This week the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, is taking place in Los Angeles, California. The Expo is a chance for video game companies and studios to announce upcoming projects, and attracts a wealth of media attention every year.
This weekend also brought us the worst mass shooting in U.S. history that resulted in 49 deaths and more than 50 injured.
The attack may not have much to do with E3. But it has everything to do with being a member of the LGBT community in 2016. A community that is also pining for more recognition in movies and video games.
The flags at E3 flew half-staff to honor the victims of the shooting, and most of the major companies took time to mourn for those who were killed or wounded, as well as for their families, whether onstage, at showcase booths or on social media, according to the Daily Beast.
According to gaming news site Zam, game publisher Bethesda made a small but significant gesture during its press presentation. The hosts of its pre-show, Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb, wore rainbow pins, as did each speaker featured in the publisher’s show.
The purpose of E3 is marketing. Thankfully there were no exploitative speeches or uncomfortable statements, just simple gestures that had a resounding effect on LGBT gamers, and the LGBT community as a whole.
Appreciative onlookers took to Twitter in response to game publishers voicing their support:
“Thank you Bethesda Studios for showing your support of the LGBT community,” one Twitter user said.
Microsoft opened their press event by ushering a moment of silence for the victims of the attack and their families, followed by the statement “The gaming community mourns with you,” according to The Verge.
There is a push for more LGBT representation in video games and movies, such as trending Twitter hashtag #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend.
The video game community has seen more LGBT presence in recent years, with same-sex romance options in games like Dragon Age: Inquisition, as well as offering more options for gender expression in The Sims 4.
Another Twitter user said, “I hope we see some LGBT protagonists this weekend. Media is one of the most powerful tools we have to stop hatred!”
Video games are notorious for depictions of violence, and many developers at this year’s E3 featured at least one first person shooter title, not to mention the numerous violent titles that do not feature guns. However, all developers were ardent in their disgust of what happened in Orlando and coupled their presentations with messages of grieving and healing.