Kyle Bikowski

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Iowa, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10675

Approve Date

April 15, 2024

Project Title

Bikowski, Kyle (Iowa, U. of) ""Gamer is What I do, Gaymer is Who I Am": Identity Work, Joy, and Community Building Among Mexican Gaymers"

What can gay Mexican video game enthusiasts’ adoption of “Gaymer” (gay-gamer) as a self-identified label tell us about shifting conceptions of masculinity in a globalizing world? Despite gaming’s global explosion, studies of gaming and sexuality focus on U.S. and European experiences. Further, these studies focus on in-game experiences, notably Gaymer interactions with homophobic heterosexual players. These approaches both ignore the rejection Gaymers also experience from the mainstream gay community, which considers gaming a “straight” activity, and the persistent tensions between Mexican video game players and their counterparts in the Global North. More importantly, a focus on virtual interactions erases the complex, joyful communities Gaymers create in actual-world settings. Gaymers in Mexico are part of global networks, not just of other gamers, but also of men, gay men, and pop-culture fans. They blend these networks through performing video game drag shows, attending gaming conventions, or listening to bands who cover video game and anime soundtracks in mariachi style. During a year of in-person and digital ethnography with an informal group of Gaymers in Querétaro, Mexico, I will ask: How do variously marginalized groups perform identities through play to enact joy and create belonging within globalized contexts?