222: Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

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Angerwing:
That's always been one of the things I don't get about homophobia: Just because they like men, doesn't mean they like YOU. Not every woman in the world is clamouring to have sex with every man, just like every gay man doesn't want to jump the bones of every other man. I liked this article a lot. Yet homophobia seems to be the most common intolerance around. A whole bunch of my WoW Guild Mates shat brix when I told them the Spartans were all homosexual, and got annoyed when I told them why. One of them even got quite hostile with me, and still won't use my name without adding some expletive.

Excuse me, but why are all the Spartans homosexual? There are female Spartans, too. It's not like a segregated prison kind of situation. Were they genetically designed to only like their own sex? Because it doesn't make sense for there to be NO straight men and women in an organization where both sexes work and rest in close proximity. It does make sense that a few of them might be gay, but not ALL of them.

Samurai Goomba:

Angerwing:
That's always been one of the things I don't get about homophobia: Just because they like men, doesn't mean they like YOU. Not every woman in the world is clamouring to have sex with every man, just like every gay man doesn't want to jump the bones of every other man. I liked this article a lot. Yet homophobia seems to be the most common intolerance around. A whole bunch of my WoW Guild Mates shat brix when I told them the Spartans were all homosexual, and got annoyed when I told them why. One of them even got quite hostile with me, and still won't use my name without adding some expletive.

Excuse me, but why are all the Spartans homosexual? There are female Spartans, too. It's not like a segregated prison kind of situation. Were they genetically designed to only like their own sex? Because it doesn't make sense for there to be NO straight men and women in an organization where both sexes work and rest in close proximity. It does make sense that a few of them might be gay, but not ALL of them.

In Spartan culture the relationship between males, specifically between a man and a boy were considered the most sacred of all. It was legally instituted and men of eligible age were actually fined for not engaging in a pederast relationship.

The Youth Counselor:

Samurai Goomba:

Angerwing:
That's always been one of the things I don't get about homophobia: Just because they like men, doesn't mean they like YOU. Not every woman in the world is clamouring to have sex with every man, just like every gay man doesn't want to jump the bones of every other man. I liked this article a lot. Yet homophobia seems to be the most common intolerance around. A whole bunch of my WoW Guild Mates shat brix when I told them the Spartans were all homosexual, and got annoyed when I told them why. One of them even got quite hostile with me, and still won't use my name without adding some expletive.

Excuse me, but why are all the Spartans homosexual? There are female Spartans, too. It's not like a segregated prison kind of situation. Were they genetically designed to only like their own sex? Because it doesn't make sense for there to be NO straight men and women in an organization where both sexes work and rest in close proximity. It does make sense that a few of them might be gay, but not ALL of them.

In Spartan culture the relationship between males, specifically between a man and a boy were considered the most sacred of all. It was legally instituted and men of eligible age were actually fined for not engaging in a pederast relationship.

Oh, THOSE Spartans. The ones that actually exist in real life.

Okay, well... Those Spartans did some crazy stuff. Not the gay part, the bit about pedophilia.

I think the samurai had a similar thing going, but it was more situational. I'm not entirely sure.

I never got what the issue was with having a homosexual protagonist, but then I didn't really see the need for one either. I understand now of course, moving the medium forward as an art form and all that, but most gamers seem to still think along lines of "why should we?" or as I did, which is not thinking about it at all. I think thats very sad, that an entire demographic of possable protagonists is shuned not because it has any problems, but because people have a problem with it for not real reason.

you have a number of amazingly good points and insight and then..

"Because if I can't escape from reality through videogames, you shouldn't either. "

Hateful intolerance as a joke...the thing youve been arguing against...

"Because games about gay people are unpopular and unprofitable, and thus no one else will make them."

Not in America land founded by people who thought married couples should sleep with a board between them. When you found a country like that things are slow to change its true.

There are other things, but I just want to say you had a wonderful article and then shot yourself in the foot in the last few paragraphs. I hope that was supposed to be some sort of ironic message.

You know I personly am straight, however I for one would welcome more games where you can play as gay-bi-lesbain, because it's different if games are truly about escape why can't I escape and do things I would not do in real life, prance around naked or chat up male NPC's with welsh voices. for example in any game where I have a choice I play as a girl, why?
not because I tranny or anything like that, its because you ALWAYS play as a man in other games its boring, and given the choice would you rather stare at a male bum in fallout3 or a woman in a sexy nighty.

this is why I enjoyed fable2 so much, in terms of gameplay it sucked, however you don't have to follow the mold of playing straight male ALL THE TIME.

so yes, its time devolpers say "STFU" to the US market and gave poeple more choice.
just Imagine a gay kratos, or master cheif in a mini-skirt. :D

Robert Yang:

Douk:
Homophobia = FEAR of gay people.

Fear = disdain, distrust, nervousness, anxiety, irritation, intolerance.

Phobia isn't just fear - it's irrational, petrifying, panic-inducing fear. Not what "homophobia" generally refers to.

(I had altophobia when I was a kid. I remember once being taken to a museum and having to crawl up the stairs because I was too frightened to stand on them. Even though I was really embarrassed about it, I couldn't bring myself to stand up on those stairs. Fortunately, I grew out of it - mostly. I'm still not comfortable with heights, but I couldn't call my fear a phobia any more.)

That said, "homophobia" means what we use it to mean, and nitpicking about its roots achieves nothing.

I really liked this article. I liked the point you had about playing videogames doesn't really allow you to escape reality but to see it much clearer. That's a really good point, and thinking about it. I think videogames, like a movie or book with a good story could help more people empathize with characters that are not them. Nice work.

I've been a long-time watcher of videos on the Escapist and this article finally got me to register.

To mention something k-ossuburb said on the first page, on lesbianism in games. That too is horribly censored; my girlfriend and I LOVE the Harvest Moon games and have played as either gender in every game possible. I play DS and she plays DS Cute mostly, and I have no qualms about switching. I'm confident enough in my sexuality to play as a girl and flirt with guys. Hell, if there was more of an emotional component to the relationships in the HM games I wouldn't mind having the male character marry a dude (though the men in HM games are for the most part not particularly attractive, but that's not the point.)

Anyways, the thing I was going to bring up before I started rambling is something that really pissed me off. My girlfriend informed me that in the Japanese version of DS Cute the female main character could marry another female character and on a random day after that she comes home with a kid. You can't do that in the American version, of course, cause OMIGOD IF KIDS SEE THIS THEY'RE GONNA MARRY KIDS OF THE SAME SEX AND ADOPT KIDS AND CORRUPT THEM TOO *WHINE WHINE WHINE*. The more I hear about this issue the more my faith in humanity and equality keeps slipping away.

Aversion to homosexuality is basically racism, in a sense. I'm Jewish, and can understand completely how it is to be hated for being who you are. It would be great to see homosexuality, whether it be between men or women, in media in a more mature fasion. Maybe someday American culture can evolve to be as tolerable and free as Japanese.

I think it would be good if there were more games with gay protagonists. There would probably be some controversy over it but hopefully it would lead to a decline in homophobia. Well there is the new DLC chapter for GTA IV that comes out later this month but I'm not sure if that will put a positive light on the gay community or not.

Ryokugax:
Gay main characters or just general gay characters knocking about in the background fixing things, operating computers or possibly beating the shit out of something, whatever, there's always going to be a paranoid closet-case freaking out because they fear that the gay character will come out of the screen, The Ring style, and dress them in pastels, make them wear a beret and stuff quiche down their throats.

That is easily one of the best sentences I have ever heard in my life. Bravo, sir.

BuggyBY:

That description of closet-cases' fears was hilarious, and I am now hoping someone uses it as inspiration for a flash animation. You may want to suggest it to Landover Baptist or other satire sites - but then, their party line would be that most if not all computer games are for wimpy godless gays who will surely burn in hell for all eternity.

I have no intention of doing so but thanks for the appreciation of my humour. And as for godless gays who are sure to burn in hell, I'll be burning in hell if there is one but it certainly won't be for being gay...

It's for my advocation of Satanism.

Samurai Goomba:

Angerwing:
That's always been one of the things I don't get about homophobia: Just because they like men, doesn't mean they like YOU. Not every woman in the world is clamouring to have sex with every man, just like every gay man doesn't want to jump the bones of every other man. I liked this article a lot. Yet homophobia seems to be the most common intolerance around. A whole bunch of my WoW Guild Mates shat brix when I told them the Spartans were all homosexual, and got annoyed when I told them why. One of them even got quite hostile with me, and still won't use my name without adding some expletive.

Excuse me, but why are all the Spartans homosexual? There are female Spartans, too. It's not like a segregated prison kind of situation. Were they genetically designed to only like their own sex? Because it doesn't make sense for there to be NO straight men and women in an organization where both sexes work and rest in close proximity. It does make sense that a few of them might be gay, but not ALL of them.

It sort of goes back to the question of whether or not it's genetically acquired, but the Spartan society had homosexuality as a social norm. They did MATE with women, but they did that because it was their duty to make babies, but they had sex with guys out of choice. They also believed that homosexual relations would strengthen the bonds between soldiers (note, Spartan men lived in barracks until they were 30).

That reminds me:

http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=3316

Yeah...

Great article btw.

I've never seen being gay as a special thing. Which always makes it hard to understand the struggle. To me being gay is no more wild or extravegant than being straight. It is just another biological direction that organisms (and indeed more than just humans) take.

With that said I do get pretty irate when people badmouth or abuse homosexual folks because it is so utterly stupid. There is nothing wrong with homosexuality, anyone stating such things is working entirely off of opinion. Because once we slip even harmless biological differences into "wrong" we enter a pretty nasty world that I doubt many people want to ever live in.

Hamster at Dawn:
I think it would be good if there were more games with gay protagonists. There would probably be some controversy over it but hopefully it would lead to a decline in homophobia. Well there is the new DLC chapter for GTA IV that comes out later this month but I'm not sure if that will put a positive light on the gay community or not.

It wouldn't.

The only thing that will really lead to more acceptance is proper education and less conservative thought.

I know some folks will say "I'm conservative and I have nothing against homosexuality." but what they really mean is "I label myself conservative and I have nothing against homosexuality."

I'm by no means liberal, much like easily 90%+ of the US population I'm just a person, moderately thinking about each issue as it appears. But I have no love for the conservative movement because I can think of so few times where anything done under that guise wasn't shallow and harmful (which is fair given that you kind of have to be to resist change).

Education leads to many good things. Far more than lying or propaganda.

Basically if the character in a game is gay because that's who they are, then fine. If the character in the game is MADE gay because someone is trying to get a message across, it is going to result in nothing positive (or little positive).

It is a difficult line to define but it is obvious when experienced.

PS. I too look forward to the Ballad of Gay Toni, if I'm not mistaken that was one of the only characters I really liked in GTA IV. Had very little to do with his sexual persuasion and tons to do with his copius level of character (just a smidge below outlandish).

I loved this article so much. There's loads here I can relate to.

Maybe its some kind of "Feminising" of the common male that turns poeple off of the idea, but as a bisexual, I obviously find homophobia unprovoked and just outright immature. I consider every person on this earth equels, no less. Media reinforcement of the stereotype doesnt help either, as I actually dont really fit the stereotypes. I dont act very feminine, I curse like a fucking sailor, and I dont spend hours fussing over what to wear. But, overall, poeple are afraid of things out of the norm, and afraid of things they dont really understand. Im lucky to live in a relativly progressive nation, and most of my friends and family have no qualms with my bisexuallity, so as long as I have the poeple that care about me, and who I care about, Ill be happy.

Kiutu:

flatten_the_skyline:
It's sad that the only gay characters in games (and many, many movies) are just caricatures of gay stereotypes. Sure, many homosexual (mostly) men I met openly brag about their sexuality as a means to deal with all the bullshit they have to endure. But there are so many homosexuals who you'll rarely think of as such, until yo meet them with their partner.

I think that a homosexual character should be as subtle as described in the article, not as extreme as in most media. Remember, it'S just their sexual preferences, and as long as you are not attracted, they don't even matter to you, or do they?

Well, thats one thing is, alot of gays also ARE the stereotypes. I mean, there are some who you would never know, but there are those who are the stereotypes and why should we all ahev to be subdued to be ok? The character does not have to be extremely flamboyant, but many gays are more feminine than masculine without being too much.
Stereotypes exist for a reason, because they are true alot. Shouldnt run from them so much. If you fit them then fine, if you dont, then fine too. My friends would probably say Im very stereotypical, but my boyfriend you would never know. I didnt even know until we started a bit before we started dating.

Sure, there are some characteristics many homosexual men share, and some people I know fit into the stereotypes just right. But I think what happens in movies (and some games) is that the homosexual character is limited to shallow stereotypic features. The first gay person in a game that came to my mind when I read this article was "El Burro" from GTA 1, who, in the end of the chapter, is dressed in latex and offers "to reward you personally". Sure GTA is satire, and celebrates political incorrectness, but...

I've seen few good movies where there's been put some effort in character development of the homosexual protagonist. A deep, gay character. That's what Im looking for. Not just some sidekick who's gay to be funny.

flatten_the_skyline:

Kiutu:

flatten_the_skyline:
It's sad that the only gay characters in games (and many, many movies) are just caricatures of gay stereotypes. Sure, many homosexual (mostly) men I met openly brag about their sexuality as a means to deal with all the bullshit they have to endure. But there are so many homosexuals who you'll rarely think of as such, until yo meet them with their partner.

I think that a homosexual character should be as subtle as described in the article, not as extreme as in most media. Remember, it'S just their sexual preferences, and as long as you are not attracted, they don't even matter to you, or do they?

Well, thats one thing is, alot of gays also ARE the stereotypes. I mean, there are some who you would never know, but there are those who are the stereotypes and why should we all ahev to be subdued to be ok? The character does not have to be extremely flamboyant, but many gays are more feminine than masculine without being too much.
Stereotypes exist for a reason, because they are true alot. Shouldnt run from them so much. If you fit them then fine, if you dont, then fine too. My friends would probably say Im very stereotypical, but my boyfriend you would never know. I didnt even know until we started a bit before we started dating.

Sure, there are some characteristics many homosexual men share, and some I know fit into the stereotypes just right. But I think what happens in movies (and some games) is that the homosexual character is limited to shallow stereotypic features. The first gay person in a game that came to my mind when I read this article was "El Burro" from GTA 1, who, in the end of the chapter, is dressed in latex and offers "to reward you personally". Sure GTA is satire, and celebrates political incorrectness, but...

I've seen few good movies where there's been put some effort in character development of the homosexual protagonist. A deep, gay character. That's what Im looking for. Not just some sidekick who's gay to be funny.

Maybe they just need some help from the writers of Queer as Folk. Sure, half of it is practically graphic gay porn, but the non porn parts I think do a good job of making realistic gay characters without making em all straight acting, but not making them all characatures, though some pop up, but some are exactly like that shallow stereotype sometimes.

theultimateend:
The only thing that will really lead to more acceptance is proper education and less conservative thought.

I know some folks will say "I'm conservative and I have nothing against homosexuality." but what they really mean is "I label myself conservative and I have nothing against homosexuality."

I'm by no means liberal, much like easily 90%+ of the US population I'm just a person, moderately thinking about each issue as it appears. But I have no love for the conservative movement because I can think of so few times where anything done under that guise wasn't shallow and harmful (which is fair given that you kind of have to be to resist change).

I'm by all (well, most) means liberal, but i recognize that blind hatred of homosexuality isn't a guiding principle of the conservative movement.

unfortunately i think you're overestimating the number of moderates in this country, especially since our political system is designed to marginalize them.

I played that game. It was fucking amazing. So yes, you can have gaymes, in fact, should have gaymes.

cobra_ky:

theultimateend:
The only thing that will really lead to more acceptance is proper education and less conservative thought.

I know some folks will say "I'm conservative and I have nothing against homosexuality." but what they really mean is "I label myself conservative and I have nothing against homosexuality."

I'm by no means liberal, much like easily 90%+ of the US population I'm just a person, moderately thinking about each issue as it appears. But I have no love for the conservative movement because I can think of so few times where anything done under that guise wasn't shallow and harmful (which is fair given that you kind of have to be to resist change).

I'm by all (well, most) means liberal, but i recognize that blind hatred of homosexuality isn't a guiding principle of the conservative movement.

unfortunately i think you're overestimating the number of moderates in this country, especially since our political system is designed to marginalize them.

No it may not be. But by definition of the term conservative you have to be conservative in mind to act in such a manner.

It would make no sense to be liberally minded (again I'm working off definitions I have NO idea what it means specifically in politics) and hate homosexuality. Though you could be a moderate and manage it.

Overall every single person I know well enough to have the name of in the non internets says they are moderate. Likewise most polls that I've seen on your various non 24 hour news shows (like the daily show) show a large number of people are moderates.

But again, moderates don't have the ideological drive and thus they don't get things done. At least that is what I'm observing...I'm cool with being wrong :).

The vast majority of "straight" men and women (I have seen more than a little homophobia from women) have been brought up in a world where exploring your sexuality is concidered a baaad thing. Liberal, moderate, conservative whatever, there are very few people (statistically speaking) who have fully explored what their sexuality is.

I had homosexual feelings, it took exploring them to realise that i am straight. I am now comfortable in my sexuality and in others. Even if you are straight you can have feelings or urges and it is from here that I belive that a lot of homophobia arises. Not "closet-cases" but people that are unable or unwilling to explore themselves.

Any examples of homophobia I have witnessed have been from either immature individuals or people who were insecure about their sexuality.
To feel better about themselves they put people down. Its also part of clannish behaviour, people will clan together against the "Outsider" to feel more secure together.

There is more than a little truth to the phrase
"Me against my brother, Me and my brother against our father, Me, my brother and father against the outsider"

Now im not excusing anyone, I think that people who refuse to better themselves and remain ignorant are repugnant. In all honesty sexuallity should not be a big thing, the same as race or religion. There are better things to be prejudiced against, Like spiders (too many eyes and legs!) or Dolphins (never trust anything that smiles all the time)
But thats just me and what do I know?

Three pages of "YESSSSS" makes anything I say redundant about how awesome that article was. But it was awesome.

Florion:
What surprised me was that The Escapist told you to put your sexuality under wraps in that other article!

Err, perhaps I should've allotted a few more words to that sentence in the article... To be specific, an editor brought up the concern of homophobia and gave me the choice to censor it or not. The recent comments on my mod convinced me to heed their advice, so I explained that to them and agreed to change it... Then they suggested I channel that frustration into another article, which is what's here. So actually, I think it was oddly more productive in the end.

Meh, as long as a gay character in the game isn't it's selling point (something along the lines of look how PC we are!) as a straight male I don't mind.

Angerwing:
That's always been one of the things I don't get about homophobia: Just because they like men, doesn't mean they like YOU. Not every woman in the world is clamouring to have sex with every man, just like every gay man doesn't want to jump the bones of every other man. I liked this article a lot. Yet homophobia seems to be the most common intolerance around. A whole bunch of my WoW Guild Mates shat brix when I told them the Spartans were all homosexual, and got annoyed when I told them why. One of them even got quite hostile with me, and still won't use my name without adding some expletive.

I made this argument last night while on the phone with one of the guys I work with. Me being a bisexual female in a workplace of straight men.....I think we were talking about something different and differences between gays and straight people came up.

I loved this article.
Ignorance is bliss to some(as far as the Spartans go) and intolerance is a way of life for others. I don't agree with either but really its that persons loss to not see how amazing of a person someone else is just because of them being gay or female or what not.

Video games should incorporate female main characters and gay main characters. I fully stand by that. And make them good games not just random crap to shut people up.....

This might be of interest to people reading this thread:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=_2fP2WcAxrvVMICvq4ZM9KsA_3d_3d

"This survey is designed to learn more about video game players. If you decide to participate, you will be asked several sets of questions asking about your opinions, your video game use, and your basic background information. The survey is targeted to people who play videogames. If you are not a video game player, do not take this survey. Additionally, this survey asks questions about sexual identity and gender orientation. If you are uncomfortable with these topics, do not take this survey. It is perfectly ok to quit taking the survey at any time."

The whole saying "faggot" thing in online games annoys me.
I know the meaning of the word, the homophobic meaning... and the online meaning is quite obviously derived from that version of the word.

But people seem so ignorant of what they're actually saying, they think they're just yelling retard, it seems.
I find it very annoying.
Not to mention the use of the word "gay" in place of "stupid" and "strange".
Even less people notice that one, mostly 12 year olds to dumb to even care anyway.

Racism is now considered bad by most people, yet this underlying harassment of people for their sexual choices remains... and don't for a minute think I'm so naive as to think that all people who use these words are ignorant of their meaning, there's a good chance a fair few of them are homophobes on the side, too.

I just can't "get" the mentality behind it all, it's not how I work.

I made an account when i read your article. I am i straight gamer but unlike most of those people, i dont cuss using words like gay and all that, i actually support the whole thing because everyone wants to escape and even not develipers should embrace different factors of different ppls lives and cultures

I'm still waiting for the day when a mediocre, derivative, totally mainstream and completely overhyped game gets released that features the big, burly Space Marine running off to fight aliens so his husband and children can live in the Earth Colonies of Saturn without being processed as alien foodstuffs.

If in all the media blitz surrounding the game, all the "EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK!" articles in magazines, all the "Hands-On Preview" articles on Kotaku and Destructoid and all the other video game websites, if throughout that entire maelstrom of coverage, the Space Marine's sexual orientation isn't mentioned at all (except maybe as a passing reference to his husband, the same way any article might refer to a game character's love interest)... That's how you'll know it's not a big deal anymore.

Probably isn't gonna happen for another few decades, but a guy can dream.

aprilmarie:

Angerwing:
That's always been one of the things I don't get about homophobia: Just because they like men, doesn't mean they like YOU. Not every woman in the world is clamouring to have sex with every man, just like every gay man doesn't want to jump the bones of every other man. I liked this article a lot. Yet homophobia seems to be the most common intolerance around. A whole bunch of my WoW Guild Mates shat brix when I told them the Spartans were all homosexual, and got annoyed when I told them why. One of them even got quite hostile with me, and still won't use my name without adding some expletive.

I made this argument last night while on the phone with one of the guys I work with. Me being a bisexual female in a workplace of straight men.....I think we were talking about something different and differences between gays and straight people came up.

I loved this article.
Ignorance is bliss to some(as far as the Spartans go) and intolerance is a way of life for others. I don't agree with either but really its that persons loss to not see how amazing of a person someone else is just because of them being gay or female or what not.

Video games should incorporate female main characters and gay main characters. I fully stand by that. And make them good games not just random crap to shut people up.....

Pretty much the last paragraph. I fully support having gay main characters, but the problem is, why should they be gay when being straight changes the story in no way? Wider market from having straight protagonists, and since gaming companies are out to make money, a wider market is more important than individual rights. But in order to make a game with a gay protagonist it has to be irrelevant to the story, as mentioned in the article, otherwise it will just be a gimmick and the game will invariably be bad. But that leaves us with a regular game with a protagonist who just happens to be gay. An then we come back to my previous point; why, without any other agenda, would a video game company make a game with a gay male protagonist, when a straight male protagonist will make more money?

That is the real problem discussed I think, not the lack of gay protagonist games out there, but the lack of acceptance for gayness in games.

By the way, I am a fully straight male, under the age of 20.

I'm a little confused as to why you post these news items about your articles. If people aren't reading them maybe it's because they don't realize that they're there. The front page of the site is kind of cluttered. Perhaps the articles would attract more attention if they were given more prominent space on the front page for a longer period of time instead of being forced down as soon as someone releases a video.

I have yet to encounter anyone online or off that is homophobic. Bigots, yes. Homophobes, no. I have also never encountered a homo online or offline that was someone to be afraid of. What's to fear? The term 'Homophobia' has simply become the new race card. I'll call it what it is - hedonism (as compared to being interested in the biological purpose of life (procreation) and a greater good (survival of the species)).

shMerker:
I'm a little confused as to why you post these news items about your articles. If people aren't reading them maybe it's because they don't realize that they're there.

You just answered your own question. :)

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