LGBTQ representation is better, but not great (Picture: Sony)
In its first report on the state of LGBTQ inclusion in video games, GLAAD found 17% of active gamers identify as LGBTQ.
While LGBTQ representation in video games has improved over recent years, a new report suggests the industry still has a long way to go.
LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD published a report on Tuesday titled ‘The State of LGBTQ inclusion in Video Games’, which breaks down the industry’s reach to queer players, their playing habits, and how much of the gaming audience falls within that bracket.
According to the report, which covered 1,452 active PC and console gamers between June and August of last year, 17% of active gamers identify as LGBTQ. This is a 70% increase from a Nielsen survey conducted in 2020 which counted 10%.
The percentage of LGBTQ players is notably higher among younger age groups, with 23-28% of all gamers under 35 identifying as LGBTQ.
These figures are in stark contrast to the amount of LGBTQ characters and storylines in games. According to the report, less than 2% of games on the Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo digital libraries are tagged with the LGBTQ label. Steam has 2.5%, but this drops to 1.7% when adult-only games are excluded.
There’s no indication that GLAAD based these findings on anything other than shop tags though, which could easily be inaccurate.
Elsewhere, the report finds 68% of LGBTQ players wished games featured more prominent queer storylines. 21% of non-LGBTQ gamers, and 29% of gamers overall, also wish this was the case.
It also suggests online harassment is still a big issue. 52% of LGBTQ gamers said they had experienced harassment while playing online, compared to 38% of non-LGBTQ players. 42% of LGBTQ gamers meanwhile said they had avoided a game altogether because they thought they might be harassed, while 27% quit a game because of it.
Summing up the findings, Blair Durkee, associate director of gaming at GLAAD, said: ‘We believe that LGBTQ inclusion benefits both the video game industry and community. As this report shows, the presence of LGBTQ characters or storylines doesn’t meaningfully deter non-LGBTQ people from buying or playing games, but it makes a huge difference to LGBTQ gamers.
‘Despite the significant progress we’ve seen, gaming remains woefully behind other forms of entertainment media when it comes to representation.’
You can find the full report on the GLAAD website.
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