Interview with Robin Gray, Founder and Editor of Gayming Magazine
This week we caught up with Robin Gray to hear all about the launch of Gayming Magazine, the first dedicated gaming site for the LGBTQ community.
In this exclusive interview with the Founder and Editor, we discussed Gayming Magazine’s recent awards recognition and LGBTQ gaming culture.
Firstly, thanks for creating this incredible site, please can you introduce yourself and Gayming.
I’m Robin Gray, I’m the Founder and Editor of Gayming Magazine. Gayming Magazine is the only LGBTQ video game magazine. It launched in June of this year, so we’re only three months old, but already its been hugely well received by the LGBTQ audience and shows just what a vacuum there had been for LGBTQ players.
Gayming Magazine serves the chronically underrepresented LGBTQ community both in games and in the media.
Can you tell us a little about the audience that the magazine serves? What unique content do you carry specifically for the LGBTQ audience?
Gayming Magazine serves the chronically underrepresented LGBTQ community both in games and in the media. We work on delivering news, reviews and features to our audience all with a queer twist! There are many stories that we would consider newsworthy because of its LGBTQ nature that other mainstream sites wouldn’t bother reporting on. We are setting out our stall not as a competitor to the mainstream magazines, but as complimentary. People can read the mainstream news for all the big news, and then come to us for the queer view.
Your audience is growing and the site was nominated for a Women in Games Advocacy award, how does that feel?
To be three months old and be nominated for that award is a huge testament to our work and our ethos. We pride ourselves on advocating for everyone, and we have some great female identifying writers and an amazing female identifying Deputy Editor who have all done amazing work. We have also shone a spotlight a women driven indie games and female identifying people in the video game workplace.
Only a handful of games have positive LGBTQ characters or storylines and there is still an exceptionally high amount of homophobia and transphobia in the gaming community, particularly during online gaming.
Why is it important that there’s a gaming site specifically for the LGBTQ community?
There is very poor representation of LGBTQ people in the video game world, both in-game and in the industry. Only a handful of games have positive LGBTQ characters or storylines and there is still an exceptionally high amount of homophobia and transphobia in the gaming community, particularly during online gaming. By offering a space where LGBTQ people can feel seen and celebrate our contribution to the industry, I think this is helping address some of these problems.
Diversity in gender is becoming better understood and accepted, is your site a sign of changing times?
Absolutely and it’s great to see some of these storylines come out in games in an authentic way. It’s probably ten years behind the times, but we’re getting there none the less!
How has the site been received by the wider gaming community? Have you encountered any resistance?
One rule… don’t read the comments! The majority of people I speak to in real life understand why we are doing what we’re doing and are very glad to support us. However, every time we’re in the news or our content is shared on mainstream sites, some of the comments and tweets are a perfect demonstration of why we are needed still! But, I am proud to say that I know of a lot of straight people enjoy our stories as it helps them see things from a different perspective and find out about games that they wouldn’t normally have played.
I would hate anyone to think that an LGBTQ game is all rainbows, glitter and topless men… I mean, those games exist but its not all we play!
Are there stereotypes around the types of games your audience will enjoy and is your audience targeted with specific content?
Stereotypes are always a bit dangerous, particularly in real life. I would hate anyone to think that an LGBTQ game is all rainbows, glitter and topless men… I mean, those games exist but its not all we play! Our audience just want to be seen. For years they have had to accept that the vast majority of playable characters in games are straight. Whereas now we are seeing the tide turn and you are able to choose to play as LGBTQ characters. Also, they want to play games that authentically represent them. Characters in games who have been written with LGBTQ stereotypes in mind are usually awful and poorly received because we’re not like that! Games that authentically portray the LGBTQ experience with characters who live real LGBTQ lives are currently few and far between, but it’s so refreshing.
Indie games offer developers the chance to tell wholesome, real stories and dive in to some pretty contentious areas.
Why are indie games important to you site and its audience? Do independent games allow for more diversity and freedom?
Yes, it’s exactly that. Indie games offer developers the chance to tell wholesome, real stories and dive in to some pretty contentious areas. This freedom to write and craft stories is something that the big studios struggle with because they are usually worried about their bottom line rather than telling the best possible story. We have supported some amazing LGBTQ indie developers and will continue to shine a light on indie games with our Indie Gayming section
What are your plans for the future?
Coming up we have our week long celebration of LGBTQ video games called Gayming Live. it’s taking place in London in a pop up shop and also on air with Soho Radio. We’ll be taking all the main aspects of Gayming Magazine and making them happen in real life! You can read more about Gayming Live Beyond that, we will be launching a fortnightly podcast in late October where we will be talking about the big news in the gayming world with a regular panel of contributors, so watch out for that too!
How can the indie gaming community and our audience support your site?
Come read our stories! There’s so much we cover I guarantee everyone will find something interesting. Plus, if there are any LGBTQ indie games out there we haven’t got round to covering yet, drop us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org