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Gay gamer survey results with large hetero inclusion

Alexander Sliwinski, @Sliwinski
February 26, 2007

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In the summer of 2006, after receiving academic approval from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Jason Rockwood opened up the "Gaymer Survey" to the public. Rockwood expected 600 participants -- if he was lucky -- for the first-of-its-kind approved study exploring the social and behavioral demographic of gay video game players and the role of sexual orientation on gaming habits. The survey was discussed in some regional lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) publications and filtered out to the gaming press. The survey, with over 10,000 respondents, became a sexually inclusive survey of gamers -- gay, straight and bi.

The study originally broke new ground for not only being the first study exploring LGBT gamers, but it was the first academic study of any gamer group. There is currently no academic studies of female gamers or gamers of color. In a 2006 interview, Rockwood said, "The main purpose of the survey was to be a census. Before we can ask more intelligent questions we need to know who we are dealing with. First, we need to prove that homosexual gamers even exist. Yeah, it sounds ridiculous, but that's where you have to start on something like this. This survey is an attempt to quantify the existence of an invisible minority."

Continue after the break for some highlights from the survey

One of the most interesting portions of the survey is questions thirty-one, showing a reverse bell curve of gamer sexuality. Alfred Kinsey's research found that human sexuality is a bell curve, with most participants gathered in the middle, this reverse bell curve is certainly one of the more curious results of the survey.

31. On a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being completely heterosexual, and 7 being completely homosexual (4 being completely bisexual), where would you consider yourself?
Response Percent
1 Completely Heterosexual
4 Completely Bisexual
7 Completely Homosexual

The survey found that participant's preferred genre is Role-playing games, with 42 percent placing it in the "most favorite" category. RPGs held a 12 to 13 percentage point lead over MMOs, First-person shooters and Action/Adventure games. When asked what genres and to what degree participants would like to see gay and lesbian content in different genres, RPGs was the only category that received "Want Much More" instead of "Not Sure/Don't Know."

46. To what degree would you like to see gay or lesbian content in the following gaming genres?
Want much more Want more Want less Do not want at all. Not sure/don't know
27% (2307) 24% (2101) 2% (167) 13% (1113) 34% (2946)
8% (696) 12% (1065) 2% (194) 33% (2797) 45% (3833)
12% (1059) 18% (1528) 3% (256) 20% (1696) 47% (4061)
Roleplaying Game
32% (2797) 28% (2433) 2% (180) 12% (1032) 26% (2291)
18% (1552) 25% (2137) 3% (256) 17% (1489) 37% (3221)
1st Person Shooters
16% (1351) 23% (1993) 2% (216) 19% (1675) 39% (3410)
12% (1029) 16% (1390) 3% (235) 23% (1939) 47% (4000)
12% (1025) 21% (1793) 2% (196) 20% (1730) 45% (3850)
Classic/Retro games
8% (669) 10% (883) 2% (175) 27% (2323) 53% (4516)
18% (1565) 23% (1994) 2% (172) 17% (1442) 40% (3448)
9% (786) 15% (1271) 2% (210) 24% (2057) 50% (4251)
Action Adventure
22% (1933) 30% (2589) 2% (174) 14% (1254) 32% (2739)
9% (764) 13% (1080) 2% (201) 25% (2134) 51% (4396)

The following question asked about homophobia in the culture. Like any Xbox Live player can tell you, the term "That's so gay" and using "gay" or "queer" in a negative manner topped the list.

49. Which of the following forms of homophobia have you seen in the gaming community, either online or off? (Check all that apply.)
Response Percent
Players use the phrase, "That's so gay."
Players use the words "gay" or "queer" as derogatory names.
Stereotypical representations of gay characters in games.
Refusal of game designers to include well-developed gay characters.
Invisibility of gaymers and/or the gaymer community.
Industry creates atmosphere where gay employees feel like they must stay in the closet.

To review the survey results go to the Gaymer Results Survey Page.

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