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  • Gaymers: Not a Simple Word

    - Blair Cooper
  •  Introduction

    Identifying as a gamer isn’t exactly the same as labeling oneself a reader. The latter could describe anyone from the subscriber of magazines to the bookish librarian. The term “gamer,” however, isn’t as broad, and is often reserved for the hardcore video game enthusiast. It shows seriousness of purpose. Yet “gamer,” like “reader,” can encompass a diversity of people, from casual gamers to import gamers to cyberathletes (“Gamer”). In fact, new variations of the word continue to pop up in various gaming circles. “Gaymer,” one such variation, is used to describe lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) gamers. While the origin of “gaymer” is hard to pinpoint, it’s clear that the term has garnered some attention. Many embrace it for its sense of community; others decry it as exclusionary.

    The Internet attests to the increasing prevalence of self-identified gaymers. "Gamers Experimentations: A Gaymer Community Since 2002," currently has 1,753 registered members while boasts almost 3,809 to date. Newcomer GayGamer.Net provides more evidence of the number of LGBT video game players congregating on the web.

    Additionally, “Gaymer” is now a full-fledged entry in Wikipedia as well as in Urban Dictionary. Elsewhere on the Net, at, Jason Rockwood and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are conducting a survey titled “Gaymer Survey.” Rockwood hopes to learn more about video game players and sexual orientation in “an attempt to quantify the existence of an invisible minority” (qtd. in Sliwinski).

    MTV's "Gaymer" Mario

    When asked why he chose “gaymer” for his survey’s title, Rockwood said, “I Googled ‘gay video gamers’ and up came That's (for me) where the term came from. I like memes, and I felt comfortable using this one.” “Gaymer,” for Rockwood, is a positive descriptor and “useful identity signifier.” He’s also drawn to its ambiguity. “Gaymer” is indistinguishable from “gamer” when spoken, a fact that suggests gamers and gaymers have more in common than not. But Rockwood isn’t the only fan of the meme.

    Websites like are frequented daily, and they offer LGBT gamers a safe place to pursue their interests in video games. features reviews, chat rooms, message boards, and forums. The site’s creator states, “A lot of right-wing gamers slammed me by saying, ‘Why do you need a gay gamers site? Just be a gamer no matter who or what you are.’ In a perfect world, this would be the case, however, we don't live in that world.” The Webmaster voices her need for a game-related space free of homophobia. “I always had a hard time finding other gay people that were into video games,” she continues, “but I knew I couldn't be the only one out there” (“”). The desire to find like-minded people with similar life experiences, coupled with the absence of an LGBT-friendly online gaming community, sparked the development of sites like This, in turn, spread the word.


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