LGBTI video gamers are celebrating the increase of queer content in globally popular games The Sims and Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V).

Ahead of Stockholm’s pride parade, a group of modders – video game players who create new visuals in a game through its open-source platform – created GTA’s first ever pride parade in the game’s fictional town of Los Santos.

GTA is known for its violent content, but for the first time ever, against the tradition of the game, the parade will not be destructible and players will not be able to harm participants in the parade.

The decision to make the pride parade indestructible came in the wake of the mass shooting at the gay Pulse night club in Orlando where 49 people were murdered in June.

“We’ve made the parade indestructible. Not to moralize, but rather to show that love will always triumph over hate,” Christian Valtersson, president at Stockholm Pride said.

“The message of love and equality is always needed and we are happy that players get to host their own Los Santos Pride Parade.”

Liam Esler co-director of GX Australia – the country’s first LGBTI video game convention – said the creation of a pride event in GTA V, shows how much people want diverse representation in video games.

“The fact that fans are creating experiences for themselves like GTA V’s Los Santos Pride mod shows just how much people care about representation in the games we play,” he said.

“We’ve seen this in fanfiction, fanart and games modding for years, and Los Santos Pride is just another in a long and storied history of games being ‘queered’ by fans.”

The Los Santos Pride in GTA V comes just months after the life-simulator game The Sims released its most LGBTI friendly version of the game yet.

In The Sims 4, players can choose for their characters to be gender non-binary and for the first time ever women can wear suits and men can wear dresses. Players can also choose to cross-over many gender markers including; women with goatees, pregnant men and choosing whether their character sits or stands to urinate.

“The Sims has always been a frontrunner in the fight for better representation of diverse people, ever since the at-first-unintentional-and-then-very-intentional inclusion of same-sex relationships and later gay marriage,” Esler said.

“The series’ recent move towards allowing any character to wear any piece of clothing is a fairly clear and exciting progression for an already incredibly progressive series.

“These days, for women and minority developers, including characters like ourselves feels much more second nature, and its thanks to the efforts of many incredible people before us that we’re able to do so.

“We’ll definitely see more and better representation as we move forward as long as we continue to voice our desire to see interesting, unique characters with varied and diverse perspective in the games we play and create.”

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