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Back to the Virtual Closet! Shoo-shoo!

Robert Yang stumbled over a quote by Jim Sterling recently:

Jim Sterling: “Arcade Gannon’s sexuality isn’t a big deal, and that’s how videogames should play it.”

… and it made him not exactly happy:

The argument that [all] gay video game characters should downplay their sexuality might be well intentioned, but is ultimately representative of the most dangerous kind of homophobia – a homophobia wrapped in intellectualism, appearing “tolerant.”

True, sexuality isn’t the only thing that defines a person – but for the vast majority of LGBT people, I would argue that it’s a crucial part of personal identity. To insist that effeminate gay men are “camping it up” and should just “be normal” is homophobia. […]

Sterling is proposing selective blindness and a glass closet for ALL gay characters in ALL games as a model to emulate. Yeah, stay invisible and don’t make a fuss! That always works.

I must admit, that I’m pretty fed up by the mostly campy portrayals of gays in games (when they make they final cut, that is), so I would tend to go with Jim Sterling’s advice when designing games myself right now, but yes:

For every silent shoegazer hipster gay who “you’d never think”, we also need a muscle queen dancing in a peacock speedo on top of a Ferrari. Because they’re gay too.

Go read the whole article, because it provides a balanced view on an important debate.

And it should be an issue.

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