What to do and see for LGBTQ gamers at PAX East 2019

Gaming fans will excitedly gather this weekend for PAX East, an annual convention in Boston featuring a wide array of competitions, booths, demos, panels, and meetups. For LGBTQ gamers especially, there is always much to see, so we're here to share a few highlights. Even if you don't plan on attending, many of the panels mentioned below can be found streaming live on Twitch.

Starting on Thursday, you may want to catch the Exploring NPC Friendships/Relationships in Games panel featuring developers from LGBTQ-inclusive games such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Boyfriend Dungeon. It takes place at 1pm EST in the Dragonfly Theatre.

On Friday and Saturday, LGBTQ fans of role-playing will be treated to a trio of outstanding panels. At 10am on Friday in the Bumblebee Theatre, the Am I Playing a Role: Identity Exploration in RPGs panel will explore the possibilities of self-discovery and self-actualization through gaming. For those wanting an educational look at how trans inclusion in RPGs has evolved over time, the Historical and Visual Transgender Representation in RPGs panel will take place at 4:30pm on Friday in the Arachnid Theatre; the panel, "will examine a qualitative and quantitative analysis of trans-representation in the tabletop industry, as well as discuss inclusion and implementation of transgender narratives from both a player and GM perspective." Finally, on Saturday at 10am in the Bumblebee Theatre, a panel entitled A Seat for Everyone: Inclusivity and RPGs will examine ways to make games more welcoming to players of all identities and backgrounds.

For more broad fans of gaming, Saturday will feature the whimsically titled panel Queer Quests, Bi Battles, & Terrific Transformations, a look at the way video games can empower LGBTQ players to explore and discover their identities in safe, virtual environments. I'll be representing GLAAD on this panel, so be sure to come by the Bobcat Theatre at 3:30pm and say hello! I'll also be on the Building Bridges & Breaking Barriers panel on Sunday (2pm, Bobcat Theatre). This biannual panel presented by Indie MEGABOOTH is about how to expand the gaming community and bring games to new audiences by removing the cultural obstacles that often stand in the way.

If you will be attending PAX East in person, don't forget to stop by the Diversity Lounge. Whether you're in need of resources or looking to contribute, you'll find plenty of information on organizations and communities that are working to make gaming a more friendly and inclusive space. And if you just want to meet other gamers who share your identity or mindset, there's plenty of time and space for socializing too. And if you just want to take a break, you'll be able to find ample respite in the AFK Room sponsored by the mental-health-awareness charity Take This.

Of course, the expo hall will feature many booths of interest to LGBTQ gamers. The Indie MEGABOOTH, for instance, has a diverse showcase of games, including some from LGBTQ developers. Game studio Gearbox has teased a possible announcement of a new Borderlands game — a franchise well known for its LGBTQ representation — so, be on the lookout for that as well.

Whether you're watching from home or prowling the show floor, PAX East 2019 promises to be an exciting event for LGBTQ gamers. Be sure not to miss it!

And lastly, gaming fans, don't forget that tomorrow, March 28th, GLAAD will be awarding its inaugural GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Video Game at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles. Check back here on GLAAD.org and on GLAAD's social media channels on Thursday night to find out who won.