This Year Will Be GX Australia's Last

Image: GX Australia

In a post to backers of the Kickstarter campaign, GX Australia's organisers have announced that next month's event will be "the last one ... in its present form" after corporate sponsors decided to pull out of the event at the last moment.

Joshua Meadows and Liam Esler, the main organisers of the inclusive convention, explained on Kickstarter that they had "been settling into the decision that this would be our last convention" for a while, but that urge strengthened after financial support was withdrawn from the event. "Both years our budget was developed around financial commitments made to us by companies, publishers, and developers who told us that they believed in what we were doing and wanted to show that they shared our values with a financial contribution," the organisers wrote.

Despite assurances from companies that they would financially support GX Australia for 2017, the organisers have announced that those commitments have fallen through. "We don't want to panic anyone or give the impression that we're cancelling the event — we're still very much committed to ensuring it happens, and we're committed to making it every bit as exciting as we hoped it would be. Nevertheless, we are having to come up with creative solutions to our budget and unfortunately have to evaluate whether or not we can deliver on some of the extras we'd promised in the campaign."

GX Australia will still go ahead next month as planned, although at a significant financial burden to those involved. In a public post on Facebook, Meadows wrote that the event would be between $40,000 and $60,000 short of funds and that they have a month left to figure out how to make up the gap.

"It doesn't feel nice; maybe it's naive to assume promised funding can be relied on, I don't know, but we both know that we can't keep killing ourselves each year chasing after it," Meadows wrote. He also told Kotaku Australia that some of the larger sponsors for GX Australia initially were educational institutions, institutions whose funding recently took a hit after recent legislative changes were passed.

"Having done a lot of sponsorship in the past, it's common to see some drop-off, but the reality is that it's harder for companies to justify supporting diversity initiatives," Esler explained to me on Facebook. "For some, there's no clear return on investment, and for some, it's more a case of people in companies want to be supportive, but when it goes to management they can't find the funds for these things. Nobody's been malicious about it, but there's a clear message there."

Both organisers also thanked the Australian indie community, which continued to wholeheartedly support the event despite not having the most financial security themselves. And it doesn't sound like GX Australia will be the last event Meadows and Esler are involved with, with the former telling me that they will discuss a venture at the opening ceremony next month that will have "a bit more teeth and a more lasting impact".

The decision to forge ahead means that some of the stretch goals promised during the campaign are likely to be cut. GX Australia 2017, however, will still be held at the Sydney Showground on April 29 and April 30. You can purchase tickets through Eventbrite, with a single ticket giving you access to both days of the convention.


Comments

    I thought every event like this was inclusive and diverse. From PAX to the EB Expo.

      Yeah, that's what I said when the first post about this came out, devolved into like a 10 page comment war from people who apparently didn't feel special enough.

        I'm not sure what's so hard to understand here.

        This is disappointing, you'd surely want more gaming expos and public events in this country, right?

        Sounds like the two of you still have a bone to pick with people with an interest in making sure GX Australia stayed around.

          I have zero bone to pick, I was just curious how the other events weren't inclusive. No one could give me an actual example of how they felt like they weren't being catered to.

            Its not that other events ARENT inclusive
            They are, It is just this specific event was SPECIFICALLY catered to the LGBT crowd

              Again, why? It's a Gaming event. Putting it as bluntly as I can, what does who someone wants to sleep with have any bearing whatsoever on gaming? Isn't being with other gamers the entire point of a gaming convention? Can someone explain this in a decent argument that actually makes sense given the driving point of it ultimately being a gaming convention?

                That's a bone.

                You're picking with it.

                :D

                  Not really. I'm all for gaming conventions, I love games of all types, and I regularly play with people from all walks of life, nationality, gender, sexual proclivities. I simply don't understand what 1 thing possibly has to do with the other.

                  That's what I'm getting at, you're either going to want to understand or you don't.

                  I don't care either way if you can't.

                Gender identity isn't just about who one wants to sleep with and expressing yourself in your truest form is difficult in a lot of cases. People in general can be not accepting of the way you wish to express yourself if you are non CIS, this event from my eyes isn't about exclusivity but more about making sure that people who want to express themselves and their love of gaming can feel completely at home and comfortable.

                Its just a extra event serving a specific market. Thats about all their is to it.
                PAX is good
                EB expo is good
                GX is good

                if there was a gaming convention that catered specifically to fishermen or hardware modification crowd they would be good too.

                  Well, 2 of those 3 events are entirely inclusive events, that advertise and are run to appeal to any and all gamers, regardless of anything else. The 3rd event is advertising as being for a specific audience unrelated to gaming, which makes anyone else outside of that feel unwelcome and uncomfortable. Ironic that it's the one about making people feel more welcome right? I have mates in Syd, 2 gaming crazy brothers who live together, one gay, one not, who decided they didn't want to go to GX, because the straight one said he'd feel out of place. Can't say I know anyone who said they wouldn't go to PAX or EBX because they felt unwelcome.

                  Ironically though GX is less inclusive because it's specifically advertised for the LGBT community. The others are for everyone which mathematically makes them more inclusive.

                  The organizers just saw a nieche in the market. Nothing else. Just marketing.

                  @thefong

                  You could literally turn that example the otherway around which would showcase why some people would like to go to GX.

                  Also, a straight person feeling marginalised and out of place is very ironic reason to cancel an event which caters to a demographic who are constantly marginalised and are made to feel out of place on a daily basis.

                For what it's worth, I'm with you on this one. Segregation seems like a silly way to improve acceptance, if that is indeed what they feel the issue is...

            Other events are inclusive, but that doesn't stop other attendees who aren't being inclusive, making some attendees feel excluded. A con that caters primarily to those attendees feels like a safer space. Gamers can still be little phobic s--ts, sad to say.

        Yeaaaaaah, except it was more like people saying
        More gaming stuff is better.
        this one is directed at a specific crowd.
        Its not about feeling special its about being niche
        I like HAM radio forums
        I like Electronics Forums
        But sometime HAM people dont like electronics forums because its not tailored to exactly their niche.

        Your reductionist view of this is condescending as hell man.

          Yeah, your example is completely wrong. It would only work if it there was already plenty of HAM Radio Forums, and then someone said they wanted to make one to specifically target people who don't eat chicken, which is entirely irrelevant to HAM radio. The 2 concepts at play are entirely unrelated.

            gaming is a identity for a lot of people,
            Being a gamer and a member of the LBGT community is another identity

              They're 2 different, completely unrelated concepts though.

                Why do they have to be related for?

                You can make events to cater whoever you want.
                We could have a event where we just cater to my love of 80's music and 3d printing.

                They're not unrelated though. You'd have to be naive to think gaming as a whole has been equally as welcoming of LGBT people (or women, for that matter) as they have of male gamers. It might not be said by you, might not be said by any of your friends, but every gamer has heard homophobic and transphobic slurs thrown around by other gamers at some point, and the uncomfortable fact is it's more common than many of us would like to believe.

                It would be great to someday live in a society where LGBT people could feel as free and welcome as anyone else attending conventions like this, but we're not there yet. Even at the big generic events like PAX you still overhear things like that every now and then. Organising an event with the express purpose of creating a more welcoming environment is hardly a negative and I don't really understand what issue you take with it.

                  Your logic is so flawed I don't want to spend too long ripping it to bits.

                  PAX and EB welcome everyone. I see people from all walks of life, genders, sexual preferences, pronouns, etc at these expos. With GX, they have banned people, including LGBT people, from attending the event due to disagreements in ideology.

                  @mase If you think there's a flaw in my logic, discuss it with me. I'm always happy to have a two-way conversation. Don't hide behind a shallow excuse like your first sentence.

                  PAX and EB Expo have both banned people, all conventions have rules. Do you have a source for the bans you say took place with GX?

                  @zombiejesus
                  I too am happy to have a Civil two way conversation about this, however I'd rather skip the long posts debating who's ideological mindset is correct and just agree to disagree. But since you asked, you're making a lot of generalised assumptions and accusations on a majority based on the minority combined with your own predetermined mindset about how these people are.

                  As of the GX ban, yes I have sources. No I will not drag names into this out of respect for the person. If you look hard enough, you'll find it out there. Plus public twitter posts last forever.

                  @mase

                  you're making a lot of generalised assumptions and accusations on a majority based on the minority combined with your own predetermined mindset about how these people are

                  Homophobia and transphobia exist in gaming just as they exist in broader society. I never said every gamer acted that way, but it doesn't take 'every gamer' to act that way to make someone uncomfortable, it only takes a few.

                  As for LGBT people not feeling as free and welcome as anyone else, certainly it's a generalisation but it's a supported one. LGBT people have described their experiences here and in past articles on GX. I'm sure you can appreciate that your perspective is limited by your personal experiences, and you may not be in a position to appreciate the kind of long-term effect these experiences have on LGBT people.

                  I did search for GX bans, and found nothing. If there are public tweets about this then it seems to me that the people involved have already consented for their experience to be public so you're not protecting them by refusing to share it. I'm sure you understand that I can't take your claim at face value if you're unwilling to support it with evidence.

                Just a reminder, using sockpuppets (ie. pastryproducts) to manipulate votes is against the community guidelines.

        Edit: I was wrong.

        Last edited 28/03/17 4:47 pm

          GX was never marketed as a queer convention

          Actually yes it was; go check out their 2016 Kickstarter page (the first GX Australia, this is the second) where it says right in the headline "Australia's first queer geek/gaming con!". It also originates from being spun out of a series of American queer-centric cons.

          GX was never marketed as a queer convention, kotakus writers marketed it that way.

          Yeah it was. GX is short for GaymerX, the first convention was fundraised on Kickstarter where it was described as "the first gaming and tech convention with a focus on LGBTQ geek culture". One of the organisers of the original event said this:

          We hope that everybody comes to this. Our mission statement is 'Everybody Games.' We're not just targeting gay people. We're hoping that we get a fair number of straight people, bisexual people, transgender people. It's very important for us to feel everyone has a space at this convention.

          It's not as if we're calling ourselves out in a way where we're stomping around and banging drums and we need to be heard. It's more about creating a safe space for LGBTQ members to come, be exactly who they are, and be gamers, and meet other like-minded people… It's not necessarily that we need some place to call our own because we want to separate ourselves and not be part of the mainstream, it's because we want people to be able to come and feel safe.

          Also, if you click the 'last year' link on the GX Australia site you get this page which seems pretty clear what they were going for.

            so then it is a step backwards, thanks for clarifying.

              If you think it was a step backwards, you didn't read my post properly. Nothing has been taken away from what was already here by this event existing, nobody is segregated. It's just an event that was built from the ground up to provide an environment more welcoming to LGBT gamers than other events do.

              Seriously? People with your type of mindset is the exact reason there was a need for GX to exist. *sigh*

        I think your posts are a prime example of why GX is needed. You've spent all this time trying to make them justify a fun weekend video game event. It's incredibly simple - people want GX to happen. That's all the justification it needs. It doesn't need you to understand or approve, it just needs you to leave it in peace.

        You're doing a ton of the things here that alienate the queer community to the point where they need their own event. Somewhere that's not being kind and including them but instead actually catering to them. I'm not saying you're doing this intentionally but it's what you're doing.

      The difference is that one mindset attempts to accommodate inclusivity and diversity, while the other is built from the ground up with them in mind.

      It can make an incredible difference to how comfortable and accepting the environment is for attendees.

        Honestly, I'm interested as to seeing a example of how anything in the advertising, or running of PAX, isn't inclusive at all to someone who idenitifies as LGBTQ. They're gaming events, they're made for gamers. Gender identity and sexual preferences have nothing to do with it.

          You ever been to a pool with just older men, or just older women doing water aerobics?
          Yeah a pool is a pool and they dont have any rules about who can and cant swim and some of those women and men are lovely and wonderful, you both share a love of swimming but you still feel like a fish outta water?

            Your example would only work if the pool was specifically advertising an event for water aerobics, and plenty of the people going were also your same age. Everyone gathering there is going because of a unique shared interest, and to be entirely fair, plenty of the people going to PAX and other events are LGBTQ anyway.

              Yes they are you make a valid point my similie was probably a little shit.
              But this is just the case of something extra.
              Its not saying that those events arent LBGT friendly its that this one is another event built to be that from the start to specifically cater to that crowd.

              More gaming events for more people having a good time is always good in my book

            You're choosing not to jump in the pool with the oldies who probably just want to talk about how great Water Aerobics is regardless of age.

              The oldies would be right, water aerobics is pretty tops.
              soo good on the joints.

          From you previous post I have mates in Syd, 2 gaming crazy brothers who live together, one gay, one not, who decided they didn't want to go to GX, because the straight one said he'd feel out of place. Can't say I know anyone who said they wouldn't go to PAX or EBX because they felt unwelcome.
          So one of the brothers would feel out of place because they would be surrounded by gay gamers. If as you say somebodies sexual identity and interest in gaming is unrelated then why would this matter, they are still going to be at a convention full of gamers.
          Perhaps some gay gamers feel the same way about being surrounded by a group of gamers who historically have shown contempt and disrespect to LGBT people.
          You say that there is no advertising for a specific audience but the specific audience they are aiming towards is the generally gamer. A fair number of who abuse and insult LGBT gamers or use gay terms as an insult. That can be unwelcoming for people.

      If you think the gaming community is inclusive and safe for LGBT people, you are fooling yourself.

    This is disappointing to hear but not surprising in Australia: funding is a terror for most things, let alone enthusiast ventures. It's a pity that it's happening in the "April is hell" part of April, as this is the only video game expo in Australia I have any interest in attending.

    Nonetheless, I hope everyone involved has a great time.

    @thefong Well, 2 of those 3 events are entirely inclusive events, that advertise and are run to appeal to any and all gamers, regardless of anything else. The 3rd event is advertising as being for a specific audience unrelated to gaming, which makes anyone else outside of that feel unwelcome and uncomfortable. Ironic that it's the one about making people feel more welcome right? I have mates in Syd, 2 gaming crazy brothers who live together, one gay, one not, who decided they didn't want to go to GX, because the straight one said he'd feel out of place. Can't say I know anyone who said they wouldn't go to PAX or EBX because they felt unwelcome.

    Thats entirely his perrogative, but the event always has said it welcome everybody. If they decided its not for them thats cool but like i said this is a EXTRA event
    if they feel more comfortable going to PAX they should go to PAX
    other people might feel more comfortable going to GX

      @thefong As one of the organisers mentioned in the article, I can tell you plenty of people have said they don't feel welcome at places like PAX or EB Expo — women who have been made to feel oversexualised and uncomfortable, receiving unwanted sexual attention due to their outfits or costume choices, gay couples who feel uncomfortable if they hold their partner's hand, people who don't fit into the gender binary and are worried about being looked at funny if they dress to express themselves comfortably. This usually isn't even deliberate or intentional, but it's a byproduct of having thousands upon thousands of people in one place who are different than you — there's a reason why we have events like PAX in the first place, and don't group video games under conventions for cricket and football; it dilutes the community, and it's impossible for a single event to cater to every person.

      It's ultimately neither here nor there as to whether or not anybody has ever told you that they don't feel welcome or included at mainstream events — it could be, if your comments here are an indication, that they don't feel like you'd take their concerns seriously if they did.

      But people have told us, which is why we decided to do the event. And people told us after the first one how much it mattered to them, how supported it made them feel, and how welcomed and appreciated they felt the entire weekend. That goes across the board for people who are straight as well — plenty of our volunteers, speakers, and guests fall into that category, and we could not have made it any clearer that the event is open to everyone who wants gaming to be as accessible and comfortable to as many people as possible. At a certain point if you go out of your way to feel disinvited, there's only so much that we, as organisers, can do to change your mind. I can't speak to your friends and their viewpoints on the matter, but I do know that plenty of straight guys told us that they've never felt so comfortable at a gaming event, period, and we're glad we've had the chance to facilitate that atmosphere twice.

      Last edited 28/03/17 12:19 pm

      @thefong You keep asking people to explain why something like this matters, then you go and downvote everyone who gives you an explanation that doesn't fit your preconceived conclusions. If you actually want to understand this then listen to people and be open to the idea that you can't see everything from your point of view. Going around downvoting everyone just tells me that all you really want is for people to pat you on the back and say "yeah this guy's right!".

    While I am of the mindset that the current set of gaming conventions are incredibly inclusive, the fact that there is now one less is sad, even if I never would have felt comfortable going to it.

    I have always thought that other events were inclusive but unfortunately anytime you have a large group of people together you also have people who don't agree with or feel comfortable being in the same space as someone who doesn't fit into their definition of "normal" and will feel the need to bully, harass or in some cases physically assault others.

    While I think an LGBT+ specific gaming event is also a good idea, the same problem would potentially exist because of the sub-sets within the community aren't fully accepting of others in the community.

    Simply put, people are bastards

    Ignoring the LGBTQ+ specifics of this, I think this speaks more to the fact that there's little real support for gaming conventions in Australia, period - and such support that does exist has to have a very wide appeal for it to be worthwhile. Events focused on a particular demographic are always going to have problems securing funding. That's simply the nature of a targeted event without mainstream appeal.

    It also demonstrates that Kickstarters can't achieve anything and everything.

    I want to share my opinion in this but I just don't feel comfortable being downvoted as usual and having to go through moderation.

    "the reality is that it's harder for companies to justify supporting diversity initiatives,"
    I am surprised by this, I thought diversity had become a much larger thing in recent years.

      Depends on the 'support' and the scale of said initiative. Something as apparently small as GX probably isn't worth the effort of supporting outside of some moral support. GX Australia 2016 had only 900 people attend. In the wider GaymerX circle, GX3 in 2015 had the highest attendance at 2,400. These aren't big crowds, and I have no doubt a few outfits looked at attendance and went "Huh, probably not worth the investment given the limited potential advertising."

      Not a commentary on LGBTQ+ or anything else - just a simple numbers game.

        Wow, those numbers talk.
        I appreciate the light-shedding.

        What happened that it dropped to 3/8ths of the previous years attendance?

          Numbers are misleading in their current presentation. GX3 was a convention in California.

          If we wanted to compare attendee rates we would have to start looking at population size in the area of the event, acceptable distances of travel, population density, etc.

          I'd say 900 attendees at an inaugural event of this size in a place like Australia is decent.

            You're right about the figures but even a convention of 2,300 in the US is tiny. EB Expo 2013 had 38,000 attend (last figures I could find), and PAX is probably bigger (no figures available from a quick search). I didn't mean to directly relate GX3 and GX Au except to demonstrate that there isn't a big crowd even in ththe US.

            It's a small event, and probably not worth big publisher attention except for a tiny bit of moral support.

              An attendance of >2,000 in the USA is only tiny when you compare it to corporate events like PAX or cons that have been around long enough to become institutions. Compare GaymerX to a number of smaller cons that have an attendance in the range of 700-5,000, and >2,000 looks a lot more respectable.

                Yeah but that's my point - the big players in industry, who they really needed to fund GX Au, probably see no real benefit for an expected turnout of 900 people. Different story for small indies, not for (insert moderately sized publisher/dev here).

            Ah, I assumed the first one was also in Australia. Thanks for the old informaroo.

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