Liquid Pride '22: A Queer Q&A

June 30 2022




Liquid Pride '22: A Queer Q&A







As June winds to an end, so does Pride Month!



Pretty much every year, myself or another queer person in Liquid will try to find ways to celebrate it. These days, my circle is very queer and I’ve fully settled into the idea that if I’m anything at all, I am not straight. But even for someone like me, it’s tricky to figure out the right way to write about Pride.



So many places will juice queer identity for brownie points or peddle rainbow clothes for pink dollars. These days, even the parades feel cynically commercial. At the same time, a lot of Pride content and festivities come from a good place, they just miss the mark. To me, the key to doing anything for Pride is to make sure that it feeds the community in one way or another. That it helps people take space and proudly present who they really are.



This year, we did a small, fun Q&A with a few LGBTQ+ members of our staff as a way to show that the esports space is a lot more queer than many people know. That, for as much toxicity as you may see online, the real working space of esports is one that’s as much for you as for anyone. I’ll be the last to pretend that esports is perfect but I can tell you from personal experience that it is improving and there are a lot of people fighting to make it more welcoming.



This year, the Q&A centers on people outside the binaries - both in orientation and gender. Getting the Q&A together, I had to remind others that, yes, Bi, Pan, Nonbinary - all that qualifies as queer. That Pride is as much for them as any identity in the queer world. And that it’s important to stand together at Pride, even if you feel your queerness is less visible. So I hope this Q&A reminds anyone reading that esports isn’t so straight-laced, that there is no litmus test to Pride, and that while queer may mean different it still means human too.





What’s your job title?



Managing Editor




What do you identify as?



Non-binary



What are your pronouns?



They/He/She, all okay.



What got you into esports?



League of Legends and Smash. I can’t remember which came first but I was hooked on the goofy Season Two vibes of NA League and the insane storylines of the Five Gods of Melee.



What’s your favorite part about working with TL?




The creativity and drive. There’s a lot of talent in TL and in esports - a ton of passionate people trying to realize cool ideas in the best ways they can. For me, that’s the core of the creative ideal.



What is your overall favorite video game?



“Favorite” is always hard to answer. Holistically, it should be Super Smash Bros. Brawl. That game probably gave me more joy than any other game in the world.



But in terms of the best-crafted I’ve played, it’d be Disco Elysium, Pyre, maybe Undertale.



What is your favorite esports title to play?



Guilty Gear: Strive or Valorant right now. Ultimate had my heart for a while though.



What is your favorite esports title to watch?



Melee. What a gem of a game.




Are there any games or esports that have done really well in handling queerness that you want to shoutout?




I hear good things about Apex’s approach and I’d probably give Overwatch more credit if it weren’t for the DIVERSITY CRYSTAL. But my true answer is Guilty Gear.





(The Crystal divines that Mario is straight but it's not canon until it's written in the tomes of Nintendo Power.)



I’m a big fan of Testament’s character shift in Guilty Gear: Strive. They feel like the best depiction of a non-binary/agender character I’ve seen in most video games and ArcSys went so far as to hire a trans voice actress.



To me, Testament shows a solid growth in how GG approached queer characters overall. The game has had some problematic characters but at the same time it has a queer spirit at its core. I can’t fully describe that spirit, but GG has one of the biggest LGBTQ+ fan bases I’ve seen, so I’m not alone in noticing it. I think they’ve listened to that fan base and started building more characters that feel like they’re truly for the LGBTQ+ community.



Who is your favorite queer character in an esport title? (Or general media if you can’t think of one in an esport title.)




Brimstone. Has Riot announced that he’s gay? No. But it’s coming and I’m calling the shot right now. Blindfolded, at half-court, I can feel it in my fingertips. This is gonna be nothin’ but net. Riot’s gonna Soldier 76 this dude so hard. And even if they don’t, c’mon, no straight American dude keeps their eyebrows and beard that well-groomed. Brim’s a beautiful bear.



What video game character do you think would make the best romantic partner?



Chrom! You can read the full reason why in another article we did in 2019. If anyone skips this question, they probably already answered it in the linked article.




Do you have any advice and/or words of inspiration you would like to share with our LGBT+ readers?




One of the first men I dated told me that coming out can feel like going through a second adolescence and that’s stuck with me for its veracity.



Like adolescence, coming out is more a process than a single event. You’re in a stretch of life where your identity is in flux and you’re figuring out a lot of things that almost feel teenage - like the social circles you want to be in or even the way you want to talk and be.



And like adolescence, so much of it isn’t really good or bad as much as it is something you have to do. It can all be time-consuming, awkward, and sometimes embarrassing but you roll with the punches, you find people who have gone through it too, and you’re better for it in the end.



If you could say anything to yourself from 5 years ago, what would it be?




Buddy, you’re even gayer than you think. Also, more of a writer than you think. Might as well save yourself the years and double down on both now.



How much does gas cost where you live?




A whole five-spot just for one gallon. Kinda homophobic, if you ask me.






What’s your job title?



QA Engineer




What do you identify as?



Demisexual and Bisexual



What are your pronouns?



She/Her



What got you into esports?



The will to improve.



What’s your favorite part about working with TL?



It’s an open space for ideas and improvements.



What is your overall favorite video game?



Yakuza



What is your favorite esports title to play?



Fortnite



What is your favorite esports title to watch?



Counter-Strike: Global Offensive



Are there any games or esports that have done really well in handling queerness that you want to shoutout?



Cyberpunk 2077



What video game character do you think would make the best romantic partner?



Panam Palmer



Do you have any advice and/or words of inspiration you would like to share with our LGBT+ readers?




Be yourself, trust your instincts.



If you could say anything to yourself from 5 years ago, what would it be?




Surround yourself with positive people.



How much does gas cost where you live?



2 € per liter





What’s your job title?



YouTube Strategist



What do you identify as?



Lesbian and Trans



What are your pronouns?



She/Her



What got you into esports?



I’ve always been a fan of video games since early childhood! I like to give it my all in everything I do, including gaming. To me that came in the form of getting better at games, speedrunning, and eventually esports! Super Smash Bros. was the title that truly thrust me into competitive play, and led to all sorts of titles from there.



What's your favorite project you've helped work on at TL?



My favorite project I’ve gotten to work on would be the director of the live integration we made for Hungrybox with The Matrix and Denny’s!







What is your overall favorite video game?



Mario 64! It's absolutely timeless and has near perfect pacing with so much opportunity for depth in control and mechanics.



What is your favorite esports title to play?



While I love playing every Smash Bros title competitively, Brawl will always be my favorite! But understanding that Brawl isn't something I can play too often, I'd say Project Plus because it strikes the perfect balance of technical skill with a variety of character archetypes that I love!



What is your favorite esports title to watch?



Tie between Melee and Smash Ultimate! Melee has the storylines I love to follow while Ultimate is a great spectator sport with so many unique and fun characters to watch!



Are there any games or esports that have done really well in handling queerness that you want to shoutout?



Within the game itself? I actually can't think of any... As a community though I feel like it's flexible. No community is perfect, and there will be sub-communities that may be geared more towards it. As a shoutout though I love what Shovel Knight did with their character customization in-game that supports queerness very well!



Who is your favorite queer character in an esport title? (Or general media if you can’t think of one in an esport title.)



I actually can’t think of any! With esports I know more I can't think of much backstory behind the characters with the exception of Smash - but they don't often go into deeper personality and sexuality of characters. I feel like characters more often than not (especially from Nintendo) are your silent protagonist sort of hero where you can fill in your personality to relate to them.



What video game character do you think would make the best romantic partner?



I would say Samus! Strong, independent, yet seems to have a caring side. I love a partner that can fulfill a power dynamic with another person, while not losing sight of who she is on her own.



Do you have any advice and/or words of inspiration you would like to share with our LGBT+ readers?




Don’t let society stop you for who you are. It’s not always easy, but we all have the ability to make our own path and be successful doing the things we love!



If you could say anything to yourself from 5 years ago, what would it be?




Everything is going to be a lot better. Just be strong and stand up for yourself, and you’ll find yourself in a much better place soon.



How much does gas cost where you live?




$5.19... AT LEAST





What’s your job title?



Project Coordination and Design




What do you identify as?



Bi and Ace



What are your pronouns?



He/They



What got you into esports?



A love for traditional sports, gaming and a history in competing at table top games internationally.



What's your favorite project you've helped work on at TL?



The Assembly. I'm so very proud to have led that in part.







What is your overall favorite video game?



Final Fantasy XIV



What is your favorite esports title to play?



Dota2



What is your favorite esports title to watch?



Dota2 or CS:GO



Are there any games or esports that have done really well in handling queerness that you want to shoutout?



Any game that has a queer character and no direct attention is brought on their queerness.



Who is your favorite queer character in an esport title? (Or general media if you can’t think of one in an esport title.)



Jesse and James of Team Rocket. They are my Bicons.



What video game character do you think would make the best romantic partner?



G'raha Tia



Do you have any advice and/or words of inspiration you would like to share with our LGBT+ readers?




At the heart of it, your interests and preferences are not all of who you are. You are your favourite song, your greatest achievement, your deepest scars and strongest skills. You are the friends you keep and the family you choose.



Being Queer is a part of who you are and even when people want to make it all of who you are, they are still wrong. Sometimes we get to pull that part of ourselves to the front and be proud of this part of ourselves. Pride is a special time for Queer folk and it doesn't matter if you just take a personal moment to yourself or go and shout it from the rooftops... Be proud of it.



Not everyone can be open about it (which is why we have Pride in the first place). If you're in that situation, know that it's not something you've done. It's a decision others have made and their hate is not your mistake. It's theirs. You have people you can open up to. Self included.



If you could say anything to yourself from 5 years ago, what would it be?




An interest in romance is not an interest in sex. Don't force yourself to do things because you think it's the right thing to do for your partner.



How much does gas cost where you live?



I have no idea... I'm a cyclist.





What’s your job title?



Social Media Coordinator




What do you identify as?



Bisexual



What are your pronouns?



She/they



What got you into esports?



Back in 2012 I started playing LoL and I quickly started getting involved in esports in 2013, then Rainbow Six Siege in 2018. It's branched out to many other titles since then!



What's your favorite project you've helped work on at TL?



The LIQUID x Naruto Shippuden collaborations. I really loved working on the marketing for that, and also getting more involved in Smash. Both of these things were really outside of my comfort zone and my personal beliefs of what I'm capable of. I think I impressed myself.





What is your overall favorite video game?



This is also really hard. I have a lot. Phasmophobia, maybe.



What is your favorite esports title to play?



Rainbow Six Siege



What is your favorite esports title to watch?



Super Smash Brothers Melee



Are there any games or esports that have done really well in handling queerness that you want to shoutout?



I think the Smash community takes the cake for this one. The Smash community is insanely supportive of LGBTQ+ members.





Who is your favorite queer character in an esport title? (Or general media if you can’t think of one in an esport title.)



Flores from Rainbow Six Siege!



What video game character do you think would make the best romantic partner?



Wow, that's a hard one. Maybe Zofia from Rainbow Six Siege. I have a crush on, like, everyone from Rainbow Six Siege, by the way. I could go on about it for a while.



Do you have any advice and/or words of inspiration you would like to share with our LGBT+ readers?




Though it may not seem like it at times, esports is evolving into a much more inclusive place. There are many spaces where you are welcome and encouraged to be who you are, there are a lot of people who care about us, and they're growing day by day.



If you could say anything to yourself from 5 years ago, what would it be?




There are better communities out there than just LoL. Branch out!



How much does gas cost where you live?



almost $7.00???





What’s your job title?



Social Media Manager




What do you identify as?



Queer/finding label but it's hard and sometimes a label is difficult



What are your pronouns?



She/Her



What got you into esports?



I watched a lot of Fortnite streamers in 2018 and I don't even play the game... but I watched the first Fortnite world cup and my sisters were curious and wanted to watch as well so it was fun! I played a lot of Call of Duty as well and watched some of those matches in 2019. I eventually got into it heavily for Valorant because I played a lot and I really enjoyed watching professional Valorant games. Now I watch LCS every weekend and still watch Valorant games. :D



What’s your favorite part about working with TL?



I love working with TL because I feel like my lifestyle is widely understood! I'm a gamer so I like staying up late, I have people from work I can play with, and I can make quirky gaming references and be understood!



What is your overall favorite video game?



The Last of Us (part one and two)



What is your favorite esports title to play?



It used to be Valorant but now it's League of Legends



What is your favorite esports title to watch?



Valorant



Are there any games or esports that have done really well in handling queerness that you want to shoutout?



The Last of Us Part Two!



Who is your favorite queer character in an esport title? (Or general media if you can’t think of one in an esport title.)



Caitlyn from League of Legends (my IGN for league is CaitlynSimp so that explains a lot). Also I have to shout out Ellie from The Last of Us Part Two. TLOU is one of my favorite game franchises, and I saw a lot of myself in Ellie. I remember finding out she was into women in The Last of Us: Left Behind, and I was so excited to see that explored in part two!



What video game character do you think would make the best romantic partner?



Caitlyn from LoL or Viper from Valorant but there's not enough lore in Valorant about sexuality/gender identity yet but I'm just hopeful. :')



Do you have any advice and/or words of inspiration you would like to share with our LGBT+ readers?




It's okay to be unsure of yourself even though it's scary! Being afraid of the unknown is built into human nature, whether it's being afraid of the dark because you can't see, or being afraid to figure out your sexuality/gender identity.



Don't feel pressured to label yourself as well just because everyone else has one! People will find one that fits in their own time. Remaining unlabeled is perfectly fine as well (I'm currently figuring this out myself)! Take your time and you will always grow to learn more about yourself as life goes on. It's scary but it's also exciting to find comfort in your community.



If you could say anything to yourself from 5 years ago, what would it be?




Hmm... I'd say it's okay to not look how other people expect you to look! It might be awkward to have to come out every time when it's brought up... but also you don't have to if you don't want to!



How much does gas cost where you live?



Almost $7





What’s your job title?



Research Coordinator




What do you identify as?



Lesbian and Greyromantic



What are your pronouns?



She/Her usually but any are fine



What got you into esports?



League of Legends did. I got so into it I used to analyze the LCS, LCL, and what's now the LEC for fun (I still have those notebooks lying around my apartment somewhere lol). Until recently, I worked in our esports department for 3 years as a result of said desire to work directly in the esports machine itself.



What's your favorite project you've helped work on at TL?



I used to project manage almost all of our player and streamer announcements (minus Brazil) and also pioneered the process that I used from scratch. I was, and am, very proud of that work and still miss it even though it's only been a few months since I moved on from it.



What is your overall favorite video game?



Zelda OOT



What is your favorite esports title to play?



TFT



What is your favorite esports title to watch?



CSGO or LCK (not league, only the LCK lol)



Are there any games or esports that have done really well in handling queerness that you want to shoutout?



None that I have played have handled queerness super well, if attempted at all, though I'm sure they must exist.







(They do!)



Who is your favorite queer character in an esport title? (Or general media if you can’t think of one in an esport title.)



I don't think there is a queer character I like specifically in gaming or esports, but I do love how many casters and personalities are out, open, and use their platforms to act as heralds of our community.







What video game character do you think would make the best romantic partner?



I've had a crush on Zelda, specifically Sheik, since I was a kid. Would she be a good partner? Debatable and entirely dependent upon which game you're playing. But there you have it!



Do you have any advice and/or words of inspiration you would like to share with our LGBT+ readers?




It's a scary world out there for us these days so please keep yourselves safe. Remember to stay together in numbers greater than 2 and keep each other close. We'll make it through this. 💜



If you could say anything to yourself from 5 years ago, what would it be?




My life was exceedingly different 5 years ago so that's a difficult question. And even though it's been a VERY difficult road from there to here, I don't think I would change anything I did. I can't control those I interacted with so I won't choose to change my path to avoid them either! I just hope that, if given a second chance, they'll be nice people ^^



How much does gas cost where you live?



It was $4.44 when I got some yesterday 😭





What’s your job title?



Partnerships Manager




What do you identify as?



Gay



What are your pronouns?



He/Him



What got you into esports?



Gaming on a higher level with friends, and being curious about the best of the best.



What’s your favorite part about working with TL?



My favorite thing about working with TL is how many amazing things our partners enable us to do, and what their reactions (especially the non-endemic ones) are to how big esports is.







What is your overall favorite video game?



Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time



What is your favorite esports title to play?



CS:GO



What is your favorite esports title to watch?



CS:GO



Are there any games or esports that have done really well in handling queerness that you want to shoutout?



Hades comes to mind right away. Amazing game that blends in queerness very 'easily'.



Who is your favorite queer character in an esport title? (Or general media if you can’t think of one in an esport title.)



I can't think of one in esports, so I'd say Ian McKellen. He seems like an exceptionally humble and caring man who has experienced it all in his many years on this earth. Other ones worth mentioning are Stephen Fry and RuPaul, but there are many more.



What video game character do you think would make the best romantic partner?



Tricky... Perhaps Link? I'm a huge talker, and he's the silent type.



Do you have any advice and/or words of inspiration you would like to share with our LGBT+ readers?




Find friends (online or offline) you feel safe with and who you know will have your back. Find/make your own community with them. Also, don't take identity or labels too seriously. Just be who you are.



If you could say anything to yourself from 5 years ago, what would it be?




Trust that you have skills and opinions that are worthwhile, and add something to whichever organization you work for.



How much does gas cost where you live?



Around EUR 2,50 per liter currently





What’s your job title?



lead designer




What do you identify as?



Bi?



What are your pronouns?



They/She/Whatever is observed



What got you into esports?



My friends were really into LCS season 3, and I went along with the ride and got drawn into the scene.



What's your favorite project you've helped work on at TL? Or, what’s your favorite part about working with TL?



Some of the most notable were Eve Ascension, A Fan Above 3.0, and The Next Wave for all the creative challenges they brought forth.





What is your overall favorite video game?



This is so hard because I simply don't have a favourite since my tastes change constantly. Maybe it's Pokemon mystery dungeon.



What is your favorite esports title to play?



League of Legends (oof)



What is your favorite esports title to watch?



League of Legends?



Are there any games or esports that have done really well in handling queerness that you want to shoutout?



I have never felt threatened or afraid to talk about these topics at TL.



Who is your favorite queer character in an esport title? (Or general media if you can’t think of one in an esport title.)



I am not very involved in the lgbt space to be honest so the only thing that comes to mind is tracer from overwatch. She's pretty gay right? Good god this is an embarrassment of an answer. Did they ever confirm leona/diana from league of legends at all?



[Editor’s Note: Tracer from Overwatch is, in fact, “pretty gay,” the announcement of her lesbian partner in a comic book causing some rows. Leona and Diana were also confirmed to be gay in recent years.]



Do you have any advice and/or words of inspiration you would like to share with our LGBT+ readers?




There are so many more LGBT+ people in esports than you'd expect. You're not alone.



If you could say anything to yourself from 5 years ago, what would it be?




No matter the gender of your partner, you are still what you identify with.



How much does gas cost where you live?



Fucking $2.15/litres last time I filled the tank. Unbelievable.



Writer // Austin "Plyff" Ryan
Graphics // Zack "Zack Arts" Kiesewetter






















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