The writers at nerd-news blog Topless Robot are exposing their own insecurities perhaps, with a lazy gay-panic punchline in a post asking for readers’ “Most Shameful RPG Moment.” Soliciting “hilarious, heartbreaking and embarrassing stories” of tabletop RPG gaming, the writer provides this scenario as an example:
Have you ever had a character who sex with another member of the party, even though both characters were played by guys? And felt horrified about it? Good, you should’ve, because that’s some freaky shit. [Note: emphasis mine]
It seems almost quaint to me, that a nerd’s biggest fear might be being perceived as, “Gay.” This sort of homophobia in geeks is a dissonance that I’ve never understood. I’ve always been of the belief that those marginalized by society (whether by race, orientation, or alignment) share a common persecutor and should naturally ally against intolerance.
Maybe it’s my viewpoint that’s quaint, but somehow I think that if you took a wide poll of self-identified geeks and nerds, the fear of being perceived as “Gay,” wouldn’t rate in the top 10. My number one geek fear right now is the oppositte– that I might share anything in common with the intolerant sort of geeks who are still grossed out by the idea of two dudes kissing each other. With mainstream pop-culture eating up Superhero and SciFi properties, video games as big business, and the internet emerging as the dominant communication medium; nerds can’t be made fun of for what they like anymore, so much as they can be made fun of for what they are like.
Few people are going to deride you for watching Watchmen (except maybe Alan Moore) or playing Left 4 Dead, because comic books and zombies are officially part of the mainstream zeitgeist. On the other hand, obsessively creating a fantasy world whose moral/ethical values mirror your own specifically intolerant and juvenile power fantasies will always be worthy of mockery.
In a double backflip of irony, Topless Robot’s bit of bland homophobia sits beneath a satirically placed Chick tract illustration, wherein a character freaks out about their D&D character dying before attempting suicide themselves. Looks like someone rolled a -12 for self-awareness.
p.s. No links to Topless Robot were included because, why give them the traffic?