There is so much wrong with a Diversity Lounge

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Oh boy! The white knights and LGBT community are up in arms again in the gaming media, after leaked plans of the PAX Diversity Lounge were picked up by Indie Statik. PAX has led the way with their anti-booth babe stance and now they are opting to create a safe place at their convention for people to find out more about diversity.

They classify diversity as women, LGBTQ (when did Q get added?), people of colour, disabled people and those with mental health issues.

So pretty much everyone except white males. If you want the full break-down then check out these two images of the plan that PAX is putting into place, click to embiggen.

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Now I expected the usual band of feminists and LGBT (and sometimes Q?) people  to jump on this bandwagon and shout out from the rooftops about how great Penny Arcade are for not only acknowledging this side of the gaming industry but also for creating this place for them to feel safe at the convention.

But that’s not happened. In fact Penny Arcade are now being attacked for taking this stand.

“For instance, why can’t the entire PAX space be explicitly marked as a safe space? Why does it appear that this is going to be the only area where someone might not feel threatened because of their ‘biological gender?’”

“There are the added concerns about the “diversity specialists” on hand to teach people about diversity in the gaming industry. Who are they, and who is vetting them? Why have these individuals been chosen to specifically represent queer gamers or woman gamers, or gamers of color?”

That’s from the writer of the article itself but the comments are even better. First up we have Vince who doesn’t really seem to know his history that well.

“Apartheid but for gaming conventions?”

Dear Vince, the diverse people aren’t being forced into the Diversity Lounge nor are they barred from the main hall.

And then we get the white male defenders:

“So, as a straight white male, will I be able to get in? Is there gonna be a privilege check at the door, with genital inspection specialists on hand to judge whether I’m too cis to enter? I hope they provide a non-diversity lounge so people like me can have a place to not feel judged and excluded for not being diverse enough.”

But let’s leave all of that for now and go back in time to when I wrote about the Gaymercon that was planned in America to cater specifically for the diverse group that PAX is talking about. At that time I wrote

“How can you honestly expect the heterosexual world to treat you equally if you are going out of your way to separate yourselves from everyone else. It’s ludicrous, if you want to go to a gaming convention then go to E3, PAX, Gamescom or any other of the many that are going around.”

And in the comments and on Twitter I was called out for not understanding, not being empathetic and taking the typical privileged viewpoint. Yet now when PAX offers something specifically for them they are being shot down for segregation.

There is no winning with some people and I for one would love to see these Diversity Lounges shut down and for everyone in the gaming industry to just get on with their own lives.

I simply do not believe that our community is more abusive to anyone regarding their race, colour, religion or sexual preferences than any other community. In fact I think the gaming industry is leading the way in being open and accepting to everyone. Hell we even have games where people of colour and females are leading characters and people don’t bat an eyelid. 

Mass Effect allows you to be homosexual and besides Fox News no one else really cared. It’s nearly 2014 and in most, if not all, developed countries the idea of a woman being the boss, or people marrying over the colour line or people loving whoever they want is absolutely normal.

Yes you have some overly emotional people who never feel like they fit in but that’s never going to change. Some people just don’t feel comfortable in their own skin and that’s okay as well. We’re not going to force you to change and we accept you for whoever you choose to be.

Last Updated: December 19, 2013

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