Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



MOMBIAN How the makers of D&D won my family's heart
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Dana Rudolph

This article shared 5669 times since Tue Jul 29, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

I played the original Dungeons & Dragons ( D&D ) game in high school, back in the early '80s. I've been delighted to see it is experiencing a resurgence—and capturing my son's interest as well. A recent encounter made me love the game, and the company behind it, even more.

Beginning the adventure

During the July 4th week, my spouse, son and I went on a cruise from Seattle to Alaska with her family and my mom. Our son spent most of the time playing D&D with his cousin and some other kids they met on the boat. After the cruise, my spouse, son, mom and I visited Seattle for a few days, staying at Marriott's Springhill Suites in the suburb of Renton. We'd never been to that hotel before, but chose it for availability, reasonable price, and location near ( but not too near ) the airport.

Our son was less interested in the Space Needle than in finding a miniature elf wizard figurine for his D&D game. We perused a couple of Seattle's many game shops, but to no avail. Little did we know that powerful magical forces were at work. . . .

Perception check

Sitting in our hotel room, I launched Google Maps to find a nearby place to eat—and shrieked. By complete coincidence, Wizards of the Coast, the company that makes D&D, had its headquarters on the same block. I looked out the window. Across the parking lot, gleaming in the sun, was their building.

I quickly brought up the Wizards' website ( ) to see if they gave tours. Alas, no, but they did boast of a dragon named Mitzy in the lobby. We decided that we would at least go snap some photos with Mitzy.

Charisma roll

Mitzy loomed on the left as we entered the reception area. Shelves along the walls held D&D books and sets for Magic the Gathering, the company's trading card game. I explained to the receptionist, Angela, that my son and I were D&D players, and we couldn't let the coincidence of our hotel location pass us by without a visit. Our son said that he'd just spent hours playing the game on our cruise. She seemed amenable to having us take some photos, so we did.

My mom noticed, however, that there was a line of D&D figurines along the reception desk. She asked Angela if she knew a nearby place to purchase them. ( Wizards doesn't sell things from its headquarters. ) She said no, and then excused herself to head down the hall.

Treasure hoard

A few minutes later, she came back with a woman who introduced herself as Shelly, part of the D&D brand team. Shelly handed our son a bag full of D&D goodies—pencils, stickers, books, T-shirts, some polyhedral dice ( every player's key accessory ), and a pre-release copy of the Starter Set for the long-awaited D&D Version 5, which wouldn't officially come out until July 15. My son's eyes got about three sizes bigger.

They went beyond just giving him corporate swag, however. Shelly told us that she had told the D&D product team in the back that there was a boy in the lobby looking for an elf wizard miniature. Since the team members were also long-time players, they each had extensive personal collections of figurines at their desks. One found an elf wizard for us—a gesture that touched us all.

Shelly also took a photo of our whole family with Mitzy, which we said would use on our family holiday card this year. We thanked her and Angela profusely before leaving.

Bonus roll

As if that wasn't good enough, later that day I went to the Wizards' website to get the full Version 5 rules ( which they'd just made available for free download ) to read on the plane home. ( My son had his head stuck in the shorter rulebook from the Starter Set. )

Lo and behold, but the new rules urge players to: "Think about how your character does or does not conform to the broader culture's expectations of sex, gender, and sexual behavior. ... You don't need to be confined to binary notions of sex and gender." For example, the rules say, some elves are made in the image of a god who is often seen as androgynous or hermaphroditic, and "You could also play a female character who presents herself as a man, a man who feels trapped in a female body, or a bearded female dwarf who hates being mistaken for a male. Likewise, your character's sexual orientation is for you to decide."

Many of us LGBTQ players ( and maybe even some straight, cis ones ) have been bending our characters' genders and sexual orientations for years, but it's terrific to see the game officially embrace this.

Initiative roll

I was surprised, therefore, to learn that Wizards' parent company, Hasbro, only scored a 25/100 on the most recent HRC Corporate Equality Index. ( Competitor Mattel scored a 95. ) Despite the lackluster score, its equal opportunity policy does include sexual orientation, and it has not participated in actions that would undermine LGBTQ equality, according to HRC. It seems to me, then, that it might be persuaded to improve its policies, especially if a subsidiary like Wizards is publicly embracing an inclusive view of gender and sexuality. It doesn't take a D&D perception check to know that's good business.

In the meantime, thanks to the Wizards of the Coast employees who made one 11-year-old elf wizard and his moms very happy.

Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian ( ), a GLAAD Media Award-winning blog and resource directory for LGBT parents.

This article shared 5669 times since Tue Jul 29, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Study: Outcomes for children similar regardless of the LGBTQ+ identity of the children's parents 2023-03-10
--From a press release - NEW YORK — This week a new report was released by BMJ Global Health examining outcomes between LGBTQ+ families and families headed by heterosexual couples. The report, a literature review and synthesis of dozens of academic ...

Gay News

Center on Halsted presents annual Intergenerational Talent Show 2023-03-06
- On March 2, Center on Halsted hosted its Fifth Annual Intergenerational Talent Show, featuring performances from participants from the Youth and Family Services and the Senior Services programs. Participants in the free event presented a program ...

Gay News

'Everything' sweeps The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics 14th Dorian Film Awards 2023-02-23
--From a press release - GALECA,The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, has named A24's fantastical and affecting family relationship drama Everything Everywhere All at Once 2022's Film of the Year—and then some—in its 14th Dorian ...

Gay News

Woman-owned Family Tree Resale shop helps Chicagoans in need 2023-02-22
- When Elizabeth Basa opened Family Tree Resale shop in 2009 at 5066 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago's Lincoln Square neighborhood, her mission was "to build an environmentally sustainable shop centered on helping those in need in ...

Gay News

PASSAGES: LGBTQ activist, writer and therapist Dr. Charles Silverstein 2023-02-08
- New York City-based LGBTQ activist, writer and therapist Dr. Charles Silverstein died Jan. 30 of complications from cancer surrounded by family and friends. He was 87. Silverstein was born April 23, 1935, in Brooklyn, New York ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Gene R. Matterer 2023-02-01
- Gene R. Matterer died on Jan. 16, 2023 of cancer, according to his family. He was 82 years old. Matterer was born on Feb. 17, 1940. Following his school days in Crystal Lake, Illinois, he enlisted ...

Gay News

PrideArts, Chicago drag artists co-produce story of a drag family's tribulations 2022-12-22
-- From a press release - CHICAGO — PrideArts will celebrate the arrival of the year 2023 by teaming up with the Chicago drag performers Tirrany Reigns and Ramona Mirage to stage Reigns' original Queer Family Dramedy, set just after New Year's ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Best and worst films, Broadway, Adam Lambert, 'Proud Family,' women's hockey 2022-12-18
- IndieWire revealed its list of the best LGBTQ+ films and TV series of 2022. Just some of the selections included Benediction, Bros, Do Revenge, Fire Island, Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Inspection, Los Espookys, P-Valley, ...

Gay News

The Northalsted Business Alliance makes statement on Club Q Shooting in Colorado Springs 2022-11-23
-- From a press release - The Northalsted Business Alliance shares its thoughts and prayers with our LGBTQ+ family in Colorado suffering from yet another senseless gun tragedy. We mourn the five lives lost and stand with those injured and traumatized ...

Gay News

Billy Masters: Candace Cameron Bure keeps it in the family, and all the Thanksgiving dish you need to start the week 2022-11-21
- "I will be dating Pete Davidson next." —Dionne Warwick tweets she'll be the next woman in Davidson's long list of ex-paramours. Davidson's former SNL co-star Jay Pharoah says Pete told him the secret of his success. ...

Gay News

Billy Masters 2022-10-31
- "Well, I am as hurt and shocked as if I have lost a family member. Leslie and I had a special bond. I think the world felt they had a special bond with him. I know people always say, 'Oh, they ...

Gay News

HRC celebrates National Coming Out Day and the significance of chosen family 2022-10-11
-- From a press release. Video below - WASHINGTON—Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, is commemorating the 34th annual National Coming Out Day (NCOD) by ...

Gay News

THEATER About Face showing LGBTQ+ play 'Mosque4Mosque' 2022-10-01
- About Face Theatre opens its 2022-23 season with the world premiere of Omer Abbas Salem's new play Mosque4Mosque, directed by Sophiyaa Nayar. Mosque4Mosque is a family comedy about a queer Arab-American Muslim man navigating his first ...

Gay News

Cuba legalizes same-sex marriage 2022-09-26
- Cuba has legalized marriage equality after Cubans voted in favor of a family code that increased protections for minorities on the island, CNN reported. With 94% of the votes counted as of 8 a.m. CT on ...

Gay News

Texas district court issues third directive benefiting trans youths 2022-09-16
- On Sept. 16, the Travis County District Court issued a third injunction blocking Texas from implementing a directive targeting trans youth and their families across the state. The directive ordered the Department of Family and Protective ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.