GaymerX has been running fun, fabulous conventions for gamers on every point of the gender and sexuality spectrum for the last four years. While you could attend conventions in San Francisco, San Jose, and Australia, GaymerX only just recently made its first foray into the East Coast with GaymerX East in New York City. I attended the first GaymerX East, as well as first GaymerX in San Francisco, and in both cases, everyone I spoke with was geeky, friendly, and plugged into current events. I enjoyed every second of it.

Did I mention I was straight?

I spoke with several attendees, both gay and straight, about why GaymerX is so appealing. In short, it isn’t about the games. It’s about the people.

Eugenio Vargas said, “This is a part of my finding how extensive the rest of the [gay gaming] community here in New York is. The LGBT community isn’t super accepting of gamer culture, and gamer culture isn’t accepting of what isn’t them.”

Although 9 million Americans identify as being gay and 19 million report as having “engaged in same-sex sexual behavior,” and 17 percent of Americans self-identify as a geek, there’s little cross-fertilization of these groups. “That’s why [GaymerX] is so important,” said Vargas. “It allows us to be both of those things, complete freely.”

GaymerX was also the perfect convention for anyone who has thought deeper about the meaning of games. Panels included “Exploring Mental Health in Games” and “What Playing RPGs Can Teach You About Yourself.” And ya know what? It’s about the games, too.

Arturo Garcia-Costas says that gaming has “a special resonance with LGBT folks. There’s an escapist quality to [gaming], and when you’re LGBT, there are things we want to escape going on in our lives. [Gaming is] the ability to recreate yourself, with different dynamics and different possibilities.”

Attendees want GaymerX to thrive—and not just because we can never have enough antidotes to conventions populated by dudebros: GaymerX East came hot on the heels of Donald Trump’s election as president. GaymerX goer Jason Lazaro said, “We can feel people processing what happened this week and the unfortunate explosion of hate and intolerance that we’ve seen in the aftermath of Trump’s election. In the face of that, [attending GaymerX] is a way of processing pain.” Even though it was the first GaymerX for many attendees, they automatically felt this event was a safe space. 

Obviously, Microsoft agrees with the need to have a convention like GaymerX: the con was held in its Technology Center in Times Square. Toni Rocca, president of GaymerX, said, “In lending us the venue, Microsoft gave us a space for us to make our own for the weekend. I think a lot of us needed that. Community is most important at times like these.”

As Vargas said, “I love the idea of having this event every year, especially after this week. It’s important that we have a place for us to go.”

Also, he has another important motivation: “I’m here to find a husband.”

Featured Image Credit: GaymerX