Gaming Is The Most Inclusive LGBTQ+ Medium, According To New Report

A new research report suggests that gaming is the most inclusive media form for the LGBTQ+ community [via GamingBible].

To find the result, the researchers first picked a handful of the most popular games, movies, TV shows, and novels. They then worked out how many openly LGBTQ+ characters compared to the total number of characters in the game.

Overall, games were shown to have around 1.9% of their casts as LGBTQ+. That’s much higher than the other mediums analysed. Novels only garnered 1% inclusivity, while TV shows and film resulted in 0.8% and 0.1% respectively.

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Image credit: MrQ

These inclusivity figures are somewhat lower than the number of people who identify as members of the LGBQI+. The most recent data from 2019 shows that an estimated 2.7% of the UK population aged over 16 identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. That number saw an increase from 2.2% in 2018.

The research was conducted by MrQ, a British gambling agency. It says that “every industry has a responsibility to represent all individuals equally, ensuring that minority groups are included and receiving fair inclusion and exposure.”

Sander Cohen is the only openly gay character in the original Bioshock. Image credit: Irrational Games/2K

Games are moving in a more progressive direction

While this study isn’t comprehensive, it does who that games are moving in a more inclusive direction. As the study looked at the most popular games, much much of the sample 15 titles are relatively old. Titles like ‘Halo: Combat Evolved’, ‘Perfect Dark’ and ‘Goldeneye 007’ all released close to over 20 years ago, some before the turn of the century.

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Of the titles included in the study, only the more recent releases actually included LGBTQ+ characters. Bioshock includes 1/44, Grand Theft Auto IV has 2/50, and Super Mario Galaxy has 4/24.

Image credit: MrQ

It could be argued that if even more recent games were included, these percentages would be higher. From my own research, 3/14 characters in the main cast of ‘The Last of Us: Part II’ are members of the LGBTQ+ community. That’s an inclusivity percentage of 21%. Even so, this study is acknowledging only the most popular video games, which is most important when it comes to inclusivity and an audience’s perception of a minority group.

It’s clear that, like other media industries, gaming has room to improve with its representation of the LGBTQ+ community and other minority groups. Better, more widespread representation should hopefully move towards curbing some of the abuse and harassment that minorities face in gaming today.

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Credit: Naughty Dog/Sony

We’ve recently published several reports of harassing behaviour in gaming communities. Last week, researchers discovered that over 59% of women hide their identities online to avoid male harassment.

[Featured Image Credit: Naughty Dog/Sony]

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