If you’ve read my bio or the title, I guess, you’re aware that I’m a transgender woman and an active livestreamer. But it’s not always easy doing both of those things. There are a few things some of us have to put up with. These problems are why somedays I don’t even want to turn my console on, because when I stream I know I constantly run the risk of my day being filled with harassment and hate directed towards myself.
I have a ton of fun streaming but some days it feels like the unfun can out weigh the fun. As a reminder, I am one trans girl. I DO NOT represent all transgender people, my opinion and thoughts are my own. We are all very different people and what I say here is just general stuff. Keep in mind “If you don’t do these things then I’m not talking about you”.
This isn’t exclusive to being transgender, cis women get misgendered all the time on twitch. I get misgendered a lot and I tend to not correct people who I’ll never see again. But it’s not something I have to deal with a lot in my day to day life. I’m out to everyone and I’m open about my identity. I identify as female and I’m proud of my transgender identity. When I’m misgendered it does hurt a bit but I don’t feel anything strongly until it’s someone I care about who does it.
Although everytime I boot up OBS I do it knowing that today is a day I’m going to be misgendered. It does hurt to hear it, but it’s not their fault that they don’t know. I only use my voice, no cam. So when I hear that they think I’m male I feel dysphoria over my voice, something I don’t typically feel dysphoria over. Sometimes I hear that my voice is more feminine than some cisgender women, which leads me to believe that gamers tend to default to male pronouns unless they see what you look like. I have a friend who doesn’t stream but she gets misgendered a lot too, she isn’t trans. She contstantly gets told that she sounds like a little boy.
So I do what I do, I correct. People have a variety of reactions but typically fall into the categories of simple apology, extreme apology, memes, slurs, and hate. I rarely get upset over being misgendered, even when I put that I’m female all over my page. What gets me upset is the reactions. Rather than learn it seems people rather start arguments with me, drill me about my identity, and expect me to have a Master’s Degree in every science and social science. All to explain why I identify as a chick and what really is a woman? If I believe being a woman has nothing to do with biology and you believe it has nothing to do with social roles (not gender roles), then that means this is a subject of philosophy with no real answer.
The simple apology is the way to go. “I’m female can you please use female pronouns?” “Oh yeah of course, I’m sorry”. Then all is well, I’m not upset, they don’t get upset and things keep going like normal. I get back to playing the game and we interact like usual. Rarely a person will leave after the apology, understandable it’s a little awkward for them I’m sure. But if you apologized there is nothing wrong anymore as long as you correct the behavior.
The extreme apology is still sincere and does fix the problem but it definitely dwells on the issue for way too long. “Oh! I’m so sorry! Gosh I didn’t mean it, I’m very very sorry” then followed with several more apologies throughout the next ten minutes while I try not to be annoyed. I undestand that they are sorry but a quick correction doesn’t need to be responded to with a huge conversation. Feel free to ask me stuff after the quick apology but don’t make me sit through the extreme apology.
Meme response is probably the most common one. I get it outside of streaming too. “I identify as a woman, please you female pronouns”. Their response “I identify as someone with low quality out of date humor”. Not really, but it’s what it sounds like. They typically quote transphobic memes like the “I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter” and “Did you just assume my gender?” I explain to them that those memes are transphobic and against the rules of my channel. Sometimes they didn’t know those were created to harm transgender people. Also I’ve never heard another transgender person ever say “Did you just assume my gender?”
Slurs and hate rarely happen because it can be screenshot and reported. Also if you archive your videos the chat is recorded. So you can go back anytime and screenshot and report. Slurs are the usual ones, tranny, shemale, trap, fag, and others. LGBTQIA people have a lot of slurs for them, I get it you don’t like us. The hate can be a range of behaviors, passive aggression, slurs, and outward hate. I go over this in raids.
I don’t know what this obsession is. Why people can’t just take my word for it. I’ve known me for 26 years and have had dysphoria since I was a little kid. I think I know me and my body better than a stranger in a Twitch chatbox.
Anyway, this is just something I have to deal with until people learn to be more sensitive. But misgendering a transgender person isn’t the same as just picking on someone or calling them a name. It’s much worse, it can cause dysphoria, it can make us feel like dying. Even then transgender streamers turn on their stream everyday knowing it’s going to happen. I feel I’ve grown numb to it, or I’d like to think that but there are also worse things than just being misgendered.
Misgendering is part of why I never stream with my camera on. Explaining I’m not male is one thing when it’s my voice. But some countries and people don’t know anything about transgender people. When I’ve got the cam off I can always just say “I am female just have a masc voice” then they apologize. If I did it with my camera on, I get to hear “But you look like a guy.” Then I would have to explain what being transgender is and then I have to risk the harassment or hatred that follows.
- The solution? It’ll blow your mind with it’s simplicity and elegancy. Ask me my pronouns. If you are uncomfortable doing that in every stream you enter then use “They” pronouns until you know. They is correct in a singular use, it means someone of an indeterminable gender. You can also go by tip offs, first line of my bio and Twitch page say “I am a trans woman”. Bam, woman, female pronouns. I’m also a member of the Girlstreamers Community an all female streaming group, and I stream under that group’s stream community tag. The final solution is stay as you are but apologize in a short manner “I’m sorry, I’ll try to correctly gender you in the future”.
Raids & Harassment
Sometimes correcting goes wrong and they decide to hate me or just want to do me harm. I’ve had numerous occasions where one day someone finds out I’m trans. I think I make good friends with them. Then they come back with friends and belittle, harass, and call me slurs. I’m never more happy to have my camera off than when these attacks and raids happen. I’m not dysphoric over my voice but my appearance is something else. Maybe I’m giving people fuel here. Fun doesn’t always come some easily as I just get to turn on the stream and game. Everyday even when having fun I have to worry about people who care more about my gender than enjoying themselves. Me being trans has zero effect on the stream.
Existing isn’t crime, yet, for trans people it seems to be our only crime. I’m a very nice person but that doesn’t decide how I’m treated. How fair is that? Some are born and be themselves and they get to live just fine. But being trans I’m a target? It seems petty or crazy that someone would make someone a target just for existing. Well I have someone who is that petty. There is this one person who will come onto my streams, and harass me. They say things like “Excuse me sir, can I talk to the man in charge of this stream? He put the wrong gender.” It doesn’t always stop at just my stream, this person and their friends followed me to two different social media sites in attempts to harass me further. If they are that petty I don’t know how much further they’ll go.
That’s what I get to look forward to when I turn on my stream. Everyday I have to worry that people like him will come into my stream. You know what caused him to do this? I exist as trans and I blocked him somewhere. That’s all it took for me to be a target. It doesn’t bother me as much as it seems. But not everyone is me and some get it much worse.
- The solution? I don’t know how to say this anymore plainly, don’t be an rude and wish death on people who just want to be themselves and have fun. It’s really easy to not organize a raid and really easy to not be transphobic. If you screw up, just say you didn’t know and apologize. Then try harder in the future.
As for how trans streamers can fix this. I’m am very serious when I say this. Use your bans, write down the current timestamp of it happening. You can use the timestamp to come back later to the archived video and screenshot the chat, then report to Twitch. Do not play with trolls, do not acknowledge them. Put a rule on your stream for “No hate speech” and ban them immediately if they post something transphobic or hateful towards you. Enable the setting “Chat requires verified email” this will make it take longer for trolls to make new accounts. Also make sure you put trans specific slurs on your modbots or twitch filtering.
Along with the stress of knowing I’m going to be harassed. I have to worry about how I represent all transgender people. For a lot of viewers I’m their first interaction with a transgender person that they know of. Our interaction can dictate how they view all future transgender people. If I say the wrong thing, be mean, or handle a situation poorly I have to risk that I could make that person think everyone transgender person is like that. I feel somedays like I’m not allowed to make mistakes.
Is being open about my identity on stream the same as me abusing it to get viewers? Is it the same as begging for attention? Just some questions that roll around in my head. How open is too open? When does me being transgender stop being a part of my identity and come across as a bit or a gimmick? How feminine am I allowed to be? Am I a stereotype? Am I supporting stereotypes? Am I shoving it in others faces? Am I alienating those who can’t be out? I know the answers to these and while they are positive answers I do worry that some people think it’s the negative ones.
The solution? There really isn’t one. This is just a pressure I feel sometimes. A pressure I don’t think will ever be relieved. In fact it’ll only get worse, the larger my channel get or the more well known I am the more the pressure I’ll experience to be positive representation. To be honest, it’s a bit suffocating.
So that’s what transgender streamers have to look forward to. Not just harassment, not just trolls, we have to go on everyday and explain our existence and get our identities picked apart. I can’t feel what I feel live. If I were to cry on stream, or get angry I have to risk being in some cringey youtube video. I can’t just quit and take a break, then the jerks win. I HAVE to be calm, my actions are scripted and dictated by this community. It feels like my success is tied to a lot of factors beyond my control.
Sometimes people come in and are questioning their gender and my interaction with them can decide whether they come out. This isn’t a problem for me. You’re gorgeous, you’re beautiful, you’re handsome, all of us are. Come out when you want and until you are sure whether you are or not then keep drilling me with questions. We shouldn’t hide it if we don’t have to. Come out when you’re ready and shine like the diamond you are!
Please don’t be afraid to be out and be yourself. The problem is with the world we live in, not you. My Mom always said “The hardest thing is to be yourself” she was wrong it’s so easy. It’s just everyone else who makes it harder. Things can get better with time, we just have to outlast the hate and show them that they can’t just wish us away. Stay beautiful and treat each other nice it’s honestly worth the work. ❤
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