Kill the monster: how the LGTBI community is breaking stereotypes in video games | Culture | icon

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Tealyxo teases the wig, applies the contouring, She slips into a fitted bodice and completes the outfit with sweatpants and a warm pair of socks. maybe this drag queen Australian, whose name when he turns off the camera is Ben Glover and is 30 years old, always bet on the divine on stage. But in front of the webcam he opts for something as human as grooming himself from the waist up. “Most of queens from Twitch we do it”, he confesses. Tealyxo has changed the scenarios for the streaming. It has become one of many drag queens that have assaulted Twitch, a platform belonging to Amazon specialized in broadcasting live videos (that is, the streaming), to combine his art with video games.

The universe drag and the gamer may seem antagonistic, but they start from a common place: the drag It implies dressing up in a foreign personality, putting yourself in another person’s skin, and video games consist of that. In the last years this happens in the servers of role play, which are slightly tuned online games in which streamers they play a role, as in traditional role-playing games. The Egoland, for example, is based on the rust. The Tortillaland, The Minecraft. These matches are streamed on Twitch and viewed by millions of people. Players become actors, entertainment figures. What is asked of streamer, beyond playing well, is having fun. And the drags they are used to it. It is perhaps this mixture of interpretation, artifice and sense of entertainment that has made them discover that the world gamer Belongs to them.

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Tealyxo has almost 7,000 followers on Twitch. Sometimes broadcast as dragOthers do it in a t-shirt and with a washed face. Combine the games with musical performances and talks. “Sometimes I do my makeup live, which gives the community a chance to ask questions and learn about the art. drag”, he explains to ICON. Combine the glitter glitter of transformism with the proximity of the streaming. She’s funny when she’s wielding the mic, but ruthless when she’s wielding the ax in DeadByDaylight, I play gory especially popular among the members of the group for its iconography of popular 80s horror movie characters, also closely linked to LGBT sensitivity, mythology and nods. “I like to think that I am a streamer of varieties, which means that you will find me playing that game 90% of the time”, he acknowledges.

Ben Glover, a 30-year-old Australian, becomes Tealyxo, drag queen and video game streamer when he connects to the popular Twitch platform.
Ben Glover, a 30-year-old Australian, becomes Tealyxo, drag queen and video game streamer when he connects to the popular Twitch platform.

It is part of Stream Queensa team of 95 drag queens Y drag king on Twitch founded by Deere (Twitch ambassador with over 50,000 followers). “She created a team of incredible artists to conquer Twitch and show the world that the gaming it’s more than just a bunch of sweaty, white, cishetero kids yelling at their computer for hours,” says Tealyxo. He did it in 2019, but the real landing drag would come a year later.

Twitch experienced explosive growth during the pandemic. According to data provided by the Amazon platform, up to 13 million people broadcast live for the first time in 2020. This was even more pronounced in the world of drag. When the lights went out, webcams became a lifeline for many, explains Tealyxo: “During the pandemic, queens Y kings from all over the world turned to Twitch as a way to continue to engage with their community by hosting digital drag shows.”

This is what Dona Tarte did, a 25-year-old Irish drag queen who for security reasons prefers not to provide her real name. She started acting in front of her webcam in 2020. She did it by combining her passions: video games, baking, drag and makeup. Thus, on her channel, which has more than 9,000 followers, we can find her playing Animal Crossing, performing or organizing baking contests for charitable causes. “When I started college I didn’t have time for anything, so I decided to bring all my passions together in one place.” Tarte is a professional makeup artist and pastry chef. She believes that, in general, the LGBT community has ties to the world of video games that go beyond streaming. “Video games are an escape for many young people queer during his adolescence,” he says. It happened to her. She was bad at sports as a child, so she took refuge in games. In her house there was always a machine offering to enter a pixelated world full of zombies and monsters that seemed, paradoxically, safer than her reality.

Dona Tarte, between 'Animal Crossing' and 'gender crossing'.
Dona Tarte, between ‘Animal Crossing’ and ‘gender crossing’.

Dona Tarte recognizes that the community gamer it can also be “heteronormative and toxic”. “Especially in games like Call of Duty or Counter-Strike“, Add. The data supports it. 74% of adults who play online games have experienced some form of harassment or insults, according to a July 2019 Anti-Defamation League report. More than half believe they were targeted because of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation to the collective of Stream Queens it happened to them. Five of its members were reported to the police in a few weeks, giving their address and assuring, in an anonymous complaint, that a crime was being committed in that house. “We are working every day to make Twitch a safer and more inclusive space for everyone,” explains Telayxo, “but change takes time and it takes a lot of people to raise their voices.” It is exactly what is happening. The phenomenon of LGBT streamers spreads through Twitch and has reached our country.

The world gaymer arrives in Spain

The most colorful haunt on the Egoland platform is called Bar Conyote (yes, it sounds exactly like it sounds) and is run by Elvisa, the name that 36-year-old Álvaro Maldonado becomes. With more than 200 thousand followers, this streamer with a flowery wig and bushy beard combines humour, karaoke of anime songs and games. She has a solid past as a comedian on YouTube, where she has been uploading video tutorials on crucial topics for ten years: How to put kiwi on a sneaker, how to cough or how to miss a train. It is presented on Twitch asking that “let’s enjoy video games as art, let’s live between respect and love, let’s talk about wonderful topics and let’s lower the volume of the speakers in case I happen to play any game where I can get a scare”.

Elvisa is the best known face in the universe gaymer in Spain, a neologism (born from the not particularly inspired juxtaposition of the words gay Y gamer, that is, player) with more and more predicament. Despite the fact that Twitch has an LGTBQ+ label specially designed for them (and that many put it on so that their audience can find them), most reject the labels. They are passionate about video games. Another example is Melo Moreno (32 years old), formerly known as Yellow Mellow. Is streamer Y youtuber, With close to 50,000 followers on Twitch, she has spent years defending causes she believes in, such as feminism or LGBT rights. She’s openly lesbian and willing to talk to it naturally on her channel, that’s never the main issue when she’s playing Fortnite or to the mentioned egoland. It’s a common feature in the scene gaymer homeland. There is diversity at the controls, but this does not condition the content of the channel. Nor is it something that is hidden, as it used to be. “I’m a fagot with an accent on the o, and if you don’t like it, you leave,” says Borja Zanon, 28.

Under the name ToboeArticWolf, he has been on Twitch for five years. “At first I didn’t talk about my sexuality, I hid it, but I’m old enough now. I have adopted a mindset fuck it”. Zanon mostly plays monster hunter and others roguelike (as the role-playing games of the dungeon subgenre are called). He talks more about how to hunt dragons than plumophobia and ageism in dating apps between men. But deep down, that’s what Twitch is all about: hunting dragons, racing cars, killing all your opponents on an island or surviving a zombie attack. “And being able to do it being yourself,” adds Zanon.

Only 14% of gamers self-identify as gamers, a percentage that plummets to 6% in the case of women. The figures were given by a directive from Electronic Arts, a video game manufacturer, ensuring that no one identifies with that label because today everyone plays. However, a more critical reading is warranted. Everyone watches movies and there are moviegoers. Everyone listens to music and there are music lovers. The problem is that the label of gamer It has been dragging a certain toxic connotation in recent years, a certain rancid whiff. For this reason, the inclusion of new voices in the streaming, of new sensitivities in a world too associated with a messy room with lowered blinds and a musty smell, can help change this perception. As you read these lines, someone on Twitch is helping thousands of young people finish a difficult level of their favorite video game and kill the monster while quietly and naturally helping them to stop feeling like one themselves.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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