The directors of the UK’s largest hobby gaming convention, UK Games Expo, have apologised after an RPG session runner had their scenario rejected because it included “themes of sexuality or orientation”.
They said Dream Askew was rejected because the organiser didn’t want “themes of sexuality or orientation”, and added that references to queerness were removed from Sleepaway’s event description.
Dream Askew is centred around a queer enclave community enduring the collapse of civilization, and looks to tell stories of interpersonal relationships and community drama rather than grand adventures and battles.
Sleepaway, meanwhile, sees players inhabiting a summer camp refuge for marginalised children, which is being beseiged by a strange creature.
A statement from UK Game Expo directors Tony Hyams and Richard Denning said,
“It has been brought to our attention that two errors were made in run up[sic] to this year’s UKGE. Firstly an RPG scenario was rejected prior to this year’s show due to subject/theme of sexual orientation. Secondly, new GM’s did not receive their volunteer orientation training.
“On the first matter, we have reviewed the email chain between the RPG Manager and the individual submitting the game and have found that this is true. UKGE does not accept scenarios containing “sexual content” due to the past experience of this type of content causing distress and upset to players.
“However, this does not extend to sexual orientation. The volunteer made an error of judgement in conflating the two and UKGE offers our unreserved apologies to the GM.
“It is not our policy to censor based on sexual orientation and we failed the GM by rejecting the scenario and the volunteer by not giving sufficient support and advice. The volunteer was over sensitive to an incident that occurred in 2019 and stepped over a line.
“We have always tried to be an inclusive and diverse convention, welcoming all. Sometimes we make mistakes, and this was one such time.”
The 2019 incident referenced by Hyams and Denning saw a man thrown out of that year’s expo for leading his RPG group through a scenario in which they were kidnapped and gang-raped.
Hyams and Denning went on to say that the lack of volunteer orientation training in this year’s event was an “error in administration”, in which two people each thought the other had dealt with the matter.UK Games Expo directors Tony Hyams and Richard Denning
The statement concluded,
“We hope you understand that running a large and complex event we do make mistakes but we will also try to learn from them and do better in the future. “