Goodbye GAYA: How to use social and financial capital to further diversity initiatives

Colourful words that say game as you are
Finally, major companies in the games industry are starting to catch up with the idea that diversity and inclusion are important. Microsoft has been hosting diversity-focused events and releasing products like the Xbox Adaptive Controller, EA has a public mission statement underpinned by diversity, Blizzard has been leading the charge with their diversity and inclusion initiatives, and Ubisoft had internal training documents ‘leaked’ that show they are teaching employees to unlearn unconscious biases and to become more inclusive. Just to name a few.

These are big companies, with big names and big coffers. They have the ability to socially and financially support marginalised communities by sharing these initiatives within their networks, and backing grassroots movements with sponsorship. They run events to help marginalised people network, be inspired by impressive speakers, and obtain professional headshots or mentorship. They work to keep initiatives like the Game As You Are article series alive.

Microsoft and Big Ant are the two sponsors responsible for supporting the Game As You Are series (on the Trade Media, Develop Pacific, and InGames platforms specifically). Microsoft supported the series since July 4, 2018, where we started as a fortnightly series; we progressed to weekly when Big Ant backed the cause, and we’ve now had the pleasure of sharing diverse perspectives from marginalised writers for over a year. Queerly Represent Me has been honoured to find these diverse voices, and shine a spotlight on them.

But sadly, all things must end. Our sponsorship has ended, and so Game As You Are must also end. Marginalised people do so much emotional labour in their day-to-day lives and without continued sponsorship, Game As You Are would simply become yet another initiative fueled by the underpaid (or unpaid) work of marginalised communities. We can’t allow that.

So, Game As You Are is ending, but not without a final lesson—and a call to action.

Everybody—from major companies to you as an individual—has the ability to make a difference with their social and financial capital. Your network might not be the same size as the one a major game development studio is connected to, but you have friends and family, a Facebook page, or a local physical noticeboard where you can spread the word about diverse, inclusive initiatives. You might not have a bank account like a huge corporation, but maybe you can afford a couple of Patreon subscriptions, or an occasional Ko-fi payment to a marginalised creator.

Let today be the day that you use your money and your voice to support marginalised people. Better yet, set yourself a reminder that can nudge you to tangibly and actively support marginalised groups once a month, or week… or maybe even every day. You might not have the power to financially support an article series for a year, but you have the power to do something—use it.