Gen Con Takes Stand For Inclusiveness

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This rather breaks all my rules, in that I'm reporting on politics, and regional politics at that. That said, Gen Con, the hobby's largest American convention, intersects with this particular example, so it's hard to ignore; and this is an RPG news blog, after all. Plus, I agree with the sentiment, even if I'm doubtful about its actual effectiveness given the current contract. Gen Con has written to the local politician in its home city of Indianapolis, USA, threatening (kind of - they're contracted to stay there for five more years whether they like it or not) to consider moving elsewhere if a local law relating to businesses being able to refuse custom to same-sex couples is passed.

With multiple recent articles in just the last week (Monte Cook Games & Thunderplains, Green Ronin's Blue Rose), the subject of inclusiveness is not one that anybody can afford to ignore. However, the vitriolic comments these topics give rise to make discussion on them difficult at best.

Here's the letter they wrote.

gencon_letter.jpg

 

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KirayaTiDrekan

Adventurer
Very awesome move on their part. I applaud and hope it has the desired effect.

(And that's all I have to say about that because such topics can get heated and divisive very quickly.)
 

Fallen star

Explorer
Gen Con is free to provide their service to any customer they choose. Other businesses in Indiana should have that same right.

If Gen Con doesn't like that, they are free to move to another state.
 

Fergurg

Explorer
Gen Con is free to provide their service to any customer they choose. Other businesses in Indiana should have that same right.

If Gen Con doesn't like that, they are free to move to another state.

I'd give you XP if it could be done for news stories.
 

KirayaTiDrekan

Adventurer
Breaking my previous promise, sorry about this...

People like me (transgender in my case) have a very real fear of not only discrimination but hostile and sometimes violent environments where ever discrimination is legal, as Indiana is about to be. Laws like this create an atmosphere of permission - permission to discriminate, permission to escalate, permission to go beyond discrimination.

Gen Con, like any convention, brings people from all over the world to a single city. A very diverse range of people who may or may not realize that the local businesses have a "we don't serve their kind here" policy.

In effect, Gen Con has to choose - continue to welcome the full diverse range of gamers but knowingly endanger some of them; close their doors to that diversity and suffer a loss of reputation and revenue; or move. The choice they are making - taking a stand - is simply the right thing to do.

No one should feel unwelcome at Gen Con - except those who would make others feel unwelcome.
 


SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
I really miss the days when Gen Con had nothing to do with politics. You know, like last year. Or every other year before that.

Sigh.
 


Fergurg

Explorer
Breaking my previous promise, sorry about this...

People like me (transgender in my case) have a very real fear of not only discrimination but hostile and sometimes violent environments where ever discrimination is legal, as Indiana is about to be. Laws like this create an atmosphere of permission - permission to discriminate, permission to escalate, permission to go beyond discrimination.

Gen Con, like any convention, brings people from all over the world to a single city. A very diverse range of people who may or may not realize that the local businesses have a "we don't serve their kind here" policy.

In effect, Gen Con has to choose - continue to welcome the full diverse range of gamers but knowingly endanger some of them; close their doors to that diversity and suffer a loss of reputation and revenue; or move. The choice they are making - taking a stand - is simply the right thing to do.

No one should feel unwelcome at Gen Con - except those who would make others feel unwelcome.

But that stand is demanding that the business should not be allowed to make a choice on whether or not they will be part of a transaction. Why should anybody be forced to do business with you if they don't want to?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Gen Con is free to provide their service to any customer they choose. Other businesses in Indiana should have that same right.

It may not be quite so simple, as businesses are interconnected - if someone cannot get service in a restaurant or bar, they may not come back to the convention. Thus, how other businesses in the state treat con-goers may impact the business of the convention. With gamers being more sensitive to such matters these days, being silent on the matter may have seemed a bad business choice for Gen Con.

If Gen Con doesn't like that, they are free to move to another state.

Given a 5 year contract, picking up and moving may not be possible, or may be very costly. And Gen Con reportedly brings something like $50 million dollars to the local economy, so whether they go or stay, now or five years from now, is going to be important to the area.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I really miss the days when Gen Con had nothing to do with politics. You know, like last year. Or every other year before that.

Sigh.
Well when big business weighs in, politicians take notice. Apple threatened to leave Louisiana if they elected "former" klansman David Duke in a gubernatorial runoff with (convicted felon) former Gov. Edwin Edwards.

As to this situation, I'll just say this: a politician in another state where a similar law is being considered proposed an Ammendment: pass the law, but any business choosing to discriminate based on religious grounds as permitted by the law had to post a highly-visible sign saying exactly whom they were discriminating against. Amusingly, a similar tact was taken by the Detroit chapter of the Church of Satan, and helpfully, has even started printing signs.

The logic: the arch conservatives get their freedom to discriminate, but without the shield of anonymity and plausible deniability. Those who would be affected by the refusal would save time and embarrassment by not going into this businesses in the first place...as would those who feel solidarity for their plight.

Very much in keeping with Adam Smith's "invisible hand".

Oddly, the push for those laws in those states has lost some steam.
 
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KirayaTiDrekan

Adventurer
But that stand is demanding that the business should not be allowed to make a choice on whether or not they will be part of a transaction. Why should anybody be forced to do business with you if they don't want to?

For the same reason businesses are no longer allowed to discriminate on the basis of skin color. No class of people should be made to feel less than human.

I hope Gen Con moves to a more progressive city, I really do.
 

Fergurg

Explorer
This is not a stand for inclusiveness - this is a stand for telling businesses, "Sorry, you thought you had the right to decide which transactions you want to be a part of? Well, I have decided that I will decide how your business is run."
 

Zaruthustran

The tingling means it’s working!
Gen Con is free to provide their service to any customer they choose. Other businesses in Indiana should have that same right.

Nope. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964 & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americans_with_Disabilities_Act_of_1990

Here's the text for SB 101: https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/bills/senate/101#document-92bab197

Gencon is not free to provide (or not provide) their service to "any customer they choose" on grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or disability. That's what the civil rights act and ADA protects. Sexual orientation discrimination laws are state-by-state, though supreme court rulings are trending toward disagreeing with discrimination.

SB 101 prevents "burdening a person's exercise of religion." Gencon's concern (as seen in first and third paragraphs) is that SB 101 will essentially give the state's blessing to discriminating on basis of "sexual orientation, gender identities, and socio-economic backgrounds," as those are the only classes of people from their list in 1st paragraph not already covered by the civil rights act and ADA.
 
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Janx

Hero
But that stand is demanding that the business should not be allowed to make a choice on whether or not they will be part of a transaction. Why should anybody be forced to do business with you if they don't want to?

Because businesses that single out a group of people to discriminate against are being bad. Every time somebody's been allowed to do that, it's been found to be bad.
 

Forged Fury

First Post
This is not a stand for inclusiveness - this is a stand for telling businesses, "Sorry, you thought you had the right to decide which transactions you want to be a part of? Well, I have decided that I will decide how your business is run."

You are aware that the Civil Rights Act disallows a public business from refusing service due to a variety of factors, right? The problem the LGBTQ community is (currently) facing is that they aren't a protected class. I give it about 5 years before these discussions are largely moot.
 

KirayaTiDrekan

Adventurer
You are aware that the Civil Rights Act disallows a public business from refusing service due to a variety of factors, right? The problem the LGBTQ community is (currently) facing is that they aren't a protected class. I give it about 5 years before these discussions are largely moot.

I certainly hope so. Being a second-class citizen is no fun, let me tell ya.
 

Fergurg

Explorer
For the same reason businesses are no longer allowed to discriminate on the basis of skin color. No class of people should be made to feel less than human.

I hope Gen Con moves to a more progressive city, I really do.

No, but you are demanding that a class of people - business owners - do not have as many rights as you - a transsexual - do. You do not have to do business with them. You do not have to give them your money, and you don't even have to justify it. "I just don't like you" is a valid reason for choosing to not be a customer. And yet, you feel that you should be allowed to compel others to enter into a transaction with you. Sorry, but that's not OK with me.
 

Janx

Hero
This is not a stand for inclusiveness - this is a stand for telling businesses, "Sorry, you thought you had the right to decide which transactions you want to be a part of? Well, I have decided that I will decide how your business is run."

I'll say this crudely, so the point gets across.

Your line of thinking is why 50 years ago, shops in Indiana could say ":):):):):):):) aren't welcome here"

I sincerely hope that you do not subscribe to that racist creed.

Which is why signs that say "fags aren't welcome here" is the same thing.

The anti-discriminations laws exist so folks are treated the same way. Anybody who can't abide by that has no right to run a business in the United States of America.
 


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