An Answer to Your Most Burning Question
Hey allies, nice to see you. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re a pretty cool dude. ConTessa loves you and we feel very fortunate to have so many cool dudes among our ranks. Tabletop gaming is our passion and when we say we want the experience to be fun and welcoming for everyone we truly mean it! We get some flack sometimes when (not as cool) dudes perceive ConTessa’s mission as being hateful towards cishet white men but, I gotta tell ya, I can’t imagine there are too many gamers out there who didn’t get into the hobby without loving (or at least liking) a couple straight white guys. There’s a lot of you around...like everywhere. As ConTessa has been gearing up for Gen Con you’ve been asking us the same question again and again, so I’d like to address it.
I can’t run a game since I don’t belong to any marginalized group so what can I do to help?
Now, I think these people are looking for volunteer opportunities or to make donations (which we also totally appreciate!) but the real answer is
Ask women, people of color and LGBTQ folks to run games.
As an ally, it’s not enough to say, “I support diversity in gaming.” You need to help foster it. If you have a regular gaming group, you can support diversity all you want, but your group won’t become more diverse until you invite some new people. Significant others? Friends who’ve never been into tabletop gaming? Chances are the folks in your life who never “got into gaming” were never brought into it. They might think gaming is something you do with “the guys” or your "gamer friends." Let them know that everyone is welcome at the table.
If you already have a diverse gaming group, encourage everyone to try their hand at running a game. Heck, go beyond encouraging, go beyond asking...recruit them to the GM position! I don’t think I ever would have run my first game if the members of my gaming group hadn’t been so insistent! Let the people at your table know how excited you’d be for them to GM. If they seem really hesitant, offer your help!
Connecting people to ConTessa online is important too! We do our best to reach out across the internet to all types of people but the fact of the matter is many online gaming forums’ membership and engagement is overwhelmingly cishet white men who may or may not be supportive of our mission. It’s because of that latter (not as cool) group that a lot of women and minorities can find these places hostile and intimidating. We need our allies to actively guide the gamers in their lives to ConTessa’s online community. We’ve got a Facebook, G+, twitter, & instagram (tumblr coming soon…) so they can pick their social media of choice! Show them that there’s a safe and welcoming place on the internet for everyone!
These are crazy times guys and it seems like the fight for social progress is losing ground on every front. Within the gaming sphere, ConTessa has faced unprecedented push back recently from people who are angered by ConTessa’s goal of championing underrepresented groups as leaders and creators in the gaming community. Gen Con 50 is going to be huge for ConTessa and we need our allies’ help to make sure it's a success. With just a few days left to submit events, many of our tables remain open and we simply need more GMs. You may not be able to run a game but you can make a game happen...if you ask.