LGBTQ representation is better, but not great (Photo: Sony)

In its first report on the state of LGBTQ inclusion in video games, GLAAD found that 17% of active gamers identify as LGBTQ.

While LGBTQ representation in video games has improved in recent years, a new report suggests the industry still has a long way to go.

LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD published a report on Tuesday titled “The State of LGBTQ Inclusion in Video Games,” which details the industry's outreach to queer gamers, their gaming habits, and how much of the gaming audience falls into that bracket.

According to the report, which covered 1,452 active PC and console gamers between June and August last year, 17% of active gamers identify as LGBTQ. This is a 70% increase from a Nielsen survey conducted in 2020, which counted 10%.

The percentage of LGBTQ gamers is notably higher among younger age groups, with 23-28% of all gamers under the age of 35 identifying as LGBTQ.

These numbers contrast sharply with the number of LGBTQ characters and stories in games. According to the report, less than 2% of games in the Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo digital libraries are marked with the LGBTQ label. Steam has 2.5%, but it drops to 1.7% when adults-only games are excluded.

There is no indication that GLAAD based these findings on anything other than store tags, which could easily be inaccurate.

Elsewhere, the report reveals that 68% of LGBTQ gamers would like games to feature more prominent queer stories. 21% of non-LGBTQ gamers and 29% of gamers in general would also like this to be the case.

It also suggests that online harassment is still a big problem. 52% of LGBTQ gamers said they had experienced harassment while gaming online, compared to 38% of non-LGBTQ gamers. Meanwhile, 42% of LGBTQ gamers said they avoided a game because they thought they might be harassed, while 27% abandoned the game because of it.

Summarizing the findings, Blair Durkee, associate director of gaming at GLAAD, said: “We believe LGBTQ inclusion benefits both the video game industry and the community. As this report shows, the presence of LGBTQ characters or stories doesn't significantly deter non-LGBTQ people from buying or playing games, but it makes a huge difference for LGBTQ gamers.

“Despite the significant progress we've seen, games remain woefully behind other forms of entertainment media when it comes to representation.”

You can find the full report on the website GLAAD website.

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