It’s no surprise that there are closeted folk in Washington, D.C., although I find for the most part most of the gays are out of the closet here – at least in this safety bubble of our urban environment. I suspect not all of them are out to their families – which is the important part that helps make a difference. But tonight at our biweekly Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) gaming session I heard about one closet case that takes the cake.

We suspected one former player from our group wasn’t 100% comfortable talking about being a gamer amongst mixed company – particularly in social settings like at happy hour in a bar. Apparently the social stigma of rolling the d20 is still too much to bear in 2012. We couldn’t prove it but certain interactions were awkward after he left the group. I mean who wouldn’t want to brag about our assault on the Vault of the Drow at Cobalt or JRs? And we made it through the Temple of Elemental Evil in record time – why not talk about it over a beer at Nellie’s or over cocktails at Town? Good times, good times…

Legion of DoomBut one of our long-time gamers was talking with another former member who had to leave due to higher ed schoolwork and whatnot and eventually joined another group. We had heard of other gay DnD groups in the city occasionally over the years. When asked who his new *DM was he said he could not say because his DMs partner didn’t want it known that he played Dungeons and Dragons. They are out as a gay couple, but not open about their role playing hobby.

So there you have it, closeted Dungeons and Dragons players. I find it hard to believe and am sending out gossip feelers to confirm this as I find it unbelievable that the stigma of being a gamer is actually worse for some than being gay. But apparently in the clean-cut white collar environment of DC some things are best kept secret. Like rollin’ the d20 and cuttin’ down orcs every other Sunday night.

Our group has decided we’re more like the SuperFriends gaming in the Hall of Justice, and that other group are The Others, or possibly the Legion of Doom. For every one of us there is an arch enemy in the other group. Mine would be the closeted DM.

It strikes me as odd because the twentysomething gays these days are all about being nerdy and geeky, freely admitting they love comics and sci-fi and all that. There is no longer such a set mold for “the gay lifestyle” and the younger gays are freer to choose what hobbies they like. Perhaps the closeted DM and/or his partner are closer to my age and feel compelled to present a certain type of image.

Regardless, tonight our gaming party defeated two slaadi and a troop of bullywugs, then came up against an otyugh guarded by two shambling mounds. As the DM I rolled a few critical hits but failed to stop the party on their quest. We’re currently playing in the Dark Sun campaign setting, which is sort of like Mad Max with magic, with a little John Carter thrown in for good measure. The party consists of a human templar, dragonborn battlemind, goliath druid, halfling sorcerer, half-elf bard, and a mul gladiator. If some of these races or classes sound unfamiliar, there’s been a lot of expansion in the new (4th) edition of Dungeons and Dragons increasing the options for players. Thankfully no one is playing a drow. They’re a pain in the ass.

* “DM” stands for Dungeon Master, or gaming facilitator much like the Banker role in Monopoly.


  1. Fitz says:

    The good old Otyugh just doesn’t get enough Web coverage (it’s usually all about the Neo-Otyugh). Good work! 😉

  2. RJ says:

    Does your group/the other group RP heavily? If so I can understand the closeting somewhat. There’s always been a fair bit of stigma around RPing, with it being equated to immaturity and living in one’s mother’s basement and whatnot. It’s a shame nonetheless, but less perplexing than if he was ashamed of being a min/maxer or something.

    Yes, twentysomethings period seem to all be about being nerdy and geeky and playing games. This can be a bit troublesome at times though, because not all “gamers” these days even understand what a gamer is. If you look at me weird when I say that I can play Mushihimesama for 5 hours straight in a smoky arcade and enjoy it, then perhaps you should rethink your label.

    Oh, and by the way, if you don’t read it already, you really must check out Darths and Droids. It’s quite a gem.

  3. jimbo says:

    Interesting related quote from this New York Times article about the fall of “Judyism”

    “It’s just not my idea of being gay. Today gay can be anything.”

  4. brettcajun says:

    Am I the only sane person here not quivering in fear to state the obvious?

    “You will never get laid admitting to playing “Dungeons & Dragons”. It is simple as that.”
    — The Book of Brett

  5. jimbo says:

    Brett: apparently the closeted DMs partner agrees with you! And for the record I don’t have congress with squishy halflings from the Shire.

  6. brettcajun says:

    WHO ARE YOU CALLING ‘Squishy’?! And… really?! I always thought your motto is ADWD.

  7. TED says:

    Well, at least now we know why you’re single.

    I think there are some interesting parallels with the other closet to be worked out here. When you meet a stranger in a bar, do you ask, “Are you a friend of Gandalf?” Also, I wonder whether maybe there are a lot more of you than we know about, though I can’t say that I’ve seen any craigslist ads looking for that kind of players.

  8. rusty, out on the factory floor says:

    I can’t imagine why someone would be ashamed of being known as a role-playing player. It’s not like you drink the blood of children to kick off a night of rolling the d20 (or do you?) Some spend their free time as members of book clubs, or hiking, or trying to get their tennis game back.

    And re: Judyism, I once won a copy of Honcho Magazine because I was the only Queen in the room who knew what came after “Clang, clang, clang went the trolley”.

  9. Dax Books says:

    D&D players have a simular stigma in society that fans of Anime like my self have. When I tell people I am an Anime fan or Japanese film buff they automatically think of these guys

  10. cb says:

    I was always a fan of Black Manta… he was so much more butch than Aquaman! Plus he had that cool modified voice, and you couldn’t see his face….. mmmmmmmmmmmm……..