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Upsetting Study Reveals Why 1 in 2 LGBTQ+ Gamers Hide Their Identities

Upsetting Study Reveals Why 1 in 2 LGBTQ+ Gamers Hide Their Identities

Queer folks experience harassment and bullying at higher rates than our straight, cisgender counterparts. 

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For as long as the modern game has existed, LGBTQ+ folks have been playing them. But as any gamer can tell you, LGBTQ+ representation is dismal in the industry and homophobia runs rampant. 

A new study from OnlineRoulette.org reports that 88% of openly LGBTQ+ gamers are harassed for their sexuality, among many more upsetting statistics.

The organization surveyed 788 gamers between the ages of 18 and 70. Around 10% of gamers identify as LGBTQ+ and 45% of those surveyed said they actually discovered their sexual identity through gaming. You would think the gaming community would be a more welcoming place? Don't count on it.  

But it's not just LGBTQ+ folks who are subjected to bullying. 65% of all gamers have experienced “severe harassment”  playing online. But 73% of LGBTQ+ gamers report experiencing harassment based on their sexual orientation. 

Only 37% of LGBTQ+ gamers say their gaming identity reflects their identity. Those who openly identify as LGBTQ+ are 21% more likely to be harassed. 

So how do LGBTQ+ gamers avoid harassment? 50% said they hide their sexual identity, 44% neutralize their screen names, 43% block or mute certain players, and 41% go out of their way to avoid specific games and gaming communities. 36% of LGBTQ+ gamers said they straight up lie about their gender. 

1 in 4 respondents said they've been threatened with sexual assault, specifically women and nonbinary people receiving the grunt of this kind of harassment at a rate 15% higher than men. LGBTQ+ women are more than twice as likely to be harassed about their gaming skills than men.

On the other side of this coin, the most supportive communities for LGBTQ+ gamers include Animal Crossing (49%), Call of Duty (27%), Minecraft (26%), Pokémon (25%), and The Sims (24%). 

The study points out that if a game contains a queer storyline, 81% of LGBTQ+ gamers are more likely to buy it. This feels like an uphill battle considering some games have removed storylines completely after receiving backlash. We're looking at you, Mass Effect 2.

Prominent LGBTQ+ gamers also earn a fraction of the earnings of their straight, cisgender counterparts. James Eubanks was the highest earner of 2020, raking in $363,450 last year while the most popular LGBTQ+ gamers, Autumn Burchett and Dominuqe McLean, earned between $40-$50k. 

OnlineRoulette.org remains optimistic of the future of LGBTQ+ folks in gaming, but it's certainly clear we've got a long road ahead of us to get there. 

Read the complete study here.

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Taylor Henderson

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one! 

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one!