Stunning New Video by Arcade Fire

I ran across this video tonight. It is a new song by Arcade Fire featuring Andrew Garfield. Garfield has been the star of the last two Spiderman movies, but his film career goes much deeper than superhero mask he wears. I encourage you to explore other works by Arcade Fire as well as Garfield's other movies.

Rolling Stone magazine has an article on the song. Check it out here.  There does seem to be some discrepancy between the song, which seems to be more of a dialog between a father and son, and the video, which has a very positive Transgender perspective. I am very curious as to the degree of collaboration between the director of the video and the band. 

In the meantime enjoy the video and seriously consider picking up the album or song. We need to support those that support us.

Many Colors in the Ga[y]ming Rainbow

LGBT Gaming

I'm a casual gamer. I used be a hardcore gamer, but as I've gotten older I've found that my time is being consumed by work, relationships, and community. My youth was spent mashing away on the original Nintendo Entertainment System. In fact my first man crush was over the box art for the first Castlevania. Simon Belmont looked mighty fine to a totally confused adolescent.

I recently ran across an article on joystiq.com about a new documentary called Gaming in Color. This is a fascinating look at the complex relationship the LGBT community has with the gaming industry. The documentary was quite good and provided a view from a wide spectrum of the LGBT community including allies and detractors.

At first glance it may seem that the two (gaming and LGBT) are mutually exclusive, but if you stop and think about it the desire to see someone like ourselves is universal. We have come to expect LGBT people in books, movies, and even television shows. Why should the gaming community be any different? In fact I would argue that an interactive story may be more important that the passive experience of watching or reading other media.

What I find most interesting is the comment section of the article. There is a wide gamut of opinions, some expressed succinctly, others with all the hatred and vitriol the Internet has to offer. I encourage you to go through some of the comments. It can be both uplifting, enlightening, and a little depressing.

I reached out to the director of Gaming in Color and he was kind enough to allow us to show the documentary for no charge. He is really interested in getting the word out and wants as many people to see it as possible. He only asks that if we screen the movie we link to his site and the documentary from the South Georgia Pride site. He has also offered to list our movie night (if we find a good location and time).

I am in the process of trying to bring back a South Georgia Pride Movie Night. I have a great projector that we could use and am working on a location. I think Gaming in Color would be a great kickoff movie.

Beyond the Documentary

Today I ran across yet another article about the LGBT community and the gaming industry.

Nintendo has generated some controversy of their own. They recently released a 3DS title that allowed characters to get married and have kids. In the original Japanese release of the game there was a "bug" that allowed two Mario characters to marry and have kids, but not two Princess Peach characters. 

Nintendo later urged players to update the game if they "noticed human relationships that become strange." Strange? Thanks for that Nintendo. I sure don't consider my relationship strange.

Below is a link to the article on Engadget. There is currently a call to use the hashtag #Miiquality to bring attention to the matter.

Nintendo Responds to Marriage Equality Campaign for Life-Sim Game

Also of note is the Gaymer X gaming convention that has been running for the last few years. Unfortunately this is the last year of the formal convention, though the director insists that it is not gone for good.

South Georgia Pride Movie Night

Would you be interested in watching this documentary? Let me know your thoughts, both on Movee Night and LGBT Gaming in the comments.

 

Comfortable Being Gay

Seth Hodge
Assistant Executive Director

 

So here is a question I want to throw out there. Are you comfortable being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender?

This came up because of an incident I had last week. 

First some background. I graduated in December from the Valdosta State University Langdale College of Business. I was a good student and worked hard in school, especially considering I am also VP at a local IT company. To that end I graduated with a 3.89 GPA and the business school presented me with the Outstanding Senior Management Award for 2013. It was an incredible honor that I humbly accepted.

At the event I felt a bit like a politician. I walked around greeting my professors and generally making small talk. Then out of the blue a teacher from my middle school (24 years ago!) came up to me. Incredibly I remembered her name and greeted her. She proceeded to say how proud she was of me and called me a "fine young christian man". Then she asked if I was married.

I wear a wedding wring. My partner and I have been together for 12 years and while we are not legally married, I consider him my husband in every way that is important. I replied that I was not yet married, but I did have a partner of 12 years. Her expression changed, the smile faded, the area around her eyes tightened and she replied, "Oh, I see". She made a bit more small talk and then excused herself.

I've been out for 13 years publicly, 14 years privately and I've known I was different my entire life. It was a hard process and very difficult in the beginning, not from my family, but for me to come to terms with being gay. Now, for the most part, I am very comfortable with who I am. I'm proud of the relationship I'm in. I'm happy with the life I've built and the friends I have.

The only thing that gets tedious is the constant process of coming out. I think we delude ourselves into believing that we come out at the beginning and then it is over. The truth is that we never stop coming out. Nearly every day of our lives we will make some decision to be honest about who we are, or to let a moment pass by without comment. In conversation to we refer to the one we love in a gender neutral way, or make a point to emphasize their gender? How do we refer to our relationships? How do you broach your sexuality with a newly hired employee, or what if you are the new employee? The vast majority of the time I don't think about being gay. I think about living my life.

Then there are the situations like the business banquet. I obviously disappointed this teacher. Do I care? Actually not so much. I try to be open minded and allow others their beliefs. Everyone needs to believe in something to get through their lives. In return I expect the same respect for my beliefs. In disappointing her I hope that I sparked at least some question in her mind and challenged the obvious prejudices she holds. Did it bother me? Yes. I still get uncomfortable when situations thrust my private life front and center. But I no longer back down from my beliefs or rights.

I think the real danger is complacence. By being honest and carefully balancing that "on the edge of being uncomfortable feeling" we challenge others to see us. Sexuality is not as simple as something like race because our community can hide much easier. That can be a safety blanket that we grab for too often. Please don't get me wrong either. Do not put yourself in harms way, but be proud of who you are, of your relationship, and of your community.

So, what is your story? Are you comfortable being gay (or lesbian, bisexual or transgender)? 

April Pride Meeting

The April meeting was full of suggestions and ideas for Pride 2014. We discussed themes, merchandise ideas, other regional pride events that are happening in the next 6 months, and ways to grow and encourage participation in Pride.

The South Georgia Pride Festival is shaping up with many great entertainers on board. We're in negotiations to bring back favorites from the past, such as Spikey Van Dykey to new entertainers like Dylan Michael.

We are still in search for an MC and DJ (with equipment) to handle the large performance area at Pride. The amphitheater is a great space and needs a good sound system to give the performers and guests a good experience. If you know of anyone that meet fit these roles please get in touch with Seth Hodge via e-mail (pridirector@southgapride.com).

We look forward to seeing everyone at the May Pride Meeting scheduled for Monday, May 19th, 2014 at the Wood Nickel Pub from 7:00 to 9:00. Until then, Have Pride and Carry On!