Coming out to friends about any sort of sexuality or queer identity is terrifying. What if they don't understand? What if they don't like you anymore? One Team Fortress 2 player decided to tell his friends in a language they all understood: the game itself.
Corbin W, aka Rocketjumpingotter, took a two pronged approach to letting his friends know that he's pansexual — that is, into people of any sex based not on physical characteristics, but rather personality traits. He made a spray of the pansexual flag and, to bring some levity to the occasion, triumphantly held up TF2's frying pan melee item. (Get it? It's a pan pun.) Really though, why go through all this trouble in the first place? Why not just hop into chat and tell his friends or something like that?
"I wanted a unique way to come out to my gamer friends," Corbin told me via email. "TF2 is my most played game at approximately 800 hours. The Frying Pan is a well-known melee weapon in the TF2 community, so I wanted a funny way to tell people."
"I have about 6-7 [real life] friends on Steam, and 20 online friends. It mattered because I find them as much as a friend as an IRL friend."
Happily, they all reacted positively, and their support — the kind one might receive from perhaps a team of sorts — inspired Corbin to really own his identity. "They were very supportive," he said, "and convinced me to tell more people. I'm a lot more confident."
Partially as a result of that, he decided to share his in-game creation on Reddit too. And while the reaction wasn't quite as universally positive (58 per cent upvotes), it still made him feel like many members of TF2's handsomely silhouetted legion had his back. It felt good, he said, to have the majority of a community on his side, as opposed to what he expected from people in the Bible Belt, where he lives.
Ideally, he added, coming out shouldn't have to be something people go through alone. Whether it's a close friend, significant other, or video game community, having others heft a little of the weight means less of it for your shoulders.
"I'd like to add a message to all LGBT teens in the closet," he said. "Tell someone you know that can help you come out. Having someone that can help you can make all the difference. I wouldn't have done this without the help of my girlfriend, Skyler."
Worth keeping in mind, definitely. Have any of you ever come out to friends in games? Or, if not that exact sort of thing, have you shared other sensitive information with them? How did they react?