SINCE the dawn of video games a sizeable portion of the LGBTI community has proudly labelled itself as geek and being in love with all things gaming.

In fact, the Sydney Gaymers is the biggest group of its kind in Australia and second largest in the world, being pipped at the post by its counterparts in Houston, Texas.

 However, despite the popularity of video games within the LGBTI community in Australia, especially in Sydney, the city has not yet hosted a queer gaming convention.

That’s all about to change this weekend when the doors open for GX Australia, the country’s first ever gaming and geek convention catered specifically to the LGBTI community.

Adapted for a local audience, GX Australia is based on Gaymer X in the US, which was the country’s first queer gaming convention and has been running for three years. The inaugural local event is also part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival.

GX Australia co-director Joshua Meadows said minority groups such as people of colour, women and the LGBTI community have always been keen gamers and it’s only been a recent phenomenon that video game producers are realising the untapped marketing potential in these groups.

“It’s an awareness by the marketing forces, that there’s a market that’s here willing to buy products,” he said.

“For the first time the number of women overtook men playing video games… they’ve realised it’s not just the stereotype of white dudes playing, and they’re taking the initiative, making better characters.

“But while the industry as a whole has made improvements at inclusivity and anti-bullying, it’s still an environment that’s uncomfortable out of that mainstream.”

Meadows said he still felt uncomfortable holding his partner’s hand at mainstream conventions and it was this potential for harassment that an event like GX Australia was needed to provide a safe place for LGBTI gamers to explore their passion.

Organisers are expecting a crowd of about 1000 to attend GX Australia over two-days, which features more than 5o exhibitor booths and panel discussions ranging from how to make your own game to polyamory in video games.

Speakers include Axis of Awesome’s frontwoman Jordan Raskopoulos, YouTube stars 8BitHomo and AussieGamerChick, Gaymer X founder Matt Conn and Sydney independent state MP Alex Greenwich.

“We have an inspiring line up of discussion panels and only 25 per cent of our speakers are guys,” Meadows said.

“We’re happy with the amount of diversity and what the panellists will be talking about, we’ll be talking about issues of (LGBTI) representation in games..

We have a drag queen (Kitty Powers) talking at a panel about a game she’s in, her sense of humour is hilarious and it will be fun for people to watch.

“There are talks with other special guests that have been involved in video games for about as long as the video game industry has been around.”

GX Australia is on February 27 & 28 at Australian Technology Park, Sydney. CLICK HERE for details.

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