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Jordan Lynn’s LGBT Treatise

May 14, 2009

I discovered this article, A Treatise on Homosexuality and Gaming, and enjoyed it immensely. It’s a suggested read for all designers or people interested in anthropology in video game worlds.

It’s long, but well written with many key points. Kudos to its writer.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Malcolm permalink
    May 14, 2009 7:53 pm

    A very interesting article. I’m definitely going to add this to my students’ reading list.

    (But what is with that green-on-green colour scheme?)

  2. Amanda d'Adesky permalink
    May 15, 2009 2:37 pm

    The one caveat I have to the article is that no where was Jade Empire mentioned. In that game, the option of romancing a member of the same sex *is* there.. Granted, the cutscene where the object of your desire owns up to his or her feelings changes slightly if he/she is the same sex as your player-character (the camera pans away from any PDA between a same-sex couple) but it *is* an option.

    Beyond that little personal issue of mine, the essay was very well written. I’ll be linking to it from my own blog later this week. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  3. Jordan Lynn permalink
    May 15, 2009 3:49 pm

    Brenda, thank you for such high praise. Having you recommend my work to others is high praise indeed; thank you.

    Amanda, I left out Jade Empire for two reasons. First, I haven’t played it, so I wouldn’t do it justice in the description. Second, it still falls under the category of “optionally gay.” From what I’ve read about it, it includes definite gay options, but is still completely optional and thus not challenging anyone to step outside their comfort zone. I know film and games are different, but can you imagine how Brokeback Mountain would change if the viewer could pick gay or straight for the protagonists? No boundaries pushed, no images challenged, and we fall right back to the status quo.
    Also, thanks for the praise as well 🙂

    Malcolm, I suck at web design. It’s a stock template that looked cool. I’ll see if I can make it more readable later tonight.

    • May 16, 2009 2:00 pm


      Okay, yeah. I keep forgetting we’re looking at the issue of things only being optionally gay rather than being definitive. Sorry, got a little lost in my own thoughts, there. Being a fairly “young gamer” and a games industry newbie, I wouldn’t know where to begin in terms of describing how other taboo subjects have had to take “baby steps” toward mainstream acceptance. I guess, to me, it was good enough that we had these options at all, because a while back such things would have immediately been killed before they even hit storyboard stage. At least, that’s my understanding. The problem lies in knowing when we can push the envelope further and get more positive results than negative. That’s not an easy call to make, because a lot goes into making such decisions.

      For example, I remember there being much hullahbaloo over straight actors playing gay characters in films and television when I was younger. I don’t remember all the details, but I remember it bothered me that some in the LGBT community thought it “inappropriate” for a straight male to play a gay man, etc. If this is the case, does this mean that a straight person cannot create stories about gay characters because they themselves are not homosexual? Would a similar uproar result if a straight game designer decided to take the leap and make the protagonist in their game unambiguously gay? If we cannot get the LGBT community to support something we make due to our own sexuality, how does that help anything? (And don’t even get me started about the fringe movement within the L/G contingent that is bashing bisexuals. Oye.)

      These are the questions that give me pause. I, personally, am brazen enough (if that’s even the right phrase) to write a game plotline with such a protagonist, but would it ever get anywhere in the current social climate? I just don’t know.

  4. May 16, 2009 11:46 am

    Hi Jordan,

    You’re more than welcome. You’re in GA, right? Interested in coming down to SCAD and talking about your research and thoughts on this?

    On your site’s look, wordpress has some good templates.


  5. Jordan Lynn permalink
    May 16, 2009 10:37 pm

    Amanda: replied on your blog.

    Brenda: I’d love to; the next three weeks of my life are solely devoted to finishing my thesis, but after that I’m game for another trip to Savannah. Email me at cjordanlynn at gmail dot com and we can definitely organize a time.
    And thanks for the tip!

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