Why Pride Month matters in the games industry

Every year, June marks Pride Month – a month dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ+ communities all around the world. This year marks the 50th year of pride. Pride month takes place in June because that’s when the Stonewall riots took place in the US in 1969, changing gay rights for a lot of people not only in America, but around the world too.

Pride Month is not just about the celebration of people coming together in love and friendship, but also to show how far LGBTQ+ rights have come, and that there’s still more to be done. It’s a defined month for highlighting acceptance, and equality and raising awareness for issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community. In this post, we want to explore queer representation and what that means for the video games industry and why it matters.

Why queer representation in people who make games matters

Queer representation in games studios helps drive a diverse work environment and promotes a culture where everyone is welcomed and supported. We asked some of our Third Kinders about why this matters, and responses highlighted that it means that they feel they can be themselves at work without any judgment. So often we can feel isolated within a company if we don’t see any support or visibility of people like us, whether that’s LGBTQ+ or other under-represented groups such as those based on religion, ethnicity, and disabilities. By having the support groups that we have at TKG we can be there as a safety net for our team who identity within the LGBTQ+ umbrella and may need support (or equally those who are considering coming out at work for the first time). Our support group is also there as a means of educating those in the wider team who don’t identify as LGBTQ+ on topics they may not be aware of, as well as ask questions within a safe space. All of this contributes to ensuring that TKG is upholding its welcoming values for anyone who joins us and allowing them to feel safe being themselves at work.

Representation in the games industry

Based on the figures identified in the Ukie Games Industry Census for 2022 3% of people working in the UK games industry are openly identifying as non-binary, which is higher than the general public. It also shows that 12% of the games industry are identifying under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, which is again higher than the general population. This figure may well be higher too, and some people may have opted not to openly share their sexuality and/or gender identities in the survey. Given this higher percentage, it is super important that we get it right as an industry in supporting our LGBTQ+ colleagues, friends and teams.

How video games can help LGBTQ+ people feel like themselves

As well as representation amongst the teams who make the games themselves, LGBTQ+ representation in games is also hugely important because it comes down to the fact of seeing yourself in the media you’re consuming. Games are slowly catching up on this front and there is something to be said for the comfort of seeing a representation of yourself in games. Games have the added bonus of being a very immersive experience and one that can really guide a player through a story. And when it comes to telling an LGBTQ+ story through a game, it really does have the potential for the player to empathise with the character and their story. Even for LGBTQ+ people, there is an educational aspect to it too – we may not be able to know how a trans person feels as they go through their own journey so even within the community, we can get a glimpse into how it may feel for someone to go through that.

Our top games for queer representation recommendations

We asked some of our team to share their top game recommendations for queer representation which we’re super excited to share with you. Life is Strange The internet broke into a bit of a fandom moment surrounding Chloe—one of the main characters from the first game—into whether she was bi or lesbian. More recently there’s been the instalment of ‘Tell Me Why’ which goes through the story of twins, one of which now identifies as trans and it’s a fantastic game to get a better understanding of some of the challenges people may face. Hades The developers made it very nonchalant that the player has the option to choose to romance Thanatos and didn’t feel the need to hinge the plot around it. It also doesn’t play up to the stereotypes that can sometimes be used surrounding these points where it’s made overly femme or camp. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it’s good to break away from the stereotypes and it felt refreshing. The Sims A game that we’ve probably all played a lot of growing up, it’s a great way to fulfil our fantasies from dating recreations of celebs to being able to romance people that were the same sex. Recently they’ve done a great job at allowing players to create their Sims and express themselves more authentically with the inclusion of if they can become pregnant and choosing if they present more masculine or feminine in their clothing choices. If Found A lovely indie game that is easily played over the course of an evening curled up on the sofa but can really help people understand the struggles of being accepted by your family and friends for trying to be yourself. Did you know? Steam also has a category dedicated to LGBTQ+ games - check it out here.

Recent Posts

See All