The weekend of GX Australia, the first ever queer gaming convention event to run in Australia, has come and gone. The conference many months in the making, had a final nerve wracking dash across the finishing line to fund its kick-starter campaign. Organizers Joshua and Liam along with the many volunteers and participants, can all breathe a collective sigh of relief and achievement. GX Australia actually happened and it really rocked.
Clover Moore, Mayor of Sydney, participated in the opening proceedings of GX Australia. She highlighted the extensive reach and anticipated growth of gaming in Australia and globally. Nearly 70% of all households in Australia play games, 98% of homes with children have computer games, 65% of game households have three or more game devices. Estimates for worldwide gaming revenue reach up to $107 billion by 2017.
The call for diversified content from gamers is enormous. And nowhere was that more evident than in the intelligent and passionate panel discussions from a community that is spearheading open dialogue and change in the gaming world.
A first look into the panel discussions that ran over the GX Australia weekend, was Creating Safe & Inclusive Nerd Spaces. With Inclusive in the title, there was a loud and clear message that came through, sometimes its OK to exclude. “Asshole is not a protected category” said facilitator Brittany from Sydney Nerd Out, a meetup with over 1000 members that holds regular events including board game nights, movie marathons and game days. When creating your safe nerd space, the panelists from Gay Geek Girls and Sydney Nerd Out, advised that setting the rules from the get go, will make your life a lot easier.
Its also OK to say No to behavior that is not cool or suitable to your nerd space. Its about getting the right people into the room in the first place. Its not about kicking people out said Brittany but cultivating the identity of your group and establishing the principles to create the group you want.
I also managed to drop into a Cosplay Q and A. I’ll be upfront, I’m not a cosplayer, but I get a real sense of joy from watching someones hard work, creative vision & passion come to fruition. Plus I totally get the fandom aspect of cosplay; recreating and embodying a favorite character.
The Cosplay QA panel discussion was hosted by the “heavyweights” of Cosplay, Eve Beauregard, Rae Johnston and Feisty Cuffs. The QA was warm, encouraging, humorous, engaging and fun. Eve, Rae and Feisty fielded questions on a range of cosplay topics from “…how did you get started?” to “…where to buy supplies…” There was a refreshing frankness and integrity as they shared some of their own personal experiences from the first time they attended an event, to the dangers of wardrobe malfunctions. I walked away with a case of overwhelming warm fuzzies. These women are professionals. They are really good at what they do, and they have the personal strength to empower others. Yes they dress up, yes they look sexy as hell when they do, but they are also really smart and capable.
More GX Australia panel discussions followed that scrubbed the mind and fed the soul. Lauren Clinnick facilitated a discussion on Romance in Games and Jennifer Scheurle’s Hot Spot took a look at female sexuality in game communities. Kitty Powers drag queen diva and creator of the game Matchmakers, lead into the weekend finale with the GX Cosplay Show.
Conference attendees also had a chance to meet and greet many of the panelists including Manveer Heir, Senior Designer on Mass Effect: Andromeda, David Gaider former lead writer on Dragon Age and Matt Conn, founder of Gaymer X and creator of Read Only Memories.
GX Australia is an enormously important event in the gaming world and industry as a whole. Its focus on creating a space for gamers as free from bullying, homophobia, racism and misogyny, benefits all of gaming culture and represents the wishes of many gamers.
Roll on GX Australia 2017.