Dire Straights: How LGBT+ Streamers Survive and Thrive [TwitchCon 2016 Panel]

How LGBT streamers survive and thrive TwitchCon 2016

For the complete list of panels, check out the main TwitchCon 2016 Panel Recap post.

VoD link: https://www.twitch.tv/twitchconfrankerz/v/93571657
FrankerZ Theater Day Two
Moderator: Adam Koebel
Participants: UGRGaming, Annemunition, DistractedElf

  • It’s important to acknowledge how supportive Twitch and its space has been for the LGBT community but there’s always room for improvement.
  • Queerness is not a monolith. Everyone has different experiences and they are real and valid. If you’ve lived it, it is real.
  • Identifying as part of the LGBT community, how does it affect you being on Twitch?
    • Annemunition – Not very affected. Blessed to be part of a wonderful community that accepts her discussing LGBT topics/jokes. Since day one of streaming, she has worked hard to nurture a community where she feels safe
    • DistractedElf – Has impacted greatly since it’s visual. It comes up but it leads to good conversation.
    • UGRGaming – Not very affected. Community was very accepting and supportive. Feels it’s a bit rude when people ask if he’s gay but his community backs him up.
  • Do you feel your community contains more LGBT people than the average?
    • Annemunition – Thinks she has more accepting people than the average. Not sure about demographics but knows they are good people and that’s what matters.
    • DistractedElf – Definitely. But the community has grown organically to contain awesome people regardless.
    • UGRGaming – Definitely has gay people in his community. Overall everyone is open minded and loving.
  • What’s the difference in creating a community system that you feel safe in vs one where your community feels safe with each other or is there a difference?
    • Annemunition – Try to make everyone be respectful if it’s a more serious topic in chat. Sometimes people just have no experience/knowledge; educating in a calm matter leads to good discussion. Ignorance may not be in a malicious manner.
    • DistractedElf – You want everybody to have the discussion. Just because someone may come off being a bit rude, doesn’t mean they’re doing it on purpose. They may just not know.
  • On that topic of ignorance, is it worth the emotional effort to explain who/what you are?
    • DistractedElf – Have gotten used to it. Sometimes has to explain up to 20 times a day. It’s not a problem to her.
    • UGRGaming – Doesn’t mind correction/educating people. It’s good to do that but sometimes assholes get in the way. Sometimes you just know when someone is trying to push your buttons.
  • How do you tell between the assholes and the unknowledgeable?
    • UGRGaming – Fairly quickly after answering their question of “Are you gay?”. The unknowledge-able will be respectful. People who are rude get banned soon after.
  • Does being vigilant on taking care of the assholes impact the quality of your stream?
    • UGRGaming – It can get disruptive. It’s alright if it leads to education but otherwise it interrupts everyone’s good times.
    • DistractedElf – It’s worth it to educate people. Progress is good.
    • Annemunition – Will take the time to educate people. If your parents failed you, it’s not her job to educate you. Demands respect, not being liked.
  • Are your mods there to help educate?
    • Annemunition – Mods and loyal viewers help groom the community. It’s nice when the community handles problematic viewers without her having to intervene.
    • DistractedElf – Good mods/regulars is a load off her shoulders. Doesn’t mind personally addressing stuff; it just takes time. There are many good people in the community.
  • Were you out before you started streaming? Was being a media personality part of you coming out?
    • UGRGaming – Had a website before streaming and was in a relationship prior to streaming. Never talked about it much. When the relationship ended; felt like he dedicated a lot of life and issues to streaming. He wanted to tell his viewers to be open and explain about himself. To help people who were uncomfortable.
    • DistractedElf – Fairly unique experience. Started streaming as a straight white guy. Two years into streaming started the transition to female. Didn’t realize how much it would affect things. Got a lot of positive response but people left with no explanation. People wouldn’t hear her out. It’s good to listen and try to understand.
    • Annemunition – Been out most of her life. Didn’t talk about it really when she started streaming not to hide it but just didn’t have a super open personality. Overtime she received messages from troubled viewers. She then posted her own experiences and hardships of her life to help inspire others. A lot more open about being part of the LGBT community now.
  • Do you feel you’re part of the queer community of streamers online? Is there one at all?
    • Annemunition – Hasn’t noticed if it exists or not. This is a part of who she is but doesn’t define her. Never felt she needed to be super open about being gay; there is more to her than just that. With streaming, she just tries to be an entertaining streamer. Would like to be associated with entertainers rather than just gay people. Dislikes the “false friendship” of finding out a streamer is also gay.
    • DistractedElf – Doesn’t really categorize people like that on Twitch. There’s always more to a person than just their sexuality. Also agrees with Annemunition about the “false friendship” between gay people.
    • UGRGaming – Open to just friends and people’s faces. If he likes your face, you’re his friend. Just loves people for being themselves.
  • If someone’s getting started streaming and felt uncomfortable about their straightness. What would you recommend for reaching out for support?
    • Annemunition – Feels like being at peace with her sexuality came before streaming. Had to figure it out separate from the internet. An advocate of finding happiness on your own but a good community, gay or not, is helpful.
    • DistractedElf – There are awesome people all around. Many people have the capacity to hear you out. If you feel that person is good, it doesn’t matter who they are; you can find support from all walks of life.
    • UGRGaming – Always open to being helpful to everyone. He wants to help others no matter who they are.
  • Do you feel you’d have more viewers/subs/whatever if you were straight?
    • UGRGaming – Not at all. He wouldn’t be himself otherwise.
    • DistractedElf – Yes since she was something different before. Happy now but it did impact the stream.
    • Annemunition – Thinks she’d have more viewers if she had “less self respect in a certain way…”. That being said, would rather have quantity over quality.
  • What’s one thing you suggest to new streamers bringing their LGBT identity to their stream?
    • Annemunition – Having a strong foundation of a good community. Start off building your community to be respectful and educating. Be willing to be flexible as your channel grows.
    • DistractedElf – Don’t let haters get you down. If you’re starting out and are feeling vulnerable, it can be tough. Can’t let things through chat influence how you feel. Feel how you want to feel.
    • UGRGaming – Not everybody is going to be OK with you, but that’s life. Be ready for people baiting you into an argument. A good community is key to help you.
    • Adam Koebel – You don’t have to be impervious. It’s ok to feel bad. Build a structure of family/friends that can help when you’re down rather than assuming you have to be bulletproof from day one. It’s ok to be emotionally open with your viewers but just be careful.
  • If you were to give advice to the uneducated; how would you advise them to learn more?
    • DistractedElf – Google. But if you’re unsure on how to approach LGBT streamers, look to other people interacting with them to get an idea of the proper way to do it.
    • Annemunition – You can try your best to understand someone but sometimes those people are always going to be out of reach. You can’t share their experiences or always know their feelings.
    • UGRGaming – Privately contact the streamer first can be nice. It opens up a new conversation.
    • Adam Koebel – Ignorance isn’t a permanent state. The first thing you can do is recognize your own ignorance. It’s hard, but it can be done.
  • Do other issues such as racism, able-ism, sexism etc. come up in your stream?
    • UGRGaming – Racism is a big issue.  Deals with more racist comments than gay comments. Been trying to change people’s perception about race in general. Wishes that more people would be educated on Twitch about racism. Racism is bad.
    • DistractedElf – The “-isms” are bad. Always up for dealing with serious subjects. Willing to educate where needed.
    • Annemunition – Ethnicity is brought up frequently. Doesn’t answer since no one really needs to know.
    • Adam Koebel – We can manipulate the ways people converse in our chats. With things like emotes, tools, etc. In his chat he is starting to ban certain gendered language has helped changed conversation. Can teach that things that may seem ok in other places aren’t ok in others.

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