Tabletop Gaymers’ mission is to provide social, networking, and educational opportunities to LGBT gaymers and our allies. This mission is most often in the form of events at gaming conventions such as GenCon. The organization was started as an idea amongst gaymers at GenCon 2010.
The Gaymers Yahoo Group would begin the origin story for Tabletop Gaymers. Formed in July 2000, the email discussion forum was a way for LGBT gaymers to share stories and information and to network with one another. This led to small get-togethers at conventions like GenCon.
The Gaymer Dinner was the first and foremost get-together for gaymers at GenCon. It was an informal dinner where like-minded individuals got together for an annual meet and greet. The gathering first started at GenCon 2004 with a handful of attendees. By 2011 the dinner grew to over 50 and outgrew the capacity of most of the nearby restaurants, who were already flooded with GenCon attendees. So the group decided to put on a seminar.
The Queer as a Three-Sided Die seminar began at GenCon 2011 and has continued since. This seminar looks at gender and sexuality issues in gaming from design and publishing to game-play and community. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people are a part for the gamer community, and although the community is known for its tolerance, GLBT people still often struggle to see places for themselves in the fantasy worlds we create. This seminar looks at gender and sexuality issues in gaming from design and publishing to game-play and community. Each year “industry insiders” are invited to participate in this event which now a standing-room-only audience of over 100 attendees.
The GAYMER Badge Ribbon was added to the mix at GenCon 2012. This rainbow colored ribbon is intended to be worn as a symbol of pride and to help gaymers self-identify to encourage networking with other LGBT attendees. At GenCon 2014, with the help of Rogue Judges, over 2500 ribbons were distributed.
The ALLY Badge Ribbon is our hope for GenCon 2015. With the unfortunate passing of Indian SB101, the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” many of our straight allies have asked for a ribbon that they could wear to show their support for LGBT equality.
Tabletop Gaymers is a loosely affiliated group of individuals. Some of the individuals most responsible for helping set up events, coordinating with local businesses, and distributing badge ribbons include.
- Jeff Sorensen, Ames IA
- Brian Dunten, Indianapolis IN
- Steve Kenson, Salem NH
- Art Dahm, San Francisco CA
- Kim Saylor, Indianapolis IN
- Brenda Havens, Indianapolis IN
- Justin Nauman, Ames IA
- Zach Lones, Ames IA