Gay Weddings for Russia: The Sims Edition by@slogging

Gay Weddings for Russia: The Sims Edition

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The Sims has become a battleground for the LGBTQ+ community, showcasing how games can bond and help marginalized communities. Sims represented a refuge for the LGBTQ+ community in Russia.

EA's initial refusal to release an extension focused on LGBTQ+ seemed like oversight of the many individuals who would need that escape online. Thus, EA's initial stance justified as a protest on Putin's constitutional amendment forbidding same-sex marriages would only leave an abandoned community with less representation online - thus doing more harm than good.

In this slogging thread, our community discusses the gaming representation of marginalized communities and how games can bring awareness to such groups.

This Slogging thread by Mónica Freitas, Daniel Guzman, Jack Boreham, Sara Pinto, Abeer and Limarc Ambalina occurred in slogging's official #gaming channel, and has been edited for readability.

Mónica FreitasMar 2, 2022, 3:16 PM

Gay weddings for Russia: How The Sims became a battleground for the LGBTQ+ community
https://www.theguardian.com/games/2022/feb/22/gay-weddings-for-russia-how-the-sims-became-a-battleground-for-the-lgbtq-community

Mónica FreitasMar 2, 2022, 3:17 PM

"When EA decided not to release a same-sex marriage story for The Sims in Russia, the LGBTQ+ community mobilised – and won an unlikely victory"

Mónica FreitasMar 2, 2022, 3:17 PM

"Two weeks ago, Electronic Arts opted not to launch a same-sex marriage story in Russia for its hit life-simulation video game The Sims 4. At a glance, this is a simple story – a game publisher refusing to compromise its art in order to comply with Russia’s controversial “homosexual propaganda” law. Yet to Russian LGBTQ+ gamers, EA’s blog post wasn’t a show of solidarity – it was a betrayal."

Mónica FreitasMar 2, 2022, 3:18 PM

"Since 2013, it’s been illegal in Russia to “promote” homosexuality to minors. This means that any LGBTQ+ content must carry an adults-only rating. It’s a law that EA knows all too well, as back in 2014, The Sims 4’s same-sex relationships saw it slapped with an 18+ rating in Russia."

Mónica FreitasMar 2, 2022, 3:19 PM

"Despite putting out pre-release trailers for the My Wedding Stories expansion in the region, on the day before launch, EA suddenly announced that it wouldn’t be available in Russia. “We have made the decision to forgo the release of ‘My Wedding Stories’ where our storytelling would be subject to changes, because of federal laws,” read a blogpost attributed to The Sims developers. “The ability to tell stories – any story – is at the core of what we do at The Sims. Holding back [characters] Cam and Dom’s story meant compromising the values we live by. We are committed to the freedom to be who you are, to love who you love and tell the stories you want to tell.”"

Mónica FreitasMar 2, 2022, 3:19 PM

"To Russian Simmers, the move felt baffling. They swiftly rallied to create the hashtag #weddingsforrussia and a Change.org petition with more than 10,000 signatures. Because The Sims 4 already had an adult-only rating in the region, the Russian Sims community strongly believed that releasing the downloadable content (DLC) wouldn’t break any laws. For Russians in the already marginalised LGBTQ+ community, seeing EA pull a game that publicly endorses same-sex marriage felt like a kick in the teeth."

Mónica FreitasMar 2, 2022, 3:20 PM

“It makes me feel isolated from the rest of the world, not supported by Simmers, or the LGBTQ community from other countries. It’s like everybody matters except us,” says lifelong Sims fan and proud queer gamer, Daria Sachsen. “I’m quite sure that the 18+ rating gives [EA the] opportunity to release the expansion. Our government wouldn’t be bothered right now by a single game pack after years of publishing The Sims here – there are bigger problems for them at the present time.”

Mónica FreitasMar 2, 2022, 3:20 PM

"To Daria and many others in the Russian LGBTQ+ community, games such as The Sims offer a welcome refuge from real life’s challenges. “The Sims is one of the most popular games among our LGTBQ community,” she explains. “Everybody loves games where you can be yourself, free from the boundaries of our reality and where you can love like your heart wants to.”"

Mónica FreitasMar 2, 2022, 3:21 PM

"After a week’s worth of relentless pressure from fans, EA finally reconsidered its stance. In a new blogpost on 16 February, EA announced that it had decided to release the expansion in Russia after all: “We’ve reassessed our options and realised we can do more than we initially believed, and we will now release The Sims 4 My Wedding Stories Game Pack to our community in Russia, unaltered and unchanged.”"

Mónica FreitasMar 2, 2022, 3:27 PM

This news article showcases how games can bond and help marginalized communities. Sims represented a refuge for the LGBTQ+ community in Russia. EA's initial refusal to release an extension focused on LGBTQ+ seemed like oversight of the many individuals who would need that escape online. Thus, EA's initial stance justified as a protest on Putin's constitutional amendment forbidding same-sex marriages would only leave an abandoned community with less representation online - thus doing more harm than good.

Mónica FreitasMar 2, 2022, 3:29 PM

What do you think of this article?
Can games impact outcasts communities?
Have you ever heard of a similar situation?
Does The Sims hold a bigger meaning than we've ever thought?

Daniel GuzmanMar 2, 2022, 4:26 PM

As a gay man, I grew up with little (or any) representation on media and that world. I just saw straight couples on games, series, movies, advertising, and somehow that's sending the message that those couples are what's normal. This kind of situation, like the sims and gay marriage, helps many people realize that they're not doing anything wrong, that they can love whoever they want and that their lives can be as normal as any other straight person.

Video games, especially the ones mirroring our human daily life, are really a game-changer factor at the time of building a more inclusive society.

Jack BorehamMar 4, 2022, 10:18 AM

Mónica Freitas, I think games can be a powerful tool in increasing diversity and representation. It is the biggest entertainment industry on the planet. It has a far higher impact than movies. Thus, this is no surprise. Games tell stories.

Sara PintoMar 4, 2022, 11:17 AM

Mónica Freitas, I can see how excluding this game from such a big country can affect people, especially one with little to no representation of the LGBTQ+ community. The Sims is a great game because you can create whatever you wish, so it can be a way to express yourself in a world that sometimes doesn't let you do it as much.

Mónica FreitasMar 4, 2022, 11:26 AM

Daniel Guzman, I love everything you've just said! Is there any other big name in gaming that you know of that's big on LGBTQ+ representation?

Mónica FreitasMar 4, 2022, 11:28 AM

Jack Boreham, that's true! It seems to be done in a low-key way at times, but it certainly sends a message. Do you know of any other game big on minorities representation?

Mónica FreitasMar 4, 2022, 11:30 AM

Sara Pinto, it's all about social and cultural representation. You're a big The Sims fan. Have you noticed any other signs of inclusivity?

AbeerMar 7, 2022, 10:20 AM

Mónica Freitas, games can definitely impact more outcast communities. It’s a medium with so much potential that I believe the mainstream media have overlooked for many years now. I remember many nonbinary friends using games as a tool to explore their gender identities by taking on roles that they weren’t able to in their everyday lives. They were able to explore safely without fear of judgment from those around them.

Jack BorehamMar 7, 2022, 2:48 PM

Mónica Freitas, Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic. Although not the most diverse. It had a diverse range of characters and even a lesbian cat lady, for a game of this era (2003) that was a huge step.

Mónica FreitasMar 7, 2022, 9:32 PM

Abeer, that's amazing! What game did they use?
One of my best friends did the same: her sims storyline was all about LGBTQ+ and she was always really excited about it.

Mónica FreitasMar 7, 2022, 9:33 PM

Jack Boreham, I'm not sure a lesbian cat lady was a read or not 😂 but for 2003, that wasn't too bad.

Limarc AmbalinaMar 9, 2022, 2:29 AM

This is such a great thread, a very important story, and a great example of how video games can enact change for the better.

🔥 1
Sara PintoMar 9, 2022, 12:44 PM

Mónica Freitas, I can't remember a specific expansion, but as far as I remember, you could choose whoever you want for your Sim to be with, and you could choose to look like whatever you like. It's in the same lines as what Abeer said. It's pretty cool not putting up barriers on this subject. Plus, a few years ago all this was still a bit taboo.

🔥 1
Daniel GuzmanMar 9, 2022, 3:18 PM

Yeah! Mónica Freitas for example Cyberpunk 2077 includes a lot of LGBTQ+ characters! Also Fallout Series Games!

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by Slogging (Slack Blogging) @slogging.Your Slack? Insightful words by highly intelligent people. Your tech blog? Not so much. Write together. #SloggingBeta
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