Why we need events like GX Australia

Posted on March 31, 2017

“…we’ve decided that our event next month will be the last one for GX Australia in its present form…”

GX Australia was Australia’s first LGBTIQ video game convention that catered for both gamers and geeks (is there really a difference?), with the primary aim of providing a ‘safe and inclusive space for everyone to have fun’.

April 2017 will see the second GX Australia, and unfortunately it looks as though it may be the last.  Joshua Meadows and Liam Esler who run the event posted “we’ve decided that our event next month will be the last one for GX Australia in its present form”.

This doesn’t necessary mean we won’t be seeing anymore LGBTIQ video game conventions in Australia, or even the end of GX Australia entirely.  Meadows and Esler also explained:

“We don’t want to panic anyone or give the impression that we’re cancelling the event — we’re still very much committed to ensuring it happens, and we’re committed to making it every bit as exciting as we hoped it would be. Nevertheless, we are having to come up with creative solutions to our budget and unfortunately have to evaluate whether or not we can deliver on some of the extras we’d promised in the campaign.”

Although this is sad news for the gaming world, conventions of all kinds are continually reinventing themselves to be more economical and relevant, and some simply become financially nonviable.

This is not to say that Australia does not need a GX Australia – far from it.  There is currently a general unease on the equality front in this fine country of ours.

It would be easy to say that in the gaming world, we can celebrate increasing diversity and representation in the games we play, and finally it appears that the sexualisation of female characters is decreasing (but still very much present).

That with this change, gamers have more of a choice of the type of games they wish to play, and can express their fandom with those who share their love in a friendly and safe environment.  Surely the world is coming to its senses and realising that people are people and we should be treated as equals?

And that video games are something people of all ages and abilities can play with an important yet simple goal – to have fun in life.

The truth is that although we can embrace the positive moves developers and the like are making, it is still very much an uphill battle.  And it would be quite easy to write this article all doom and gloom stating the things going wrong with Australia on the equality front, and why people feel unsafe.

Instead, let’s look at the good GX Australia has done.

There are not many LGBTIQ conventions worldwide that cater for us gamers/geeks and the history is quite recent. The original GaymerX convention (hence the GX in GX Australia) started in San Francisco only a few years ago in 2013.

It was not surprising then that Australia did not have its own convention (we tend to be a bit behind on these kind of things).

Even on the more ‘established’ comic book front, New York only had its first LGBTIQ comic book convention in 2015 (brilliantly named Flame Con). While Australia has representative panels and sessions in our geek conventions, it looked to be a long time before any such dedicated convention focusing upon equality and diversity would feature ‘down under’.

Simply put, GX Australia was a push Australia needed.  Even if this iteration of ‘GX Australia’ finishes after a short two-year run, the first steps have now been made.  It can now be acknowledged, with irrefutable numbers, that there is a genuine need to cater for the LGBTIQ community (and equal representation in general) when it comes to video games in Australia.  And it would be quite naïve to think this is a fringe community given that video game sales are only increasing in this country.

Checkpoint congratulates GX Australia on making history in Australia, and we urge gaymers to check out GX Australia on April 29-30 at the Sydney Showground.  Special guests include Ken Wong (Lead Designer, Monument Valley) and Tim Cain (creator of Fallout).

You can even back them on a new Kickstarter that just launched, to get yourself tickets to the event and The Goodbye Blowout Party. Do that right here!