The nerds have spoken, Indiana. And they are pissed.
Gen Con, the largest board game convention in the United States, has become the first major Hoosier State annual event to speak out in opposition against a controversial Senate bill in Indiana that may give business owners the legal cover they could use to say, discriminate against non-heterosexuals.
Senate Bill 101 passed out of the Republican-controlled Indiana Senate on a party-line vote (because of course it did, although a quick shout-out to five Republicans in the Indiana House who voted against it) and is now awaiting the signature of Governor Mike Pence. Pence has indicated he's going to sign the bill, because Governor Mike Pence is homophobic and an asshole.
But then along came Gen Con, the annual board game convention that has taken place annually in Indianapolis since 2003. A letter to Pence has been penned by convention owner Adrian Swartout that is as close of a "listen here, fuckface" message to the legislation as a Seattle-based LLC owner is going to get.
The letter goes over the hard numbers: Last year's convention drew over 56,000 attendees, and pumped more than $50 million into Indiana's economy, amounts the Indianapolis Star notes makes Gen Con the state's largest annual convention in both those categories. And since the board game industry continues to see year-over-year growth, it stands to measure GenCon would have the capability to grow the number more so long as Indianapolis had facilities adequate to hold it.
But in the last paragraph, Swartout sends her shot over the bow to Pence (emphasis mine):
Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state's economy, and will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years.
In other words: Once the current contract to hold Gen Con in Indianapolis expires in 2020 or possibly sooner, adios motherfuckers. And considering Gen Con relocated to Indianapolis in the first place (from Milwaukee, where it was held for almost two decades), that's a threat that has validity behind it.
Board gaming doesn't have the same level of negative reputation for homophobic and sexism that other more, say, video forms of gaming have been dealing with as of late (not to say you're not going to find it, it just hasn't at least been reported on the same levels). And with this stern warning from Gen Con, board gaming in general has sent a message as to what they want in a state that hosts one of their biggest get-togethers.
(image via Wikimedia Commons)