Gaymers iNC. is a community of more than 2,500 LGBT London gaymers and geeks who share one mission: to play video games, make lasting friendships and geek-out. Here, one of the Gaymers iNC. admin team, Chris Fox, explains more.
I ’m Chris Fox and I’m one of the organisers of Gaymers iNC. I work as a news reporter covering technology, gadgets and games, but when I get a bit of free time, I’m a gamer!
Gaymers iNC. was set up in 2015 by a group of mawtes who loved hanging out together and playing video games. It was a different way to socialise and meet new people – with video games as an ice-breaker and no pressure to drink or stay out late and party. Word spread, and more and more people wanted to come and hang out. Eventually the team realised they could set this up as an event and open it up to hundreds of people. I joined about two years ago and the group has done so much for me. It helped me make new friends, overcome anxiety and get over my fears of being judged or not fitting in. I started volunteering and now I help run the group.
We have a big monthly meet-up on the third Wednesday of every month, where we set up about 20 TVs and consoles at a pub in Borough called The Old School Yard. It’s a really relaxed vibe – all sorts of people come, from hardcore gamers to total newbies. There’s something for everyone too; retro games from the 80s and 90s, the latest PS4 Pro and Xbox One X consoles and even a virtual reality zone. There’s always somebody happy to show you the ropes and teach you a new game if you haven’t played. And in the basement we have the dancing game Just Dance, so if you fancy throwing some shapes, the floor is all yours. We’re open to the entire LGBT+ community; our T-shirts say “Come play with us” and we mean it – we love meeting new people.
Our members are a really social bunch and there is always something in the calendar. We have a monthly pub quiz touching on all things geek – from comics, movies and games to RuPaul’s Drag Race – and the pub quiz is a great place to meet new people and chat. We also do cinema trips, hold multiplayer gaming parties, we throw an annual Halloween costume party, and attend geeky events like Comic Com and EGX Expo. And over the summer we’ve had members go on Pokemon Go hunts together too. It’s great to see people find new friends.
I love that the gaymers really are one big family. People have told me that they’ve come to our gaming nights or joined our Facebook page and suddenly they’ve found the place where they belong. There’s no judgement; everyone is there to have fun, geek-out and make friends.
Absolutely everyone is welcome, even if you’ve barely touched video games. At our big monthly meet-up, we set up a newbie station with some easy to play games that we can guide you through, so everyone will have somebody to play with. Tickets for our big monthly meet-up are £2 to cover our costs but we do also host free events – they’re always listed on our website gaymersinc.com
Joining any event or community can be really daunting; I remember being so scared when I went to my first gaymers meet-up. But just remember, everybody starts that way! Our meet-ups are really relaxed and the organisers are always on hand to look after anybody that is shy. Joining Gaymers iNC. is probably the best thing I ever did in London and, when I look back at how nervous I was, it’s totally silly. Everyone has been absolutely lovely.
In July, we were asked to host Nintendo’s official Pride party in London – our biggest-ever event. We had a huge video wall on the stage for people to play Mario Kart and Just Dance, and we had a little admin team dance-off too. Seeing people come out, be themselves and play games with other LGBT geeks makes it all worthwhile.
Check the events calendar at gaymersinc.com and make sure to join the Facebook group (facebook.com/groups/gaymersinc) to find out when our next events are. Our next events include our Halloween Spooktacular (3 Nov), the Ultimate Geek Quiz (8 Nov) and our monthly games nights (17 Oct and 21 Nov). And if you have any questions just tweet us or Instagram us @gaymersinc.