The New GaymerX Board of Directors

We’re proud to welcome new members to the GaymerX board of directors. After an extensive search and vetting process, we have selected a group of experienced games industry and nonprofit professionals. Each one of them is deeply committed to our mission of supporting and celebrating LGBTQ+ people and culture in gaming.

Over the next year, our board will focus on fundraising, improving and increasing the programming offered by GaymerX, and developing partnerships with other nonprofit organizations as well as gaming and tech companies. Keep an eye out for exciting announcements in the coming weeks.

We’re thrilled to introduce to you our new board members…

Cherry Thompson

Pronouns They/Them

Cherry Thompson and their cat Odin
Cherry Thompson (and Odin)

Cherry Thompson is a games accessibility specialist/developer with a keen focus in systems design and user experience. They’ve worked on projects of various sizes from small indies like Gambrinous (Cardpocalypse), GlitchMN (HyperDot) to AAA such as Guerrilla Games (Horizon Zero Dawn), Media Molecule (Dreams), Crystal Dynamics (Marvel’s Avengers), Ubisoft and more.

Cherry is also a successful public speaker at conferences like GDC, Full Indie, PAX, a11yTO and internal to many studios. They’re bisexual and non-binary and have a passion for making both games and the industry inclusive of everyone. Their hobbies consist of cake eating, bird watching and adventuring with their one eyed cat, Odin.

Mark Barlet

Pronouns: He/Him

Mark Barlet

Mark Barlet has 25 years of hands-on experience in the technology and assistive technology field. Widely regarded as one of the leaders of 508 accessibility, Mark manages a team of high-end accessibility experts through his veteran-founded business The Barlet Group, as well as the highly trained assistive technology experts at AbleGamers. In 2004, Mark founded AbleGamers after Multiple Sclerosis attacked his best friend, Stephanie Walker, nearly taking away her ability to interact and connect through video games. His vision was to ensure that no one with a disability would ever be without answers on how to conquer disabilities and continue enjoying one of the world’s largest past times.

James Nieves

Pronouns: He/Him or They/Them

James Nieves has been leading local gaming communities since a young age and has proudly attended every GaymerX convention held in North America. They led video game operations for GaymerX East, Flame Con’s gamer lounge and most recently organized events for Samsung 837 and local NYC gaming communities. James has a deep love for classic video games and enjoys retro-inspired indie titles.

Katie Kaitchuck

Pronouns: She/Her

Katie Kaitchuck

Katie Kaitchuck is the Executive Director of GaymerX. She is a staunch proponent of incorporating more robust Diversity & Inclusion initiatives into the games industry. An AmeriCorps VISTA alumna, she is a seasoned nonprofit and gaming industry professional having honed her skills at Ubisoft, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and Feminist Frequency.

In her early days at GaymerX, she organized the –now yearly– GaymerX GDC Scholarship Program, sending LGBTQIA+ game developers to Game Developers Conference in San Francisco since 2018. In her role as Executive director she has traveled the country speaking at gaming conventions and advocating for more and better queer representation in games. In the coming years, she plans to expand the scholarship program to be a more holistic offering, ensuring that participants can travel and be housed safely while in San Francisco. She is also in the process of developing exciting new programs to add to GaymerX’s portfolio.

GaymerX GDC Scholarship 2020

GaymerX GDC Scholars 2020

It’s time, folks! Applications for the GaymerX GDC Scholarship for 2020 are now open. Below is some general information about the GaymerX GDC Scholarship program for 2020. In addition to awarding passes to qualified applicants, we have some exciting things in the works. Please be sure to read the entire post for all the relevant information.

For your convenience, you can find the application here:

Or copy and paste this link into your address bar: https://forms.gle/mLzZDg5pqjfjuxr5A

Also, please see last week’s post on how to give your application the best chance of being selected to receive a scholarship to GDC in 2020.

What is the GaymerX GDC Scholarship program?

The GaymerX GDC Scholarship Program provides Core+Summits level passes to Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. This program provides opportunities for marginalized individuals to attend GDC, a keystone professional conference, who could not otherwise afford the experience. The goal of this program is to improve diversity and inclusion in the games industry. We aim to do this by increasing the number of LGBTQIA+ individuals employed at major studios and whose games are published by major distributors. Scholarship recipients will be game developers and academics working in video games who are LGBTQIA+ individuals and/or produce LGBTQIA+ focused content.

Who is eligible for the program?

Recipients must meet the following criteria to be selected to receive a scholarship:

  • 18 years of age or older by March 16, 2020
  • Able to attend at least 4 of the 5 days of GDC 2020 in downtown San Francisco, CA.
  • Currently working in video or tabletop games in an independent, professional, and/or academic capacity.

People of all identities are welcome to apply, however, consistent with our mission statement, preference will be given to LGBTQIA+ applicants. Transgender individuals, nonbinary folx, women, people of color, agender, asexual, aromantic, people with disabilities, neurodiverse people, and all individuals at intersections of these identities are strongly urged to apply.

Post secondary students who apply for the program must be within one year of their expected graduation date to be selected as a scholarship recipient.

Note to applicants not residing in the United States: Scholarship recipients are not limited by country of residence or citizenship. For instance, last year, GaymerX selected three recipients for the program who do not reside in the US. However, you must be able to legally travel to the United States. Letters of invitation needed to obtain a visa are available from the GDC Registration Department. Please see their FAQ for more details: https://gdconf.com/faq

Application process

The GaymerX GDC 2020 Scholarship Application window is open from 12:00 AM Pacific time on October 14th, 2019 to 11:59pm Pacific Time on December 1st, 2019. All scholarship applications must be submitted by 11:59pm Pacific Time on December 1st, 2019. Late applications will not be accepted.

The application consists of 29 questions covering contact information, applicant demographics, professional experience in games, and personal statements. The option to not answer is available for all sensitive information. Please be prepared to submit links to evidence of work in video or tabletop games. Examples: portfolios, resumes, webpages of published games, videos/photos of games being demonstrated, et cetera.

The Selection committee, consisting of 3 to 7 volunteer staff members of GaymerX, will evaluate each application individually. Fifteen applications will be selected to receive GDC scholarships. In addition, 15 applications will be waitlisted in the event that an applicant from the first selection group cannot accept the scholarship. If your application is waitlisted, do not despair! Last year we invited several waitlisted applicants to join us.

Applicants selected to receive GDC Scholarships from GaymerX must accept or decline their scholarship within 3 days, or 72 hours, of being sent the notification email. The email will contain instructions on how to accept or decline the scholarship. So if you apply, please keep an eye on your inbox in December. If we do not receive a response within 3 days, the committee will re-assign the scholarship to a waitlisted candidate.

All scholarship applicants will be notified about the status of their application by December 20th, 2019.

What can Scholarship Program Recipients Expect?

GaymerX will issue recipients a registration code for a Core+Summits level GDC pass. Recipients are responsible for registering themselves for GDC.

Recipients may also be eligible to receive a travel stipend from GaymerX of up to $500 USD dependant on program funding. Information about applying for a travel stipend will be provided to scholarship recipients once they have accepted their scholarship.

Additionally, representatives from GaymerX will be on hand during GDC to offer guidance and assistance to scholarship recipients should the need arise.

GaymerX will offer additional programming in San Francisco the week of GDC. This includes a meet and greet with fellow scholarship recipients and GaymerX Staff and Board members. Additionally we host a professional mixer with invited guests, food, drinks, and surprises! More information on that will be available in early 2020.

Additional benefits will include… 

  • An invite to the GaymerX GDC Scholarship Recipients’ Discord server, providing past and present scholarship recipients an opportunity to connect with each other and GaymerX Staff members
  • Continuing support from GaymerX in the form of social media posts for new games projects, game releases, crowdfunding campaigns, et cetera
  • Invitation to events sponsored by GaymerX during the week of GDC

Questions?

Please let us know if you have questions by emailing us at: info [at] gaymerx [dot] org.

Categories GDC

How to get a scholarship to GDC from GaymerX…

Applications for the GaymerX GDC Scholarship Program for 2020 will open up on October 14th, 2019. This year, GaymerX will award 15 Core + Summits level GDC passes to scholarship recipients.

In addition to passes to Game Developers Conference, last year’s program included a meet and greet with other program participants and GaymerX staff and a Mixer hosted by GaymerX where program participants could meet other LGBTQIA+ industry folks. The program gave participants an opportunity to develop professional skills at the conference and network with other game developers. We also offer our scholarship recipients support after the event. We promote crowdfunding campaigns, tweet out about new games our scholars have released, and provide a direct line to GaymerX’s staff and volunteer network.

The selection process involves a committee of 3-7 volunteer staff members from GaymerX who each read every single application. We look through every portfolio website, we read every resume, and –whenever we can– we play the games applicants have created or worked on. Last year this took us about 3 weeks. Of the 117 applications to the program last year, only 10 were chosen. Those odds may not sound great, but we’re giving out more scholarships this year and there are a few ways you can make your application stand out.

Here are my 4 tips for being selected for the GaymerX GDC Scholarship Program.

1. You have to apply.

This may seem obvious, but I’ve had folks tell me that they didn’t think their work was good enough to apply or they hadn’t been in the industry long enough to have a chance. Even if you think that your odds are low, apply anyway! We’ve had scholarship recipients tell us that never in a million years did they think their application would be chosen. From personal experience I can tell you, that’s imposter syndrome talking, folks!

We select applicants with a huge range of experience, from students, to professors. From people developing their first game to people working on their 20th. There’s no cutoff in our selection guidelines for how good someone’s work has to be or how many years worth of experience they have.

The reason we offer this scholarship every year is to give people opportunities to get jobs in the games industry and to improve their professional skills. Your imperfect game, that 3D modeling project that you think could be better, and your first try at branching storytelling are all things that could get your application selected.

2. Your personal statement definitely matters.

When we ask the question “Why would you like to be selected for the GaymerX GDC Scholarship Program?” we read the answers very carefully. The answer is often one of the deciding factors as to whether a person’s application goes on the acceptance list or the waitlist. Your passion, your life experience, your interests and concerns matter to us! We really want to know why going to GDC is important to you.

Tell us a story from your life. Explain how you want to make videogames (or tabletop games) better. Tell us about how you’re working to improve LGBTQIA+ visibility and representation in games. Write in your five year plan if you like, or how you want to market your newest game. Go ahead and tell us that you want to find a well-paying job at a studio. Use this space to tell us about your perspective, your goals, your unique and subjective view of the industry. It’s all valid and it’s all important to us.

3. We want to see your work!

If you have finished games out there in the world, we want to see them! I’ll play them! I’ll even pay for them in a lot of cases. Show us where they are and at least one of us (probably me) will spend some time with your creations.

We’re not judging your skill or hunting for bugs. We’re looking for your point of view in games. A creative idea, an original mechanic, an engaging story, or sometimes just really really good art will sway us to choose a particular person. Also, you should let us know what you think your best work or your favorite project is. That really helps us get to know you as a candidate.

“But what if I don’t make games…” That’s cool, too! If you write about games or work in advocacy in games, show us what you do! Just because you haven’t made a video game, doesn’t mean we don’t want to bring you to GDC. If your professional or academic life revolves around videogames, you still qualify to receive a scholarship. GDC has advocacy, education, and other programming tracks that aren’t just for game designers!

4. Make. It. QUEER!

I don’t know if you knew this… but GaymerX is an LGBTQIA+ organization. Pursuant to our Mission Statement, we give preference to LGBTQIA+ applicants. But it doesn’t end there, we really like to see people striving to make games even more queer! If you have queer characters in your games, tell stories of queer experiences, write about queer interpretations of videogames, you should really showcase that in your application.

“But what if I’m straight and cisgender? Could I still be selected?” Yes, it’s possible! If you work specifically in the advancement and support of LGBTQIA+ people and culture in games you may still qualify to receive a scholarship.

LGBTQIA+ representation in games matters and we love to see our applicants who are working toward a world where putting queer characters in games is normal and expected.

Bonus Tip! Apply for Multiple Programs!

Every year GDC sponsors multiple programs like this, each with their own selection criteria. Your chances of receiving a scholarship are better if you apply to all the programs available to you. There’s also the low income pass lottery and the conference associates program. Find out more and find the right programs for you here: https://www.gdconf.com/other-ways-to-attend.

A couple more things…

Hopefully, these tips give you the greatest chance of receiving a scholarship to GDC. So get your portfolios ready, update your resumes, and start thinking about why you’d like to be a part of the GaymerX Scholarship program. Applications will open up at midnight, pacific time on October 14th. Watch our twitter for links and reminders to apply.

I want to stress that transgender individuals, nonbinary folx, women, people of color, agender, asexual, aromantic, people with disabilities, neurodiverse people, and all individuals at intersections of these identities are strongly urged to apply for the scholarship.

If you have questions or need help with the GaymerX GDC Scholarship application, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at info [at] gaymerx [dot] org.

Categories GDC

GaymerX East ’19 Has Been Cancelled

To our community,

We regret to inform you that we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel GaymerX East ‘19. Due to complications with our venue, we won’t be able to hold the event on the scheduled dates nor will we be able to easily reschedule.

All contributions to our indiegogo will be refunded. If you need further assistance, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Here’s what happened…

When we confirmed our event with the Microsoft Times Square Conference center, we did so following the same process we had gone through for previous years. We were given the assurance that our agreement remained the same. However, a few days ago we were informed that their procedure had changed and that they would require us to sign a new contract. Partly, it would restrict which companies were allowed to sponsor the event. Additionally, the contract wouldn’t be ready for another month.

Sponsorships pay for a big chunk of our events. Large companies –a number of whom would likely not be allowed under the new contract– have been some of the biggest sponsors of past GaymerX conventions. We are a small, all-volunteer organization, and not in a position where we can hold a convention without significant financial support. In this case, using the free venue provided to us by Microsoft would be too expensive with the new restrictions being placed on us.

This left us in the difficult position. We either wait for the contract –which if its terms were unfavorable would leave us little to no time to renegotiate before our event– or we cancel the event before it’s too late to refund our crowdfunding backers. We’re choosing to do what we believe is best for our community because we value your support so much.

While this is an unfortunate outcome, we want to be clear that we harbor no ill will toward the Microsoft Times Square Conference center. Their space is no longer suitable for GaymerX East ‘19 and while we wish we could push forward with the event, we just don’t see a way to do so.

There is no way around it, this sucks. We know how disappointing this must be to our community. We hope you can forgive us. If there’s anything you need from the organization, please feel free to email us: [email protected]. Our deepest apologies to all of you.

Katie Kaitchuck

Executive Director, GaymerX

GaymerX East ’19 Guests of Honor

Today we are thrilled to announce our 2019 guests of honor! We are excited they will be joining us and they are just as excited to meet all of you!

Brandon Stennis

Brandon Stennis is a partnered content creator on Twitch.tv for the last 4 years. He also works as the Influencer Manager of the indie publishing company Versus Evil. Brandon has gathered quite the career in the gaming industry since 2012 and has innovated himself into a self made gaming personality. He continues to try and help other creators find their place within themselves and the gaming/streaming communities. 

Twitter: @iamBrandonTV

Twitch: iamBrandon

Katherine Cross

Katherine Cross is a Ph.D. student in Information Science at the University of Washington, and a contributing columnist to Gamasutra. Her work has focused on a range of topics, including game design, AI ethics, community management, and online harassment. Her cultural criticism has appeared in numerous publications worldwide, including Rolling Stone, Bitch Magazine, The Baffler, Time, The Verge, Polygon, First Person Scholar, and The Daily Beast. She is also a sought-after thinker on technology whose commentary has featured on NPR, ABC Radio National, Le Monde, and Dagens Nyheter among others. Her fiction has appeared in the Lambda Literary Award nominated collection Nerve Endings. Recently, she has begun to enter the world of game design, contributing writing and scenarios to games like the Pathfinder RPG and Eclipse Phase. She yearns for the robot uprising and is currently writing a book on the subject.

Twitter: @Quinnae_Moon

D.J. Kirkland

D.J. Kirkland is a comic book artist from Charlotte, NC. He graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in 2009 with a BFA in Sequential Art, which is just a fancy word for comic books. When he’s not drawing comics, D.J. spends his time doing MORE drawing, playing fighting games, watching anime and talking about all of those things on a podcast with one of his best friends called Magical Boys.

Twitter: @OhHeyDJ

Instagram: @OhHeyDJ

Join us for GaymerX East ’19! Meet our Guests of Honor, explore the Expo Hall, engage in fascinating panels and workshops and MORE. Get your discounted presale passes by supporting the Indiegogo campaign!

GaymerX at PAX South 2019: Diversity Lounge and Q&A Panel

Hey, folks! Executive Director Katie Kaitchuck here to tell you about our upcoming plans this January.

I am excited to announce that GaymerX will be at PAX South 2019. You can come visit us at our booth in the Diversity Lounge on the North end of Level 2. Come pick up your pronoun ribbons and say hello to the team. We will also have buttons, stickers, and information about upcoming events. Just look for the bright pink table and banner!

Read moreGaymerX at PAX South 2019: Diversity Lounge and Q&A Panel