Pride 2021 – Meaning, Challenges, and Motivation – An interview with Raymond Lancione
What does Pride mean in 2021? What are the biggest challenges plaguing the LGBTQ+ community in light of the pandemic?
Raymond Lancione, President of Qweerty Gamers, will answer these questions and more in this exclusive interview with Goodera as part of our #Transcend campaign.
About the non-profit:
Qweerty Gamers is a non-profit organization that champions the inclusion and visibility of LGBTQ+ gamers in the broader gaming world. The organization provides a safe platform for developers and LGBTQ+ gamers to connect and learn from each other.
As President at Qweerty Gamers, Raymond Lancione has a strong background in game development, social media, player relations, content creation, and influencer management. He formed Qweerty Gamers back in 2018.
Watch the interview
Or you can read what we talked about.
What is the story behind Qweerty Gamers?
A: I’m queer. And I’m also a video gamer.
The world of gaming can be somewhat homogenous. It especially is, in the United States. A lot of folks are white, male, straight. So you don’t see a lot of diversity.
Having to educate folks I’ve worked with, throughout the ages on things that aren’t even specifically about queer folks has been pretty hard. I once had to educate a co-worker about how it feels to be a black person in the community. I’m not black but I did the work for my peers who are black so that they wouldn’t have to. That experience made me wonder about the work that may have been done on my behalf.
I’m here to just help, and be that ambassador between the two communities – like a bridge. The only way folks change their mind is when they meet somebody who’s different from them. If it all stays homogenous, you’re never going to really be exposed to different ways of thinking.
What are some challenges you face as a member of the queer community?
A: I would have to point out the trolls from the online queer community. There’s a lot of anonymous hate that you get. I’ve received physical letters saying that I’m going to burn in hell for all eternity, which I just laughed at. I kept it just in case, you know, the authorities needed it in the future. I’d have to say this opposition is the hardest thing.
I also think that we get a little overzealous within our own community, and we start gatekeeping and telling folks how to be. The community should be understanding and setting expectations when folks are brand new to communities – especially, non-queer folks. You don’t want to alienate people. If you start arguing with someone or telling them that they’re dumb for not understanding something about your community, they’re not going to want any part.
Another challenge is making sure that you’re not militant. You’re not just being super negative. It’s all about welcoming other people into the broader coalition of this community.
What is the meaning of Pride in 2021, for you?
A: Last year was the first digital pride. Due to the uncertainty at that time, it was overall a negative experience. People were getting sick, dying, and we were all living in fear.
However, Pride 2021 is the first digital pride where things are not as negative. It’s looking forward, not backward. I think pride in 2021 is really becoming a safe place because folks can come out more comfortably within their digital communities. Especially in qweerty, I’m seeing folks coming out as non-binary.
Interestingly, even after you come out, you’re not always fully coming out. Some folks come out gay, and then they come out trans. Or some people come out trans when they already know that they were trans, to begin with. If you’ve built a community, or are part of the community, it’s a good time to come out now. Because it is just so positive and so welcoming.
What advice would you give to someone who still has to hide?
A: It’s okay not to know what you are. It’s okay not to come out immediately, especially in other parts of the world where diversity is not welcomed. If your family is not okay with it, do what’s best to keep yourself safe. If you don’t feel safe coming out digitally, don’t.
But just know that there are communities out there like Qweerty that will support you. There are tons of LGBTQ+ centres that will provide counselling for free at times, through whatever health benefits you might have – through your employer, your state, or your family.
What is one thing you wish people knew about the community?
A: I wish that they would know that we’re just like them. You know, not all of us wear our identities on our sleeves. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just, it’s there’s so much more than what you just read online. Get to know a queer person, if you would like to if you’re from the other side.
What is the meaning of authentic allyship for you?
A: For me, being an ally means challenging my own perception and thoughts on what it means to be queer.
What is one quote that you live by?
A: Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you’re too old for something. I think that really applies to video games – especially for folks who think that video games are something for kids. But really, it’s an extension of the human experience and a way to tell stories.
Thank you, Raymond.
Amplify your voice and impact with Goodera
Like Raymond rightly mentioned, the only way we change our mindset is when we meet somebody who’s different from us. This month let’s take these words to heart and pledge to hear the stories of LGBTQ+ members and learn from them.
This Pride Month, Goodera is engaging enthusiastic corporate volunteers through virtual volunteering activities with LGBTQ+ non-profits. Do you want to take a firm step towards understanding the community through virtual volunteering? Talk to us here