Games of Berkeley is currently displaying a #Pride version of our logo on our social media outlets, as we have during June for the past several years. I'd already begun thinking about the optics related to this when one of our assistant managers pointed out another store owner's Facebook statement about the subject, which nudged me further into addressing it publicly.
This blog post isn't here to virtue signal, nor is the use of the Pride colors in our logo. We know that words only count so much, and a photoshopped image doesn't equate with true supportive action. We're a corporation (albeit a small, family-owned one), and Pride is co-opted by corporations too much as it is.
As a place of community where people come to enjoy their shared interests in gaming and geek culture, it's been important to us that *all* are made to feel safe and welcome here. The problem we have to acknowledge is that so many LGBTQIA people have been treated so poorly for so long (often by those who call themselves allies), that it's hard for them to let down their guard and truly relax in public.
For a cis-hetero person like me, that's both impossible to fully appreciate and heartbreaking to contemplate, so let me be as explicit as I can:
You specifically are welcome here.
You specifically are invited to participate.
You specifically matter to us.
I commit to you that our owners, staff, and event hosts will intervene on your behalf if other patrons treat you disrespectfully. We will never intentionally deadname or misgender you, and will respond appropriately when informed if we have done so. And we will never make comments about or side-eye your public displays of affection.
I won't claim that I or my business are your allies. That's for you to judge for yourselves. But we will always do what we can to make you feel that this is a safe, welcoming space.
- Erik Bigglestone, Managing Owner