Ga(y)mer Pride: Video game company EA declares June as LGBT Pride Month
For the next item on the list of things One Million Moms can rally against, may we suggest every video game ever made by video game designer Electronic Arts (EA)?
On the first of June, the video game giant, makers of popular games like Mass Effect 3, Star Wars: The Old Republic and The Sims 3, declared the entire month of June as LGBT Pride Month at the company. To celebrate, they will be walking in the Pride Parades in Seattle and San Francisco. And... really, that's about as much as they've announced.
But, still, even bringing the words "gay" and "pride" near the volatile, primarily straight video game masses is a bold step indeed. Gay characters in video games have regularly been met with intense criticism from homophobic fans and nervous parents who are worried that seeing same-sex video game options will suddenly make their children erupt with attractions to the same sex. (Whereas, their minds are of course immune to seeing intensely graphic violence by now...)
Earlier this year, EA came under fire from fundamentalists when they included options for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters in their Star Wars: The Old Republic. The Florida Family Association called the game "propaganda" and the President of the Christian lobbying group Family Research Council actually said the words, "the biggest threat to the Empire [is] homosexual activists."
In response, EA's Vice President of corporate communications, Jeff Brown, told Game Industry International, "EA has not been pressured by any groups to include LGBT characters in our games. However, we have met with LGBT groups and sponsored industry forums to discuss content and harassment of players in online forums. We do put options for same-sex relationships in our games; we don't tolerate hate speech on our forums."
As the scope of video game worlds expands exponentially with new advancements in technology, it only makes sense that we would see more diversity in the characters represented. Bioware and EA have both mentioned they will continue to make these options available to represent all of their console players.
What's surprising is that, with the anonymity and lack of corporeal bodies in the interactive video game world, there isn't already more acceptance of queer identities in the gaming community than there is in the rest of the population. Somehow, the threat of the ominous "gay agenda" still lurks in the nervous minds of far too many.
But with strides of visibility and support from prominent companies like EA, the slow march toward equality promises to eventually reach every corner of the (digital) universe.