Image from Mariah Moore's episode of Changemakers.

This Fantastic Docuseries from GLAAD Is a Must-Watch

For the last couple of years, GLAAD has been producing an award-winning docuseries called Changemakers, dedicated towards celebrating and highlighting the achievements of Queer Black professionals. This year, they’re back in full swing, and the series is once again a phenomenal watch that’s more than worth your time.

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The series’ creator director, Abdool Corlette, had this to say about the new season:

The new season of Changemakers is so timely because it tackles some of the most pressing issues facing Black LGBTQ people across industries. From sports to housing to video games to health care, Changemakers is shining a light on four Black trans and nonbinary leaders who are fighting to make sure that the needs of their communities are not ignored.

The series is fantastically produced, with a strong visual emphasis not just on the spotlight host’s business, but also on the cities and communities that they’re impacting. It also doesn’t hold back from the reasons why these communities need care and elevation, and the struggles that these hosts faced which they now seek to ameliorate. The first episode opens with such an example, showcasing Mariah Moore and her community-building housing initiative for trans and NB people, House of Tulip:

I’m particularly excited about the latest episode, which features Dani LaLonders, a game dev whose awesome work we’ve previously highlighted on the site. In their episode, Dani describes their upbringing and how video games were a refuge for them, being a somewhat insecure kid who struggled with bullying. However, in middle school, they started playing online games for the first time and were quickly met with severe racism.

This sparked within Dani a desire to create their own games that flipped the script and worked to foster more inclusion within gaming. Alongside our own interview, I wrote about how ValiDate, their game that’s highlighted in this episode, makes it clear that the world we live in is a diverse world that doesn’t operate strictly through the lens of the typical machismo white dude we play as in most games. And this type of inclusion is paramount for kids that grew up with similar experiences as Dani, who deserve whatever kind of refuge works best for them. Plus, the kind of joy and security video games can bring shouldn’t be limited to one demographic—EVERYONE deserves to enjoy the cool experiences that games can bring.

Towards the end of the episode, Dani points out that ValiDate‘s success has made it easier for other BIPOC creators to make their own games. I constantly see similar games on Twitter and Steam, and I see how Dani’s vision has truly inspired others to share their own voices. It’s pretty amazing stuff, and it’s what truly makes Dani a Changemaker.

Check out her episode, which released this morning, and let us know your thoughts!

(Featured Image: GLAADxNEON)


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Author
Madeline Carpou
Madeline (she/her) is a staff writer with a focus on AANHPI and mixed-race representation. She enjoys covering a wide variety of topics, but her primary beats are music and gaming. Her journey into digital media began in college, primarily regarding audio: in 2018, she started producing her own music, which helped her secure a radio show and co-produce a local history podcast through 2019 and 2020. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz summa cum laude, her focus shifted to digital writing, where she's happy to say her History degree has certainly come in handy! When she's not working, she enjoys taking long walks, playing the guitar, and writing her own little stories (which may or may not ever see the light of day).