The Elder Scrolls Online community banded together this year to hold a Pride Parade in-game, organised by streamer Loctavian, all while raising money for The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ+ suicide prevention and crisis intervention charity. So far, the community has pooled together almost $6,200.
"When I first started playing, I was still deeply in the closet," August Parker told TheGamer. "Queer content had been in the single-player games, but given the dearth of it in the overall MMO space, I wasn't expecting much. So when I came across a quest to save a male Khajiit's life partner in Reaper's March and it was treated as normally as any of the other NPC couples in the game, I cried."
ESO has cultivated an inclusive community with hundreds showing up for the in-game Pride Parades. Bethesda even went as far as to spotlight the streams holding these events so it's no wonder that the servers began to chug. "The word I kept using last night was 'amazing' because I was truly speechless at the turnout," Seth Hall told TheGamer. "I know there are a lot of LGBTQIA+ that play the game, but to see so many of us at the same place at the same time—I could feel the love through the monitor."
Players showed up en masse in colourful costumes, proudly conjuring rainbows and walking through cities together, showcasing what a safe space the community can be. "As an ESO player who identifies as non-binary, it meant so much to me to be a part of these Pride celebrations," Fenn told TheGamer. "I've honestly never felt so lucky and happy to be a part of The Elder Scrolls Online Community."
Another player who partook in the parades, Sable, added, "I feel overjoyed and proud. My guild, Prismatic Defenders, helped me come out as a trans woman last year, so it felt fitting that I got to spend my first Pride event as an out trans woman with them. I teared up seeing all the people marching in the Auridon Pride Parade."
Parker also talked about what the Pride Parade means outside of the game, "With the rise in bigoted rhetoric and violence against the queer community, particularly trans people, it's more important than ever for the queer community to stand up in the face of that hatred and be our true selves. Standing together in solidarity is important not just for ourselves, but for all those still in the closet because they feel afraid or are unsafe to leave it. They need to know they're not alone, that there is a safe community for them even in the face of hatred and bigotry.
"That's one reason why the in-game Pride Parade is so important. For people who can't go to a Pride Parade in person, it gives them a safe place to do that, to express themselves through outfits and fashion, through emotes and mementoes, that maybe they can't in reality. I know that was important to me once."
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