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“Gaymer”, a portmanteau of the words “gay” and “gamer,” is an umbrella term for people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) within the video gaming community.
The earliest known use of the term was posted in a personal ad to the alt.personals Usenet group on April 20th, 1991, in which a “gay role-playing enthusiast” referred to himself as a “gaymer.”
On June 10th, 2006, Washington D.C.-based LGBT weekly newspaper Washington Bladereported that social scientist Jason Rockwood conducted a survey of gay video gamers titled “Gaymer Survey,”which consisted of 91 questions about gaming habits and sexual identity.
In April 2007, Gaymer.org founder Chris Vizzini attempted to procure a trademark for the term “gaymer.” In March 2008, Vizzini obtained the trademark. On January 11th, 2011, the /r/gaymers subreddit was launched for discussions regarding the LGBTQ gaming community. In September 2012, Vizzini issued the subreddit a cease and desist letter to change the name of the subreddit. On August 22nd, 2013, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) reported that Vizzini had surrendered his trademark after EFF staff and law firm Perkins Coie urged the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel Vizzini’s trademark.
LGBTQ Guild in World of Warcraft
In January 2006, World of Warcraft player Sara Andrews launched an in-game LGBTQ guild titled “Oz,” which she advertised in the game’s general chat channel. After a Blizzard staff member threatened to ban Andrews for creating the guild, the company apologized for the administrator’s actions.
GaymerX is a video gaming convention which features panels focused on issues facing the LGBTQ gamer community. On August 1st, 2012, San Francisco resident Matt Conn launched a Kickstarter campaign for the first conference originally titled “GaymerCon,” which received over $90,000 of its $25,000 goal in one month.
The conference was renamed GaymerX and held on August 3rd to the 4th, 2013 in San Francisco, California. In March 2014, a Kickstarter for a second GaymerX conference was launched, which received upwards of $24,200 over its $10,000 goal that month. The conference is scheduled to be held at the InterContinental Hotel in San Francisco from July 11th to the 13th in 2014.
Tomodachi Life Controversy
On April 26th, 2014, Vimeo user Tye Marini uploaded a video titled “#Miiquality” urging viewers to tell Nintendo to add same-sex relationships to the upcoming international release of the Nintendo 3DS game Tomodachi Life (shown below).
On May 7th, Nintendo responded with a statement to the Associated Press, which defended the exclusion of same-sex relationships in the game:
“Nintendo never intended to make any form of social commentary with the launch of Tomodachi Life. The relationship options in the game represent a playful alternate world rather than a real-life simulation. We hope that all of our fans will see that ‘Tomodachi Life’ was intended to be a whimsical and quirky game, and that we were absolutely not trying to provide social commentary.
The ability for same-sex relationships to occur in the game was not part of the original game that launched in Japan, and that game is made up of the same code that was used to localize it for other regions outside of Japan."