Games Done Quick, a group which raises funds for varying charities by hosting video game marathons, has decided to relocate its upcoming Awesome Games Done Quick 2023 event from the planned location in Florida.
The organisation cites several reasons for this decision, including the heightened aggression and risk of violence faced by LGBTQ+ individuals within the State, and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in place, highlighting the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prohibits schools from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in schools, as just one example of the prejudice faced by the LGBTQ+ community in the state.
The bill also prevents school districts from withholding information from parents in most cases, while allowing parents to opt their children out of counselling and physical health services offered.
In addition to this, conversion therapy remains legal in the state, and the so-called gay and trans panic defense - wherein perpetrators of assault or murder can claim temporary insanity due to unwanted same-sex sexual advances or the discovery of the victim’s transgendered status – has yet to be banned in the state. As such, it appears that the group’s concerns are, sadly, well-founded.
An unexpected side-effect
The group also cites the state’s disregard for COVID 19’s dangers, including anti-mandate policies signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis in 2021, which prevents private employers from requiring their staff to be vaccinated and school districts from imposing face mask policies, among other things.
The company initially planned to host the AGDQ event in Florida in 2021, following a successful event in 2020, they were forced to delay the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the changing political climate in Florida during this time led to the group deciding to look into other locations. Ultimately, Games Done Quick decided that they couldn’t justify the significant cost of booking a new in-person venue for the event following the payment of the cancellation fee.
However, the organisation does seem to hope to return to Florida in the future. In a tweet, the group states that it is “no longer able to delay our contract”, perhaps hinting at a return to the state should they feel it’s safe to do so in the future.
This news comes as multiple organizations in the games space have become increasingly concerned with diversity and LGBTQ+ equality. This year, Zynga donated $50 thousand to various LGBTQ+ groups in celebration of Pride.