No More Panels Consisting Only Of Straight White Dudes!

Most panels (especially in the gaming world) are dominated by similar voices: straight, able-bodied, cis, white, heterosexual men.

Plz Diversify Your Panel would like to change that.

This blog’s goal is to create diverse, intersectional panels. We’ve chosen to accomplish this by organizing a list of people who will refuse to be on panels which do not include a diverse representation of people who have been marginalized for any reason — race, gender, sexual orientation, able-bodiedness, etc.

If you’re a person who is often asked to be on panels:

Feel free to sign your name to the below list, showing that you won’t be on any panel that doesn’t represent marginalized voices in some way.  Email us at plz-diversify-your-panel[at]googlegroups[d ot]com with a brief bio of yourself and we’ll put you on the list!

If you’re a panel organizer:

Make sure your panel includes some diversity, whether that means women, people of color, non-heterosexual people, trans people, disabled people, non-binary people…there are MANY kinds of diversity in the gaming world, so it shouldn’t be hard to prevent your panels from consisting solely of straight white cis men.

Looking for diverse game devs to ask onto your panel? Go here

If you’re organizing a convention:

Make sure that anyone applying for a panel is aware of the Plz Diversify Your Panel initiative, and show strong support for it on your page! Make sure applicants know that you value diversity in your panels.

If you’re a marginalized game developer who would like to be a resource for others:

Go here!

Anyway, here’s a list of people in the games industry who refuse to be on non-diverse panels.


AbleGamers Charity
Shawn Allen
Sean Baptiste
Oscar Barda
Pippin Barr
Scott Benson
Mike Bithell
Anthony Burch
مصطفى شملي (Moustafa Chamli)
Tim Colwill
Trick Dempsey
Jack de Quidt
Aaron Diaz
Romano Ponce Díaz
Matthew Duhamel
Ken Gagne
David S. Gallant
Ricky Haggett
James Heinichen
David A. Hill Jr.
Rami Ismail
Brendan Keogh
Ed Key
Phil Kollar
Joe Köller
JP LeBreton
Cryss Leonhart
Alex Lifschitz
Aaron Linde
Patrick Lindsey
Leo Loikkanen
Nich Maragos
Garrett Martin
Davin Pavlas
Randy Pitchford
David Pittman
John Rathiganthan
Revelry Gaming
Christopher Sawula
Yann Seznec
Kent Sheely
Damian Sommer
Jim Sterling
Craig Stern
Robert Stokes
Zoya Street
TJ Thomas
Mark Diaz Truman
Asher Vollmer
Andy Wallace
Ian Wexler
Christopher Wink
Davey Wreden
Nick Yonge
Moo Yu


This blog originated out of a Twitter discussion between Elizabeth Simins, Nina Freeman and Leigh Alexander, which you should read:

Originally, Plz Diversify Your Panel focused primarily on issues of gender representation. The pageheader used to read, “No More Men-Only Panels”.

However, following a lot of discussion, we’re expanding the focus of Plz Diversify Your Panel to include all forms of diversity: race, sexual orientation, gender, able-bodiedness, etc. 

By gathering together visible, privileged people who are often invited to speak, and by making it clear that those people will not speak unless they are joined by voices who have generally been silenced in the past (whether intentionally or simply by omission).

ALL THIS SAID: We know that you have to be in a position of pretty significant privilege to put your name on this list. Many people aren’t in the position where they can afford to dismiss panels out of hand, or perhaps they’re gay/trans but aren’t out yet, or any number of other reasons.

This list does not exist to demonize and judge people who don’t sign it.

If you who would like to add your name to this list, please email plz-diversify-your-panel[at]googlegroups[d ot]com with the subject heading “Plz Diversify Your Panel”. Feel free to include a little about yourself.

Also, since you won’t be a guest on any panel without diverse representation, feel free to explain what you will be doing instead of appearing on that panel.

The FAQ!


Plz Diversify Your Panel seeks to create diverse, intersectional panels. We’ve chosen to accomplish this by organizing a list of people who will refuse to be on panels which do not include a diverse representation of people who have been marginalized for any reason — race, gender, sexual orientation, able-bodiedness, etc.


Who can sign their name to this list?
Originally this list was signed by men to advocate for more women, but since expanding our definition, we encourage anyone with privilege to sign the list and ensure that marginalized voices are heard on panels!

How do you define “panel”?
A panel is a public discussion between a group of people on a specific topic in the games industry. Panels are usually tied to large conventions and conferences like PAX East/Prime, GDC, IndieCade, MAGFest, and so on. They don’t have to be limited to being about diversity, and can involve relevant issues in game design or the industry.

What does “intersectionality” mean?
Intersectionality is learning how different parts of people’s identity can benefit or marginalize them. It encourages us all to look at our identities in a critical way by checking our privileges, while also giving us room to talk about how we’re diverse. If you’re a straight, white, cisgender dude with a clean bill of physical and mental health, chances are you’re playing life on a lower difficulty setting than others who don’t sit in those groups.

Why did you change PDYP’s focus from gender-only diversity to intersectional diversity?
If you signed PDYP with the intention of wanting more women on panels, this is still the initiative for you! We haven’t changed the initial focus, but expanded it to include other identities that are also marginalized in games that don’t often get the chance to speak about their works or perspectives.

The expansion isn’t to expect everyone involved to micromanage every aspect of amplifying minority voices, but to address the problem that folks had about suggesting that gender is the only way to diversify panels. Our new direction allows for more people to take more action, and shouldn’t change the actions of anyone who signed under the original initiative. If you’d like to be involved and still do exactly what the previous wording suggested, that still works perfectly well with our mission statement!

Doesn’t this movement just tokenize minorities? Shouldn’t marginalized people be on a panel because they’re skilled, not to fulfill a quota?
Diversity and tokenism are not necessarily synonyms. Since panels are active discussions that rely on a level of experience and knowledge, we are ensuring that more people are aware of the different kinds of experience and knowledge marginalized folks can have. There are plenty of qualified folks in games who aren’t given the same platforms as your ordinary white dude, and we just want to make sure they get the chance to participate, too!

I can’t sign my name to this list for various reasons. How else can I help?
We totally understand and respect that not everyone is in a position to sign. Thanks for wanting to help out in other ways! If you’re comfortable and able to, we’d love for you to signal boost and share the campaign with others who might be able to sign.

What if I agree to be on a diverse panel but then people drop out, making the panel not diverse anymore?
Unforeseen consequences aren’t in anyone’s control. Our intent isn’t to have signers micromanage every panel, but to promote diversity within it. If there’s enough time that you can suggest a solid replacement, then that’s cool, but we understand that isn’t always the case.

How many marginalized people need to be on a panel for me to be comfortable being on it?
Your comfort level entirely depends on you. We would encourage you to advocate for as many people as possible, but we also understand that you might not have control of structuring the entire panel. Again, this initiative isn’t about micromanaging, but about supporting change through controllable actions. Do what you can within your control!

I’m not sure what diversity can look like. How do I know I’m qualified to judge who is diverse on a panel?
This is a great question since you can’t always confirm a person’s identity just by looking at them. If you’re invited to a panel, take the time to do some research on the other panelists beforehand. One way to tell if you’re not on a diverse panel is to see if they’re all straight, white, able-bodied cisgender dudes! If those are your fellow panelists, it’s time to advocate for a new voice, or new voices.

What if I’m on a panel of all men, but the men represent a variety of marginalized groups? Is that okay?
Yes. PDYP is an intersectional effort that aims to empower voices. It’s easy to point at men as the only oppressors, but in reality we should work to empower the voices of queer men, transgender men, men of colour, men with disabilities, and so on!

Doesn’t this whole idea put the privileged and the marginalized into an us-vs-them situation? Isn’t this more combative and confrontational than is necessary?
Not at all! The fact is, marginalized people will always be in public spaces with privileged people, and this is a chance to make those spaces as welcome and safe as possible. By encouraging more diversity on panels, we’re only building stronger, more vibrant communities. This is not a plan to silence anyone, but to empower them. As soon we pass the mic and share our spaces with marginalized voices, we’ll be able to expand our ideas and hear different experiences.

Where can I find marginalized people to put on my panel?
We’re currently working on a lovely spreadsheet to help with this. If you’d like to be on that spreadsheet, email us at plz-diversify-your-panel[at]googlegroups!

I’m on a panel with marginalized people. Now what?
It comes down to proper social etiquette! Let people speak when it’s their turn, address your fellow panelists by their preferred pronouns, and listen to their experience without letting your own experience invalidate or question it.

Who runs Plz Diversify Your Panel?
Soha Kareem, Nina White, and Anthony Burch. You can reach them at plz-diversify-your-panel[at]

Trick Dempsey

I’m Trick Dempsey, the Creative Lead on Defiance at Trion Worlds. Games can be bigger than just a boys club for white men. In fact, they already are. Let’s keep our panels as diverse as our audience.

Yann Seznec

I’m Yann from Lucky Frame, a tiny creative studio in Edinburgh (we made Bad Hotel, Wave Trip, Nightmare Cooperative, Roflpillar, organised Tacos Bluegrass & Videogames, etc)
I’m currently engaged in a somewhat strong discussion with a gaming event here in Scotland regarding their diversity of speakers (or rather, lack thereof), and I’m sending them a link to your site to help my cause. If you add me to your list of people who won’t be involved in homogenous panels I would be very proud. 

Andy Wallace

I’m Andy Wallace, a dude who makes games like PARTICLE MACE and who works at Golden Ruby Games. I’m also a dude who is pretty tired of seing a bunch of other white dudes on stage talking about games by white dudes. So I’m all for diversifying this thing!
Instead of being on a not-so-diverse panel, I guess I’ll probably be home programming or listing to the ladies from Code Liberation give a talk.

Leo Loikkanen

Leo Loikkanen makes art, animation and twine games.

-Anthony (lemme know if this bio sucks and I’ll change it!)

Mark Diaz Truman

Mark Diaz Truman is an indie tabletop RPG designer at Magpie games, as well as a community organizer, teacher, and social entrepreneur.

-Anthony (lemme know if this bio sucks and I’ll change it)

Cryss Leonhart

Cryss writes for and is the English speaking community manager for Aeria Games.

-Anthony (lemme know if I messed up your bio so I can replace it)

Randy Pitchford

I am the President of Gearbox Software and I strongly feel that if our industry is to succeed at entertaining the world, it must become increasingly representative of the diversity of the world. Therefore, I sincerely pledge to honor the objectives and spirit of the Diversify Your Panel initiative.

Revelry Gaming

[We are] a small gaming community and we’ve just started podcasting.  However small and unknown we are, we pledge to at all times maintain a diverse panel when podcasting. 

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