Some words of wisdom from Izmar!

QRM: Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do in the games industry?

Izmar: I'm bi and NB/genderqueer and I've been a community manager in the games industry for about 10 years. I'm currently working on brands like Dark Souls and Little Nightmares for Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe. I previously was International Community Manager for Ankama Games, working on the DOFUS MMORPG. I'm also an American who moved to France to start my career in games.

QRM: What about the games industry excites and inspires you?

Izmar: The reason that I got into community management for video games was my history of receiving support and friendship from so many people that I met online through the games that I played as I was growing up. I just wanted to give back to the same types of groups that helped me survive some difficult times in my early life. Games introduced me to my partner and most of my friends, and many of the people I've met since working in the industry have become the biggest and best parts of my life. I want to help the same thing happen for other people!

QRM: What about the games industry frustrates or disappoints you? What are the challenges you’re currently facing in the industry?

Izmar: While I personally have been very lucky in my career, I've seen others struggle because of their gender or sexual orientation. I think that there's still a lot of soft discrimination, i.e., people who are pushed out for their identity under the cover of other issues.

QRM: If you could make one roadblock magically disappear from the games industry, what would you choose and why?

Izmar: It's still quite difficult to get a toehold in the industry if you are coming from an outsider position. People who don't have official schooling, people who aren't able to get internships, etc, may struggle to be seen and hired by larger companies - and people who tend to be missing those career components often have marginalized identities. I would really love to see more intake and mentorship programs that don't require a college degree/college enrollment.

QRM: What message would you give to allies—both individuals and companies—who want to know how to support marginalised people better?

Izmar: Be more aware of your own biases. It's so easy for even mild feelings of discomfort to translate into missed opportunities and isolation for marginalized people in larger companies because there's so much competition. Be open to blind recruitment policies, be watchful for those dark undercurrents that are easy to establish and hard to excise.

QRM: What message would you give to marginalised people who are working in games or would like to work in games?

Izmar: There are so many people in this industry who are like you. Not all of them are open, but they are there. When you find those people, trust each other, support each other, and care for each other! The industry needs your perspective and your voice!

QRM: If people want to find and support you and your work, how can they do that?

Izmar: You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @Izmarvelous - Come like a photo of my cats, they've earned it for putting up with me all these years. :)