GenCon, the biggest board game convention in North America, has a very diverse (read: non-white male) line-up for its Insider Featured Presenters this year, including a female majority. I’ll let a celebrator explain (H/T: VD):
That’s right, folks. There are 13 female IIFPs and only 12 men. This means there are MORE WOMEN THAN MEN, and that is a HUGE FUCKING DEAL, because that is a HUGE amount of change in a really short period of time.
So, how did GenCon attain this goal of diversity:
And importantly, this lineup is much more reflective of the diversity of activity within the gaming industry as a whole. In years past, in order to get selected you pretty much had to be a cishet white dude working for a mainstream company on trad tabletop games. But this year’s lineup includes a wide swath of thought-leadership in the hobby, including tabletop publishers, LARP designers, event organizers, activists, critics, podcasters, academics, and community managers. Which is EXCITING!
Consider the nerd/geek distinction when reading the italicized list.
Here’s the list of people and their credits.
It has abandoned having presentations from people who create board games in companies that matter, in favour of people who like to talk about board games or have nothing to do with board games. Of course, our diversity celebrator thinks abandoning the raison d’etre of the convention is EXCITING!
Why is it that diversity is only ever achieved by allowing those who don’t make things, unimportant people, and those aren’t involved in the activity equal say to to key players who actually create things?
Also, notice this: more women than men is a huge deal. The individuals and their worth aren’t even mentioned, just having women there is all that is celebrated. Yet it is evil to suggest that: “Indies chosen as IIFPs were selected because of pretentious identity politics and not merit.” It’s all identity politics all the time with them, yet pointing it out is just wrong.
Contra Vox, I doubt this particular action will effect GenCon attendance over much. Of the many people I’ve known who’ve gone to GenCon not one has ever mentioned attending a panel. Most of the people I know who go, go to play as many games as possible and buy the newest games. I doubt a change in the industry panel line-up will even be noticed by the majority of attendees, let alone effect their attendance. (Although, it could be a first step to other measures).