Arts & Entertainment
1 min

The gaymer exodus

Toronto Gaymers increase queer quotient of PAX East gaming conference

The Toronto Gaymers, seen here at Toronto Pride. Credit: XTRA FILE PHOTO

In the (totally fictional) Geek Treaty of 1965, it was agreed that to preserve balance in the universe, geeks would be distributed evenly across terrestrial cities. Unfortunately, this equilibrium could be in jeopardy, as a goodly portion of our geeks — including the Toronto Gaymers — are congregating in Boston for a massive gaming conference called PAX East.

The Toronto Gaymers is a social group for queer geeks who play board games, card games, PC and console games, and engage in a variety of related activities. They hold regular events in such venues as the Marquis of Granby, Woody’s and Glad Day Bookshop. “The gaming world is still very heteronormative. This group may help someone struggling with their gender identity or sexuality — you can still game; you don’t have to give it up,” spokesperson Sam Romero says.

Attended by tens of thousands, PAX East is a huge board-game and video-game conference, which dangerously elevates the total nerd endorphin level of the Boston area. Attendees do everything from trying out the latest games to attending lectures by game developers to taking occasional refuge from the digital insanity in an area dedicated to board games.

This year, the conference reached out to queer gaming groups, including the Toronto Gaymers. This will be the Gaymers’ first time officially attending an international conference. “We’ll have a booth in a high traffic area and talk to people attending the conference about things like WorldPride, what’s going on in Toronto, and what we do,” Romero says. “Mostly, we’re there to talk about why groups like ours need to exist and to meet other groups.”  

The Toronto Gaymers may succeed in enlightening some heterosexual gamers and return with a larger network of allies. That is, provided the concentration of geek energy doesn’t somehow cause Massachusetts to implode, resulting in the planet collapsing in on itself like a neutron star.