This past weekend, Midboss—the people behind the upcoming game Read Only Memories and producers of the recently-released documentary Gaming in Color—put on their second yearly queer gaming convention at the San Francisco InterContinental Hotel. There was a clear sense of growth from the inaugural event last year. It offered more days, more people, more events and offerings, and a bigger venue in the heart of the city. At the core, though, GaymerX2 held to the same guiding principle that led Matt Conn, and the other volunteers and workers behind the event, to start it in the first place: creating a safe space for gamers of all kinds to come together.
It worked, too. Having attended quite a few fan and gaming events over the past twenty years plus, I’ve never seen as diverse an audience as that of GaymerX. The range of gender identities/presentations, ethnicities, sexualities, body types, and more was incredibly wide. During the closing ceremony, con president Toni Rocca thanked the many attendees who dealt with disabilities, physical and social/psychological, in order to be there (a sentiment the crowd supported with wild applause). At the Different Games conference earlier this year, Rocca spoke about the considerable effort the GaymerX team expended to make that “safe space” feeling a reality, both for the previous year’s con and for this one. Speaking as someone who attended: it showed.
The three-day schedule was packed with events just as diverse as the attendees. A quick look at this year’s schedule shows everything from workshops on writing trans characters, to discussions of queer furry fandom, to LGBTQ game industry pros discussing their experiences coming and being out in the workplace. Guests of honor David Gaider, Mattie Brice, and Colleen Macklin delivered engaging and often hilarious keynote speeches about the intersection of queerness and games. In my opinion, Macklin’s story of how her teen girl crush on her high school gym teacher caused her to get in trouble just so she could run laps and stare at said teacher the entire class took the cake. The first WWE wrestler to be out and currently performing, Fred Rosser (who wrestles as “Darren Young”) was on hand to sign autographs and talk to attendees, and publisher 2K Games was on hand to promote both Take Two’s upcoming WWE 2015 and Gearbox’s Borderlands: the Pre-Sequel.