While there are still many, many hardships facing gays, lesbians and transgendered people nowadays, life for these people is far better than it was before the 1969 Stonewall Riots. Indeed, the years that followed have gotten us that much closer to equality, and the open hatred that fuels discrimination today will be felt in only a few niche groups, including radical right-wing religion... And gaming communities.
Not to say that all gaming communities are homophobic, but the casual nature in which insults of sexuality and sexual identity are thrown about in the gaming community are rivaled only by men's professional athletics, a haven of cave men if there ever was one.
Of course, for examples, I could go to any gaming forum of blog and see such insults, but the forum jackasses are really only a symptom of a bigger problem - tolerance of such mindsets in the gaming media. Of course, I'd be negligent if I didn't mention everyone's favorite troll, Yahtzee. His recent Gears of War 2 "review" has him going out of the way to make tasteless gay jokes.
Of course, I wouldn't dare hang the gaming community based on Yahtzee, a man who probably doesn't even play many games to begin with beyond the bare minimum (in the easiest modes possible) needed to make his trash. Perhaps a better example would be Jeff Gerstmann's assessment of the usual medic class when he talks about Resistance 2 during the nomination video for Giant Bomb's 2008 multiplayer game of the year award.
Consider what he says when he brings up the medic. "... Playing medics is for girls, but in this case, I'll play as medic sometimes. What that says about me, I'm not willing to delve into." First off, I'm not sure what playing as any particular class in an FPS or otherwise would say about your gender identity. Is it really that hard to imagine that someone who isn't effeminate would enjoy playing a class that isn't pigeonholed to combat? Of course not. Most likely Jeff just casually tossed that barb because, hey, making fun of guys who don't fit the stereotypical macho man is cool. Not like anyone's going to be offended or anything. Really, why would any gays, lesbians or transgendered people play video games? That's a man's past time.
Of course, game communities, in the end, get their cue from the games themselves. Gays, lesbians and transgendered people don't get mentioned in games. Unless, of course, they fit into nice, convenient and wholly derogatory stereotypes.
No other mainstream entertainment - again, with the exception of men's athletics - is so insistent on hammering home the notion that unless you fit a very narrow archetype for a man (or woman), you are inferior to those who do. Personally, I reject such a notion, and long for the day when gaming breaks this last barrier. Last thing we want is for gaming to be associated with other havens of bigotry.