Happy Pride, folks! June is a time for us to honour the diversity of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities while acknowledging their history, the hardships they have endured, and the progress that has been (and still needs to be) made. We have big plans to celebrate this year!
Turning a special eye towards the theme of queering game dev, we’ll be keeping you up to date on our in-studio Pride events put on by our amazing Queer Collective (tune in for more info about them in next week’s blog post), shouting out 2SLGBTQIA+ game devs we love, and recommending some of our favourite games with queer themes.
So far, we’ve kicked off Pride Month with two internal cultural initiatives: a Queer Joy Chat and a Pride Movie Lunch. These were great opportunities for us to come together as a studio to celebrate the joys of being queer. Despite the struggles that queer people have endured and continue to face today, particularly with anti-2SLGBTQIA+ rhetoric on the rise, these were good reminders that queerness is at its core an experience of profound beauty, connectedness, and love. Read on for more about these events and the conversations they sparked in the office.
The Queer Collective Sparks Joy with their "Queer Joy Chat”
Just after lunch on the first day of Pride Month, a group of a dozen or so Archiact team members piled into a virtual meeting. We were there to discuss things that were bringing us joy as queer people and supporters of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and from queer icons and media, music to fashion, the conversation was free to wander wherever we wanted to take it. The meeting was open to anyone, including allies who do not identify as queer themselves.
The room was quiet at first, timid to break the ice, but once one person took the floor and spoke, the dam was broken, and our excitement to talk about all things queer poured out of us. Obviously, we had been waiting for an opportunity to revel in the joys of being queer with each other for a long time.
One of the topics we discussed was the importance of family relationships to queer people, including biological families and chosen families. Starting conversations with relatives about queer things or having relatives start those conversations themselves was a big source of joy for our team. These conversations demonstrate to 2SLGBTQIA+ folks that their loved ones are actively engaging with their queerness; not just tolerating queerness but taking that next step towards affirmative allyship.
Another point of discussion for our team was the experience of queer folks moving from their hometowns to Vancouver and finding a diverse and vibrant 2SLGBTQIA+ community, unlike anything they would have been able to experience back home. With tons of queer bars, shows, events, clubs and more, Vancouver is in many ways a haven of queer culture, and we are proud to call this city home.
Finally, our team talked about finding kinship with online creators whose experiences match theirs. Many 2SLGBTQIA+ people struggle with feelings of isolation and loneliness. In a heteronormative world, it can be hard to find a community of people who share your experience. The internet is incredibly important to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community because it allows people who cannot express themselves elsewhere to find people like them and form real bonds. Finding a community — whether online or in your area — can significantly impact self-esteem because it allows queer people to feel seen, accepted, and proud of who they are. That is ultimately what Pride Month is all about!
Pom Poms & Pride Movie Lunch
1, 2, 3, 4 - we’ve got pride you can’t ignore! Continuing our celebration of all things queer and joyful, our team also came together for a Pride Movie Lunch over Discord (Uber Eats codes included). Out of a bunch of distinctly LGBTQIA+ films put up for a vote by our Queer Collective, the movie that won out was the hilarious and heart-warming 1999 cult classic, But I’m a Cheerleader, starring Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall and RuPaul!
But I’m a Cheerleader follows Megan, a high school cheerleader whose parents send her to a conversion therapy lodge to “cure” her lesbianism, only for her to bond with her fellow queer bunkmates and learn to accept herself. Conversion therapy is a heavy topic but by framing it through a satirical lens, the movie shows just how ridiculous and backwards it is.
Laughter has long been an important part of queer culture; in the face of profound oppression, communal laughter is sometimes the only way one has to cope. Being able to share in the joy of But I’m a Cheerleader with the Archiact team was a gift and fit perfectly with that spirit of collective joy!
That does it for this week’s Pride festivities! Tune in next week for a post all about the Queer Collective and why it’s important, including an interview with its head, Jules Loughin, one of our Narrative Designers!