Mom & son create app to keep queer people safe

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A mother and son team in the U.K. have launched an app designed to help LGBTQ+ people find safe harbour when they feel endangered.

The BOBU app (available via Apple and Google) is an extension of Luciana and Nicholas Cousin’s “Back Off, Back Up” initiative, launched in 2021. The initiative provides training for local businesses to become designated safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people trying to escape threats and harassment on the street. Participating businesses, like restaurants and other venues, can post “Back Off, Back Up” signage, letting queer and trans people know that if they are feeling unsafe, their staff can offer support.

Those businesses are also listed in the BOBU app, which provides a map showing venues that have been through “Back Off, Back Up’s” inclusive hospitality training.

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Queer visual novel The Hayseed Knight is out now

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On Thursday, February 29, solo developer Maxi Molina announced that their queer, animated visual novel The Hayseed Knight is now available in its content complete form for PC via Steam.

This game is set in a medieval world of anthropomorphic animals and follows a rag-tag group of misfits as they try to figure out how a one-eyed, stag farm boy named Ader managed to rise to fame as the most celebrated knight the land of Acazhor has ever seen. Read on…

Baldur’s Gate 3 nominated for five Gayming awards

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At this point, it’s fair to say that Baldur’s Gate 3, the magical role-playing game  developed by Larian Studios and based on Dungeons & Dragons, has taken the gaming world by storm. Even seven months after its release date, the nominations keep rolling in – this time, from the Gayming Magazine Awards.

Dubbed ‘the queerest game of all time’, Baldur’s Gate 3 features large amounts of ​​LGBTQ+- friendly and sex-positive content, which has resonated with queer gamers across the globe.

For the fourth year in a row, Gayming Magazine are holding their annual awards, showcasing the most outstanding games with queer content in the industry currently, and Baldur’s Gate 3 has been nominated for five awards, putting them in the lead for most nominations.

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GLAAD publishes report on queer inclusion in video games

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GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer media advocacy organization, has released its first-ever inaugural ‘State of LGBTQ Inclusion in Video Games’ report.

The report, which comes from the GLAAD Media Institute, in partnership with Nielsen Games Team, is a comprehensive look at LGBTQ+ inclusion in video games and, much like GLAAD’s report on LGBTQ+ inclusion within TV and Film, looks at the current state of queer representation within the industry, as well as educate others on the facts. It also goes on to provide valuable data that doesn’t just focus on characters, but the LGBTQ+ community that surrounds gaming spaces, their thoughts and feelings of where the games industry is at in regards to representation, and the reception they receive, for example, in online multiplayer lobbies.

For the first-ever inaugural report on the state of LGBTQ+ inclusion in video games, GLAAD’s findings are entirely damning. The report confirms something that most marginalized gamers will already know: the video games industry is lagging far behind its film and TV counterparts, both when it comes to representation and inclusion.

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The bittersweet queer history of game development

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In 1990, Capcom was in talks to port its Super Famicom game Final Fight – a beat-‘em-up side-scroller adapted from a planned Street Fighter game – to Nintendo’s Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo heavily censored the port, including objecting to female enemies Roxy and Poison, on the grounds that it had a policy against depicting violence against women.

The Japanese developers responded that Roxy and Poison were either ‘transvestites’ or trans women, and would therefore not cause controversy by being attacked. Nintendo was unsatisfied by this, and replaced Roxy and Poison with male enemies called Billy and Sid for the English SNES port, as well as renaming a boss called ‘Sodom’ to ‘Katana’.

The Final Fight saga is representative of a lot of gaming history: queerness and transness often peek from under the surface of video games, buried and/or corrupted by censorship and pejorative assumptions, but visible if you dig a little. The hidden gay and trans history of game development is rich, and important to connect with, given the false assumption that gayness and transness are new, ‘woke’ invasions into traditional gaming.

But it’s also a complicated and difficult history, full of frustrations that temper the joy of finding hidden queer figures: Roxy and Poison are aesthetically cool characters who are fun to fight, for instance, but they’re symptomatic of how trans women are considered more culturally acceptable to injure than cis women. Gaming is sometimes thought to be in such an embryonic stage for queer and trans people that we’re expected to be grateful for any representation we’re given, rather than interrogating the nature and context of that representation. But gayness in games didn’t just show up in the 2010s. It was always there, or it was kept out.

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Molly House is a historical board game about queer joy

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In Molly House, players compete for queer joy against a backdrop of hate in 18th-century England. Acclaimed designer Cole Wehrle teams with rookie Jo Kelly for a daring new historical experience.

After more than a decade of unprecedented growth, the audience for tabletop games keeps getting more diverse. So too is the subject matter of popular games, which increasingly include environmental and even social themes. But absent a few notable exceptions, historical games — that is, games inspired by real-world historical events — have lagged somewhat behind, with designers seemingly satisfied to simulate the same conflicts over and over and over again in miniature. In 2021, a blue-ribbon panel of industry experts decided to do what they could to change that. As a result, the Zenobia Award was born.

Open to anyone from an underrepresented (non-white, non-male) group, “including women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people,” three winners received a cash award for their mechanical marvels based on novel historical themes. But the real gift was the promise of mentorship from those same judges.

Now one of the most outstanding and daring board game pitches made during the event will be brought to life soon thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign. Polygon recently sat down with the team behind Molly House, a hidden-role game set among the queer community in 18th-century England, to learn more.

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The amazing queer sex in Baldur’s Gate 3

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NoteThis post contains minor spoilers for Baldur’s Gate 3 romance plotlines and the video below got a sexy bear in it. You have been warned ;)

Just how horny is Baldur’s Gate 3? One of my companions tried to sleep with me the very first time I set up camp. I was flattered, but I had just crash-landed a mind flayer airship after waking up with a parasite in my brain, so I wasn’t exactly in the mood to fool around with a stranger just yet. Since then, though, as I’ve grown more accustomed to having a tadpole swimming around in my grey matter, my erotic imagination has started to wander.

Yes, I want to stop myself from turning into a tentacled monster, but more importantly, I need to figure out who I want to take to bed with me: The dark-haired goth Shadowheart? The fiery Karlach? Or maybe I’d rather have Gith warrior Lae’zel split me in two with her battle ax? Truth be told, even if developer Larian tries to slow my suitors’ roll with a patch, I’ll always be playing this game for the romance first, adventure second.

I’ve also been delighted to discover that this beloved RPG is a special treat for LGBTQ+ players, allowing us to court anyone who joins the main quest. This feature — sometimes referred to as being “playersexual” — is befitting of a game that closes very few doors in general. Based on Dungeons & Dragons tabletop rules, Baldur’s Gate 3 is all about exploration, improvisation, and expansive possibilities. You can do almost anything — and apparently, almost anyone, under the right circumstances.

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The wonderful queer history of Magic The Gathering

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In recent decades, society has become aware that life is not simply black and white, that everyone is different, and that people – no matter who they are – deserve to be seen.  With that realization, many in the queer community are finally starting to see regular representation in  TV shows, movies, video games, and more.  One game that has made strides with LGBTQ+ representation is Magic the Gathering (Magic).

From trans, non-binary, to gay, and more, Wizards has found ways to use its five colors of mana to represent a rainbow of people and their experiences. From Nissa and Chandra to Ral and Tomik, we’ve examined the rocky, but fruitful history of LGBTQ+ representation within Magic.

One of the first LGBTQ+ characters introduced to Magic was Xantcha.  During the early sets of Magic, the major character of the story was Urza, a powerful planeswalker with the ability to traverse the multiverse to visit exciting worlds, peoples, and cultures.

Urza’s goal was to defeat the Phyrexians, a bio-mechanical threat that sought only to spread their oily devotion to their god Yawgmoth.  Xantcha, first appearing on the card Sleeper Agent in Urza’s Saga from 1998, was a Phyrexian sleeper agent who defected from Phyrexia to help Urza.

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Fighting games: A queer haven

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Players of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat make up some of the most diverse communities in esports, inviting queer gamers and characters to the arena.

Since entering public use, the internet has been an incredible boon for people looking for a community. Whether you trawled fan websites for various Final Fantasy VII characters back in the early ’00s or hang out on Discord servers for your favourite YouTube channel now, you’ve probably experienced the ease with which community can be found, if not necessarily joined, on the internet.

The fighting game community, or FGC, is a great example of these competitive communities. The FGC is a broad term for a broad group of hundreds of games and thousands of gamers. Industry titans like Street Fighter, beloved cult classics like Melty Blood, and entertaining curiosities like Ultra Fight Da! Kyanta 2 all fall under the FGC banner, and each game has its own group of devoted streamers, players, and fans keeping their game alive.

At the same time, video games have historically been difficult spaces to navigate for members of the LGBTQ+ community. On the one hand, the anonymity and customization options afforded to players of MMOs like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV has allowed queer people both in and out of the closet to experiment with identity and presentation in a relatively safe, controlled environment. On the other, you have data like this 2019 report by the Anti-Defamation League which found that 35 percent of LGBTQ+ gamers reported harassment based on their identity.

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