Making my way through the boughs of the Bramble Patch in East Shroud, I couldn’t help but feel palpable energy in the air around me. The sun was shining and the day was beautiful. As I continued my journey up to the Sanctum of the Twelve, the sounds of celebration could be heard. The scene before me took my breath away and would make even the stoic Admiral Merlwyb blush: dozens upon dozens of scantily clad Warriors of Light dancing and waving everyone on with glow sticks, costumes, and glamours of all shapes and sizes. Mounts, minions and all sorts of jovial people cluttered the stairway, making it difficult to see through the waves of folks to the grand chapel beyond.
This is the sight that greeted me as I arrived at the Sanctum of the Twelve for the 3rd annual Gayorzea pride celebration, an event that was created to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community within Eorzea and give them a place to come together, share stories and feel welcome. I had previously spoken with Lethys, one of the creators of the Gayorzea pride walk, and asked what this event was about.
“Gayorzea is all about people making friends and connecting to each other in a safe and friendly environment, so it’s nice for people to get to hang out and do things like taking screenshots for their Instagram and have a laugh with each other. We usually have a little walk to the closest city and make it an actual pride walk. I run these events primarily so people can meet each other and make friends but it’s also a celebration that we have a game that we can play together where we can be more “ourselves” than is the case in other games.
For example with same-sex eternal bonding and the fact that the company behind it are openly supportive towards us… It’s super nice! This year though I really wanted to include other FFXIV communities like Aetherflow Media and Gposers that we know are friendly towards the LGBTQ+ community or are lead in-part by LGBTQ+ players. We’re usually quite an insular and reclusive group but I think it’d be nice for players to see FFXIV community-ran projects to work together and collaborate more “
Jase Imod, a resident of the Phoenix server where the event was hosted, explained that this was his first time attending the event. He didn’t know about it until a friend spoke up and asked him to tag along.
Valentin from Shiva was very candid with me when we spoke. This was their first time attending as well, though they were unaware of what it was when their friend asked them to join in. They were honest with me that they didn’t care for the event in particular but were there to support their friend who wanted to take some screenshots. I felt this was an important conversation; while they didn’t come to support the community, but rather their friend, they were very respectful and courteous, which I think speaks strongly about their character and the nature of the community as a whole.
Kuai Lang from Lich is a member of the Gayorzea discord server and saw the announcement for the event. They were embarrassed to admit to me that they were a bit late to the event but wanted to pop in and check it out.
With many more attendees, the overall feel of the event was all positivity and excitement at the chance for making new friends and getting to know other members of the community across the world of Eorzea. I enjoyed speaking with everyone there, made some new friends, and was doted upon by a large Roegadyn wearing a chocobo head and little else. And then we set off on the parade!
The event’s main attraction was the pride parade that took off from the Sanctum of the Twelve and ended up in Old Girdania at Mih Khetto’s Amphitheatre. As people loaded up on their mounts, it was easy to see which was the most popular; the recent cross over event’s mount, the Regalia. Thanks to its roomy interior and smooth cruising music. Amongst the parade attendees was a large number of lower level players (primarily levels 1-10) which were in danger as we made our way at a leisurely pace through the more dangerous parts of the Bramble Patch.
Thankfully there were plenty in attendance that were much higher levels that provided protection to all us little ones as we made our way through the worst of it. Upon reaching the Amphitheatre Lethys took the stage, made a speech thanking people for attending, and announced the screenshot contest! As the judges for this contest, Aetherflow Media and Gposers chose their favorite screenshots from the event and this is what was selected!
All in all the event seemed to go off without a hitch and was a great success. Laughs were had, friends were made and everyone enjoyed themselves. As the Gayorzea event has come to a close, it is important to reflect upon the importance of the inclusion of things such as the same-sex eternal bonding, these community events and so much more. This feeling of welcome and inclusion cannot, and should not, be understated. I’m glad to have gotten a chance to attend Gayorzea‘s pride event and look forward to next year’s edition!
Make sure to check out Gayorzea and Gposers to see what they’re up to next!