Electronic Arts (EA) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) on Thursday hosted a panel discussion on LGBT issues in gaming.

The first ever Full Spectrum event was held at the Ford Foundation in upper Manhattan.

Caryl Shaw, executive producer at Kixeye, told the crowd that the issues of diversity facing the gaming industry have their roots in who is developing the games.

“It's a white, dudely industry. In general it is a very hard place for women to get in. I think that that's gonna change,” Shaw explained, citing a White House educational initiative aimed at broadening the appeal of coding.

While Electronic Arts (EA) has strongly voiced its support for gay rights, the company was recently criticized for a rollout of LGBT options in its Star Wars MMO (The Old Republic) game by BioWare Austin, which is owned by the studio. Those options were perceived to be locked to one planet initially, which led to an outcry that the game was restricting its LGBT players.

Engadget.com reported: “While the first panel focused on identifying which issues were most prevalent in the game industry – overrepresentation of white male heterosexual characters, online communities that are rife with bigotry, and a lack of narrative inclusion of LGBT issues, just to name a few – the second focused on how to fix those issues.”

“We have a responsibility from a corporate standpoint where we create a safehaven that we can control,” said Jaap Tuinman, EA Battlefield community manager.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, a vocal supporter of marriage equality, led a more informal “fireside” chat.