GLAAD plans to recognize the best LGBTQ representation in games via a new category for its upcoming GLAAD Media Awards, according to a press release.
The annual awards show, which will be in its 30th year for 2019, will recognize video games that achieve excellence in “LBGTQ-inclusive content” in the new category, the Outstanding Video Game Award.
“[The] award is given for an interactive experience that includes authentic and impactful LGBTQ characters or storylines,” according to a press release. “Judging will take into consideration the degree to which the LGBTQ-inclusive content is effectively woven into gameplay, including player agency and the world itself.”
Variety reached out for clarification regarding the “player agency” aspect of the award, and a GLAAD spokesperson explained how the unique aspects of games allowing the player to actively participate in the outcome of the medium will be considered in the judging proceedings.
“Games can empower LGBTQ players with the agency to explore and express themselves safely within a virtual environment,” the representative stated. “Because this aspect is unique among entertainment media, the Outstanding Video Game category will give particular attention to submissions which present players with opportunities to actively express their LGBTQ identities within the game’s world.”
Nominations are currently being accepted until Friday, Nov. 23, at 6 p.m. PT via the official entry form on the GLAAD website.
Zeke Stokes, VP of programs at GLAAD, gave a comment to Variety regarding the decision to add this new category to the media awards.
“Video games reach millions and millions of people and have the capacity to change hearts and minds with their content – or reinforce outdated stereotypes and ideas,” Stokes said. “GLAAD is working with the industry and with the gaming community to ensure that all players can see themselves represented in fair and authentic ways.”
The GLAAD Media Awards award media for “fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, and the issues that affect their lives,” according to a press release.
Representation in video games is still a work in progress, but absolutely an area some developers have taken big strides in.
LGBTQ representation was featured in recent years in several hit games, including “Life is Strange: Before the Storm” and “Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator.”
As the gaming community expands, more games seem likely to have LGBTQ characters and storylines— and not just in indie games. The E3 2018 trailer for “The Last of Us 2” featured a kiss between Ellie and a new female character.
Still, there will be roadblocks— even just for representation in general.
Earlier this year controversy surrounded a “Battlefield V” trailer depicting female combatants and even as recently as Tuesday, “Total War: Rome II” took the stance that female generals are in the game to stay.