Nathan from California writes…
Dear Father Geek,
Thanks for the great coverage of games!
I am a gay man living with my gay partner of 16 years. We have 2 adopted children (age 6 and 4) from Korea and are looking for LGBT family friendly games. But not necessarily the standard definition of “family”. As a gay couple, my partner and I feel very sensitive to the fact that our children are not growing up in a household that many consider to be “the norm”. While the community in which I live is very warm and understanding, my concern is for my children and their future.
Can you recommend family games that would be well suited for my alternative family situation?
Greetings, Nathan, and thanks for the email.
First, let’s address the elephant in the room. For some who might be reading this, knowing that you are a gay man raising children with another gay man is going to trigger strong emotions. Both positive and negative. You shouldn’t be surprised if some of the comments to this post reflect that. However, I’m sure you are no stranger to bigotry, for which, I am sorry.
Second, let’s get real. The definition of family has been slowly changing from generation to generation. There was a time when women were expected to stay at home, clean the house, push out kids, and greet their husband at the door with a martini. Those days are gone (thankfully) and it makes me proud to see women in the workforce gaining prestige and equality, although we (as a society) have further to go. The push for equality for gay, lesbian, and transgender couples is the current “big fight” we are having that challenges our views on what a “family” is, continues to polarize our society, and be debated ad nauseam by politicians who want your vote.
But none of this matters, at least not to me. A family, as far as I’m concerned, is any group of individuals who look out and care for one another. They need not be related or even living in the same house. That being said, I have a hard time answering your question as your definition of “family” already differs from mine. Do you not love your children? Does your partner not love your children just as fervently as you? If the answer is yes, then I see you and your household being no different than mine or my neighbor’s or my neighbor’s neighbor’s. A family should be defined by love, not by sexuality.
I am going to make the assumption here that you are looking for games that hint or suggest that the standard definition of “family” is not the norm. The only game that comes to mind is The Game of Life, where players are welcome to start a family with two people of the same gender. In fact, the ability to create a family using two pegs of the same color (blue for guys, pink for gals) caused something of a controversy among conservative parties. Of which I was most pleased, as it took their focus off of Dungeons & Dragons for a short while.
But I would suggest you not look to skew the definition of “family games”. There are many, MANY games available for you and your family today that are sure to be enjoyed by all. If you look for every game to drive home a message or have a deeper meaning, I fear you might be missing the point of games in general. Board, card, and dice games are meant to entertain and challenge, but not always educate. More to the point, a game with a rather sensitive social message might be completely missed or misinterpreted by your children. In which case, I think you’ll find you are doing more harm than good. Especially if the attempt further alienates your children from society.
Ultimately, sir, you know your family best and should take steps to do all that you can to love and protect your children. If the goal is to have fun with them, the world of games is open and available to you. If the goal is to help your children understand and appreciate the diversity of life, then simply talk to them. You are the best source of information your children have. Don’t cheat them of it.
Agree? Disagree? Post a comment below and share your thoughts with Nathan and everyone else!