GENERAL MISSION STATEMENT!
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]googlegroups.com.