We love to showcase groups that support the LGBTQ+ Community or the gaming community so this time we were lucky to find on that does both. Tabletop Gaymers Inc. is a nonprofit organization whose mission is promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion by championing the visibility and recognition of the LGBTQIA+ community through tabletop gaming. Justin nauman the president came by to give us the inside scoop on their activities.
Q How did Tabletop Gaymers get started? How did you join the group?
Tabletop Gaymers arose from a Yahoo Group called “Gaymers” where friends shared stories and information, networked, and planned get-togethers at conventions like Gen Con. In Aug 2011, the first Queer as a Three-Sided Die panel occurred at Gen Con. In May 2013, Tabletop Gaymers Inc. was formed as a nonprofit and later recognized as a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit. I personally joined just before the official organization was formed and was one of the signers of the incorporation documents. I served as the Treasurer for many years, secretary for a few years, and am now President!
Q What are your organization’s guiding principles?
Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion by championing the visibility and recognition of the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual, and others) community through tabletop gaming.
Q What are some of the initiatives that Tabletop Gaymers facilitate?
Our ‘main’ and founding program is the GAYMER and ALLY badge ribbons. Attendees at gaming conventions and events are provided these badge ribbons (as well as our pronoun ribbons) to self-identify. They are worn to raise awareness, enhance the social environment, promote open and honest discussions, build a community, and provide opportunities for networking.
Q Do you think companies have gotten more inclusive, what publishers do you think are doing the best job at the moment? From what I have seen, yes, I think they have. I could not say what the exact cause is, but I think we are seeing a lot more LGBTQ+ creators in the space as well, which is amazing. I also love that there are very queer, very rainbow (Glitter Hearts), etc. games but we are also getting subtle things as well, a casual mention of a male character having a husband, Sentinels of the Multiverse including asexual, non-binary characters. Just a little bit of representation can go a long way.
Q Do you have any tips for starting a local inclusive gaming group and attracting members?
I would encourage folks to first search around and see if there is an existing group in the area and join forces. I have never heard of a group that does not want help organizing and planning. Working with local game stores or LGBTQ+ centers is a great starting place, and if they are not already, encouraging them to become part of our Safe Space Initiative for Retailers
or Gayme Night program.
We also have a list of some groups on our website and a form for submitting your own local group . Our Outreach Manager is working to put together guides for those wanting to start their own groups.
Q What are your favorite gaming cons, where can we run into your organization this year?
We will be at Gary Con, PAX East, Gen Con, Origins, Gamehole Con, and PAX Unplugged in full force. We have a few other conventions you might spot some of us at just checking things out. I don’t even think I can track the conventions our ribbons show up at now. Companies that help sponsor us usually have a supply of ribbons at the conventions they attend. My favorite con has shifted every year, so I am not sure I can say, I do need to pick one to not work at so I can actually play some games!
Q} if people want more info about you or the organization where should they go?
Our website https://tabletopgaymers.org has information about all of our programs, what conventions we will be attending, and resources for starting a Gayme Night. Signing up for our newsletter and following us on socials is also a great way to get notified when a convention is coming up, if we are looking for volunteers, or running a design contest for new swag items.
Final four questions –we ask everybody
Q) When the zombies take over the world where will you be?
I do not have the skill sets for that, I would opt out of that situation fairly early on.
Q) What is your favorite Fandom
Pokémon – One big reason being it is such a wide range of people. People like me that played the first games and watched the show in the late 90s, kids just discovering it, folks that never had any interest before but got really into pokemon go! And before you ask, Squirtle, because blue was my first game, and Blastoise is my favorite.
Q) What piece of art, be it in the form of music, a book, a film or picture, do you think people must experience before they die?
Hackers, a 1995 Thriller starring Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller, Hack The Planet!
Q) Give one fact that most people would not believe about you?
I showed animals at the country fair for 9 years and was the President for my 4-H club.