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Gaming Website 'The Escapist' Hires Transphobic New Writer

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The Escapist, for the unfamiliar, is an online magazine dedicated to pop culture with a very strong focus on video games. Earlier this week Alexander "Archon" Macris, GM & SVP of Alloy Digital, the parent company of The Escapist, had an announcement to make: two new writers have been hired on to the staff!

Great news, given the site's diminishing roster as of late. There's just one problem though. That first name, Brandon Morse? Yeah...he's kind of transphobic.

Morse lives in Waco, is a contributor for Rare.us - a right-leaning site that holds Herman Cain as one of their all-star voices - and thinks that transfolk are faking it:

Right...because dealing with the emotional distress and social fallout, which includes astronomically high rates for being victims of violence and discrimination, is something people want to deal with. This is not a new attitude for Morse as past tweets show his contempt with full-blown mockery:

The wingnuts at Michelle Malkin's Twitchy are ecstatic over the news, mostly over the fact that it's causing "butt-hurt", but when a site that mocks the execution of homosexuals is in your corner perhaps it's time to revise one's perspectives on, well, everything.

Morse, however, is unlikely to revise anything as even his current posts show that he's more content to double-down and even make the so-absurd-it's-laughable comparison of trans discrimination to gamer discrimination:  

Congratulations, The Escapist. That's quite the winner you've got there.


The Importance of Having Gay Video Game Characters: VIDEO

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In a video for PBS Digital’s Game/Show, Jamin Warren discusses the power of having explicitly gay characters in video games. Gaming franchises like Fable and the Sims have long-offered players the ability to create unique characters with customizable sexualities. But, as Warren explains, there's something to be said for queer characters whose sexualities are set in stone. In particular Warren singles out BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition and Dorian, its resident gay magic user, for crafting a story in which Dorian’s sexuality is integral to the character’s personality, but not burdensome to the game’s plot.

PbsIn the same way that gay gamers have come to be able to identify with straight characters with vastly different perspectives from their own, it stands to reason that straight gamers could benefit from the same experience by playing as queer characters.

Check out Jamin Warren’s explanation of why explicitly-gay video game characters are important AFTER THE JUMP...

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League Of Legends Video Game Tournament Caps, Then Removes, Limit Of One Gay or Trans Player Per Team

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The gaming world in general, and tournaments in particular, has a bit of a tumultuous relationship with anyone not of the cis het male persuasion. While most of the strife tends to occur along gender lines, sexual orientation is certainly not immune. Garena, an online chat platform, operates League of Legends tournaments in places like Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and the Philippines. In a major step forward, they're hosting a monthly all-women eSports competition, The Iron Solari, with the next event on February 22. In a perplexing sideways-and-kind-of-backwards step, there is a strict limit of only one gay or trans member per team. From Garena's news updates (bolding/italics theirs):

1) Each team will be allowed to have a maximum of one (1) Gay/Transgendered woman for the entirety of the tournament day.   Therefore, teams cannot do the following: Team_A's first game will be 4 female members and 1 gay, then on Team_A's second game, they will have 4 female members and replace with another gay or transgender member. 

2) Any team who has violated the above provision, regardless if intentional or otherwise, whether discovered during the day of the event or some time after, will have all their team members (the female members as well as the Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered women member) sanctioned with a 1-year ban on all Garena-organized events, including subsequent Iron Solari Tournament.  

This rule was implemented under the head-scratching idea that more than one LGT member would provide an "unfair advantage" for the team. So...sort of a compliment, maybe, about lesbian gamer superiority? Whatever the rationale, Riot Games got wind of Garena's policies and helped instigate a reversal of the decision in remarkably short order.


Anita Sarkeesian Launching New Web Series Exploring Masculinity In Video Games: VIDEO

Uncharted

Media critic Anita Sarkeesian is launching a new web series exploring the representations of men and masculinity in video games as a part of Feminist Frequency’s renewed 2015 content push. In Feminist Frequency’s 2015 annual report Sarkeesian describes how the organization plans to broaden its mission to incorporate “advocacy around ending online hate and abuse,” and “analyzing and advancing awareness of how gendered harassment operates online.”

Sarkeesian“Privately, I am working with online feminists to strategize long-term solutions to deal with the epidemic of online abuse and create mechanisms for support,” the report reads. “I am also consulting with tech and gaming companies on how to address issues of online harassment in their own communities.”

Last year the Feminist Frequency’s purpose was brought into sharp relief as the Gamergate movement grew into a large, vociferous force. Gamergate began in late late last summer as a somewhat dubious call to action directed at members of the video game press. A large contingent of games journalists, Gamergate supporters claimed, were compromising the integrity of the profession by having inappropriate relationships with game developers.

Soon after the #Gamergate hashtag began to catch widespread attention outside of the gaming community, however, Gamergate’s tone had taken a dramatic turn and become a widespread attack of female journalists. Sarkeesian personally dealt with an outpouring of online harassment for her stances on the games industry’s need for broader representations of women, people of color, and queer characters.

Check out Feminist Frequency's dive into the benefits of male gaming privilege AFTER THE JUMP...

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Prominent Gaming Organizer Ousted Following Sexual Harassment Allegations

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Johnathan Lugo is best known for his involvement in the close-knit, Super Smash Bros. competitive gaming community where he was commonly known as “Alex Strife.” Lugo played a major role in organizing and coordinating Apex, one of the largest Smash tournaments held in North America. Apex recently put out a statement ahead of its 2015 gathering, however, announcing that it was parting ways with Lugo following a series of harassment accusations from a number of different women.

In addition to making a number of sexually aggressive advances towards cis-women participants at events, Lugo made a point of pursuing an subsequently harassing Haley "Nyanidesuka" Jones, a transwoman.  In a lengthy Reddit post complete with screenshots, Jones recounts a series of interactions that began as awkward and ultimately became invasive and sexually inappropriate.

“He fetishizes transwomen but at the end of the day has absolutely no respect for us as human beings,” said Jones, citing Lugo referring to her as a ‘chick with a dick.’ “Then again, he seems to have no respect for cisgender women, or any other humans, so this shouldn't surprise you.”

“The community doesn't need somebody like this. And if "outing" myself gives the little extra push needed to help make this community safer for the players who come after me, and for people of alternative genders and expressions in any community, then I'm all for it.”

News of Lugo’s history of outing trans-women within the Smash community surfaced just days after Nintendo, the game maker behind Smash, announced that it would be an official Apex sponsor for the first time. Though much of the Smash community were shocked to learn of Lugo’s behavior, Apex was rather frank in their position on the matter.

"At this time, Alex Strife will be stepping down from his duties at Apex,” Apex spokesmen clarified yesterday. “We will be moving forward with Apex 2015."

Apex 2015 begins January 30th in Secaucus, NJ. Check out the trailer for the event AFTER THE JUMP...

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Texas' First LGBTQA Geek Convention, HavenCon, Is Coming To Austin in 2015: VIDEO

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Next spring Texas is getting its first geek convention geared towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender gamers, nerds, and comic book enthusiasts. HavenCon, as its name suggests, is meant to be equal parts geek gathering and safe space for queer-identified people of all ages. HavenCon founder Shane Brown first began organizing Texas-based LGBTQA fantasy and sci-fi enthusiasts in 2012 when he founded Gay Austin Geeks, an online social network.

“Even within the gay community, we often exist within our smaller segmented groups,” Brown explained in a press release. “But comic and gaming conventions are all about the melding of geeks, gamers and nerds of every size, race, age and gender identity.”

“With HavenCon, we’re creating a safe, entertaining and diversity-welcoming environment for people that enjoy comic books, video games, science fiction and more,” said HavenCon founder Shane Brown. “We’ll have a cosplay contest, gaming tournaments, industry panelists, local artists and writers—all of it while celebrating what makes us both different and special.”

Money raised from HavenCon ticket sales will go to OutYouth, an Austin-based outreach center for LGBT youth. HavenCon is set to begin the weekend of April 4 at the Holiday Inn Midtown in Austin, Texas. Tickets for the convention are on sale at HavenCon’s website.

Watch a promo for HavenCon, AFTER THE JUMP...

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