GA(Y)MING

How gaming created the space for me to be queer, before I knew I needed it.

“I want to be honest with her. So if she feels the same about me, there won’t be any surprises.”

So says my spaceship engineer Parvati; a quiet, considerate lass I bumped into when trying to procure a new engine for my ship – she was looking for some adventure, and I happened to be leaving town. Now, she’s met someone: another engineer (another woman). But she’s worried. She’s worried that Junlei Tennyson, chief-engineer aboard the Groundbreaker, won’t understand her asexuality.

Not that Parvati fully understands it, either. All she knows is that, so far, she’s yet to meet someone who will give her the space she needs, to be the woman she is. In Junlei, she thinks she might finally have found that someone.

I’m playing The Outer Worlds, an immersive RPG set in the Halcyon Colony – a dystopian galaxy in farthest space, where you awake after a 70-year spell in cryo-sleep. My character’s name is Jahanara Khan, one kick-ass female captain you do not want to mess with. And as I’m playing, engaging with a mostly-female cast of enemies and allies, encouraging the growth of an asexual-lesbian-partnership between my in-game companion and her sweetheart, I get to thinking.

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