LGBT people make up more than a fifth of the gaming industry, landmark new study reveals

LGBT people make up over a fifth of the gaming industry, study reveals

LGBT+ people make up 21 per cent of the UK gaming industry, according to an eye-opening new diversity census.

This figure is disproportionately high considering that LGBT+ people make up between three and seven per cent of the UK population – which begs the question of why LGBT+ characters are so poorly represented when it comes to blockbuster video games.

At three per cent, trans representation is also higher in the gaming industry, versus one per cent nationwide. The biggest difference was seen in bisexual people, who represent 11 percent of those in the gaming industry compared to just 0.7 percent of the national population.

Unsurprisingly, men make up the vast majority of the workforce at 70 per cent; 28 per cent are women, while two percent identify as non-binary.

Reported levels of anxiety and depression are also significantly above the national average, with the report acknowledging that the LGBT+ community tends to experience higher rates of mental health issues than the general population.

The findings were revealed in the UK Games Industry Census report, the first census of its kind.

It accrued more than 3,200 anonymised responses from people (LGBT+ or otherwise) working across the UK gaming industry, posing a range of questions about the kinds of work that games industry workers do, their personal characteristics, and their backgrounds.

(UK Games Industry Census/UKIE/University of Sheffield)

The results were released alongside an industry-wide diversity pledge, #RaiseTheGame, to make gaming more inclusive for minorities.

“Diversity isn’t a nicety – it’s a necessity if the industry is going to grow, thrive and truly reflect the tens of millions of people that play games every day in this country,” said Dr Jo Twist, CEO of The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment.

“A diverse industry that draws on myriad cultures, lifestyles and experiences will lead to more creative and inclusive games that capture the imagination of players and drive our sector forward.”

The pledge, which is backed by founding partners EA, Facebook, Xbox, Jagex and King, aims to recruit 200 game businesses by 2021 and improve diversity and equality across the industry.