Pandora Boxx, gamer and American McGee’s Alice cosplayer, explained that it was hard to be a drag queen. “Sometimes the makeup stick pokes me in the eye.” After she left, I (a third-wave feminist) turned to GaymerX’s director of business development, Kayce Brown (a lesbian). I asked, “What’s a makeup stick?” Brown’s reply? “I have no idea.”
GaymerX was a true come-as-you-are convention for the LBGTQ who happen to be gamers or the gamers who happen to be LBGTQ.
This cross between these two cultures bred a very specific humor. An attendee pointed out the room for board games and said, “This is the tabletop room. Where’s the table bottom room?”
A security guard standing in front of the room then muttered, “That’s the fifth time I’ve heard this today.”
The ribald and geeky humor didn’t stop there. The drag queen who emceed Sunday’s costume competition while dressed as Storm told the audience, “I’ll show you my blowing powers.”
For those who were there for the games, attendees enjoyed panels relevant to both the gamer and gay communities (such as “Crossplay Photography: Techniques to Enhance the Illusion”), as well as speakers such as David Gaider (Bioware), John Lowrie (the voice of the Sniper in Team Fortress 2), and Ellen McLain (the voice of GLaDOS in Portal)…who, in an awww-inspiring moment, helped a gaymer propose marriage to his soon-to-be-husband.
GaymerX had 3000 members – twice the number that the organizers thought would hop on board this gamer train.
Blake Peterson, a freelance writer for GameRevolution.com, related that during a panel on Kickstarter, the organizers of the convention confessed that they had only expected their Kickstarter supporters to show up. However, hundreds more showed up at the door on Saturday.
“Pretty much every panel I’ve been to has been almost overflowing or too busy for people to come in,” Peterson said.
This is despite the fact that, according to Peterson and other GameRevolution reporters on a panel about gaming journalism, the convention was underreported.
Attendee Sarah Gunn said, “I’m really surprised at the turnout, I really expected it to be a hundred people. I think it’s going to do even better next year. The second the big boys figure out they can make money off of it, they’ll be here. It did well with barely any advertising at all.”
When you consider that the gay market is worth a whopping $790 billion, the games industry ignores this group at their peril.
Personally, I genuinely enjoyed the convention because I got to mix and mingle and talk about games. And chat about Supernatural. And hear two men sing a Pokémon duet. And meet some wonderful, fun, and interesting people.
Even though I still don’t know what a makeup stick is.
GaymerX2 is currently being planned for 2014.
Carol Pinchefsky is a freelance writer. She lives in NYC with her husband and their books. Some of her writing can be found at www.carolpinchefsky.com.