A person looking up, with rainbow lights on their face

Dear Twitch Streamers: The A in LGBTQIA+ does not stand for Allies

By PinkGeeRough | PinkGeeRough Gaming | 13 Mar 2021

It is not uncommon for cishet people to mistake the A in LGBTQIA+ as Allies - which is far from the truth. This mistake leads to two issues: firstly, it erases the representation for Asexual people, and secondly, it waters down honest LGBTQIA+ representation.

When I go on Twitch and search by the LGBTQIA+ tag, as much as I appreciate the intention and support of allies, I am looking for other queer streamers to watch. Not allowing homophibic or transphobic messages in your chat does not give me a reason to watch you - that is just basic decency that I would expect in anyone's rules. What I'd like is to find other queer gamers to connect to - and often times, LGBTQIA+ streamers have several queer viewers which I can connect with based on shared experiences.

Yesterday I came across a tweet by dagonmar exemplifying this issue:

"Do y'all realize how frustrating it is to go down the list of streamers streaming to the lgbtqia+ tag and having the first TWENTY be cishet??" - @dagonmartv - Twitter

and seeing this reminded me of why I stopped watching a cishet guy. A year ago, I started being more active in Twitch. In many games, there are hundreds of streamers, and I looked through the LGBTQIA+ tag to find a community I could belong to. And I didn't feel the need to ask the streamer what they identify as - I just assumed they were queer. And perhaps, it would be rude to ask someone what they identify as if they are not as comfortable coming out with an exact label. When he talked about girls, I did not question it, because there are several bisexual and pansexual people in the community, and they are valid too.

The issue came after hanging out in the community for months and I realised they did not belong in the queer community except the were allies. And most of the viewers were also cishet allies. It was still a nice place where I could be myself safely, although it was not the first time where a new viewer said something homophobic and the streamer chose to ban and move along as if it never happened. I could never just move along because it directly affects me, and that's where the pieces start falling apart. As welcome as they wanted me to feel, I don't think I could ever be understood fully.

Short after, I started looking for new streamers outside that community, and finding actual queer streamers was a huge difference. I felt more validated, more connected, more understood. Perhaps even though I attempt to write it, it is inexplicable. I'm sure queer readers will immediately understand what I am referring to - even though if some allies may not.

I do not mean any ill will, but it's about that allies truly become allies and listen to queer voices. We appreciate the support and the good intention, and I urge you to keep challenging homophobia and transphobia. However, please leave the LGBTQIA+ tag for queer people. We need the visibility, and that queer teen who is on Twitch feeling like they are alone in the world, they need to see themselves on screen.

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I'm a queer young adult from Malta who loves reading and writing (particularly poetry), as well as quite engaged as a gamer and streamer on Twitch.

PinkGeeRough Gaming
PinkGeeRough Gaming

PinkGeeRough Gaming is the blog for game reviews, videos and streams for video games. Particular focus will be on Temtem, other Monster-Taming Games as well as Roguelites.

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