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From Pixels to Pride

The game nerds of Houston Gaymers celebrate 15 years of inclusivity.

Houston Gaymers president Jeffery Huynh (Photography by Alex Rosa)

The Houston Gaymers group first met up in 2009, and now the organization is celebrating 15 years of providing a safe space for LGBTQ people to come together and enjoy all things nerdy.

“I’m naturally introverted, so playing games was a fun way to meet and make friends who had similar interests as I did,” group president Jeffery Huynh says. “The group has always been open to all members of the LBGTQ+ community and continues to be a safe space for people to come out and share their nerd enthusiasm.”

The group is holding a free event on May 18 from 6 p.m. to midnight at KIKI. There will be games available for everyone to play, Huynh says. There will also be vendors such as Red Bull.

“We have a couple other surprises we are working on, as well. We do not charge dues or fees to be a part of our organization. We really hope everyone comes out to celebrate with us.”

Houston Gaymers has lasted this long because the group goes beyond video games to include movies, comics, anime, and pop culture. It’s a space where everyone is welcomed and can feel included.

“Gaymers are introverted by nature, so creating a space that is open to the public is a great way for our members to come out and get that social interaction.”
—Jeffery Huynh

“I think the group has existed for this long because space is needed,” he says. “Gaymers are introverted by nature, so creating a space that is open to the public is a great way for our members to come out and get that social interaction about things they have a genuine interest in. Our board does a lot to help with this. When you come to our events, we have board members ready to greet people and give them a rundown of the event. And we encourage everyone to wear a name badge so there’s no awkwardness. Lastly, our board helps members connect with others who may play similar games so there is a common point of interest.” 

With 15 years under their belt, Huynh says he would like the organization to branch out to various charity initiatives next. “Our number-one goal right now is to be an active member in our community. We have done various events with Montrose Grace Place, Law Harrington Senior Living Center, and our own initiatives such as Project Blue Shell, Project Level Up, and Gaymers Give Back. We are open to any ideas on ways to collaborate, and we look forward to helping our community.”

Houston Gaymers at their December Meetup event

Gaming is a popular subsection of the gay community, with r/gaymers on Reddit having more than 200,000 followers. Huynh says gaming gives anyone the chance to be someone else and escape into a fantasy world.

“Over the years, video games have evolved from the early days of PAC-MAN and Mario. They have deeper stories, tones, and themes. There are more opportunities for characters to be portrayed and represented. You can customize your character in games to be an online image of you—make a character with your preferred gender, wear clothes that fit your style, play games that have characters that share where you are on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. All of this is supported by a community that is doing the same. For some people, that is support and representation they may not be getting from their friends or family because they are not fully out yet. Video games are very important for that sole reason.”

For newcomers attending the May event, Huynh says he hopes they join the group and that friendships are made over the course of the night.

“We’ve had a lot of members join our group in the last 15 years. Every time we get a new member, they bring another person, and we have grown into what we are today. At our 15-year celebration, I want everyone to come out and celebrate that journey with us. Come out and see the bonds and community we have built. Come out! Make friends! Have fun!”

WHAT: Houston Gaymers 15th Anniversary Meetup
WHEN: May 18, 6:00 p.m.
WHERE: KIKI, 2409 Grant St.


Connor Behrens

Connor Behrens is a communications graduate from the University of Houston. He has written for the Washington Post, Community Impact Newspaper and the Galveston County Daily News (the oldest newspaper in Texas). When he's not writing stories, he is likely watching the latest new release at the movie theater.
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