The Queer Collective is an LGBTQIA+ employee resource group (ERG) and safe space for queer team members to feel heard, celebrated, and supported at the studio. It also provides allies with a place to learn more about queer issues and how they can support the queer community. Half resource group and half social club, it’s a hub for sharing resources and information and chatting about current events and media.
We sat down with the founder of the Queer Collective, Jules Loughin, to talk to them about the ERG, its role at Archiact, and why it’s important to have spaces like these in game dev.
Why establish the Queer Collective?
At their previous position at Electronic Arts, Jules participated in a queer community called the “Pride ERG.” They report feeling great knowing that people at such a big company cared about queer issues. Coming into Archiact, Jules saw there were several queer employees, but no space for them to form a community. Jules knew they wanted to create that space, but with no road map for starting one and unsure if enough queer team members would sign on, that was a daunting task.
Everything fell into place once Anastasia Wilks, our People & Culture Specialist who was a co-op student at the time, talked about starting a bunch of ERGs at the studio and Jules volunteered to get involved. The Queer Collective was born!
Why is it important to have dedicated queer spaces like these?
Queer issues can be very complicated to talk about, particularly in a corporate environment. Discussions of queerness can involve subjects that can be taboo to talk about at work and can be polarizing. Even if a workplace is not explicitly homophobic, those discussions can be seen as problematic.
Many queer people move through the world with a sense of otherness, fearing that their identity will be misunderstood or questioned. It’s hard to talk about queerness when you are not surrounded by other queer folk and allies. But game dev is a form of storytelling at its core, so we need to feel comfortable having those conversations. Conversations about queerness are a boon not only to queer employees’ mental health and sense of solidarity, but they also allow the studio as a whole to tell better, more diverse stories.
Intersectionality is also an essential part of the Queer Collective. In many ways, the LGBTQIA+ community is defined by diversity: there are so many ways to exist as a queer person and so many factors that interplay with queerness — from race to gender to cultural background and more — that no two people experience queerness in the same way. The Queer Collective aims to represent that range of experiences and acknowledge that not everyone is coming to the space from the same education or viewpoint. The point is not conformity; it’s inclusion.
Jules is excited to watch the Queer Collective continue to grow, particularly as it brings in allies in the studio that don’t know that it is a welcoming space for them as well. It will continue to be a space where queer issues are discussed and queer people are supported.
Jules also makes it clear that although they co-founded the ERG and have taken on an administrative role in its operation, there is no “leader” of the Queer Collective per se. The community has and will continue to build itself to support its needs.
Want to learn more about what it’s like to be queer in the games industry? Next week’s blog post will feature the stories of some of our amazingly talented queer game devs!