There’s a low-key option for those looking to celebrate Pride away from crowds and partiers: For the first time, Seattle PrideFest is showing its geekier side by hosting a gamers’ convention.
Queer Geeks and Gamers will include exhibitions, video games, board game launches. Organizers are expecting about 150,000 people at Seattle Center after Sunday’s Pride parade, and many of them to attend the convention inside Fisher Pavilion.
“We wanted to find a way to use this space to reach out to people who maybe don't feel like they don't want to be in the big crowds or that Pride is not for them. I've heard that a lot from my geek friends,” PrideFest executive director Egan Orion said, noting the convention will draw thousands of non-gamers because it will be the only air conditioned area in Seattle Center.
Game designer Christian Derego says it is a safe space to introduce his new board game Paws and Padlocks. In the past, he says he has been hesitant at non-queer conferences.
“I definitely feel a little disconnect sometimes, a little awkwardness, especially when all the other players are straight with their wives and kids and I'm just like this gay Hawaiian kid to show you a board game,” Derego said.
Others say it’s important to have different ways to celebrate Pride.
“Because you can’t be nude bicycling all the time. You can’t be raving all the time,” gamemaster Alex Shiley said.
Shiley was leading a game of Dungeons & Dragons on Saturday during the convention’s first day. She says the role-playing game has helped some in the LGBTQ community explore their identities and genders.
“I would say it's big because I think a lot of being LGBTQ is a lot about identity, examining the identity you have, coming to terms with the identity maybe you were uncomfortable with,” Shiley said. “It's kind of all about finding out who you are.”