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Gamer's quest for queer characters

REPRESENT ME: Alayna Cole is searching for positive LGBT game characters.
REPRESENT ME: Alayna Cole is searching for positive LGBT game characters. Contributed

REPRESENTATIONS of LGBT people in popular culture are few and far between.

Researcher Alayna Cole said accurate representations of the queer community are even rarer, which is why she's begun her quest to compile a database of games featuring LGBT characters, whether virtual or physical.

"The queer community is such a diverse community and representations of individual identities are quite few,” she said.

"Representations often use stereotypes or rely on tropes, there's very little in terms of positive, strong or realistic characters.”

As a gamer and member of the queer community herself, Ms Cole said these limited roles in which LGBT people are typically cast impacts the level of her engagement in some games.

"One big example is lesbian couples, which often aren't made for women who identify as lesbian but are targeted towards men who are attracted to women,” she said.

"It would be nice to have more representations built for us so we can identify with the characters.

"One of the reasons I started working on this was so people can find things that speak to them more.”

Ms Cole said the immersive nature of games, particularly video and computer games, mean there is an opportunity to engage with LGBT people in a way not offered by films, television shows and books.

"It's amazing to be able to interact with a game which allows us to come to terms with your own identity and realise you're allowed to be who you are,” she said.

"It's also very important for people who aren't queer to get an opportunity to experience what some things are like (an as LBGT person), for the sake of empathy.

"That interactivity in games makes it different and that is really valuable.

"We really ought to be tapping into that more.”

For more information on Ms Cole's quest, visit her Facebook page Queerly Represent Me.

Topics:  gamers games gay lesbian lgbt lgbtiq minority representation pop culture queer


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