Homophobia in the Gaming Community
One of the communities I belong to hates me
“Blocking all the faggots that make this community toxic as f*ck” — Some random 14 year old gamer from Twitter
To be fair, I have no clue who or what this kid is talking about.
All I know is as soon as my eyes found the word ‘faggot’, I grew uncomfortable. I remembered all the times the word was hurled at me with malice oozing from every letter.
People throw this word around all the time. They throw it at straight people just because they know it’ll piss them off. They throw it at gay people because they think it will make them feel inferior. They throw around the words ‘gay’, ‘faggot’, ‘tranny’, and anything else they can think of to tear someone down.
Two guys could be playing Madden, and one of them gets mad because he’s losing. So he starts talking crap. Now they’re both going back and forth. Before you know it, they’re calling each other gay or a faggot. Why? Neither one of them are gay as far as they know. They do it to piss the other one off.
Two girls could be in a heated argument over a dude or a tweet or just because one of them looked at the other one the wrong way. Next thing you know, one of them implies that the other one likes girls. Now the other one is heated and playing better defense than Draymond Green.
I don’t like girls!
What’s wrong with girls? Nothing. People are taught that loving someone of the same gender in a romantic fashion is wrong, especially in the South. People are taught it everywhere. It’s not as bad as it was in some parts of the world. However, in many countries people are still being brutally murdered, tortured, and outcast simply because of who and how they love.
People like to think that it’s a choice.
Have you ever had a crush on someone? Take a moment and reminisce about one of your early crushes. Maybe it was the cute boy with blue eyes that always carried his lunch in a red insulated bag. Maybe it was the adorable girl that always asked you how your weekend went on Monday morning. It could have been the captain of the football team or maybe one of the cheerleaders. Maybe the girl that always made the highest grade in your Chemistry class lit a fire in your heart that you could never seem to put out.
My first real crush was on a boy.
I’ve never admitted that to anybody. My grandmother knew, though. Grandmothers have superpowers. We held hands in the toy aisle at Wal–Mart in the second grade. I don’t even know where that kid is now. My second crush was on a girl in the third grade. I haven’t written about this in depth yet. Honestly, I’ve been avoiding that particular section of my memory. I didn’t have another real crush until my senior year in high school, where my best friend grabbed my heart and stuffed it in her pocket.
I didn’t pick any of these people.
I didn’t say “Hey. I think I’d like to have a crush on this person and let them break my heart.” I didn’t look at a girl and say I wanted to love them forever. I didn’t look at a boy and say that’s not what I’d like to hold hands with. It just happened. Straight people love to preach that being gay or trans is a choice.
So you would choose to get bullied all the time?
Would you pick to have to pay over $30,000 for surgeries, $100s for countless therapy sessions, and still get treated unfairly just because you want to live in your truth?
Would you choose to love a person of the same gender in a romantic fashion, knowing you would be ostracized by your family, friends, and church members?
Would you choose to be tortured, stripped of all your rights, or killed because you love someone that happens to have the same anatomy as you? Would you choose to go through elementary, middle, and high school being a target?
I certainly did not choose this life.
I chose to stop fighting it. After 18 years of being forced into a label I never asked for and simultaneously bullied for not fitting into said label. I simply chose to stop pretending. I chose to stop avoiding the mirrors in my house. I chose to stop hiding my love. I chose to stop destroying myself to make others happy. I chose me.
This life chose me and then waited for me to embrace it.
I am an avid gamer who also happens to be transgender.
Madden is paused on my TV as I’m typing this. However, I don’t feel comfortable in the gaming community at all. I watch gaming streams, but I don’t talk much in the chats. I read the forums about games I’m interested in, but I don’t post in them. I share screenshots of my gaming experiences, but I don’t reveal that I’m transgender on my gaming Instagram. I did post a pro–LGBTQ picture one time, and I got so much negative backlash that I decided not to do it anymore.
I know I’m not the only LGBTQ member that loves to play video games. So why is it that we’re so unwelcome? Why do people throw derogatory LGBTQ comments around like they don’t mean anything?
It’s because homophobia is rampant in the gaming community.
I watch a streamer that also happens to be a member of the LGBTQ community named Minnesota Mocha. The tweet at the beginning actually came from somebody that watches her stream regularly. Everyone that watches her streams know she likes girls. Sometimes trolls come into the chat and target her with anti–LGBTQ slurs and hate speech. She’s had to learn how to brush it off. She has a pretty solid audience that doesn’t hesitate to come to her defense when a troll pops up.
However, these same people will turn around and use the word ‘faggot’ carelessly. Homophobia is huge in this community. It’s everywhere. Every time someone gets killed in Call of Duty and they get mad, 6 times out of 10 they’re going to use a homophobic slur. This makes LGBTQ members cringe. It makes us feel unwelcome, as if we’re still on the outside looking in. It makes us shy away from big gaming community events. It also forces us to make our own communities inside the community.
LGBTQ members create their own little safe spaces inside the gaming community and barricade themselves so anti–LGBTQ people can’t harm them.
It shouldn’t have to be like this.
The gaming community was formed by a group of people with related interests. Various people grew an interest in a certain game and a community formed. As people from all over began to fall in love with video games the community grew from an underground thing with LAN parties at the local video game store to huge events hosted in arenas. Esports also birthed from the gaming community.
So why should LGBTQ members be ostracized from a community that knows first–hand what it’s like to be outcast? Nerds used to get picked on relentlessly.
You like reading comic books, fiction, and actually do your homework? You got bullied for it. You like science and actually pay attention in class? You got bullied for it. You play video games in your free time? You’re a geek and you got cast out. You spent lunches and playground time dodging bullies and being alone. You couldn’t talk much about your passions in school unless you wanted to get picked on.
Now everyone loves the nerds. Everyone loves video games. People don’t get picked on for liking that stuff as much anymore.
Why are we still ostracizing certain people?
Why can’t LGBTQ members feel welcome in big gaming events unless they hide who they are? Why are we forced to make our own small circles in order to feel safe?
Homophobia crawls throughout the gaming community like a roach infestation. It’s sickening and disappointing. All gamers, regardless of gender, race, gender identity, and sexual orientation should be welcomed and encouraged to attend and participate in the gaming community.
Minnesota Mocha is a partnered Twitch streamer who is also sponsored by gaming companies Scuf Gaming and Kontrol Freek.
She receives enough income from Twitch and donations from her audience to stream full time. I’ve been watching her streams for a couple of years now and have watched her grow. I’ve watched her handle anti–LGBT trolls without losing her cool as well as watched her be affected by brutal hate speech.
She is still human at the end of the day. We all are. She is one of the nicest, warmest, and welcoming streamers I’ve ever watched. Through gaming she has built her own community that accepts her for who she is. She has expanded from just streaming to having an online store with merchandise as well as hosting giveaways and subscriber tournaments.
If you would like to catch one of her streams, I’ll leave a link to her Twitch Channel.