I WoW. Like 12 million other people from around world, I am addicted to the hugely popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft. Some clever people also came up with the name “gaymers”, queers who play video games on a regular basis.
If you don’t know what World of Warcraft is, what is wrong with you? But I am not here to recruit players. Recently, to my great delight and surprise, my friend told me that there is an unofficial gay server in Warcraft called Proudmoore which houses quite a few LGBT-friendly guilds like The Spreading Taint (great name) and The Stonewall Family who hosted the 2009 Gay Pride parade in Warcraft.
Researching on said server yields polarizing opinions even among the LGBT community when it comes to having a “gay server.” Apart from your typical comments from 12-year-old boys who made lame jokes like “bets on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy crew to go adventuring soon in the world of azeroth” or “do they go on rA.I.D.S. to molten core?” while hiding behind internet anonymity, some LGBT gamers said that gaming should be a place for escapist fun and devoid of politics. They follow a “Don’t ask, don’t tell rule” when they want to join a guild because they just don’t want to attract unnecessary attention. At the end of the day, they said, there would always be homophobic players who made sly remarks towards the LGBT community here and there. Some even said they would promote segregation (“what’s next? An all-Mexican server?…etc”)
Other LGBT gamers, however, think otherwise. The site Gaymer.org has this proclamation, “The truth is, in the gaming community, there are some pretty staunchly homophobic players and Gaymer.org is about having fun without hearing the bashing. So I give this site to you as a safe haven where gaming is the focus, not hate.” In 2006, player Sara Andrews faced the risk of being expelled by Blizzard for advertising a gay-friendly team or guild. Blizzard eventually issued an apology to Ms. Andrews. Incidents such as this remind LGBT people we are not offered equal rights even in the virtual world, which makes it all the more exigent for the presence of LGBT-friendly gaming environment.
I don’t raid in Warcraft. At least, not yet. But as I run dungeons with a random group of players on a regular basis, more often than not I hear people using the word “gay” in derogatory term. If you ask me I would definitely want to be in a more LGBT-inclusive gaming world. On top of that, according to kotaku.com, the Proudmoore Pride bash included festivities such as “a Nude Duel Championship, avatar modeling, DJ competition and a user-created parade float competition.” Nude Duel? I am there!
Do you WoW? If so, do you prefer to be in a queer guild or server?