The Forge Archives

Archive => RPG Theory => Topic started by: Ron Edwards on November 19, 2002, 03:26:59 PM



Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 19, 2002, 03:26:59 PM
Hello,

I was wondering whether anyone wanted to discuss the parallels between closeted gay culture and gamer/role-player culture. I don't suppose those parallels are hard to perceive.

Or is it a no-brainer, without need for clarification or development?

Best,
Ron


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: greyorm on November 19, 2002, 04:04:43 PM
I disagree!  I can see distinct differences between the closeted gay subculture and the gamer subculture.

I was going to respond I felt it was a no-brainer, unworthy of discussion because the similarities were so apparent, but then I read your response to my post over in Social Context and something clicked for me.

The idea of boxes...the closeted gay individual doesn't (usually) reverse the boxes as does the (stereotyped) role-player.  That is, they don't (as a general rule) limit themselves to socializing and being liked solely amongst a group of other queer individuals.  They have non-queer social groups, they only refuse to reveal to these other groups their sexual orientation.

The role-player, however, DOES restrict themselves to such. The individuals we are talking about do not have non-gamer social groups, and tend to search for such in order to have any sort of socializing whatsoever.

This is worlds apart.

The only obvious, mappable similarity between the two is the fear of persecution upon revelation of their lifestyle.

If you have different understanding of the lifestyle or habits of the gay subculture, Ron, fire away. I admit my own knowledge therein may be lacking, though over my lifetime a decent portion of my closest male friends have been queer (closeted and open), so I feel I have a reasonable base to work from.

However, if we're looking at relatively socially healthy people who game in comparison to the closeted culture, then there's a better match, and I can see where you're going with this...though I don't know if comparing a lifestyle and a hobby is the best comparison because of the different social factors.

You can't really talk about gay sex to your straight friends (or your gay friends), or actual sex for that matter (unless you're a general perv); whereas role-playing, once stripped of the geek stigma, is something you can discuss with non-interested parties, like bowling or any other activity.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 19, 2002, 05:11:36 PM
Hi Raven,

Yeah, the parallel I see is not with the stereotypical "gamer" (whom I'm afraid I'm quite cruel to in the later posts in the Social Context thread) but rather with the ... well, how does one put this, um ... well, to what Matt Snyder describes.

I was trying to figure out a way to put that without calling Matt a closeted queer. I mean, in gaming terms, about role-playing. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

OK, so I'll start over. I'm drawing a parallel between closeted gay culture and the non-stereotypically gamer person who role-plays, but somehow never treats his role-playing in conversation and other interactions the same way as other hobbies (bowling, martial arts, movie tastes, etc). Any resemblance to any specific person here on the Forge is purely coincidental.

Also, I'm not claiming any kind of complete correspondence. I do think there are parallel features that would be enlightening to discuss.

Best,
Ron


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Matt Snyder on November 19, 2002, 06:17:47 PM
Hey Ron, don’t sweat the comparison -- closeted queer and all that. I know what you’re getting at.

I simply don’t have enough experience with closeted gay culture to make any substantial comparisons. I have had many gay personal contacts (co-workers, classmates, a few friends and a relative), but not any I’d term “in the culture”.

Beyond the comparison, I think I’d just say that I’ve already ‘fessed up’ to some reasons -- both good and bad -- for my group and my hobby to remain mostly “closeted.” I’d be happy to explain more or bring up some more specifics, though.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Valamir on November 19, 2002, 06:37:01 PM
I think, like you mention, that the parallels are pretty obvious.  Both have very good reasons to remain closeted are illserved by outside agendas seeking to "out" them.  Both can choose to remain closeted because the benefits of "coming out" are outweighed by the problems it causes.  

There are segments of society who will always view roleplayers with scorn.  Whether this comes from some "roleplaying is satanic" perspective, or some "why don't you just grow up and quit playing children's games" perspective, or some "jock vs geeks" perspective or whatever there are those for whom "roleplaying" is perceived as a flaw.

Some of those persons will be in a position of importance and/or authority over you:  a boss, a coworker, a client, the person reviewing your performance, parents of your significant other, whatever.  Revealing your hobby to them might be a way to convince them how wrong their preconceptions are.  It might be a way to improve the hobby's image.  Or it might just be a way to ensure you get passed over for promotion, lose the account, or create no end of turmoil in the family.

While perhaps the "dangers" of being outed as a gamer aren't as great as say the "dangers" of being outed as a gay man in the 80s there are a lot of commonalities.  Many of us are no doubt quite comfortable openly flouting our "gamerness".  Others prefer to wait until their "game-dar" signals that they're among like individuals before admitting their hobby.  Some tow the line being generally open but rigorous about avoiding letting certain people know.

In alot of ways walking into a game store is a lot like walking into a gay bar.  Some people stride right in broad daylight in a busy strip mall not careing who sees them going into "that store".  Other people I know literally will wait in their car pretending to look for something or talk on the cell until the "coast is clear" before slipping inside.

For me personally, there are groups I tell and groups I don't, and generally I try to make sure what the reception will be before I do.  Being in a business which is all about personal reputation and team play, its generally not a subject I broach with coworkers because the one person who responds badly could be really damaging and it just isn't worth the hassle to me to risk it.  For similiar reasons its something I never bring up in a job interview.  

In alot of ways admitting to being a "gamer" (like admitting to being gay) is like a game of russian roulette, and you never know which person you tell is going to be the one that goes off.  Sometimes it doesn't matter and sometimes it can.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on November 19, 2002, 07:25:58 PM
Parallels?

I play roleplaying games. I don't talk about it with others that I don't know also play RPGs because, on some level, I am embarrassed by it and I'm afraid they may think less of me because of it or worse. That said, I will sometimes drop it on people like a bomb for shock value. If I don't do that, I will slying question people I think may be roleplayers (you can sort of just tell, you know, just by looking at people) to see if I can find a new play partner (as it were).

This has been my experience.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Jake Norwood on November 19, 2002, 07:32:03 PM
I don't think its really a gamer thing. One thing I've noticed is that *any* even mildly interesting person has an unusual closet hobby that they don't talk about with others. My mom's a yogi, my dad races motercycles, my sister is an incredible belly-dancer, I'm a swordsman and a game designer (which, in my experience, is a helluva lot harder to explain that just being a gamer) and we're all Mormons. And while we're more than happy to talk about our chosen hobby and/or religion with genuinely interested parties, I think we generally avoid talking about it with people that aren't close to us and who don't know us very well. BUT if someone asks and seems to really want to know, then we'll talk their ear off.

Isn't it the same with just about everyone? Don't we all have a hobby or lifestyle choice (religion, sexual orientation, etc) that we shy away from talking about with others?

My guess is that we do, but we've been gaming longer than any of it, and so it's first in our minds.

Jake

ps. and, for the record, I've overcome my fear of discussing Mormonism, swordsmanship, and gaming *almost* entirely, but it took effort. I still don't know how to say "I spent $20,000 on a game..."

EDIT: I just realized that this may have been a better post for the Social context thread, which I haven't read. If so, sorry.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 19, 2002, 09:01:01 PM
Hi there,

Great responses, folks.

Jake, I think the key issues that separate the gamer thing from "another hobby," at least in terms of the comparison we're examining, are these:

1) Some negative repercussions to being perceived as a gamer are real. The most substantive case study I can think of occurred to one of our own Forge members, Raven, within the last two months, as documented on a couple of threads in the Site Discussion forum.

2) Many more negative repercussions are much more minor - and they arise as much from the "self-closeting" behavior as from the 'phobes, as it were. In other words, the problem here is behaving as if gamer/gay were the problem, in any way, by anyone.

3) The "self-closeting" behaviors I'm talking about are distinctive, compared to how one reacts to having one's odd but dignified hobby publicized. I don't know your dad, but I suspect that if someone mentions his motorcycle racing, he does not hunch his shoulders, grin sheepishly, make a self-effacing joke, or (at best) change the subject sharply. I also suspect he does not play the "neuter" game, which would be, say if he were off to race motorcycles one day when his friends invite him to do something, he says, "I'll be busy that day," consistently, as opposed to saying, "I'll be racing motorcycles that day." [The parallel is the "gender" game played by closeted gay folks, who in conversation with "unsafe" people, use neuter gender pronouns to disguise the gender of their partners.]

Anyway, now that I've gone and rudely described the behavior of a man I've never met, let me know if I've made this distinction clear. It's crucial to this thread.

Everyone, one of my key points on this thread is to state that gay people were able to gain some recognition, and most importantly legal protection from bashing, when they were able to enlist support from straight people who had voices in the power structure. A fellow closeted gay person in the power structure is all well and good, but not, in the long run or during harsh times, very effective. No, the key was to be out to people who were (a) not "accusable" in terms you would be accused of, and (b) willing to go to the wall for you.

And yet, this key begins at the internal level after all. One doesn't get that non-[X] support, at the mass level, until one is proud to be [X].

Best,
Ron


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: greyorm on November 19, 2002, 09:02:43 PM
Quote
Isn't it the same with just about everyone? Don't we all have a hobby or lifestyle choice (religion, sexual orientation, etc) that we shy away from talking about with others?

As Matt noted, we all restrict ourselves somewhat to particular groups based on value judgements of that group or other groups...this is typical behavior for the animal, and psychologically healthy, to a degree.

Heck, I noted this myself in regards to my wife and I...I'm a social outcast because the local culture isn't one I'm immersed in, or even remotely interested in, and they aren't immersed or interested in mine.

But the difference is...is the lack of discussion because it is a closet hobby, or is it because of a screwed up sense of social realities?  Obviously, in this thread we're talking about socially healthy people who just don't discuss their hobby with folks outside it.

Well, why not?

In this case, and given Matt's group as an example of such a group, what we're discussing here is Poker Night.

My father and his friends do this and have done so as long as I can recall; basically, you and your buddies get together to play cards (poker) and BS for a couple hours.  These groups are always made up of long-time friends and rarely change much.  They aren't so much focused on the game as a game but on the game as a social activity. Poker Night isn't something you generally discuss with the outside world because...well, why WOULD you? It's Poker Night.

Matt, consider this, what would you do if your buddy John brought his new buddy Fred to your game one night, with the intent/hope of having Fred join your group long-term?

I'll bet that Fred is going to feel like the odd man out...that is, unless he's been exposed to your group of friends in other less intimate activities (public activities: bowling, dinner, movies, etc) where the main component is socializing within the context of another activity; or the situation is that you've all agreed beforehand with John that its OK to bring Fred with.

This is why I think the gay subculture/gamer subculture comparison is odd on one level...you don't bring Fred to the gay bar with the intent/hoping he'll become gay and thus join your subculture. You do bring Fred with to Poker Night with the intent/hoping he'll become one of your Poker Night circle.

Looking at it this way, it seems when you treat RPing like a "lifestyle" rather than a "Poker Night" you often end up with the screwed up social context...which doesn't happen when you have a lifestyle that is actually non-inclusive (ie: queerness; religion).

It's the diffrence between doing something together and being something together.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Clinton R. Nixon on November 19, 2002, 10:28:42 PM
Quote from: greyorm
Looking at it this way, it seems when you treat RPing like a "lifestyle" rather than a "Poker Night" you often end up with the screwed up social context...which doesn't happen when you have a lifestyle that is actually non-inclusive (ie: queerness; religion).

It's the diffrence between doing something together and being something together.


Raven is - as usual - on the mark here. The fact that role-playing is considered a lifestyle by many of its participants is one of the major factors in its dysfunction.

However - I'll tie this back in with Ron's point - this does not only come from the role-player. Role-playing is considered a lifestyle by the "mundanes," in many cases. The perception of that lifestyle ranges from smelly and weird to satanist, depending on the local environment. And that is exactly where the connection with gay subculture comes in - the average gamer is perceived as a part of a whole that may not typify him in any way, just as a gay person can be perceived to be part of a (stereotyped) culture that he may not actually represent.

I've told my story (find a humorous take on it here (http://ptgptb.org/0022/retro.html)), but I'd be especially interested in your responses to the following questions:
* Does your family know you role-play?
* Do they publicly acknowledge it?
* If they found out that you were gay, would their reactions be different?

I will note that the answers to these will differ greatly by local culture.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: talysman on November 19, 2002, 10:58:05 PM
Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon

I've told my story (find a humorous take on it here (http://ptgptb.org/0022/retro.html)), but I'd be especially interested in your responses to the following questions:
* Does your family know you role-play?
* Do they publicly acknowledge it?
* If they found out that you were gay, would their reactions be different?

I will note that the answers to these will differ greatly by local culture.


well, I don't think this will be helpful to the conversation, but yes, my family knows about my roleplaying. as for "acknowledging" it... maybe there's one of those local culture differences at work, here, because that sounds to me like asking "does your family acknowledge that you watch tennis?"

it's just not the sort of thing that comes up naturally in conversation, unless a family member is introducing you to someone whom they know is also a roleplayer or connected to gaming in some way. at my sister's first wedding, she mentioned to one of her bridesmaids that I game, because apparently the bridesmaid's boyfriend was a game designer.

it's not that I live in a city where roleplaying is a part of the community (I'm sure there are anti-rpg factions locally.) it's just a game.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: erithromycin on November 20, 2002, 08:02:41 AM
Ron,

You might find a better comparison between 'closeted roleplayers' and transvestites. Some parallels:

If anyone knows who's 'outwith' the subculture, it's a spouse or partner.

There are events every few months where those within the subculture can meet and 'dress up' in relative privacy - those allowed are 'in costume', or spouses and partners.

There's a tendency for the shops that cater to the 'subculture' to be buried away in the dingier parts of town, though the staff tend to be entirely understanding and members of the subculture themselves.

There's a tendency for the products to be overpriced because the market [and therefore the competition] is so small.

There's a fear of being found out because there's still a real social stigma involved in pretending to be someone else.

When it is portrayed in the media, it's almost invariably a caricature that badly misunderstands the thoughts and behaviours of those within the subculture.

On occasion, it is well portrayed by the media, usually through a band-member or a film-star mentioning something appropriate, and the relevant fan clubs will often provide a good starting point for acquiring more information.

There are magazines devoted to the subculture, but they tend to be expensive, though there are large and active internet communities, most of which date back to the earliest BBSs.

[Note that this applies equally well to parts of the fetish scene, but not, really, to the gay scene anymore.]


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 20, 2002, 08:26:58 AM
Hi John,

Yeah, my first parallel model was going to be the fetish scene. I was thinking about the kind of feverish privacy (both social and activity-based) that such individuals apparently practice, as well as the literal fetish objects themselves, which seem more or less similar to the dice, the miniatures (back when), and screens, etc, etc. I still think one or two details do show some parallels.

Actually, it's the modern gay culture, especially of men, that I'm thinking of now, rather than the near-separatist or wholly-covert culture of the 50s and 60s, or the pride vs. bashing-phase of the 70s and 80s. I'm thinking of men who are employed in career-based jobs (as opposed to marginal, temporary ones), who like and know plenty of straight people, and who respect themselves and their sexual partners as people. These guys have a lot of hard choices to make regarding disclosure that I don't envy.

I recognize that I'm grossly oversimplifying, and perhaps I'm presuming quite a lot, as a straight guy who "thinks he knows something" about the topic. I'd welcome someone closer to the culture to correct my dates or concepts.

Best,
Ron


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: erithromycin on November 20, 2002, 08:46:11 AM
I'd say that the parallels with the fetish scene are closer to those within the gay scene, because the fetish scene is one that can be analysed as sub-groups with more complex differentiation within the scene than the rather broad gay/straight thing you seem to be getting at. As they say over on the newsgroups "Your Kink's OK, It's Just Not My Kink". Perhaps more mature than "D&D SUXXORZ!!!!111!!", but there you go. You can draw functional parallels between, say, those who have one specific fetish [game?] and those who move between them or try and integrate them [genre crossover?]. There's also, as you said, the focus on paraphenalia, but I do think there's something in the difference between play [because that's what it's called in each sense] in the clubs [almost random encounters] and in people's "personal lives" [with people they consider friends if not partners].

Your near-seperatist/wholly-covert culture really starts in the Victorian era, when morality laws started to enter the legislative calendar. The bashing starts in the mid-60s, really, almost as a spillover of institionalised racism. You've got Pride before Stonewall [about 78? I forget] but that was the major date. Of course, there's one thing you're ignoring, which is the fact that a huge number of people died in the early eighties due to AIDS, a factor that may [to trivialise it] damage your attempts to follow it as a model. The specter of a 'Roleplaying Disease' isn't one that we've got, unless you count, say, 'Satanism', but it's an external hysteria thing rather than an internal situation. The disclosure things influenced by a number of things, but AIDS remains the primary one, at least from the few closeted people I've talked to. That, of course, and the opprobrium of families, and the sense that being gay is 'against God's plan' or otherwise 'unnatural'.

[Side-note: I get what you're trying to say about "treating sexual partners as people thing" but you really need to find a better way to phrase it - I think what you're looking at is the movement away from the bath-houses [conventions?] to long-term relationships [campaigns?] that came about in the mid-80s, again largely due to AIDS. The gay scene's still got an awful lot of casual encounters, but I'm not sure that that distinction fits within what you're attempting to say.]

Oh, and I'm Drew, but I'm far more famous as "erith".

[edited to cure the dreaded Hangin' Tag]


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 20, 2002, 09:37:02 AM
Dammit, I even said "Drew" in my mind, then I typed "John" because I was thinking of a post to Talysman too. Rrr.

Thanks for the points on the parallels and clarifications. I definitely agree with you that the AIDS issue does not have a direct correspondent; as I said earlier, I'm making no claims about 1:1 total parallel, just instances and details that might be illuminating or helpful.

Both your points and some earlier ones, notably Ralph's, lead to some topics I was hoping to get to.

1) The issue of internalized homophobia. Taking it to role-playing (and looking for no more direct correspondence than what I'm about to describe), role-players, in my view, expect more censure, significant snap judgment, and disapproval than I think really exists among the non-role-players.

This is not to say that crises don't exist - they do. Raven's recent experience matters. But I also think these instances are readily identifiable, and with the proper approach, can be addressed effectively (in the future).

However, rather than the flare-up, individualized crises, I'd like to turn our attention to these phenomena: (a) perceiving the "outside/majority" view as uniformly unsympathetic or negatively judgmental, (b) cloistering and isolating the behaviors to avoid the "straights' inevitable pogrom," and, this is a biggie, (c) actually coming to believe, internally, that one's own behavior/identity is a wrong and warped thing.

[Please note that I include no judgments regarding homosexuality per se in this post. If you think it's a wonderful expressive blessed thing, or a wrong and warped thing, keep it to yourselves, right? So far, so good.]

Let's focus on all three, (a) through (c). Earlier on this thread, and I repeat it to emphasize it, I wrote:
Everyone, one of my key points on this thread is to state that gay people were able to gain some recognition, and most importantly legal protection from bashing, when they were able to enlist support from straight people who had voices in the power structure. A fellow closeted gay person in the power structure is all well and good, but not, in the long run or during harsh times, very effective. No, the key was to be out to people who were (a) not "accusable" in terms you would be accused of, and (b) willing to go to the wall for you.

And yet, this key begins at the internal level after all. One doesn't get that non-[X] support, at the mass level, until one is proud to be [X].


I consider this issue to relate directly to the "self-isolating behaviors" that I'm asking about in the original Social Context thread. It strikes me that a number of people have diverse social contexts, but in most cases, they practice some isolating behaviors relative to non-role-players. And as I described to Jake in this thread, I'm not talking about plain old "don't bug people who aren't interested about my hobby," but rather, distinctive and self-subordinating modes of action and speech.

Any thoughts on that connection?

Best,
Ron


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Valamir on November 20, 2002, 10:04:49 AM
Quote
I consider this issue to relate directly to the "self-isolating behaviors" that I'm asking about in the original Social Context thread. It strikes me that a number of people have diverse social contexts, but in most cases, they practice some isolating behaviors relative to non-role-players. And as I described to Jake in this thread, I'm not talking about plain old "don't bug people who aren't interested about my hobby," but rather, distinctive and self-subordinating modes of action and speech.

Any thoughts on that connection?


Whats kind of thoughts are you looking for.

Whether or not this is indeed a widely practiced behavior?
Given it is widely practised, is it a health / unhealthy behavior?
Should we do something to attempt to change this behavior?
and if so, what?

I'd say, yes it is very widespread, in fact I'd say its the norm.

Is it healthy.  Well, I consider myself to be a fairly well adjusted person psychologically and socially and I've been aggressively self closeted for as long as I can remember.  Like Matt I've never seen the need or value in grabbing a pink triangle and marching down the street proclaiming my open gamerness.  So I don't see anything inherently unhealthy about it.

Could it be unhealthy?  If its done out of some horrible sense of self-esteem or other maladjusted social issues.

Should we do something to attempt to change it?  For those healthy souls practicing self closeting voluntarily, I'd say its none of our business.  For those suffering some sort of psychological problem, I'd say we're hardly qualified to help.

With regards to your item A)  I see it as a cost to benefit thing.  It doesn't matter if 999 people out of 1000 couldn't care less, if that 1 person who does feel strongly negatively is in a position to cause grief, the potential cost is high.

And what is the benefit really?  Cure the the world of ignorance so we can come out of the closet without fear...not a big deal to me.  I find the closet perfectly comfortable and feel no impending need or desire to break out if it.  Raise the level of awareness of the hobby to attract more prospective gamers?  Maybe, but I've never really been sold on the idea that there IS a large resevoir of potential gamers out there who're just waiting for the opportunity to game.  I've expressed my opinion elsewhere that I think the vast majority of the general populace simply lacks the temperment to roleplay.  Whether one agrees with that or not, it does mean that, for me, I see no great influx of new gamers should we become more "out".  And besides, I'm not really convinced I WANT to see my hobby become more mainstream...after all NStink, Britney, and the BackDoor Boys are all mainstream...and they suck.  I really don't think I'd like what the hobby would have become if Hasbro had actually seen it as a profit source.  

As a general "war against ignorance" topic.  Yeah, ok, I guess it would be nice to have the ultra stupid "gamers are satanists" "Everquest killed my son" "RPGs promote violence in schools" morons drowned out by the general public say "yeah right we know better"...but who really wants to make a target of themselves to "fight the good fight".  

So I guess for me the real issue is simply...what is there that's so great about being outside the closet that would make me want to go there.  I can't think of any compelling reasons myself.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Matt Snyder on November 20, 2002, 11:14:43 AM
Ralph, man I'm right there with you. This is precisely what I was getting at earlier, and I made precisely the same indication that "I'm perfectly comfortable, thank you. Who dares suggest otherwise?"

However, after talking with Ron, and reading about it, I know he's not clamoring for some kind of social activism. Rather, I think what Ron's saying is that we as gamers and game designers have some pretty silly ideas about how our hobby is done. If we assess these ideas, and then use what we've learned to change the way our games are designed and played, then we start, ever so slowly, to change the way gamers interact with each other, and hopefully with the "world."

So, it doesn't require any real "Marching with pink polyhedrons." All it requires (at least) is for us to keep doing what we do best on the Forge: Discuss and design games in the ways we've already agreed are better -- like Dust Devils challenging the supervisory role of the one person, like Universalis' game play, etc., etc.

In other words, you and I aren't motivated to change the mainstream. But you and I are motivated to "normalizing" our game designs, or at least challenging some really absurd gaming assumptions. That's enough, I think.

Am I making sense? Ron, am I on target here?


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 20, 2002, 11:31:39 AM
Hi Ralph and Matt,

I guess the key issue for me is personal happiness. Which, frankly, is a variable I hate, like "consciousness" or "realism" or any number of other empty terms.

Where you guys are tripping up, slightly, is looking for whatever mandate I might be driving at ... and there isn't any such mandate, in terms of personal behavior. How all five threads work out is going to be a really big deal for the Forge as a site, but not a big deal for what anyone is "supposed" to do.

It's kind of like the game design issue. Does the Forge, as a community, say that everyone should design RPGs? No. But if you want to, here are X and Y and Z and Z', which are issues that we do, as a community (a diverse one actually) think you should examine. I'm extending that exact logic to role-playing as a social phenomenon, and I'd be interested in generating a body of ideas and issues that are as strong as we have (again, representing a diversity of views, not just one) for design.

But now I'm getting way ahead of myself.

Best,
Ron


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: jrs on November 20, 2002, 12:06:12 PM
<Okay, this is the 2nd attempt to post this.>

I agree that the parallels between gay culture and gaming culture as described by Ron are fairly obvious.  I also agree that it should be recognized that the analogy can only be simplistic in nature being that we are comparing a lifestyle to a hobby.  However, I think that anyone who has some experience with gay culture can recognize that some of the social and isolation behaviors exhibited by gays and lesbians are similar to those practiced by gamers.   In particular, I'm thinking of the creation of social family that acts as a surrogate to biological family in order to generate a supportive environment.  As well as the decisions that are made as to whom one reveals this information and to what extent.

I want to comment on greyorm's first post early on in this topic regarding the social box model originally raised and discussed at the Social Context thread.  I suggest that the stereotypical gamer reverses the boxes or is stuck in the role-playing box because that is the person's sole source of enjoyment.  I suspect that this person does not care or is little affected by others' knowledge of his or hers role-playing activity.  In the case of the non-outed gay or lesbian, he or she will deliberately engage in social activities outside the culture in order to be liked or accepted as normal (dare I say mainstream?).  I also perceive an important element missing from the social box model as proposed by Ron.  It does not address enjoyment of an activity which seems to be one of the themes of much that Ron has written or said about gaming (case in point, the GNS essay).  Engaging in activites in order to be liked does not necessarily coincide with enjoyment.  Ideally the two should largely overlap; when they do not, those isolation behaviors kick in, and I would say that this is the case for any closeted activity.  

Julie


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Valamir on November 20, 2002, 12:15:55 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
Where you guys are tripping up, slightly, is looking for whatever mandate I might be driving at ... and there isn't any such mandate, in terms of personal behavior. How all five threads work out is going to be a really big deal for the Forge as a site, but not a big deal for what anyone is "supposed" to do.


Not sure I follow you Ron.  I don't see me tripping on anything because I never read you saying anything indicating a mandate.

Rather you asked for thoughts...you didn't specifiy what topics you wanted the thoughts to cover, so I threw out some potential topics and answered those.  Your item A was suggesting that gamers may be overestimating how widespread the negative attitude of the general populace is towards gamers.  My cost-benefit analogy was my indication that IMO how widespread it is is not the only factor in evaluating the "danger".

Not sure where you see me mis cueing.  If you want to provide some specific lines of questioning I'll happily attempt to address them.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: greyorm on November 20, 2002, 12:41:47 PM
Quote
However - I'll tie this back in with Ron's point - this does not only come from the role-player. Role-playing is considered a lifestyle by the "mundanes," in many cases.

You're spot-on with that, Clinton.  And therein is the whole conundrum...the community really faces an identity-crisis, brought on by themselves and society itself: themselves, for perpetrating the stereotype indulged in by society, society for forcing the stereotype of a lifestyle on those who don't want it. "When I smoke, I drink, when I drink, I smoke...it's a vicious circle!"

And I say I think Ron's going to spit out -- with an evil grin on his face -- the change from subculture to social activity in the eyes of the mainstream is going to come about via "Actual Play in Stores" and gamers themselves responding to queries about it like they'd respond to queries about any "normal" hobby activity...ie: "So, what's the deal with model railroads?" or "Hey, want to come to Poker Night?" or "Well, I'm bored...what should we do tonight?"

Hence, I think, Clinton's questions about "How would your family respond to..?" because thinking about it, that's a pretty good indicator of how folks will respond to such statements. This means, if you respond with some modicum of dignity and thus silent dismissal of any issues with the hobby, someone even slightly misinformed is going to stop and question themself and their judgements (because human-type people behave this way).

ie: "Huh?  Joe just responded to that question about D&D like there's nothing wrong with it...maybe there ISN'T anything wrong with it."
They may not think this precisely, but you can bet their subconscious is churning away at precisely that, and the seed is planted.

What this identity crisis comes down to is that one can't expect the mainstream to change its opinion until the ones being judged stop acting as though they shouldn't: practicing isolation because of gaming ("being gay"), not because of social context of the activity (ie: Poker Night).

Not until the regular Joe, who happens to game (like he happens to bowl), isn't afraid to say to one of his buddies, "Hey, want to come over on Saturday night with Fred and Joe to play D&D?"

(or some better worded phrase than that)

Honestly, how do you respond to that situation right now?  Be honest with yourself. Do you freeze up, get sweaty or nervous, have an aversion to doing so?

I know I do...I get a funny feeling in my stomach just thinking about saying that to a co-worker (maybe that's backlash from recent events, though). Or is such comparable to saying, "Hey, want to come over on Saturday night with Fred and Joe to play poker?"

Which I'm betting everyone here isn't batting an eye about.

And as Clinton notes, this ties in with Ron's ideas:
Quote
I'm not talking about plain old "don't bug people who aren't interested about my hobby," but rather, distinctive and self-subordinating modes of action and speech.

Any thoughts on that connection?

It seems to me even folks who treat it like "Poker Night" (like Matt's group) still somewhat fear the "being gay" stigma and to a degree practice the isolating behavior out of a sense of fear of reprisal or judgement.

I think maybe folks are curious or nervous about handling this dual-identity when the subject is broached?  Any thoughts?

Quote from: Ron Edwards
The issue of internalized homophobia. Taking it to role-playing (and looking for no more direct correspondence than what I'm about to describe), role-players, in my view, expect more censure, significant snap judgment, and disapproval than I think really exists among the non-role-players.

This is not to say that crises don't exist - they do. Raven's recent experience matters. But I also think these instances are readily identifiable, and with the proper approach, can be addressed effectively (in the future).

Yep, but take a close look at some of the events of my saga...I was knocked off balance by the replies of the majority: my coworkers and the folks who sign my check expressed, "I didn't know D&D was such a big deal."  It was the vocal minority who were howling for blood, while everyone else was squinting and saying, "What the heck is up with THAT?" recognizing the whole thing as unquestionably bizarre and on the level of accusations and "threats" to the tune of "Pokemon cards have real demons in them!"

This supports what you say about the perception of ostracization and the actual reality.

(Hrm...well, I don't know if any of that was in any way useful, or if it was just me babbling and rephrasing already mentioned points. Gah, I hate it when that happens.)


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 20, 2002, 01:14:08 PM
Hi there,

Ralph, you're right, there's no real reason for me to have perceived you as misunderstanding anything. I guess my only answer to your "Where's the payoff" is twofold: (a) I'm not stating that anyone has to do anything, and (b) several possible payoffs for several possible and different courses of action are emerging through discussion. Not much of an answer, at this point, I know.

Raven, I think your points are making a lot of sense. It might surprise people how much of the time, when they say, "Ron's probably anticipated this ..." that I haven't. So far, in the Four-So-Far of the Infamous Five, I've been about 50-50 in that regard.

I'm not sure about the game store thing. It may be that the majority of the stores are a lost cause. It may be that the "bite-size" approach is brilliantly successful. It may be that Chris Pramas' points about the basic economics (which dovetail with my usual observations about the three-tier) override the whole issue.

However, in regarding the comportment of the person who role-plays toward others who don't, when the hobby is mentioned or whatever, you are dead on. That's an agenda. This has been an explicit issue in my own lifestyle since the mid-80s, and I even have a fairly harsh essay in one of the Sorcerer supplements about it. In fact, receiving semi-traumatized emails about that essay is one of the reasons I resolved to turn my attention toward this issue-set on the Forge at all.

Best,
Ron


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Anthony on November 20, 2002, 05:42:07 PM
Ok, I know this topic has drifted a bit but there really are a few things I feel the need to say about this.  But first a little bit of a disclaimer.  I happen to "sleep with men." (As a side note I always love that phrase.  It sounds just so... clinical.  Then again you get the question in medical situations so hey.)  I also live in the SF Bay Area, which as I'm sure you all know is considered a gay mecca, not to mention a pretty decent area to be a geek in as well.

Ok, here comes the biggie.  I find this topic makes me slightly offended. No I don't mean that as a knee jerk reaction, nor do I mean that as an attack on anyone.  But ya know, trying to equate the life of a semi  closeted gamer and a semi closeted gay man is just silly.  While yes, there is some stigma attached to being a gamer, it doesn't come close to what gays have to go through.  Can you imagine spending years agonizing over wondering if you should tell your best friends, or your parents, that you game?  Worrying that if you do they will trow you out, never talk to you again, maybe even try to beat you up?  Do you personally know anyone who was beaten to the point of hospitalization because he was seen leaving a game store?  After 9/11 did you hear evangelists that a scary percentage of the country agrees with saying on a national radio program that the world trade center attacks ar the fault of gamers?  Are there any states where you can plead temporary insanity for killing a gamer because he suggest you go any play some D&D together?  Do people get kicked out of the military for saying they like to play role playing games?  And I could go on and on, but I've probably already bored most of you.

And not only is the stigma on a totally different level, I don't think you can even equate sexuality with what is just a hobby.  Ok, maybe a really important hobby (even a career) for some of you, but still.  As much as it annoys me that so many gay men out there (and gay women actually) pretty much only identify with their gayness, a person's sexuality is a large part of them.  I think of never having a sex drive again (or worse never being able to act on your sex drive, and maybe even feeling ashamed about it), versus never being able to role play again.  I sure know which one I'd choose.  Let's not even get into the whole being gay is not a choice part of things.  I'm sure you've all heard that beat to death already.  Even if someone made the case that for some gamers out there sublimate their sex drive into gaming (argument I'd probably agree with), well we were talking about healthy, more mainstream versions of our hobby weren't we?  And I would bet most of those that have turned to gaming in order to make up for an unused libido would be willing to reverse the process if given a chance.

I mean, have any of you known someone who came out of the closet?  Have you seen how much happier they end up becoming?  (That is if you manage to not kill them when trying to deal with the 6 months of pure hell they put you through when they go through the seemingly mandatory REALLY ANNOYING FAG phase of coming out?)  I can't imagine someone going through that kind of change after admitting that, yah, they like to play role playing games.

The truth is I don't even feel there is that much of a stigma about playing these days.  Yah, you might get a little teased, but it isn't that big of a deal.  I'm not in high school any more.  Things like that really don't matter that much.  And if they DO matter to someone I think they such an idiot that it just doesn't matter.  But to be frank, if I can admit to people that like to suck dick, and I can deal with their reactions to that, hell, who cares about role playing?

Oh and there is one point I really need to address.

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Everyone, one of my key points on this thread is to state that gay people were able to gain some recognition, and most importantly legal protection from bashing, when they were able to enlist support from straight people who had voices in the power structure. A fellow closeted gay person in the power structure is all well and good, but not, in the long run or during harsh times, very effective. No, the key was to be out to people who were (a) not "accusable" in terms you would be accused of, and (b) willing to go to the wall for you.


BULL FUCKING SHIT.  Gays got recognition, got protection, got some level of legitimacy by standing up for themselves and making that happen.  One of the important things people should learn about the last century is it doesn't take that large of a group to make a significant change towards acceptance.  Now as a post Stonewall baby I can't tell you how important that was, but I know lots of people consider it a milestone.  Ditto Harvey Milk and his martyrdom (ok I was alive then but I don't think I even knew what gay meant back then).  But I can say the big change I saw was the AIDS crisis.  Because of AIDS the gay population came out in droves.  They made themselves visible, they gave themselves another level of legitimacy and they gave a voice to gay men who previously had kept quiet.  It is a critical mass thing.  The fact that straight people joined the fight doesn't matter.  The real fight was what happened before that.

Oh, do you want my take on how gay men are similar to role players?   Both have scary fat men with bad taste in clothes who scare off the cute ones by being chasing after them and folling them around till the cute runs freak out and run away.

Anthony

P.S.  Sorry I reacted so strongly.  There are some interesting points in this thread, but I don't think the way to bring them up was by comparing gaming to being gay.


Title: Hello?
Post by: Le Joueur on November 20, 2002, 07:14:02 PM
Yay Anthony!

Frankly, this thread was giving me the willies; too out of touch.

Fang Langford


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Valamir on November 20, 2002, 08:00:07 PM
I think you seriously missed the point...or else spotted it and roared right past.  At no time was anyone making the claim that the stigma attached to gaming is as severe as that attached to being gay (is or was).  Nor was there any intention to imply that the level of discrimination, danger, etc was equivelent.

But there IS a level of stigma attached to gaming.  There IS a level of discrimination attached to gaming, and there IS a level of danger attached to gaming.  Not nearly as severe, true, but undeniably present.

The parallel that was being drawn is that both groups have representatives who react to this in a similiar fashion...by remaining "in the closet".  

Sure the degree of trauma is quite different.  But the basic situation has alot in common.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: greyorm on November 20, 2002, 11:26:27 PM
Let's take the opposite view, that Anthony is wrong about the stigma and Fang likewise is missing the point of discussion, that the thread isn't out-of-touch because it isn't discussing the issue the title might lead one to believe it is.

Let's say someone lost their job, was threatened with legal action, had their personal property smashed and vandalized, had their life viciously threatened and their children emotionally scarred in the process, all because they were a gamer. Let's say that happened.

Does it make a difference to what this thread is about?

Does "my group is more persecuted than your group" have anything to do with the purpose of looking at the psychology and behavior of "closeting" -- not itemic correspondence or matching between two items(!)?

The point of this thread is the "victim attitude" displayed by groups, rightly or wrongly, and acknowledgement of the reasons for it and how self-perceptions of being a "victim" affect you in a social context in regards to those outside that targeted circle.  That is, if you act like a victim, you'll be seen as one, which (I believe) is precisely where this thread is going in its discussion of gamer behavior.

Any discussion of being "more persecuted" than any other group -- whether that persecution be due religious choice or sexual orientation or hobby -- is seriously out-of-context and off-topic...in other words, utterly not the point.

No one, as Ron has already said, is claiming a one-to-one correspondence between a queer lifestyle and gaming. We're drawing analogies between the psychologies behind the behaviors, not creating a matching list that says, "Hey, we're just as persecuted as queers are!"

Let's assume Ron had chosen religion as the comparison instead. For example, comparing gaming to being a closeted pagan. Same thing, easily comparable to being a closted queer...but reacting to that comparison and bringing up all the same arguments about persecution and how such a group achieved recognition and defense would miss the point again.

I suggest: take a deep breath, a reread the whole of the thread and a couple days, and get into the idea, not merely the topic.

As to Ron's point about straights supporting gays and giving them power in society...here's the deal, let's take our nation's practice of racial slavery: do you think, for one moment, that the black man would have gotten any justice under the white regime, regardless of how loudly he protested and argued his freedoms...that is, without the white man standing up FOR him?
Hell no.

Had the white power structure decided to remain entrenched in old ideas, the black drive for freedom and equality wouldn't have done a damn thing, because they had no actual power themselves in that power structure, in that culture. What they did have, however, was allies...and that's what Ron's talking saying and I'm backing right up.

If you don't have allies where the power center is, you can come out in droves, protest and demand justice and equality all you want...the power center remains with the existing structure. If they don't give you the time of day, you aren't going to get it...ever...black, queer, pagan, whatever. You're simply screwed.

It's an unfortunate and unjust fact of politics and human nature, but there it is.

Hence, Ron's statement that gamers need the same...the support and respect and defense of non-gamers...that is, enlisting their power within the existing power structures of society in order to change perceptions and attitudes.

BUT this comes with the responsibility of standing up for yourself first, because no one in the power structure is going to do it for you. It starts with coming out, it starts with ceasing to behave like a victim, it starts with petitioning for equality and justice and getting the power structure on your side...precisely what the gay community did.

And this applies equally to gamers...if we, as a hobby, want to change perception, we have to act like we want to be treated. With dignity, respect and zero-tolerance for assinine misperceptions and accusations.

That's what this thread is about discussing and developing as an idea.

So, regardless that the events noted in the second paragraph of this post happened to me, as a gamer, because I was a gamer, they don't mean shit in the context of this thread.  Regardless that the whole "gamers aren't persecuted like that" burns my ass in the worst possible way for reasons we don't need to discuss here, despite that over a lifetime I have had more queer friends than straight ones and understand and sympathize from a partisan viewpoint with Anthony's reaction and feelings of the thread slighting the gay community, as well as from my own inside-perspective as a pagan and all that entails, despite all that...it doesn't mean a damn thing in the context of this thread.

So, let's get back to discussing the topic...

and I sincerely hope this won't moderate the thread.
I'm done discussing it, so should everyone else be -- Anthony, myself, Fang, everyone -- we've had our says and now we need to continue useful, positive examination of the original point of this thread and what that point means to gamers and can teach us as a group.

Whew.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Anthony on November 21, 2002, 02:07:21 AM
Ok I came on pretty strong in my last post and I want to clarify some things.  I'm not trying to play the victim game or anything. I'm just trying to say that trying to equate being gaming and being gay is just silly, silly to the point where it is counterproductive.  Both as a question of scale and how much gaming influences who you are.  Frankly, if gaming defines you as much as your sexuality does (and straight people are defined by they sexuality too, it just is a lot easier not to be aware of it), well I think maybe that's a problem.  And in fact I'm seeing other people suggest the same thing when they talk about gamers having screwy social priorities. Substituting a safe activity for a basic human desire IS a problem, and not one that is restricted to gaming.

The truth is I see a lot of people who are somewhat embarrassed about our hobby.  Yah, some are afraid of what others think of them.  And I'm suggesting, hey guys it isn't that big of a deal. People really don't care that much.  (Ok disclaimer, I don't associate with fundamentalist whackos and when they get on my case I just roll my eyes and keep moving.  Plus I don't think even they care that much anymore.)  No honest.  Even if someone teases you about it they are just giving you a hard time.  And if they actually really think less of you, whatever.  Get over it.  They aren't threatening you, they aren't going to ruin your life. There are plenty of people I don't get along with for a large number of reasons.  (wow, I sure used a lot of cliches in that last paragraph).

There is something else I see which is that some of us are pretty down on our fellow hobbyists.  I know when I'm confronted with some of the more amazing examples of pure gamer dysfunction my response is to roll my eyes and try to distance myself from them. But no matter how visible they are the really scary, no social skills, kinda smelly, wears the same clothes he bought in the 70s, lives in his parents basement, etc etc troll that causes so many of us to run in fear is not the typical gamer.  There are tons of people out there who gamed or have gamed in the past who are perfectly well adjusted.  Just keep doing your thing, be social in
other ways, mention your interests and you will be really surprised.

As a side note, within the past few years a lot of people I know have gotten into the German and German style boardgames.  Although no these aren't RPGs, to the outsider they come really close. Especially if you consider a game like Once Upon a Time a semi-RPG, which I do.  Gaming is acceptable.  No they might not take it as seriously as some of you do, but hey, every hobby has its extremes.

In short, get out there.  Do your thing.  Stop worrying about what other people think, and I think you will be surprised that a lot of your assumptions were wrong.

Now if you want to turn role playing into a mainstream activity? Hmm. Personally I'm not convinced it will ever happen.  It is a fringe hobby, there are tons of them out there.  Role playing actually gets more attention than most of them.

Anthony (Who is trying really hard to be a good boy and not get in an argument with greyworm about social change)


Title: More Complicated than That
Post by: Le Joueur on November 21, 2002, 06:35:28 AM
I do get the point of the thread.  I think it is a good point, however, the choice of comparison was...indelicate.  Provided that some attempt had been made to just acknowledge this fact probably would been enough.  To do otherwise has this, I dunno, demeaning quality to it; like 'these people's problems don't really matter,' is what I was getting.

That gave everything in the thread (which, separate from this, is important and intriguing) an air of, I can't think of the word, superiority(?).  It was just a feeling; one of those creepy feelings you get when you know someone in the room is being highly, but indirectly, insulted and you just don't know what to do about it.

Now I'm not saying that every single post to this thread should carry a disclaimer, but couldn't someone generate an acknowledgement that we aren't trying to depreciate a segment of humanity who has a pretty tough time as it is?

Fang Langford


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 21, 2002, 06:53:32 AM
Not to say that the RPG stigma compares to Gay stigma, and not to say that it's not easily surmounted, but have you considered that perhaps the stigma is less where you are than it is in the rest of the country? In fact, I know that this is the case. California is a very accpepting environment in general when compared to the rest of the country.

While I don't want to overstate the case, I think that you are understating the experience for many of us.

Mike


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Valamir on November 21, 2002, 07:20:35 AM
Quote
People really don't care that much. (Ok disclaimer, I don't associate with fundamentalist whackos and when they get on my case I just roll my eyes and keep moving. Plus I don't think even they care that much anymore.) No honest. Even if someone teases you about it they are just giving you a hard time. And if they actually really think less of you, whatever. Get over it. They aren't threatening you, they aren't going to ruin your life. There are plenty of people I don't get along with for a large number of reasons. (wow, I sure used a lot of cliches in that last paragraph).


You need to back up and reread Ravens' post Anthony...cuz you're wrong.  Go read his hate thread (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3622) in the site forum.  People DO care, they DO threaten and they CAN ruin your life, and it NOT easy to simply "roll your eyes and walk away".  To suggest that somehow its not meaningful because it isn't "the same" as being gay is rather disingenuous and completely missing the point...that being to see what can be learned from others experience in similar situations.

And Fang...I have no idea where your sense of demeaning anything comes from.  Are you suggesting that being compared to a gamer is insulting?  Personally your "delicate" and "deprecation" comments I find to be the worst form of PC baloney.  When you render a topic too "delicate" for discussion you remove the ability to critically analyse, question, or learn from it.   Sometimes issues just need to be held up to the harsh light of reality and shaken a bit to see what comes out...something that can't be done if everyones walking on egg shells worrying if someone might get offended.


Title: Just a Little...
Post by: Le Joueur on November 21, 2002, 07:43:48 AM
Hey Ralph,

Run into too many crusaders?

Quote from: Valamir
And Fang...I have no idea where your sense of demeaning anything comes from.  Are you suggesting that being compared to a gamer is insulting?  Personally your "delicate" and "deprecation" comments I find to be the worst form of PC baloney.  When you render a topic too "delicate" for discussion you remove the ability to critically analyze, question, or learn from it.   Sometimes issues just need to be held up to the harsh light of reality and shaken a bit to see what comes out...something that can't be done if everyone's walking on egg shells worrying if someone might get offended.

What is this the hour of extremism?  I said "just an acknowledgement" not "walk on eggshells."  I'm not saying that being 'like a gamer' is insulting; I'm saying that one under-appreciates gay rights by comparing it to say, the stigma attached to not liking football.  This isn't an 'all or nothing' thing; one quick acknowledgement that we're talking about the superficial similarities of two things of very different depth would be plenty.

I'm not making an issue about this; I am explaining what I meant by "the willies."  The thread had me sitting there thinking 'how can you be so insensitive,' not 'how dare you.'  A little sensitivity goes a long way and can hardly cripple a discussion.

If you can't see how to show a little respect without having it totally overwhelm your discussion, I can't really say anything more on this topic.

Fang Langford


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 21, 2002, 08:22:30 AM
Hello,

Aw fuck.

Anthony wrote,
"there is some stigma attached to being a gamer, it doesn't come close to what gays have to go through."

You know, this was one of my main hopes - that someone would say this. I almost said it myself but decided that the Raven's-job-crisis side of things was a strong issue of its own.

Anthony, I agree with you and have done so for years. Part of my goal with this thread is to say: "Dudes [gamers], quit crying about the Big Bad Society picking on you. You haven't seen shit. Any real oppressed minority is disgusted to hear your whinin'."

But as I say, Raven's situation did put a bit of bite into the picture in favor of the idea that some degree of potential "oppression" is involved. I'll definitely agree with you that the actual quantity of that degree is comparatively (and significantly) minor.

As for the "BULL FUCKING SHIT"  part ... well, first, I'll start by saying that "offense" isn't an issue, in case anyone wondered or was trying to protect me or whatever. More importantly, Anthony, whaddaya say to a compromise, or maybe a graded-stepped position, as follows ...

Step 1: pride. Standing up for yourself.

Step 2: enlisting support from non-members of the oppressed minority. Getting representation, making political alliances.

My point, 'way back on my post, was that Step 2 is "Real Power," but that it relies upon Step 1. How does that sound?

One final point: in your second post, you used a key word: to equate the gay / gamer issues, which you rightly tag as absurd. I hope it's clear that nothing about this thread does that.

Best,
Ron

P.S. Ralph, Raven, and Fang, forgive me for saying this, but having the three of you on a thread with this kind of loaded content makes me shudder with fear. Every one of you tends to get real erect with one another, and I'm tryin'a talk to Anthony. Can you all settle a bit? I mean, post as you will, but recognize your tendency to enjoy fighting and that it's not a good topic for that.

P.P.S. I agree with Raven's post.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Jake Norwood on November 21, 2002, 09:11:30 AM
Yeah! Me too, Argh!

Uh...

This is in belated reply to the responses to my post back on PAGE 1, but for the record I do see more clearly what this thread was getting at, and how I missed it. Much clearer now, thanks.

I had a few ideas to add to the thread, now, but I think that it's doing fine without them, so I'll hold back.

A question, though, as it's become muddy, is "where is this thread going?" Or, in more of a forge style, "What do you *do* in this thread?" Are we bitching about a problem, trying to solve it, trying to make an accurate comparison, or what?

Jake


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 21, 2002, 09:17:27 AM
Hi Jake,

My real goals on this thread are based on my goals for the (what are now called, I guess) Infamous Five. Each one has spawned a few daughter threads, like this one.

Those goals are: what are we, socially speaking, as role-players? Does the answer pose any identifiable real problems? If so, can the Forge as a site operate as a means to solve any of them? I do not personally have answers to these questions all ready to go. I'm hoping to work that out through the strengths of this medium (internet discourse).

This particular thread is intended to illuminate role-player behavior, exclusively. It's not intended as any kind of critical examination or discourse on either gay-ness (whatever that might be) or gay culture. Bluntly, I think role-players have a lot to learn from gay struggles, both internal and external, not as a direct model, but in terms of parallel details.

Jake, I put a lot of thought and concern into my response to your earlier post. I'd appreciate any feedback about it. Also, I'm not sure which post your current "Me too!" is referring to.

Best,
Ron


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: greyorm on November 21, 2002, 09:34:52 AM
Quote
P.S. Ralph, Raven, and Fang, forgive me for saying this, but having the three of you on a thread with this kind of loaded content makes me shudder with fear.


Raven: "Yeah, we're like the Three Musketeers!"

Ralph: "What? How do you figure that?"

Raven: "Unh, because there's three of us and we're always fighting?"

Fang: "Yes, but in the source literature, the Three Musketeers were on a team, not opposed. The teamwork and fighting issue is one I commented on in http://Scattershot..."

Ralph: "Fang, you missed the point...Raven's making a joke!"

Raven: "Ralph's right, I am making a joke, and further, Fang, I think you'll find the source literature by Dumas supports some amount of in-fighting amongst the Three Musketeers..."

Ralph: "Raven, now you're missing the point! You said yourself it was a joke, so quit intellectually analyzing the issue as a topic, because it makes no sense to do so."

Fang: "Yes, Ralph's right. And anyways, Ron's pointing out how we tend to discuss things with one other, in a combatitive manner, but even though that holds true, I don't think we can really be seen as a brotherhood of warriors."

Ralph: "Sure we can, we're all fighting for truth and justice, crusading to keep Forge discussion hard-hitting and on topic, under the banner of his Majesty, King Edwards."

Ron: "Ok, that's taking it too far. Everyone shutup, you're scaring everybody, and you know the flak that referring to me as any sort of supreme authority figure or cult-leader causes, even in jest. So stop it."

Raven: "Hey, look, Ron's the Fourth Musketeer!"

Ralph: "There is no fourth Musketeer!"

...

<Grin>

Just a bit of humor to lighten the mood.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled topic.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: J B Bell on November 21, 2002, 09:48:54 AM
Thanks Raven.  As a queer person who has found this thread at times
uncomfortable, I appreciate your providing useful direction.  The only
thing I have to add is a note (a note!  Not castigating, or even
correcting, just a "just so you know") that the whole "lifestyle"
terminology rubs many of us the wrong way.  I'd also like to
acknowledge that after the whole sweating-bullets experience of coming
out as not-straight, being an out gamer isn't much of anything.  In
any case I think it is, for me, kind of a sub-category of my overall
"geek" personality, which is certainly the trait for which I have
taken the majority of crap in my life.

I tend to agree with Ron that the fetish world is actually something
of a closer match than the pre- . . . uh, well, past, less powerful
gay community.  However it's a significantly less well-known topic so
I can see why Ron chose to go with what people will at least have some
ideas about, even if they may not always be right on target.  I have
thought about this exact issue many times and see powerful parallels
specifically in the "internalized x-phobia" area.  In particular I
think it manifests as frustration among gamers in trying to use
terminology that is borrowed from the broader culture, and actually
rejecting theory and simple discussion that would clarify things.
Witness the frequent refrain that actually understanding the
source of dissatisfaction with gaming has "ruined" it.  Quitting
fooling yourself is often followed by a pretty uncomfortable period--a
necessary one, as far as I've ever seen.  There is not a strong
parallel to queerdom or fetish in that realizing the truth doesn't
usually generate a feeling of really heavy duty existential dread or
even suicidal thoughts or acts.  However, the notion that some kind of
satisfaction will elude one forever now that illusions are gone is one
I see in common here.  ("Now that I know I want spankings, I'll never
be able to have normal sex!")

The big parallel I see is the horrible dance where two people (or
often more, among gamers, who tend to be less "monogamous"--except
about systems, sometimes) conspire to fail to communicate about their
dissatisfactions.  I'm having trouble giving good examples here, but I
mean the situation where people talk about everything but what
they're unhappy about, often actually rejecting attempts to clarify
matters in a way that would help them figure out what they're unhappy
about.  I think this is sometimes, though certainly not always, why
gamers will sometimes reject theory discussions on the basis that
understanding things thoroughly will somehow "ruin the fun."  I also
see a parallel between the times when someone in a relationship
romantically will shut down conversation by insisting that clear
discussion is hurtful, and the gamer's occasional refrain that the
mysterious "fun" is the only criterion worth discussing.

Well, I could go on, but I'm not being as clear as I'd like in spite
of a full night's sleep.  I am as always open to correction &
clarification.

--JB

P.S. As for the contentious topic of whether mainstream support is needed, I think we can hardly argue that it can be helpful.  (And yes, seeking that support has risks of its own.)


Title: A line-by-line reply
Post by: Jake Norwood on November 21, 2002, 10:35:56 AM
Ron-

The "me too, argh!" was just me poking my head in and trying to feel like part of the argument. Actually it was mostly just me being an ass.

I didn't respond in detail earlier because I felt that it had been too long since that post, and I din't want to de-rail anything, but, since you asked...

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Jake, I think the key issues that separate the gamer thing from "another hobby," at least in terms of the comparison we're examining, are these:

1) Some negative repercussions to being perceived as a gamer are real. The most substantive case study I can think of occurred to one of our own Forge members, Raven, within the last two months, as documented on a couple of threads in the Site Discussion forum.


And I maintain that what happened to Raven is the exception, and has less to do with his being a gamer than someone else needing a scapegoat. It really *isn't* that hard being a gamer, and 90% of the stigma is either in our own heads or has been brought upon us by our own anti-social behaviors, not by the fact that we are gamers. Many (most?) gamers are total geeks in the eyes of "mundanes." The majority of gamers seen at conventions (or at least the ones you notice) are overwieght, exclaim stupid things (esp. anime quotes) in nasal voices, are unkempt, and have a penchant for japanese animated porn. Is that a true statement? No, not exactly, but it is a perception that many have. Is any of it actually related to gaming as a hobby? No. Does any of it explain what happened to Raven? No.

Gaming is like quilting or stamp collecting. It's an immersive hobby with a really annoying stereotypical player, but it isn't that anyone hates the hobby--they just don't like the folks they've met who are part of the hobby. Yeah, there is/was some "D&D is Satanic" vibe, but most people don't care that much. Those that do are usually easily avoided, and most of them are easily convinced that RPGing isn't satanic. It was something that they had "heard" but that they really never cared about that much, and as such had no firm opinions.

What I'm saying is that the so-called negative repercussions of being a gamer come from the kind of people that gamers are or associate with, and not the actual fact of "being a gamer." No one in my family has a problem with it, nor does anyone I talk to. In fact, I find that most folks even played once or twice as a kid. They are always suprised, however, that I game, because I'm so "normal." That says a lot.

Quote
2) Many more negative repercussions are much more minor - and they arise as much from the "self-closeting" behavior as from the 'phobes, as it were. In other words, the problem here is behaving as if gamer/gay were the problem, in any way, by anyone.


I'd say, except in rare examples (like Raven's terrible experience), that this is the only real problem.

Quote
3) The "self-closeting" behaviors I'm talking about are distinctive, compared to how one reacts to having one's odd but dignified hobby publicized. I don't know your dad, but I suspect that if someone mentions his motorcycle racing, he does not hunch his shoulders, grin sheepishly, make a self-effacing joke, or (at best) change the subject sharply. I also suspect he does not play the "neuter" game, which would be, say if he were off to race motorcycles one day when his friends invite him to do something, he says, "I'll be busy that day," consistently, as opposed to saying, "I'll be racing motorcycles that day." [The parallel is the "gender" game played by closeted gay folks, who in conversation with "unsafe" people, use neuter gender pronouns to disguise the gender of their partners.]


Now this is the part of your post that reached me. He doesn't handle it that way, but he's kind of a blunt guy like that. OTOH, there are many crowds that my mom won't tell people what she does (she's a Yoga instructer in the buckle of the bible belt, and a mormon "cultist," either of which can get a cross burned on your lawn in our town), or where my sister is afraid to discuss her belly-dancing because people think it's essentially the rag-head terrorist version of a strip-dancer. So I think that while you hit my Dad's hobby square on the head (and helped me understand what you are getting at), I also still maintain that our "problem" as gamers is pretty common all over in many "specialty" hobbies, especially anything that takes up a lot of time.

Likewise, I don't "hunch [my] shoulders, grin sheepishly, make a self-effacing joke, or (at best) change the subject sharply" when my sword-fighting comes up, but it isn't a topic I bring to the table, either, because WMA is still a long way from legitmate recognition as a viable and real martial art in the world's eye. Why? Well...movies and gamers, actually. And by gamers, I mean the fat smelly kind that run around with boffer swords throwing nerf-ball spells.* Remember also that that's a large part of the image gamers deal with as well, and of which many of us are embarrased.

(*Not that I have a problem with the above, but it *is* frustrating trying to explain what I'm doing with a sword in light of what they're doing with a "sword.")

Quote
Anyway, now that I've gone and rudely described the behavior of a man I've never met, let me know if I've made this distinction clear. It's crucial to this thread.


As above, you hit the nail on the head with that one.

Quote
Everyone, one of my key points on this thread is to state that gay people were able to gain some recognition, and most importantly legal protection from bashing, when they were able to enlist support from straight people who had voices in the power structure. A fellow closeted gay person in the power structure is all well and good, but not, in the long run or during harsh times, very effective. No, the key was to be out to people who were (a) not "accusable" in terms you would be accused of, and (b) willing to go to the wall for you.

And yet, this key begins at the internal level after all. One doesn't get that non-[X] support, at the mass level, until one is proud to be [X].


I suppose. I'm not an expert in the least. What I see is a problem with (a) self-image amongst gamers, and (b) projected image to the outside world. All of that is internal, and it can't be helped by friendly "mundanes" speaking up for us or anything of the sort. In the eyes of others gamers look like geeks, idiots, or delusionals. In many cases I think that that stereotype has been fairly earned by us. Of the gay people that I know I have *zero* problems with the ones that seem "normal" to me--meaning that they dress normally, talk normally, and aren't obsessed with their gayness anymore than I am with my non-gayness. The opposite is true of those gay individuals are part of a culture that is alien to me. It makes me uncomfortable just as sitting in a bar with a bunch of drunk Frenchman would--it's alien to me, and I don't entirely get it. I'm not telling them to stop it, but it *is* another world to me, just as "smelly gamer culture" is another world to "mundanes."

And, in that respect, I'm a "mundane." Origins was the weirdest dang place I'd ever been. I was enjoying myself immensely, but it was very, very, very strange seeing 6 300-lb men dressed up as sailor moon. That's just weird, and we've got no one to blame but ourselves in this.

Anyway, I've probably ranted a whole lot here, and chewed on my foot a few times. Understand that I have nothing against geeks, sailor moon, gay people (sorry for including you in this list, BTW), boffer-fighters, or the like. Understand also that I don't want to play-down what happened to Raven, but I do want to ephasize how rare it is.

Jake,
who is waiting for the backlash.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: greyorm on November 21, 2002, 11:24:02 AM
This is a reply to only a portion of Jake's post, because, for the most part I completely agree with him.

Quote
"but I do want to ephasize how rare it is."

Is it, though?

I'll quote one of my posts from the RPG Hate Issue thread, and the URL I provided therein. Based on the evidence presented here, the stereotype or the stigma is much more dangerous to gamers than even we generally think it is.

Quote
...in case you missed it, a branch of our lovely media, in typical sensationalist fashion, has now linked D&D to the sniper shootings out on the eastern seaboard. Here is the link to the article about it: Save vs Channel 9 For Half (http://www.arcadiandelsol.com/article.php?sid=151)

I point this out as the nature of this thread is to stir up movement towards the establishment of an RPG defense league. According to the author and his Court TV viewing habits, the media situation is worse than I had understood, so I take this as a kick-in-the-butt to get things moving on that front.


On the other hand, it is not my intention to downplay the plight of any persecuted group by trying to jump into the "victim" boat with anyone. Like I said, I'm not into playing games of "we're more persecuted than you are," because when you get right down to it, every group is persecuted for something by another group (larger or smaller). Thus I'm not going to value, devalue or inflate the persecution of anyone, because its all bad in that it is persecution.

Again, this isn't to say, "Yes we are!" or "No we aren't!" in response to my own questioning of the rarity or existance of the above -- by "is it?" I mean to ask that as a question for everyone to answer individually, to say "hey, stop, let's really look at this and our own perceptions about it," provide data for exploration and evaluation, not definitively answer it here.

Like I said, I agree with Jake, in comparison to the gay community (or the pagan community, or the black community) gamers have it "easy" (or as easy as ostracization of any sort can ever be).

What I'm really interested in is how we deal with that as a group, what "that" actually is (the actual forms it takes, individually and culturally), and how it affects our hobby, perception of our hobby, et al. "in comparison" isn't the issue; I think the issue of severity is a red herring...not unimportant, certainly, but off-topic right now in this context.

As an example, note the article above: lawyers, prosecutors and government profilers use D&D (and RPGs) as a marker of instability, to showcase that someone isn't mentally healthy to a jury and convict them of crimes. This does not really affect you as a gamer on an immediate, personal level, but do note that this behavior does exist and occur, and as it does, it does have an affect gamers as a whole.

When's the last time you heard prosecutors using the facts that someone plays poker or works on model trains against them in court, not as evidence (ie: "you play poker on Wednesdays, and you were in the area"), but as a sign of obvious mental instability?

This is one aspect of what I'm talking about discussion in this thread serving itself better by focusing on, rather than the issue that a comparison was made to highlight certain similarities, not to bind the two together as similar.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 21, 2002, 11:33:58 AM
Hello,

Jake wrote,
"... All of that is internal, and it can't be helped by friendly "mundanes" speaking up for us or anything of the sort."

I agree. I've said so from the beginning of the thread. The process starts internally, with actual pride. In many ways, that's the only process that matters.

Is someone not seeing this? I'm starting to get that aggravated feeling one gets upon not being heard, despite multiple repetitions.  

Best,
Ron


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: erithromycin on November 22, 2002, 03:25:18 PM
Right. I'm with you. The issue is pride.

With 'pride' we can move some way towards having roleplaying accepted as a mainstream social activity. At least, I assume that's what you're after.

It's the best explanation I can see for our use of the transformation of homosexuality [and a number of, but not all, fetishes] into an accepted part of mainstream sexual activity.

That's what you're talking about, no?


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 22, 2002, 03:26:24 PM
Hi Drew,

Yup, it is. That's what I'm after with this thread. When Jake referred to self-image among gamers and projection from them to non-gamers, he nailed it.

Best,
Ron


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Jake Norwood on November 22, 2002, 03:41:17 PM
Ha! I nailed it! Woo-hoo!

See mom, I'm not an idiot!

Sorry...didn't mean to interrupt with useless drivel...

Jake


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Jason Lee on November 22, 2002, 04:16:24 PM
If someone was trying to make a point about the silliness of being ashamed of your gaming hobby, using an emotionally weighted comparison like homosexuality is certainly effective.  

I do not, however, think the comparison is useful for doing anything but granting some forge-goers insight into their psychology.
 
With freaky fundamentalists the same approach to "mainstream acceptance" (have some pride in yourself, stand up and be counted) may indeed help in eliminating harmful discrimination.

But for more sane people (the actual mainstream), "Look at me, I game, and I don't sacrifice children", isn't going to do anything to improve the opinion of gaming or increase the number of new gamers.

The comparison may be too similar, but I think comparing gaming to comic book collecting and anime would yeild a better "comparison with solution" - they all fall into the "kid stuff" category that people "grew out of" and is for "geeks".  Both comic books and anime are becoming more mainstream as time goes on - because of advertizing, not because of any sort of antidiscrimination effort.

Disney puts out Princess Mononoke, it does well, so they put out Spirited Away.  My girlfriend's mother likes Princess Mononoke, so she wants to watch more anime.  We'd been offering her good Princess Mononoke quality anime for years - but now that its on TV it is all of a sudden no longer irritating and childish.   Look, an X-men movie, which is not geeky when it's in the theatre (though more comics probably aren't being sold).

I have to extend my thanks to WoTC, I saw a D&D ad in a Maxim magazine.

PS:  

Jake -
Quote
Likewise, I don't "hunch [my] shoulders, grin sheepishly, make a self-effacing joke, or (at best) change the subject sharply" when my sword-fighting comes up, but it isn't a topic I bring to the table, either, because WMA is still a long way from legitmate recognition as a viable and real martial art in the world's eye. Why? Well...movies and gamers, actually. And by gamers, I mean the fat smelly kind that run around with boffer swords throwing nerf-ball spells.* Remember also that that's a large part of the image gamers deal with as well, and of which many of us are embarrased.


I'll have to concure, in the martial arts community most non-asian martial arts meet with an upturned nose.  I've been guilty of it myself (having a background in a couple Japanese arts), and you're right the nerf swords are partially to blame ("Ha! You'd break your thumb if that wasn't a piece of foam").  I did however recently join a Flos Duellatorum study group, and I'll give it credit - it's nothing new, but it is "effective".


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: M. J. Young on November 22, 2002, 10:47:58 PM
Quote from: cruciel
I have to extend my thanks to WoTC, I saw a D&D ad in a Maxim magazine.

That's a good thing, but it's not really a new thing. Twenty years ago, TSR was running D&D ads. I saw quite a few in Omni that were pretty good.


Still, I think they vanished for a while, so it's good that they're back.

--M. J. Young


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: greyorm on November 23, 2002, 11:23:06 AM
You know, we've been over and over and over this...it ain't about what was compared to...that doesn't matter. Like Ron, I feel rather like the MC at an event where everyone is yelling but no one is listening.

Read the full thread -- scratch that, COMPREHEND the full thread and its purpose -- people, before leaping full bore into a "well, that's a bad comparison" spiel, because we've been down that road before and I think our answers stand on their own.

Now, cruciel points out something which I'd considered: would it have been better to compare RPGs to something more "kiddish"...for the purposes of this thread?

I thought about it, but "No"...for the purposes of this thread. Comic book collecting and anime don't have a similar social subculture comparable to that of gaming...or rather, we're not looking at surface similarities and one-on-one comparisons (he said again) and "the analogy that fits best." We're looking at what we can learn from another group with the subcultural behaviors being approached.

Also, cruciel, you might want to read the "Mainstream: a revision" thread that was the first in this series, if you haven't yet. Therein lies some thoughts about why advertising alone won't do it, and (in my mind at least), a basis for a push towards not merely acceptance, but joining the main game market.

Who cares? Well, I do; many publishers do.
Do you have to? No.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 23, 2002, 11:50:29 AM
Hi cruciel,

Chimin' in to say,
You wrote,
"I do not, however, think the comparison is useful for doing anything but granting some forge-goers insight into their psychology."

And that was the purpose of this thread. It was the only purpose of this thread, as well.

Best,
Ron


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Jason Lee on November 24, 2002, 07:46:28 AM
Quote
Chimin' in to say,
You wrote,
"I do not, however, think the comparison is useful for doing anything but granting some forge-goers insight into their psychology."

And that was the purpose of this thread. It was the only purpose of this thread, as well.


Quote
You know, we've been over and over and over this...it ain't about what was compared to...that doesn't matter. Like Ron, I feel rather like the MC at an event where everyone is yelling but no one is listening.

Read the full thread -- scratch that, COMPREHEND the full thread and its purpose -- people, before leaping full bore into a "well, that's a bad comparison" spiel, because we've been down that road before and I think our answers stand on their own.


Ah, forgive me then, I suppose I read too much into the thread.  As I read through it I got the impression people were attempting to draw upon the methods the gay culture used to gain acceptance, and apply those methods to gaming.

I was attempting to debunk this notion by pointing out that hate and apathy require different tools to fight - not trying to deny the behavior similarities between closet gays and gamers.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: greyorm on November 25, 2002, 11:26:05 AM
Quote from: cruciel
attempting to draw upon the methods the gay culture used to gain acceptance, and apply those methods to gaming.

I was attempting to debunk this notion by pointing out that hate and apathy require different tools to fight

Ah! When you phrase it that way, I take an entirely different idea home with me than I did previously. In this case, I can definitely see your point about hate and apathy being different beasts and why they must be dealt with differently.

But why "apathy" (to not care or have no opinion of)? To my mind, I wish folks were apathetic to gaming as a hobby...rather like they're apathetic to card games, bowling, basketball and so forth as hobbies.

As well, suppose that it is a combination of hate and apathy...how do we deal with the issues raised herein: do you think being proud of our hobby (and I'm not talking marching down the street or walking up to everyone you know and saying, "HEY! I'm a ROLE-PLAYER! Boo-yah!" kind-of-proud) will help correct misperceptions and increase the interest of others and how?


Title: Prejudice & Discrimination are real
Post by: Clay on November 25, 2002, 11:38:01 AM
I can bear witness to the fact that having pride in the fact that you role-play can be beneficial, and help to offset some of the negative stereotypes.

In my business I create web sites.  One of the sites that I have created is the site for Sorcerer.  Near the start of the year I was approached by a Pentacostal church about making a web site for them (http://www.otisvilleaog.org), not because they had seen my work but because they knew that I did something with web pages.

When I was intially discussing their needs, I showed some of my work to my contact.  One of them was the Sorcerer site.  He nearly lost his cool and cut things off right there, since Sorcerer is pretty much everything that fundamentalist Christian activists ever feared about rpgs.

What saved it?  First some frank discussion about what went on in roleplaying sessions, and that the game was about the moral tradeoffs of a quest for power, and how the individual dealt with them. I also make no bones about the fact that I am a practicing Christian, although I don't wear my faith on my sleeve (i'm distinctly not a Pentacostal).  

The result?  By identifying the ways in which we were alike, and not cringing when my  dirty little secret got out, I was able to overcome the objection.  This contract accounts for roughly 50% of my business income for this year.  

This wouldn't have worked in every situation.  With a different person, or if I wasn't a practicing Christian, it could have blown up in my face. But in this case, it worked.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Jason Lee on November 27, 2002, 09:42:57 AM
Quote
But why "apathy" (to not care or have no opinion of)? To my mind, I wish folks were apathetic to gaming as a hobby...rather like they're apathetic to card games, bowling, basketball and so forth as hobbies.

As well, suppose that it is a combination of hate and apathy...how do we deal with the issues raised herein: do you think being proud of our hobby (and I'm not talking marching down the street or walking up to everyone you know and saying, "HEY! I'm a ROLE-PLAYER! Boo-yah!" kind-of-proud) will help correct misperceptions and increase the interest of others and how?


Well, this thread made me think a little bit about the general opinion the populace has of gaming.  There are obviously those who hate gaming (as I'm given the impression you, and others, can personally attest to) - and they have to be dealt with in an appropriate fashion.  However, I'm beginning to think that the gaming-haters are maginal and my perception of their mass may simply be a left-over from earlier decades - a bit of being out of touch with the upcoming generation.  Maybe all those people who you have any chance of getting interested in gaming (kids with magic cards, teenager who like the "lord of the rings" movies, etc) aren't adverse to gaming at all - roleplaying or the people who roleplay probably just don't interest them, or they haven't been sold on the idea effectively.

I do agree self esteem good.  I'm just not convinced getting the hate-mongers out of their o'-so-comforting hate is as related to recuiting new gamers as we would like to believe.  I've just met a lot of proud golfers, and I still don't care about golfing.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: contracycle on November 28, 2002, 06:46:52 AM
Quote from: StumpBoy
Do people get kicked out of the military for saying they like to play role playing games?


In certain places, quite possibly "yes".  I have a police record as a suspected Satanist on the basis of founding a highschool RPG club.  This should be seen in the context of a national "satanic abductions" scare and persistent rumours that you shouldn't let your cat out of the house on Walpurgisnacht.  Discovering this detail some years after the fact was rather chilling, as it really could have been a serious career impediment, and in principle might still be.  I take your general point, but in certain times and places, RPG can be seen as a deadly threat to human life and immortal souls, and in that context it remains a very sub rosa activity.


Title: Re: Prejudice & Discrimination are real
Post by: b_bankhead on November 28, 2002, 09:53:27 AM
Quote from: Clay
The result?  By identifying the ways in which we were alike, and not cringing when my  dirty little secret got out, I was able to overcome the objection.  This contract accounts for roughly 50% of my business income for this year.  

This wouldn't have worked in every situation.  With a different person, or if I wasn't a practicing Christian, it could have blown up in my face. But in this case, it worked.


  It's NEVER worked for me because i'm not religious.  You see it's impossible for me to talk to these people because they all know more about rpgs than I do!

  No really, I have been into rpgs since 1977, played them, reworked,debated them,read rpg magazines, chatted them up over the internet, yet it doesn't matter.  The only thing any christian needs to do to know the REAL TRUTH behind rpgs is is to read ONE stupid pamphlet or see one stupid bouffanted 'occult expert'  on the 700 club to become more knowledgeable on rpgs than could ever hope to be.

  And of course the very fact that I have been involved with them so long actually works against me, of course I must be so demon possessed that I'm part of the conspiracy!

   As a former fundamentalist I have an appreciation for how such thought processes develop. Christian fundamentalism REQUIRES an external cosmic evil to set THEMSELVES apart from. After all if practically everything outside the church ISN'T on the devil's mailing list how do you know YOU are saved? And of course if you can discern the evil in something everyone else considers innocuous that shows your superior spiritual acumen (thats why we get Teletubbies who are fronting for the 'gay agenda').

   What we are facing with this bunch is that their ideas are for the most part not based on any contact with the actual games at all.  After all if the pamphlet has the real story why actually read an rpg book? Particularly since reading it makes you vulnerable to (cue reverb) SATANIC ATTACK.   Literally the ONLY source of information they have is propaganda, nothing else penetrates. And the propaganda fills powerfull psychological needs.

   As a consequence I have my doubts if it is EVER worth the trouble for anyone but the small community of christian gamers to try to communicate with this bunch.  But they are so small I don't think they can accomplish much.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 28, 2002, 10:29:36 AM
Hi b_bankhead,

No one is suggesting some kind of "convince the unbelievers" approach to people who might really really loathe the hobby (or anything, for that matter). Clay has provided an excellent example of dealing with kneejerk reactions from an otherwise-reasonable person, or group. This is important - if you, for instance, react to someone else's instant-reaction as a full and complete expression of their views or potential views, nothing good will occur.

The religious or not-religious aspect of the current instance is irrelevant. We're talking about dealing with anyone who delivers a snap-judgment response, and I'm saying that the imperative obligation of the mature human being is to avoid providing a snap-judgment re-action to this. If the other person ain't gonna budge, fine, but apparently, and this goes for my experience as well, lots and lots of people will.

Best,
Ron


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Manu on November 28, 2002, 06:00:46 PM
Personnally, when it comes to strangers, I'd rather (and already have) disclose my most intimate sexual fantasy than confess i play RPGs; it's just not worth the hassle in my experience. Even though in France 50% of the population is atheist, they at best think it's childish. I remember vividly when I was younger, how difficult it was to convey to an even neutral person, the type of playing I favored (which for me matters as much as the type of game you play) - the early 80s tendency towards gamist play bears the stigma of being truely seen as a game, which is so decried in our society obsessed by work over leisure.; then, expressing the pleasure of incarnating a character, of exploring a world which seemed at times as detailed as the real one, this usually resulted in misperception - "oh, it's like theater !" "you mean you write movie scripts?", etc...Maybe i am lazy, but I'd rather avoid having to explain how deep an experience it is for me. Nowadays, I usually say I collect old boardgames, which is seen as a bit odd, but not frowned upon. And this serves to explain why books and boxes fill up an entire room at home.

Most of my girlfriends have learned my fantasies, only a couple know of my gaming.

Oddly enough, I've already told my shrink I was a gamer, and why I was one, but haven't told him about my bisexual experiences. But when push comes to shove, I'd do the opposite for anyone else.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 29, 2002, 08:23:47 AM
Hey Manu, I know what you mean. It's nice to have a very short and succinct means of getting across to people that it's an adult activity. So, I've created such a means. I've stated this around here before, and I will do so again. But it may be slightly controversial, as it's actually quite disengnuous. That said, I personally believe in lying if it's for a good cause.

What I do when telling people what RPGs are is to say the following: "Have you heard of D&D?" {Wait for the, consistent afirmative response}

"Well, it's like that but for adults."

You'd be amazed at how well this works. If it becomes important, you can clarify later that D&D is an RPG, just one that has gotten a bad rap over the years. But until then, it really helps to dissociate the behavior of RPGs with peoples' assumtions about it. You are then free to describe it to them in what is, more likely, an open-minded situation.

It is problematic that it's really a disservice to D&D. But it's worthwhile in the short run, and can be corrected in the long run as neccessary.

Now, using this technique and then further explaining may still get a number of responses like Manu has gotten in the long run. To those I often say:

"Do you watch movies and TV? The escapism of RPGs is like that, but less passive. It's interactive."

That's a hip buzzword that works. In fact, if I were to advocate a change in teh term RPG, I'd call it Environmentally Interactive Entertainment Media. Or something like that.

Mike


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Clay on November 29, 2002, 06:56:29 PM
On the topic of dealing with irrational people and RPGs, I generally recommend letting the issue lie.  You won't change their mind, and you'll likely add fuel to their fire.  This is the approach that I take with my sister in law, who hasn't been accused of being rational since I've known her.  

When I presented my step son with a copy of the D&D player's handbook, I was accused of introducing him to satanism.  I let the issue slide, since she was clearly not in a rational mood that day, and I had already been informed that my particular brand of Christianity (a mainstream protestant church) wasn't really Christianity.  I had ground to challenge, since I had been to mass in her own church (Roman Catholic) more recently and more frequently than her, but it just wasn't worth it.


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 30, 2002, 04:08:59 PM
Quote from: Clay
I had ground to challenge, since I had been to mass in her own church (Roman Catholic) more recently and more frequently than her, but it just wasn't worth it.
Musta been.

As if she'd been to church lately she might be aware that the Roman Catholic church doesn't condone belief in demons and the like. Basically, the church doesn't have an opinion on RPGs, and I've never personally seen a Catholic come out against them.

Heh, Jack Chick dislikes the RC Church as much as he does RPGs. :-)

Mike


Title: Gay culture / Gamer culture [Social Context]
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 30, 2002, 09:55:26 PM
Hello,

I believe it's time to spin off into different threads, folks. Remember, threads are not "open Usenet" on the Forge. If you change the subject, start a new thread. Thanks.

Best,
Ron