Been a while since my last post. And a lot has happened during that time. Some personal revelations and events that I feel like I need to write about and try to clear the air about where I’m at and where I want to go. Again, I mean. But first, I need to explain myself by dipping into the past. I’m going to avoid naming names as best I can; this isn’t a big righteous, angry, CM Punk-esque “pipebomb” or some shit.
Despite my best efforts with literally everything I have ever done to change my reputation, be it art, streaming, podcasting, or writing, I am unfortunately only known for one thing: my intense hatred of the Alt-Games community. Whenever I meet a new person, they’ll inform me that they know me because a bunch of people really don’t fucking like me. It kind of sucks.
But why? I will tell you.
I have a friend. Really nice trans woman. She does some great things with digital music and the Unreal Engine. In the Spring of 2015, we both got caught up in a fight between two cis women, and a meaningless article on a website that died in under a year. We took the writers’ side, because she was a charismatic, but very sympathetic woman whose mere existence was enough of a catalyst for the creation of the modern day “Alt-Right.”
Fast forward to the Winter. Her (now ex) partner starts becoming abusive. The abuse then escalated to her being kicked out of their home. This woman is physically disabled, and was diagnosed with a heart condition only days before. Now she’s sick and alone in the middle of a Canadian Winter. The reason for her removal was “[Popular figure in Indie Games] doesn’t like you, and that will hurt my career.”
The popular figure in question was the woman who got mad at the writer of the article we liked. Now I have a friend who is homeless and suicidal (and in my book, intentionally trying to drive a person to suicide is no different than attempted murder) after one of the most meaningful relationships in her life suddenly becomes abusive, and the only reasons given for it is: video games. A human being could conceivably die for the sake of some Twine games you can knock out in five minutes.
That was 2015. I’m writing this in February of 2019. Her living situation is still very, very fucked. Her reputation is in the toilet, being referred to as “the real abuser” and someone that you should steer clear off, if she hadn’t already gone off the grid in a self-imposed exile.
I have a friend whose life have just been destroyed, seemingly for no other reason than because a woman got mad at an article on a video game website. Of course I’m pissed off about it! I demand that somebody answers for this!
That didn’t happen. Rather, my anger was reduced to a narrative that I was nothing more than a mindless, racist foot soldier, acting at the behest of an Amazon employee, a Youtube personality, and a guy that won Jeopardy! a couple times. It was bullshit, and only made me angrier. My whole motivation was an answer to what could apparently made a person so powerful that people were literally willing to kill for her? And why are so many people telling me that I’m full of shit, despite numerous other people coming forward with their own stories?
I was lumped into some arbitrary group called the “Allyzone,” or “Anti-Gamergate,” depending on who was talking that day. Allyzone being a reference to a deleted tweet made by said Amazon employee (which, looking at the time stamps, was made when I still in bed). I’m suddenly cut off from numerous communities of other queer/trans artists. People I’ve never even heard of all think that I’m the reincarnation of Hitler. And then I receive thinly-veiled threats on this very blog that if I don’t shut up, then “friends and family can be dragged into this.” Trying to intimidate me into silence, so that other people close to me don’t suddenly and coincidentally find themselves smeared and harassed, driven out of spaces they need.
I know folks like to hate-read my stuff, so I ask you to put yourself into my position for a bit: someone close to you has been hurt. At the very least, you would like to see the people who did it face consequences, or at least someone to try and rectify things. Not be called a racist hack making up claims of abuse while being threatened with the safety of your other friends. You would probably be upset if this happened to you, right?
So for me, I considered “Allyzone” and “Anti-GG” to be nothing more than transphobic dogwhistles used by assholes. Sure, they claimed they were only interested in dunking on shitty cis men, but I mean, were they? I didn’t pull hundreds of dollars out of my already meager savings account to keep a disabled cis man from freezing to death under a bridge in Vancouver. I wasn’t up until 5 in the morning on Discord for weeks at a time, trying to convince a group of cis men that suicide wasn’t the answer. And I didn’t have to watch as a group of people who purport to be leftists and card-carrying DSA members knowingly and gleefully share a thoroughly debunked, discredited Breitbart article falsely accusing a cis man of pedophilia.
This was how I saw things. For years.
But things have begun to start changing.
One, the obvious matter of “holy fucking shit, turns out a lot of people I associated with during that time are complete fucking assholes! I thought the whole ‘being hella racist’ and being a rape-apologist/actual rapist was just an Alt-Games thing!” Maybe I should actually read my Twitter timeline instead of focusing on people I chose to follow for reasons other than “I felt bad they got SWAT teams sent to their house because racists thought it would be funny.” Also not being friends with Zoe anymore.
Two, the queer games group that I’m part of. I’m part of Game and Love. So too is an Alt-Games person. They joined after me, and when I saw the news, I groaned and said to myself that shit would be awkward. But, I would remain civil; I wasn’t about to start a fight in someone else’s house, you know?
And hey, wouldn’t you know, turns out that actually talking to someone, instead of simply assuming the worst via posts on a website that truncates your thoughts and thrives on chaos, lets you know that they’re not that bad! We have a lot in common! We have similar interests, with a love of Sega games and Sonic the Hedgehog. I came away from a conversation thinking, “damn, dude, I think I would like to be friends with this person!” It’s just a shame that we’re separated by a line of, I don’t know…circumstance? Ideology? Whatever it is, I find myself growing more resentful of it. Because if I was so wrong about all these people I thought were cool, and I was wrong about this person I thought was an asshole, who else have I been wrong about?
I spent so much time being resentful at having a friend go through so much suffering that I just assumed everyone was a mindless drone living in fear of a handful of shitty people, that I didn’t realize that I was putting them into the same narrative of the “Allyzone” that I had put into. Turns out we weren’t really all that different in the end. It wasn’t a grand conspiracy to do harm, we just wanted to support our friends.
Third, the HBomberguy stream. I watched as, if only for a weekend, everyone was united. People that would otherwise spit on one another were joined together for a common goal. And it wasn’t like some overly dramatic Independence Day kind of shit, it was a British dude playing a bad video game for charity! It probably sounds stupid, but it gave me hope.
I’ve spent the last month or so seriously contemplating reaching out to some (not all, some of you can still fuck off) of these people. To say, hey, we got caught up in other people’s bullshit, and it only hurt us in the end. This is a new year. A new time. Maybe we should start over. And given that it’s cool to dunk on Gamergate again, and cool to call Indie Games “Punk,” maybe we can get a do-over too?
Of course, there’s always the possibility that it’s too late for me. I talked a lot of shit about them for a long time. I know that forgiveness and trust are things that have to be earned, and I could very well never earn them. But it wouldn’t hurt if I at least tried to make the effort, right?