If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and you are interested in being interviewed for 60 to 90 minutes about your experiences in social VR, particularly with respect to self-presentation and social support, then you are invited to fill out this online form (more information about the research study can be found here). The form states:
We are a group of academic researchers at Clemson University who are conducting a research project about social VR. We are interested in interviewing individuals who identify as LGBTQ+, and understanding their experiences.
No personally identifiable data will be asked or collected, but we’ll ask general demographics questions (age, location, race, etc). You do not have to answer any questions that you do not feel comfortable answering.
If you have experienced any social VR platforms / applications / environments (AltspaceVR, Rec Room, VRChat, etc.) and are willing to be interviewed, please fill out the form … and we will contact you for more details about this research project.
Interviews are to be scheduled during the month February, and can be done via telephone call, Discord (text or voice chat), Zoom (voice or video chat), or even on the social VR platforms AltspaceVR, Rec Room, or VRChat!
To celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride, Jackalope is throwing a 50% off sale, and they are also holding a Pride Hunt. The hunt items are free and you do not need to join the Jackalope store group to get the individual hunt items, which all together make up a complete rainbow outfit!
Everything Vanity Fair is wearing in the pictures below—the fishnet crop top, skirt, badges, earrings, bracelet, the wonderful combat boots with rainbow socks, even the Bento pose and the backdrop!—is a hunt prize from the Jackalope Pride Hunt.
One of the free hunt prizes is this wonderful, colourful backdrop! The collection of balloons to the left and right are separate items and you could easily reuse them for other celebrations such as birthday parties:
Now, I should caution you that many of the hunt prizes are rather fiendishly hidden all around the store (including the ceiling!). If you get frustrated, here’s a pro hunt tip from Auntie Ryan 😉 …in the Firestorm viewer, if you press Ctrl-Shift-R, it will turn on wireframe mode (which is essentially X-ray vision). Press Ctrl-Shift-R again to toggle it back off. (If this feels like cheating to you, then don’t use this tip.)
This next Pridewear freebie is from a store called 28LA, and it is a doozy! Teleport to the store, and click on the rack of clothing outside, and you will receive a Pride collection of apparel, with designs for for both male and female avatars! The male clothing comes in sizes to fit Belleza Jake and Signature Gianni mesh bodies, and the female clothing is designed to fit the Belleza Freya, Slink Hourglass, and Maitreya Lara mesh bodies.
Finally, we have the Pride Festival in Second Life, which runs from June 24th to 28th. Most of the vendor booths at this event have free gifts (you will have to join the free Pride Festival group to get them). Here’s a look at three of the many gifts:
this colourful eye makeup from ALMA (system/Bakes on Mesh, plus Catwa, LeLutka and Omega appliers);
the Proud Lips by Dotty’s Secret (system/Bakes on Mesh, plus Catwa, Genus and Omega appliers);
June is traditionally the month when LGBTQ* Pride festivals happen in cities around the world, but of course, most such festivities have been cancelled because of the ongoing public health emergency that is the coronavirus pandemic.
Luckily, Second Pride, Second Life’s biggest Pride party, starts tomorrow, June 5th, and runs until June 14th, 2020! This year’s theme is Together, and there’s never been a better time for queer people and their allies to come together to celebrate in virtual worlds, when meeting up in the real world is difficult or impossible!
Many Second Life stores are giving away group gifts to celebrate Pride month. For example, if you join the Luas group for L$50, among the many free group gifts you can pick up in the Luas store is this new, versatile Claim minidress, which comes with a HUD to allow you to tint the top and bottom parts of the dress to any of six different colours, as well as choose one of six different stickers for the front (including a pair of rainbow lips for Pride). You can also choose to go logo-free if you wish!
As you can imagine, this is the time of year to pick up rainbow-coloured freebies! The rainbow flag was popularized as a symbol of the gay community by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978. The different colours are often associated with diversity in the gay community, but actually have literal meanings as follows (source):
and spirit (purple).
The store group for EQUAL is free to join for a limited time, and among the many free group gifts are these wonderful, rainbow Jensen sneakers, which come in sizes to fit Maitreya Lara, Belleza (male and female), Slink (male and female), Signature (male and female), Legacy (male and female), EXMACHINA, and Aesthetic mesh body feet, as well as an unrigged pair which you can probably adjust to fit many other avatars:
Fancy Decor has a trio of free, lovely decor items for your Second Life home. Head on down to The Arcade gacha event, and just inside the entrance to the arcade to the left (SLURL), the Fancy Decor gacha machine has a free gift of two different Pride coffee mugs. Unfortunately, they don’t come with a hold/drink animation, but they will still look fabulous in your virtual kitchen!
And, in one of the small white tents that circle the central stage on the Second Pride sim, Fancy Decor has another gift: a beautifully-decorated Pride cake on a platter! (Here’s the exact SLURL so you don’t go hunting all over the place.)
There are a few of the other freebies you can find at the stores at the Second Pride festival. Here’s a fun, spilled-paint rainbow shirt, courtesy of the Saint Elizabeth Catholic role-play university for women (who knew that such a thing even existed?), which comes in both men’s and women’s versions (here’s the SLURL of their tent):
The gift from Lucky Lola’s tent is this festive set of helium balloons (SLURL):
At both their tent (SLURL) and their store (SLURL) on the Second Pride sim, the Gay List is giving away oodles of free stuff from the Regimade Factory Store: animations, dance fans, particle effects and attachments, and a box which, when unpacked, gives you several hundred different dance effects to experiment with! Here’s a shot of one pair of dance fans, and one of the dance animations in the boxes:
RIOT’s free gift is a Pride flag you wear as a cape! It comes with a HUD to change the design to one of six different textures, in sizes to fit both men and women:
UPDATE June 11th, 2020: Cat Pink has just released another one of her videos, giving an overview of other Second Life stores that are offering Pride-themed group gifts:
*which, of course, stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer…and the asterisk at the end of the acronym is meant to cover everybody else who feels that the previous categories don’t include them. We queer folk are nothing if not inclusive!
Second Life has seen a resurgence of returning users in recent months, as a result of the imposition of social distancing policies, lockdowns, and quarantines in the face of the ongoing public health crisis that is the coronavirus pandemic.
I recently received an inquiry from someone returning to Second Life after an absence, who asked me:
You seem nice and knowledgeable here: I have been on SL 15 years ago or so, and would now like to return and find gay places, ideally catering to bears and chubs. But that’s not a mandatory at all.
I just wondered whether you know a place that’s a little busy – all places I went to were deserted.
Thank you so very much in advance!
Now, this is a puzzler for me. When I first set foot into SL fourteen years ago, I used to frequent any number of gay bars, fun places that were packed full of avatars. Over time, many of those places had closed down.
When I replied that there used to be a couple of spots for bears (i.e. chubby or overweight gay men, usually but not always bearded and/or hairy, hence the name “bears”), but that they had long since shut down, he replied:
Thank you very very much, you’re my star – not easy finding one’s way here nowadays with so many places deserted!
Are there any other places where simply a lot of gay guys go, also non-bears?
Any help is greatly appreciated!
So, I thought I would broaden the question to include spaces welcoming to all LGBTQ folks in Second Life, and throw the question out to you, my faithful readers:
Where are the places in Second Life where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people can gather and meet each other? Please note that I am not talking about the places where you go to have hookups or sex (God knows, those are easy enough to find!).
I will compile all the responses received as updates to this blogpost, and I will keep this blogpost updated as new information comes in about community spots, since they tend to change over time.
Please feel free to submit a comment. Thanks in advance for your help!