? Well, perhaps it’s precisely because the industry has failed to cater to the rest of society so often. So many of us are geeks, and so many of us are gamers, including women and/or LGBT people… and there is absolutely no reason to exclude them. BioWare, it seems, has realised this, and the least the LGBTQIA community can do in return is to acknowledge this fact – and preferably in a way that makes BioWare aware of how welcome and refreshing this attitude is, and how likely it is to pay dividends for them – literally and metaphorically. With that done, hopefully the other big games developers will do likewise.
Thank you, BioWare, for not giving in to the majority. Thank you for letting us in and recognising our equal ‘right’ to play games that we can engage and relate with too!
Do you agree? I hope you do… and if you do, please consider sharing this article to spread the word and give BioWare their reward in reputation and kudos for this, frankly, astoundingly awesome move on their part.
(Update: This story has since been updated here.)
(Follow-up: We were fortunate enough to land an interview with Ernest Adams, who talked to us about equality in gaming.)
Think you’ve seen Brian Brown before NOM?
Here’s one of my favorite Penn and Teller’s Bullshit! about the bullshit of traditional marriage. There are various bits of an interview with a pre-NOM Brian Brown spouting the same BS.
I keep hearing this as a reason why gay marriage should be stopped, because its all part of a slippery slope. Admittedly growing up in a close minded community i assumed that couples were normal, and anything else was odd. However as we grow up we change both in outlook and what we want.
I’ve evolved to the point that in many ways i’m no longer even looking for the one. I’m far from finding a life partner. I do have people who are unbelievably important to me in my life but i don’t think one person would necessarily fill all my needs. I have no plans one way or another, its all part of the journey of personal evolution.
Its a situation today where LGBTQA activists almost shy away from the Poly group because “that’s too weird” and claim that they just want gay marriage nothing more. I see it as a milestone, and also a recognition of the ways families have been throughout all time, only more openly. To quote my favorite example, the only reason that the dried up gene pool of the Royal Families of Europe have not become so inbred they cannot breed is because the royal women have been having enough affairs that new blood has sneaked into the royal bloodlines.
Husbands and Wives had Mistresses and Lovers, you did not necessarily marry who you loved, and quite commonly Husbands and Wives had Lovers and Mistresses…
I don’t want to get ENDA, Marriage equality, DADT repeal and Hate crimes and leave it at that, we need to recognize that our society is evolving to have open relationships between more than 2 people. This is not the abusive Latter Day Saint, or Islamic polygamous practice of having more than one wife, each of which is a separate often competitive relationship to the other wives.
Looking at some of my friends, i’ve seen relationships of more than the norm, and unsurprisingly given the stability of a mature adult relationship, these families are perhaps even stronger than the couples I see around me.
Its about having a group relationship. To give a basic primer, assume you have a relationship of Henry, William and Denise. This means that…
- Henry is married to William and they have a physical and emotional relationship
- Henry is married to Denise and they have a physical and emotional relationship
- William is married to Denis and they also have a physical and emotional relationship
- Henry, William and Denise all share a bed, and are a married triplet who are physically and emotionally committed to each other
While the studies showing LGBTQA parents being wonderful and capable parents are numerous, the social stigma of Polyamorous families has resulted in there not being so many studies, anecdotally from the families I know, the children are some of the most well adjusted and capable children i’ve ever seen.
I know we aren’t going to get legal polyamorous marriages tomorrow, or even when DOMA is finally struck down as evil and bigotted, but those who care about what is right, just and true, need to realize there are fights still to have.
It’ll be a while but one the day I want my child to be able to check out a book from the public library called “Charlie has a Mummy, a Daddy and a Dafu”…