I worked for a studio — I won’t name names — that opposed the writers including a (thoughtful, cute) story about a lesbian romance.
Not because we weren’t making a game about romance — there were PLENTY of heterosexual romances in the game, say nothing of the salacious (and downright date-rapey) marketing content. The whole M.O. of the game was its romantic plotlines, story arc after story arc.
But the argument against a tame lesbian romance plot came directly from the top: “No, we won’t do a lesbian storyline, because we’re afraid that players in the Bible Belt will leave bad reviews, and because we’re afraid of Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ laws.”
That same company who denied a lesbian romance storyline changes its logo to a rainbow every Pride season. And that makes my blood STEAM. Well past a boil.
Far from being an ally, that’s straight-up hypocrite behavior.
Being an ally isn’t something you do when it’s convenient, or profitable, or trendy. Being an ally isn’t just something you do for the month of June with your rainbow-washed PR.
Being an ally means standing up for and saying yes to inclusive content (and inclusive hiring) - even when you’re afraid of the reception. ESPECIALLY when you’re afraid of the reception. That is THE TIME to be an ally.
Because when you kneel to the people you’re afraid of, when you operate in a way that puts their comfort first and foremost, you’re doing so at the expense of the same people whom you claim, so very loudly during the month of June, to support. Your actions beyond your rainbow logo tell your so-called allies, "Shhh. Be quiet. Stay hidden. The good normal people with their spending money don't need to see your ~lifestyle~."
It makes me so angry. It made me angry then - I quit shortly after - and it still makes me angry now.
There’s zero excuse for it. Absolutely zero.
F***ing. Do. Better.
Game studios, candy brands, television networks - whatever your corporate flavor, do better than slapping a rainbow on your sh*t and calling it allyship. Earn that rainbow with your actually allied actions the other 335 days of the year.
Thanks for coming to my LGBTedTalk.