The GLAAD Media Awards, which honors inclusive and impactful queer media, has expanded its categories.
Starting in 2019, the new category will be “video games with outstanding LGBTQ-inclusive content.” According to a press release, this move will require representation in video games to be examined with the same nuance as other forms of media. GLAAD will award one video game that has “an interactive experience that includes authentic and impactful LGBTQ characters or storylines.”
There will be several points that judges will use to determine award winners, such as how LGBTQ-inclusive gameplay is and how queerness is integrated into the worldbuilding of the game.
Fan pressure for LGBTQ representation within video games played a major role in the organization’s decision to create the new category. Zeke Stokes, Vice President of Programs at GLAAD, released a statement on the new category:
We’ve been interested in this space for a while. In the past, we honored [2014’s] Dragon Age: Inquisition for its inclusion of LGBTQ characters. A year or so ago, we worked with The Sims. Really, though, it has been the turning point in the industry. There was an unprecedented number of LGBTQ-inclusive games in 2017. Last of Us: Part II’s trailer featured a lesbian kiss. The industry is ready to give LGBT characters bigger roles, so it’s a lot of what’s already happening in the industry combined with the vastness of it all.
“If we’re working to make sure LGBTQ people are included in media,” Stokes continued. “we can’t ignore the video gaming space, and it’s super evident the gaming industry is willing to make this step.”