So… I just got finished listening to the latter half of this (I tend to not be able to listen to Podcasts in one go unless I’m in roadtrip mode but better late than never) and… talking about Daddy dating sim a bit, Austin brings up a point that a lot of talk being done about the game has been bringing up the issue that that game seems to have a sterile and cleaned up image in regards to things of the LGBTQ community.
Here’s where I’m having a really strong sense of conflict but further exemplified how complicated these sorts of things are. I’m not an authority in these things, nor do I claim to be. I am one member of the LGBTQ community, and I speak from my heart based upon my own life. I am just one voice amongst a group of many voices with their own stories and experiences who all deserve to speak for themselves.
(For context I am a cis-gendered demi-homosexual man with a strong preference toward the more romantic and affectionate sides of a relationship rather than sexual. Anyhoo.)
My experience gay media, particularly when growing up, hasn’t been a very good one. The media that did portray someone like me (a man who is interested in intimate relationships with other men) have generally had a highly sexually charged connotation, or in worse cases, made into a joke. This was in the more common western media where a gay man was just treated as a sassy best friend who would constantly make sexual related jokes. It didn’t help anymore to be growing up with the rise of anime and manga that portrayed men in same sex relationships and was more or less treated as fetish fuel and often completely invalidated that homosexuality as being a form of real love, instead being just a strange kink.
At the same time, when I started to integrate myself into the gay community, it became clear how much social conflict there was within our minority, where you’d have smaller gay subsets that would often challenge or otherwise dismiss the preferences in attraction and expression between other men (how many times I was declared as too bulky to be a gay man, or that my desire for a more feminine expression some how meant I could no longer consider myself as a “real man”. It was awful and to this day still has left many scars on my heart and mind).
So basically having a combination of shitty media along with people having shitty politics, I found myself completely isolated in my thoughts and feelings on things like sexuality, identity, and expression. I wasn’t even looking for people who felt the exact same way I did about all these things. I just wanted people to understand and accept me as I wanted to be, and in turn, do the same for them. It took a while before I got to that point and I appreciate the friends and colleagues I have now who come from so many different backgrounds, preferences and configurations, and what I love about them is their ability to communicate with me on an emotional level and how our life experiences have made us into what we are today.
This was a lot of my experience in playing Dream Daddy. Mind you, I haven’t gotten through every route and I’m not saying they’re perfect, but the thing that made me enjoy them so much and feel really good was being able to hear these characters talk to one another about the state of their heart and mind. More over, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a game like this allow men to express their feelings and thoughts; something that’s still extremely difficult in society today with the looming shadow of masculinity and the importance of “manliness” being the priority for men to focus upon.
In all honesty, Dream Daddy isn’t a perfect example of LGBTQ media, and perhaps my opinion of this game is a bit swayed from having known it’s development has been going on for a long while (blah blah, not important) but if anything, I was just really happy to see a game that allowed men to not only embrace being in a relationship with other men, but also allowed them the space to be vulnerable and talk about their insecurities, because that’s still a huge issue in media everywhere, and it screws up the hearts and minds of LGBTQ community members in ways that aren’t so inherently obvious.
This was just my own feeling with playing the game, and I enjoyed the experience very much and would like to see people build upon what it had done and do it even better if they can, rather that make future creators think of avoid anything close to it out of fear of complete dismissal.