What do you think of when you hear “Hearthstone,” “Mario Kart” and “Naruto”? Probably a bunch of adolescents holed up in a basement glued to a screen. Houston Gaymers, however, is challenging that notion through its LGBT-friendly community.
According to 2014 gaming industry statistics, 58 percent of Americans play video games and 62 percent of all gamers are adults, with the average age of game purchasers ringing in at 35. Adults are playing these games and some want to find a way to do so without being bombarded by the slurs and sexually biased insults that are, unfortunately, common in the gaming world.
The LGBT community hasn’t always had a natural fit into the world of gaming. That’s why in 2009, Eric Hulsey, after inspiration from a dinner with friends, founded Houston Gaymers to offer a safe and fun gaming environment for gamers online and through regular meetups. “Gamers in general are more introverted in their personalities and sometimes so is being gay. By picking neutral locations, everyone can feel more open to be who they want to be,” he told the Free Press Houston in 2012.
Houston Gaymers is the largest gay gaming community in the country, with a regular turnout of 80 or more players. The group holds the honor of being named OutSmart Magazine’s Gayest and Greatest: Favorite Social Organization finalist in both 2012 and 2013.
The group is very active on Twitter, Facebook and its own blog, and events are shared via every outlet. Houston Gaymers meetups occur monthly and include access to delectable food trucks, console gaming and tournaments. They also host a monthly meetup called Handheld Connect for players who prefer personal gaming via the DS, PSP Vita or board games, for those who are into analog gaming.
Above all, Houston Gaymers is an open and welcoming community that extends its welcome to anyone looking to become part of something positive-and to also get their gaming on. Some recent events have included film screenings, drag queen shows, crawfish boils and team participation in Geeks Who Drink pub trivia nights.
Whether you find them online, hit one of their meetings or participate in a meetup, the Gaymers are waiting for you!