My @qgcon schedule!

I’m excited to give a talk at this year’s Queer Games Conference in LA!

small-with-date

Gaming as POC: Where the Industry Has Failed Us, Where It Hasn’t and What to Hope For

Abstract:

The games industry has not done POC players, or characters well since the first square smacked a paddle in Pong. As the industry has grown, non white characters have been left behind, or left out entirely. From being absent in genres outside of sports and first person shooters; the gaming landscape has been very pale outside of 2016, where we finally get three black leading men.

However, the reception to the three whole black leads we’ve gotten in games has shown that while the industry has slowly begun to join the rest of us in realizing they are not just leaving money on the table, they are ignoring a large part of their player base that is clamoring for representation from smaller indie studios all the way to AAA blockbusters.

I’ll examine who’s playing games, and dissect responses to the very slow creep towards more diversity by looking at Hangar 13’s Mafia III, UbiSoft’s Watchdogs 2 and EA’s Battlefield 1; how they represent POC and attempt to find out why we’re just getting black men as leads in some franchises, but not women of color, LGBTQIA or other marginalized identities in the lead role.

11:15 AM 1 April, 2017

Micro-talk: Out of Sheer Spite

Abstract:

The title “Out of Sheer Spite” is meant to evoke a line from Maria Bamford’s stand-up routine: “If you stay alive for no other reason at all please do it for spite.” It’s intended to capture not only the feelings of hopelessness that often accompany being a queer person in games (or anywhere) but also the frustration and anger that many of us transmute into motivation to keep going.

In this session of micro-talks, speakers are invited to interpret the theme in any way they like. Coping strategies, abstract musings on the long arc of human history, personal narratives, etc. Speakers include: Kris Ligman, Aevee Bee, Innes McKendrick, Zoe Quinn, Dietrich “Squinky” Squinkifer, and Carli Velocci

5:30 PM 1 April, 2017

I’m on @lessthanorequal #72

I had the honor of visiting with Aleen Sims of Less Than or Equal once more!

#72: Tanya DePass

December 22nd, 2015 · 50 minutes

Tanya and Aleen talk about what’s involved in putting together panels for a diverse conference, how feminism should be for everyone, and podcasting.

Guest Starring: Tanya DePass

Listen on Relay.fm/LTOE or Download the MP3

Links and Show Notes

Tanya on Twitter
Tanya DePass on Patreon
I Need Diverse Games on Patreon
Fresh out of Tokens
Less Than or Equal #33: Tanya DePass
GaymerX: Everyone Games
Dear White People, You Suck At Diversity | TechCrunch
Accidental Tech Podcast
#I Need Diverse Games
GDC
Gen Con

On respecting the boundaries of your bisexual friends – inspired by Neo’s post

The Microaggression by a bi-woman who had a former school mate assume she MUST have a crush on every woman she knows

“Girl:: Oh hey, so you’re bisexual?

Me:: Yeah.

Girl:: Do you have a crush on me then?

Me:: Oh hey, so you’re straight?

Girl:: Yeah.

Me:: Do you have a crush on every guy you meet?

Girl at my old school upon finding out I was bisexual. Made me feel like there was no hope left for humanity.”

Along with neo_prodigy@ Livejournal’s recent post on respecting gay men’s boundaries here combined with the idiocy of Dan Savage (pick anything he’s said about bisexual’s over the last year) has me full of thinky thoughts about the fallacy that bisexual = I want to fuck everything with two legs.

Let’s be clear on that, just because I’m bi does not mean I want to necessarily fuck everything. I have limits and boundaries as I’m sure you do too. To wit; here are those boundaries & limits so no one can say I never told you so.

1. If you are not bi or lesbian; there’s a 100% probably I don’t want you. If you’re straight, you’re straight and thus off limits (That’s my opinion, YMMV)

2. Even if you are bi or lesbian; don’t assume I want to fuck you. I’m not easy and odds are you are likely not my type.

3. What is my type you may ask? Well the one thing that is an absolute requirement you have to be intelligent… you have to be able to carry an intelligent conversation with me or you are not allowed to ride this ride. All the other stuff is negotiable.

4. Don’t ask me stupid questions about being bi; aka so do you have one of each? Partners are not pokemon, I don’t collect them

5. Don’t tell me it’s just a phase and that I’m really lesbian and will figure it out one day. I’m 38, I’m damn sure this isn’t a phase.

6. Don’t assume I know everything about all bisexuals out there. Just like with other things about me, bisexuals are not a hive-mind and I can’t tell you definitive answers regarding every be-all, end-all things bisexual.

7. Don’t reduce my identity to equal sexual activity. I’m more than who I share my bed with as are you.

ETA: 8. Also: I am not magically straight when I am involved with a man. I am not magically a lesbian when I am involved with a woman. My sexual preferences/attractions don’t change based on who I’m in a relationship with, just like you don’t stop finding tall people attractive just because you’re dating a short person. (via zia_narratora @livejournal.com

Lastly, treat me as a person, as your friend and I’ll do the same for you. Respect me and I’ll respect you. If you can’t do that —–> the door is that way, don’t let it hit you on the way out.

Dear Dan Savage, just stop talking about Bisexuals, it’s clear you know NOTHING about us.

I already didn’t like Dan Savage… but goddamn now I’m just bursting with anger. How the fuck, just how the everliving fuck does he even fix his mouth to spout the shit about bisexuals that he continues to let out into the ether?

Via AngryBlackTumblr: Bisexuals You Need to Come Out to Your Friends and Spouses—Now

Dear Dan Savage,

You know his claim as to why Bi’s NEED to come out? So we can basically stop whining about being invisible and do something and claim our spot in the community. You know what, fuck and you Savage.

No one should be forced to be out, in case you haven’t noticed not everyone can safely be out no matter their orientation. A lot of people can’t be out because they will lose their homes, their jobs, their kids, be threatened with bodily harm, and the list goes on. I should not have to declare myself at the LGBTQIA community border for your comfort. I don’t have to declare my orientation so you can pigeon hole me, continually treat me as a red-headed step child in the family because I supposedly can run back to hetero privilege whenever I get too scared.

You don’t speak for me Savage. You don’t get to draw lines in the sand and declare that my bisexuality is valid only because of my age. You don’t get to deny those teen boys (notice girls aren’t even on his radar as valid) their orientation because you claimed being bi as a teen. You are not them, they are not you and you are not the fucking mouthpiece of the entire LGBTQIA movement.

You preach that it gets better for some, but you are employing the same divisive tactics that anti-gay leaning folks use on the community. Just stop talking about things you don’t know, you don’t understand and for fucks sake stop posturing yourself as the be-all-end-all pundit of queer issues. Stick to what you know, which isn’t much.

No love,

Me
ETA: Just a few links I found while Googling Dan Savage + Bisexuality. Almost all links point to some bi-phobic shit he’s said in the past and never apologized for. Come at me again with how he’s not bi-phobic and I’m going to laugh at you.

Queer Women of Color Still Face Racism During Pride, Among Other Things (Repost from Spectra Speaks)

In response to mainstream prides everywhere, including both the racism and sexism that pervades the larger gay community, Queer Women of Color and Friends (QWOC+ Boston) hosts OPTIONZ — in its fifth year — tonight, a highly anticipated annual pride party specifically created to provide a space for lesbian, gay,bisexual, transgender and queer women of color and their friends, supporters, and allies during pride. But as excited as I am about QWOC+ Boston’s work in ensuring that we — women of color — are celebrated and visible during pride, that this is not the main subject of my post. If you follow QWOC+ Boston, you may have noticed on Facebook or any of our other social media channels, that our OPTIONZ party needed to be relocated to a new venue.

The reason for the venue change is that, last-minute, the previous venue, Caprice Lounge, presented me with some new terms: “No Hip Hop music, because of issues we’ve had in the past.”

Now, QWOC+ Boston has had a long-standing relationship with Caprice; we’ve been hosting events at their venue for the past three years. The reason, they gave, for the new policy was due to some recent violence that ensued after a Hip Hop show they hosted. Besides the fact that we’ve never had a single fight break out at a QWOC+ Boston event, it seemed ludicrous that the management had decided to villainize an entire genre of music based on a one-off incident. Something else that really pissed me off is that after informing us that we could not play Hip Hop at our party, we were offered a slew of other genres we could play as substitute including… (wait for it)… Rock music. So while we’re on stereotypes, it’s okay to play angry white man music, but not angry black man music? Wow.

Racist stereotypes aside, I was also only told that we could not play Hip Hop music on Tuesday (just two days before our event), which also seemed shady and manipulative. There had been no mention of this during our earlier communications. So, despite the fact that they’d been pushing for a large venue deposit to be made and incessantly trying to get me to sign a contract that would guarantee them two thousand dollars from the bar (of which I’d be liable if it was not met), I’m just floored that they had the audacity to limit whatever kind of music we played at our party.

So, guess what I said? HELLLL NO!

Okay. Not exactly in those words. I needed to be realistic. Despite the outrage expressed by community members after I’d relayed the incident — including the collective push for us to say goodbye to Caprice, I wasn’t sure it would be possible to find another venue, not during one of the busiest seasons of the year — weddings, graduations, prides etc — with just TWO days to go before the event.

So, rather than be seduced by the opportunity to give Caprice a self-righteous middle finger — and run the risk of having to cancel our pride party altogether —  I told the event coordinator at Caprice to send me the contract with all terms laid out; I would look it over and get back to her. In the meantime, I reached out to other venues comparable in size, and after just one day of mass emails and phone calls, I got lucky.

Market Lounge was big enough to accommodate us. Moreover, they weren’t going to charge us an arm and a leg to use the space (since they had no competing events during our event time). In fact, they seemed excited about getting the business of over 150 pride-ful peeps on a Thursday night. We had struck gold! Or so everyone thought…so  the applause began.

Great decision. Excellent. Yay for saying no to racism! But what I didn’t tell people, was that the new venue had a similar (albeit less overtly racist) dress code policy; a variation of the all too familiar Boston ‘dress code’ which goes something similar to “No hats, no sneakers, no do-rags, no athletic wear… women in dresses/skirts, men in collars etc” was prominently displayed on the wall by the entrance to their establishment. Here’s the picture on the right.

Making a decision based on who was less racist seemed impractical, so we went with this new venue because they were responsive, accommodating of our group last minute, the management agreed to not enforce their dress code policy during our event, and most importantly, they weren’t going to charge us an arm and a leg to bring them business (vs. Caprice that was essentially trying to make us pay them to go against our ideals).

Here’s the thing folks… I’ve been an event organizer for over five years, and I know first hand that most — if not all — downtown club venues have similar racist policies intended to keep “those people” out of their clubs. It doesn’t take a genius to note that these policies are overtly racist. In fact, as you read through the banned items of clothing, you’re almost expecting to come across, “No Black People,” towards the end of the list.

Venue policies are a stark reminder of Boston’s deeply rooted history with racial segregation, but racism isn’t the only issue queer women of color have to deal with.

If I turned my nose up at every venue that had a racist policy, homophobic and/or sexist staff etc, QWOC+ Boston would never have succeeded in pushing the physical boundaries of our community and creating new safe spaces for LGBTQ people of color in the manner in which we have. I daresay our willingness to push through the discomfort of so many tough, frustrating, awkward interactions has created more “ally venues” today for LGBT people of color — and the larger gay community as well as evidenced by a number of organizations / producers hosting events at venues after we’d done so successfully — than if we immediately walked away whenever we faced policies we didn’t agree with.

But this is not to say that we should ignore blatant signs of discrimination. There are venues that I’ll never send a dime of business (and LGBT organizations that I simply refuse to work with) until they’re willing to meet us halfway on the issue of white privilege/racism, male privilege/sexism etc. However, if we are to charter new territory, we must be patient, and more importantly, we must learn to speak the language of the gate keepers. In this case, that means knowing how to use money to send a message.

You should know that once I told Caprice that I was moving the party to a new venue, they came back with an O.K. to play whatever we wanted. This made for a great opportunity to explain that we would NOT be working with them this time around. And whereas, the loss of business may not result in the dissolution of their policy, the owner will remember that he lost a big event — a pride event, big dollars consumed at the bar, ouch — because he dared to broach the subject to the queer women of color who had been repeatedly giving him business for the past three years. (Incidentally, we first worked with Caprice during the second year of OPTIONZ, because we were in a similar situation; the venue we’d been in talks with slapped us with a racist dress code last minute, and wouldn’t budge on enforcing it. Caprice opened their doors to us then, and we’ve been working with them since. Isn’t it ironic, that the venue that has been the most flexible and easy to work with as far as hosting QWOC+ events, is the one being villainized for being racist today?)

I keep going back to the strong push I felt from our community to say F-U to Caprice and stand against racism, and can’t help but wonder if another ism or form of discrimination would have been met with the same level of engagement (and anger). What if I told you that via my work as an event organizer, I’d run into minority-owned/run venues with similar racist music / dress code policies? Can we remind ourselves that in women’s spaces /feminist circles, there is still so much language riddled with homophobia and transphobia? Shoot, I still pray for the day when sexism will be met with as much anger and outrage as racism from Boston’s LGBT community, when the political war being waged against women (via Planned Parenthood funding cuts, the GOP redefining rape etc.) will be treated as seriously by QPOC as they do AIDS/HIV prevention.

It’s easy to call out isms when the perpetrator is perceived to be a straight white man — the icon of patriarchy, which most of us can relate to wanting to take down. But the reality of being a queer woman of color is that you’re burdened with calling out offenses and violations against multiple facets of your identity, and forced to reckon with the harsh truth that your allies in one arena can be your oppressors in another.

Activism, for so many of queer women of color, is a constant negotiation of which ism to address. We don’t have the luxury of snubbing everyone that offends us, or we would have no where to go. We can’t — and shouldn’t have to — fight everyone. As a direct consequence, for queer women of color, standing up for what is ‘right’ in the face of racism, sexism, transphobia, xenophobia — all issues that significantly impact our community — can sometimes mean drastically limiting access to resources that we need as a community. So, whereas we should never compromise our ethics (as in this case — for the sake of a good party), QWOC+ Boston’s work isn’t just about one event, not just about today. I don’t think that I speak out of turn when I say that we all work our asses off so that tomorrow can be better, for everyone.

So, as we march, rally, dance, and speak out during pride, let us not forget those of us who are marginalized within the gay community, those of us who don’t have the luxury of approaching “Equality. No More. No Less,”, per the 2011 Boston Pride theme, as an isolated single issue. Most of the time, I hear louder, more aggressive forms of activism (against one kind of ism) encouraged and celebrated. But today, I feel humble as I reflect on the patience and perseverance that must have been maintained by my mentors and predecessors against so many injustices, that have enabled me to come this far. I celebrate you. I salute you. And I wish you all a happy pride.

WGYB Project is still alive, and we’re still taking your stories

We Got Your Back Project is still alive and still seeking submissions!

I had a chance to talk the project up at Gay Is the New Black? Event hosted by JF tonight. Hopefully this will generate some interest and new submissions.

Can I ask a favor? Can anyone who comes across this post please signal boost this project for me & whereisjoy? We don’t want to see it die but to thrive it needs stories, your stories so that our POC-LGBTQIA youth know that they are not alone and just because someone says its gets better, that it may not apply to them.

Sumbission Info

Submission guidelines are below. If you come across something you think would be good for posting, please email us at wegotyourbackproject@gmail.com or tweet at us WGYBProject on Twitter.

Thanks for your interest in contributing to the “We Got Your Back” Project! We are accepting videos and written statements that share how the lives of LGBTQIA people get better when we have each others back. Give some hope to LGBTQIA youth by telling them how your own life improved. To submit, send an email to wegotyourbackproject@gmail.com We request that posts meet the following guidelines:

Videos: Please keep videos to no more than 8 minutes maximum. If you have a video on YouTube or Vimeo, please submit a link to the video and a brief description.

Length: 2,500 word maximum. (Please note, longer posts may be broken up into several posts on the project)

Language: Feel free to use adult language, however please warn for swearing or other adult and/or potentially triggering language in your post at the beginning. If you do share potentially triggering material, we ask that you use the “more” tag to put it behind a cut.

Permission to repost/share your content: Please indicate to us whether or not you consent to the sharing of your material outside of this project when you submit your post and/or video.

Introducing… The We Got Your Back Project

So… Joy E. came up with a nifty idea. A project where LGBTQIA youth, straight allies, adults and others could share their stories to encourage and strengthen youth who may be getting bullied, harassed and otherwise mistreated for being who they are. This project will make sure that lgbtqia of color, bisexual and transgendered folks will not be left out of the work of telling their stories and having their voices heard.

Yes, I know some of you are thinking… but there’s already a similar project out there! Well, yes there is but whereisjoy and I wanted to be sure everyone’s voice is heard, that everyone is able to share their story in the hopes it would give strength to others who are dealing with coming out, being out and bullied as well just for being who they are.

This idea is just a wee idea, barely out of the box and we need your help to make sure it thrives. What we need help with is:

Contributors; anyone who falls within the LGTBTQI & A spectrum, allies, anyone who has been touched by the injustice of having their voices silenced or drowned out by the masses.

A couple people to be editors; to help with reviewing content, posting and maintaining the site (which is now a WordPress site). Please note that the site is pretty bare at the moment, and we are adding content, submission guidelines and such over the next couple of weeks.

As the project grows, we hope to have someone who is media savvy, who can talk to the local LGBTQIA media, and deal with the issues that will arise from creating a project similar to one that already exists. Please note that we are not doing this to be in direct competition with the It Gets Better Project, but rather to supplement and give everyone a voice who may not feel as if they will be heard otherwise.

For now, please spread the word about this project, what we hope to do and most importantly the soft launch date of mid-October 2010. In the interim, please leave questions here, if you want your question discussed off site want to have a longer chat, email us at: wegotyourbackproject@gmail.com

So there’s the great idea, let’s make sure it not only learns to crawl but learns to soar.

Something to think about… a thoughtful piece on bi prejudice

…and it’s re-posted here with her permission. A thoughtful piece on bi-prejudice.

Common misconceptions regarding bisexuality which anger me greatly:

(Homosexual – gay and lesbian; “you” – a general “you” and not anyone in particular.)

You’re really homosexual but afraid to admit it.

No. If you’re saying this, you’re effectively saying that bisexuality isn’t real. People used to say, and some still do, that homosexuality doesn’t exist, and lesbians are just afraid of penises or hate men, and gay men identify with their moms too much or something. Saying that self-identified bisexuals are really something else is precisely the same as expressing those anti-homosexual opinions.

You only date other-sex people because you’re afraid of social/familiar response, so you’re really straight.

And homosexual men have married women and homosexual women have married men. It didn’t make them heterosexual. That a person may be afraid to realize their sexuality means that there’s something they’re afraid to realize, not that there isn’t such a thing.

Bisexuals are more prone to cheating. If you’re attracted to both sexes, how can you be happy with just one?

That someone is potentially attracted to both men and women doesn’t mean that the person they love has to be both. It doesn’t take a bisexual to be attracted to characteristics which cannot all exist in the same person. Put in a rather ludicrous way, how can someone who’s attracted to both blondes and redheads stay loyal? The same way.

Self-identified bi people who only date one sex, usually the other one, do it to impress people or they’re a reason for some bi people to not identify as such.

Maybe some do it to look cool, but I think a lot of them are just afraid. Just like some heterosexuals are afraid to date someone they’re attracted to but who’s of a different social class or “racial” descent, or some homosexuals end up in relationships with other-sex people or avoid relationships at all.

And how can this be a reason for bi people to not say they’re bi? Only if they’re afraid that should they say it, no one will believe it. This isn’t because of the people suppsedely giving bisexuality a bad or false name. This is because of the people who think bisexuality isn’t real, or is always some sort of remitting homosexuality. (Sometimes it is. Not always.)

And even if those closeted bi people lay the blame on the other, scared bi people… Just because someone is of a certain group doesn’t mean they’re immune to holding prejudice against it themselves, implicit or explicit. If they were, then teens and adults of minority groups wouldn’t be more prone to depression, self-harm and such.

Don’t call me anti-bi! I have bi friends!

I believe you. I believe you have bi friends, I believe that you consciously hold pro-rights views, I believe that you have and will defend bisexuals and other minorities. I really do believe that you mean no harm.

I also know that implicit prejudice is real. “Implicit prejudice” is when an opinion or a reason that at first glance appear harmless really aren’t, but express a social bias so deeply ingrained that most of us don’t notice it anymore, even those of us with the most pro-rights views and best intent. If those of us who are aware of implicit prejudices still usually possess a whole posse of them, despite our best efforts.

So, no, you shouldn’t be called anti-whatever. You really aren’t. But maybe, that isn’t what that person was telling you; maybe something you thought was innocent and unbiased really isn’t.

So please, if you’re really everything you say you are and which I think you are, consider the possibility that some of your reasoning and ideas have their roots in biased commonly accepted opinions which you just never thought to doubt.

(Yes, of course y’all may link, repost or mildly rephrase and repost.)

Westboro nutters have gone beyond the pale

Snagged from Brian. In respectful proximity… Westboro nutjobs actually have the bloody gall to ask Heath Ledgers family where they are hiding their sons body so they can protest his funeral. These bastards are so fucking sick… I wish they’d all just fucking die already.

Continue reading “Westboro nutters have gone beyond the pale”

Ha! Take that you bigots…

Anti-Gay marriage petitioners come up short on the signatures they need.

Marriage Opponents Scramble for Petition Signatures

Supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Florida must gather 27,000 more petition signatures by February 1 to submit to the state’s election supervisors. The measure also seeks to ban polygamy and group marriage while defining marriage as an institution between a man and a woman.

Florida4Marriage has taken on the cause in hopes of getting the measure on this November’s ballot, the Associated Press reports.

The group felt confident it had already obtained the necessary 611,000 signatures needed, but two weeks ago a miscount by Miami-Dade County election officials was uncovered that left the group with too few signatures.

As a result, Florida4Marriage has now declared a “constitutional emergency.” The groups is requiring all signatures be delivered by overnight mail or in person to its headquarters in Orlando. Under a new law, petitions can no longer be delivered to local county supervisors of elections by individual voters, according to a press release by the group. Petitions can only be delivered by the official sponsoring committee of the amendment. (The Advocate)