Last weekend, I was involved in a car accident. Sitting in the backseat of my friend\’e2\’80\’99s car, and thus having nothing to do with the accident other than simply being there, I figured I would have little involvement with the police. A funny thing happened, though. The police began hitting on another female friend who was in the car with us. While we laughed nervously at their advances, we also held a healthy amount of fear in our hearts. The police, whether they are justified or not, can make anyone\’e2\’80\’99s life a living hell at any moment of their choosing.

After the initial reports were written and the others involved in the accident had driven away, the police officers \’e2\’80\’9cinvited\’e2\’80\’9d us back to the station in order pick up some copies of the report and give our statements of what happened. I knew their reasons were not on the up and up. I have been involved in car accidents before. I\’e2\’80\’99ve never had to go to a police station for any reason whatsoever afterwards. Neither had my friends.

What followed was a horror show.

The two officers took us to a small room with some chairs and a restraining bench. Upon entering, one quipped \’e2\’80\’9cWe like to use that bench for all our S&M games with girls we really like.\’e2\’80\’9d The wink to my friend after the officer said that left us feeling chilled.

I am not sure why the conversation took its next turn into the bizarre, only that it did. One officer, while discussing a local peeping tom with us, began making jokes about \’e2\’80\’9cfaggots.\’e2\’80\’9d He then burst into a full-fledged performance, stuffed with prancing, lisping, limp-wristed, ass-raping humor. This performance lasted a full five minutes.

\’e2\’80\’9cIs she your girlfriend?\’e2\’80\’9d the officer asked me, referring to the friend he had been hitting on all night.

\’e2\’80\’9cNo,\’e2\’80\’9d I replied soberly. I have never wanted to leave a place so much in my life than I did right at that moment. I kept my eyes fixed on the door.

\’e2\’80\’9cDo you think he\’e2\’80\’99s cute?\’e2\’80\’9d he asked jokingly, referring to his partner.

I pulled my hat down low over my face. If it were possible to die just by willing it, I would have done so right then and there.

See, my friends and I knew something the officers did not: I really am gay. With his statements, jokes, and impersonations of \’e2\’80\’9cthose faggots,\’e2\’80\’9d the officer had no idea that he was insulting me so deeply. I know why he felt he was safe to make those generalizations in my presence.

I\’e2\’80\’99m not the stereotype.

I\’e2\’80\’99m a 21 year old gay man without a lisp. I don\’e2\’80\’99t like Barbra Streisand or Judy Garland or Liza Minelli. I just barely tolerate most Broadway shows. My clothing of choice is jeans, a t-shirt, some sneakers, and a White Sox cap. When I go to a bar, I don\’e2\’80\’99t order a white wine spritzer; I want a nice, cold beer. I don\’e2\’80\’99t watch PBS specials about ballet on Sundays. I\’e2\’80\’99d rather watch a football or baseball game. I\’e2\’80\’99m good at carpentry. I can fix my own car. I don\’e2\’80\’99t have a limp wrist, and I don\’e2\’80\’99t walk any differently than any other guy you see on the street. I\’e2\’80\’99m not promiscuous, and I do not go into bars several nights a week looking for orgiastic, gratuitous sex.

I\’e2\’80\’99m not the stereotype. I\’e2\’80\’99m so far from the stereotype that not even other gay men know I\’e2\’80\’99m gay unless I flat out tell them.

At this point, you may be wondering what any of this has to do with gaming. I will tell you.

In the latest brouhaha over the Darktide server, tempers have flared over stereotypes. Azile bemoans how he is not the exploiting, cheating, child-like stereotype and how it is unfair to lump all players into one category because of the actions of others.

This is true. It is unfair to put all people into one easy-to-use, generalized category. We know it is wrong, but we do it anyway. While we defend ourselves when someone generalizes about us based on our race, ethnicity, sexuality, profession, or gender, we forget one very important fact about stereotyping:

Stereotypes exist because there are groups of people out there who consciously or unconsciously perpetuate it.

I do have friends who are the stereotype. I understand why people think what they do of gay people, because I have seen with my own eyes people perpetuating the stereotype.

Azile needs to take in a healthy dose of reality when it comes to Darktide. The lead guild on Darktide is KoC/Blood. Anyone who is versed in his or her UO history knows of KoC\’e2\’80\’99s track record (I recommend typing \’e2\’80\’9cKoC\’e2\’80\’9d into the Lum search engine to the right). GEAR and Sixth Sense use is rampant on the server. I have seen it with my own eyes. A brief glimpse at the COD Darktide board does more than enough to justify in anyone\’e2\’80\’99s mind that Darktide is chock full of cheating, exploiting, mindless, immature l33t dewd kiddies.

While Azile might rant until the cows come home about how unfair it is to be lumped together with this stereotyped player-base, he does little to deter them or use his position at DNN in any capacity to help change the perspectives of those who look down upon the Darktide server.

In fact, exploiting programs have been advertised on KoC/Blood has been lionized for its prowess in game, regardless of the tactics used to gain that position on the server. If Azile doesn\’e2\’80\’99t like to be put into the stereotype, perhaps he himself shouldn\’e2\’80\’99t sit there and perpetuate it.

He screams that Myschyf\’e2\’80\’99s article, which began the argument, is filled with propaganda. This from a man who\’e2\’80\’99s own site was once entitled Propaganda Azile? Even if the title was nothing more than an attempt at sounding clever, Azile has become nothing more than a Turbine propagandist/apologist, praising and defending Turbine and Microsoft for things he himself had ripped apart OSI for.

He admits freely in his recent rant that he himself barely plays the game anymore. He is getting his source information from the same places Myschyf did: from boards, websites, IRC, and talking with people who do spend time in the game.

I will say that I am in the game, on Darktide, several times a week for a few hours at a time. I see what is happening. I feel that Myschyf was dead on in her article. Other people feel that way as well. So, regardless of what Azile claims, there is a perception out there. There is a stereotype about Darktide players that is being perpetuated.

Instead of the \’e2\’80\’9csee no evil, hear no evil\’e2\’80\’9d approach he is taking, Azile should be doing everything in his power to break that stereotype. He certainly has a solid venue in the DNN for doing so. As Azile fiddles, Darktide burns.

He can stick his head in the sand and claim that \’e2\’80\’9c90% of the player-base isn\’e2\’80\’99t what Myschyf made it out to be,\’e2\’80\’9d or he can do something about it. I\’e2\’80\’99m in Darktide often, and I think a 90% estimate of the player-base being the stereotype is conservative. However, I know there are exceptions. So, I try not to lump everyone together. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail.

No, Azile, you may not be the stereotypical Darktide player, just like I am not the stereotypical gay man. But, I am out there working to stop the perpetuation of the stereotype. I\’e2\’80\’99m trying to educate people. I\’e2\’80\’99m out in the community trying to educate people about the dangers of sleeping around. I\’e2\’80\’99m writing articles to magazines about how gay youth don\’e2\’80\’99t need to buy into the stereotypes just because they feel they have to in order to belong.

What are you or anyone else doing except bitching and crying and moaning about the injustice of it all? Anything?

Myschyf apologized for her generalization. In fact, she apologized well before you even wrote that rant of yours. Did you mention that apology at all? Or were you too wrapped up in your own righteous indignation? Is it that you couldn\’e2\’80\’99t wait to fan the flames for your own personal rant glory?

Myschyf\’e2\’80\’99s apology was linked to right here on the page. She corrected herself.

Will you correct yourself? Will you actually do something to break the power of the stereotype? Will any of your readers? I\’e2\’80\’99ve read some of the hate mail sent to Myschyf at your insistence. I have to say, if anything, they perpetuate the stereotype even more than you do. You were the person who caused that perpetuation.

Stereotypes are ugly and unfair. I know. I have to live with them in real life. I also have a responsibility as a gay man to do something about them. I have to use my writing to dispel the power stereotypes have over people.

You, your readers, and the leaders of Darktide have a responsibility to do the same. So, instead of engaging in a flame war, try to do something about it.

Instead of perpetuating stereotypes, it is everyone\’e2\’80\’99s responsibility to break them.