The path toward coming out and winning acceptance can be so harrowing that it's become a video game.
"A Closed World," a role-playing game from an MIT lab called GAMBIT, puts gamers through the process of talking down your hot-headed brother, or dealing with internal struggle. Your only weapons are Logic, Passion, and Ethics. Sometimes you need a deep breath, or have to walk away from a fight.
"He's suffering under your unbearable pressure!" says your character while using logic against the judgmental parents of your sweetheart.
In response, they claim you are "inferior," which causes you to lose some "composure" from your status bar.
When the parents shoot a "stony glare" your way, it's time to call upon an ethical argument.
"No one deserves your oppression, especially your own son," the character says, relying on deep breaths to keep composure, and eventually vanquishing the "demon."
The game comes with a statement from its team of student creators, who note that LGBT content is "very uncommon in games right now."
"Game designers and marketing professionals alike have cited a number of reasons for this," they write, "ranging from a perception of institutional homophobia in game culture to a genuine desire on the part of game designers to 'get it right' and create games with compelling queer content, rather than feeling that the element is merely "tacked on" in the end."
Part of the game's goal is to research the challenges that come up when writing a queer-friendly game -- starting with how to deal with gender.