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First woman StarCraft II champion?
July 20, 2012 2:43 AM   Subscribe

Canada's new StarCraft II champion is a trans woman
posted by floatboth (62 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is great news! Thanks for the link.

What's also great is that the comment system on that site uses Facebook and I can see the real names and photos of all the racist-sexist fuck-heads. I'm thinking of taking some screenshots for posterity in case I run into any of those people.
posted by sixohsix at 3:12 AM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


Man, good on her - being open about yourself in that culture is so incredibly courageous. I hope under the torrents of hate and bile she endures, she remembers that she is being an inspiration to lots and lots of people out there.

I believe in the starcraft lingo, that this is what makes a true baller. Puts any baneling bust to shame.
posted by smoke at 3:31 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh god... really? The whole situation is going take a lass they describe as softly spoken and not wanting attention, and put her into the middle of a gender/sexuality debate.

There's going to be four broad camps...
1) "Gaming is a boy thing and she only won because she's a boy in disguise."
2) "OMG, chick with a dick. Or maybe without a dick. But she probably had one". (the facebook response, it seems)
3) "Go Girl" (I'd guess, the MeFi response)
and
4) Why the fuck is the contents of her pants news? We wouldn't have heard about this in any other situation. Leave her alone.

Yeah, I'll be in camp four...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 3:35 AM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Holy fuck, I enabled javascript just to read those comments and report the abuse. I knew it would be there, but it's still so horrible to read. Good on the few fighting the bigotry. I can't believe people are comfortable voicing that kind of hatred with their real names - and worse, half of them are "top commentors". Disgusting.
posted by smoke at 3:35 AM on July 20, 2012


her fan club is pretty awesome
posted by jonbro at 3:41 AM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yeah, her fan club is a good place for an eyeball washing after all the horrible comments.
posted by j03 at 3:44 AM on July 20, 2012


Also, on another forum that I am on, the title of the thread contained the word girl, and the thread ended up being mostly about that term. So good on metafilter for getting the right title.

I havn't watched any of her replays, but her league standings are awesome. I only got into sc2 sports on the last time it got posted on metafilter, but seeing her take down the people that were playing at the top of those tournaments is amazing.
posted by jonbro at 3:47 AM on July 20, 2012


The title of the article - it's not who you are - is exactly why I like online gaming so much.

You have to win the genetic lottery to compete in sport at the highest levels - basketball, football, tennis. It's usually immediately obvious from when you're a teenager: you're not tall enough, your legs aren't long enough, etc. Sure you can play, but at some point you will hit a wall.

But gaming? No one can see the contents of your mind. All humans have the same, roughly 300ms reaction time, and that's enough. I've been in the top 1%, and you can recognize the top 5%, the top 10%, any lower brackets. I was once showing some friends a scene from a game where the top players in the world were playing DOTA2. They asked me "so what makes them so good? what's the difference between them and the rest of us?"

And there's really no answer. Maybe there isn't. It's possible the potential to excel is inside all of us, waiting to be unlocked.
posted by xdvesper at 3:51 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Exactly, sodium.

Sure, I am happy for her that she could make it into and stay in an environment she wanted be in, and be the best in what they do, to boot. It is good to learn this... for us. I'm just not sure if our pleasure in learning this is worth the potential trouble this extra attention will cause her—especially when she clearly stated that she does not want it.
posted by procrastinator at 3:54 AM on July 20, 2012


Wow, I didn't realise she beat HuK to take the title. Most impressive.
posted by smoke at 3:55 AM on July 20, 2012


I have some deficiencies that mean I can't sustain an apm of above 75 (just a guess, I barely play sc2 due to RSI) for more that a few minutes. Professional play would cause me to require surgery.

Not everyone can excel at starcraft, but it is definitely a different skillset then basketball. It is nice to have sports that are about micro muscle movement.

Regarding whats in her pants? Yeah, it doesn't really matter in the long term, and it seems like the community is turning to the fact that she came out of nowhere and really crushed the competition as the core of the story. The fact that a game community can rally around the play itself is story enough.
posted by jonbro at 4:01 AM on July 20, 2012


Yes, there are some transphobic idiots replying. There always are. But I'm actually encouraged by the fact that there are relatively only a few of them, and they all get jumped on by level-headed (if not always completely knowledgeable about trans* issues) people.

Also, because the comments are Facebook-based, you can report them for abuse.
posted by Foosnark at 4:51 AM on July 20, 2012


uh… I didn't see the comments. I have the Disconnect extension for Chrome and I forgot that it removes Facebook comments too, not just "Like", "+1" and "Tweet" and similar buttons. Really thought this site deliberately has no comments, like Daring Fireball.
posted by floatboth at 5:10 AM on July 20, 2012


) Why the fuck is the contents of her pants news? We wouldn't have heard about this in any other situation. Leave her alone.

I have to agree. Why is this news? It's a gamer who won a specific game. Who cares if it's a boy or a girl or boy/girl or girl/boy or sentient space-ship.

Actually, if a space-ship were sentient, that'd be pretty news worthy. But, not sure why this is.
posted by Fizz at 5:27 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fizz, can we not put all trans people in boxes that are separate to 'boy' and 'girl'? It's pretty demeaning...

(Re: the FPP, great to see someone breaking barriers and so on, not necessarily so great that so much attention is being drawn to it against the subject's will...)
posted by Dysk at 5:39 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Dysk,

I apologize. I do not know the proper language/terminology that is preferred. I say this without snark, if you have a site that does list what is appropriate, please share. And my commentary was more about the fact that it doesn't really matter what this person's sexuality is. It's a non-issue. Carry on.
posted by Fizz at 5:54 AM on July 20, 2012


Maybe I missed the bad threads, but when she's come up (for her impressive play recently) on /r/starcraft the discussion has been pretty respectful. My impression is that the usual immature dicks come out to play every now and then but the community at large is very supportive.
posted by NathanBoy at 6:06 AM on July 20, 2012


Here is my comment from the last posting, which I think was incorrectly flagged and removed (the posting that is).


"Very cool. Gamers can be a fun bunch. Maybe its because I am getting older, and less tolerant of adolescent behavior, but I really do feel bad for some gamers, particularly women as they immediately get a.) Hit on or b.) Insulted. Same can go for minorities really of any stripe. Its disgusting behavior on many levels.

For years in multiplayer online games one of the first things I do is turn off in voice chat. Makes it a much more plesant place to be."
posted by handbanana at 6:26 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


After deciding that I’d say something about Scarlett and her situation here, I then changed my mind and thought that maybe instead I wouldn’t. Scarlett has made it a point that she’s never tried to bring attention to herself in regards to personal matters, or on any other level beyond her skill at the game. And—given how nervous she indeed seems to be when put into the public eye during the various conversations that have cropped up about her—it’s easy to feel like bringing up that topic yet again might be something to avoid.
The writers first instinct was right, too bad she found the whole "trans gamer" angle too irresistible to respect this woman's privacy and right to not be turned into a political symbol.
posted by tempythethird at 6:46 AM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


I feel like SC2 probably has the best community in terms of multiplayer - none of the snot-nosed FPS teenagers, none of the misogynist fighting-game guys (possibly triggery?)

I mean - the basic intro is GLHF "Good Luck, Have Fun" -- that's a great spirit to have, and really honorable. Does it mean all SC players are great people? Of course not. But to have a community that overall enjoys what it does, and loves to play it for the game and not talk full of hate, well that's pretty good, IMO. Then again I don't go reading much on /r/Starcraft or forums anywhere, so I dunno if there is a lot of drama, but IN GAME drama is very low from what I've experienced.
posted by symbioid at 6:47 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


A friend of mine was actually using this story as a way of talking about trans people with her parents, probing their feelings and possible reactions before coming out to her parents as trans herself. Apparently her dad has an active interest in her interest in esports, which was used to bring the topic up. It seemed to go differently for her dad ("What's trans mean, son?"), and her mom ("If I loved someone, it wouldn't matter if they were trans.").

She had been watching the live streams of Scarlett's games, and ranting about Scarlett in the irc channel we're in; and tbh, that was getting milldy annoying since I don't play or follow competitive starcraft myself. But, really, I guess this was more to her than just a game to follow. Before this I didn't really understand the value of stories like this, both on gaming news sites and in the broader media (I certainly wouldn't want to be public with my own status!), but I am beginning now to understand what stories like this can do in terms of public discourse (and private discussion too).

She hasn't come out to them as of yet, but, she has been talking about an increasing compulsion to tell them. Probably because she is on HRT now, and she won't be able to hide that forever. I'm in a similar situation, but somehow I don't think I'll ever be able to tell my parents. Or at least not until the right story comes along.
posted by yeoz at 7:01 AM on July 20, 2012 [33 favorites]


I say this without snark, if you have a site that does list what is appropriate, please share.

I say this also without snark: the super polite thing to do here is to google it on your own.
posted by clavicle at 7:05 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


For those wondering why Scarlett being trans is significant. Yeoz's comment above is a good place to start.
posted by Panjandrum at 7:06 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


I say this also without snark: the super polite thing to do here is to google it on your own.

The magic words are 'trans 101'.
posted by hoyland at 7:15 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Panjandrum:

The fact that Scarlett's story can be helpful to advancing good and legitimate causes and helping people in need of help does not negate her right to privacy. She is under no particular obligation to help the community she comes from if she doesn't want to, just as successful minorities and/or gay people are not automatically obligated to help their own.

I think its a great sign of progress how little the media seemed to care about Anderson Cooper's sexuality, and that Cooper thus didn't have to struggle with his identity (Gay Journalist!) being defined for him, counter to what he wanted it to be (boring mainstream journalist/tv personality!)

It would be great if Scarlett was treated similarly.
posted by tempythethird at 7:18 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fizz:

T-Vox: Trans 101
Autostraddle: How to Talk to a Trans-Person
UC Davis: Trans Ally Tips
posted by Drexen at 7:20 AM on July 20, 2012 [17 favorites]


I have to agree. Why is this news? It's a gamer who won a specific game.

Video game competitions might not be that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but when a person in a marginalized minority group gets to represent people and compete at a high level in a visible competition it means something. Jackie Robinson playing baseball didn't end racism or anything but it was a high profile indication that things were changing. If the public sees more images of trans women being accepted and successful, no matter what the context, I think everyone will be better off.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:22 AM on July 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


That's one reason I keep being not sure how I feel about the "it's not whether she's trans or a woman, she's a good gamer" and that's true, but it does matter.

It strikes me of the whole "colorblind" thing that privileged white people try to use as their way to avoid facing racism. So while it seems noble to say that, there's a bit of privilege talking.

I also do think that now that it's known and it doesn't hurt to mention it, she shouldn't be badgered about it, and she should have her privacy respected and let her play the game. Knowing it is enough, there's no need to pry into details. She's out so I don't think that's off the table for discussion and hopefully enlightening some folks, and hopefully inspiring some folks who need to see it. But any more than that is going too far, invading her wishes.
posted by symbioid at 7:29 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Regarding whats in her pants? Yeah, it doesn't really matter in the long term

Sex is never an issue in the gamer community anyway.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 7:40 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sex is never an issue in the gamer community anyway.

That works on many levels.
posted by Damienmce at 7:45 AM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


> does not negate her right to privacy

She's a rising star in what is undoubtedly the most popular e-sport in the world. In that sense her right to privacy has already been somewhat abrogated by being what is essentially a minor celebrity analogous to an Olympic athlete. Privacy is well and good, but it's hard to maintain when thousands of people watch you work and you have your own fan club.

As for the Silver Fox, it's only been recently that Cooper fully came out on the record, after years of it being an open secret and after years of being highly successful journalist. Maybe Scarlett could have taken that oblique path, but as woman in a field where that is fiercely boyzonish, she was already highly visible. She could have clung to her privacy and not commented on rumors that were already going around, but instead took the proactive step of making it official and moving on. That in itself shows a great deal of maturity and self-confidence.
posted by Panjandrum at 8:00 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


This post would be better with more links on Scarlett's gaming career. Here are some. She plays Zerg; that seems much more relevant than her gender identity.

Twitter @acerscarlett
Liquipedia entry
League play record
Total earnings: $6250
Fanclub which is totally sweet
Global Post, including a quote from her about her gender
4 minute video interview
WCS GRAND FINALS Scarlett Vs OstoJiY Game 1. Decisive moment at 17:15.
posted by Nelson at 8:07 AM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


Thank you, Nelson. A link to some of her play was what I came in her looking for.
posted by IAmUnaware at 9:33 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thank you Drexen. Those links were very informative. I've never had an issue with anyone who is transgendered, but it's good to be aware of the power of my language. I should be more careful when speaking/writing.
posted by Fizz at 10:05 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I still can't get over how much she looks like Emma Watson.

(I know nothing about Starcraft.)
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:27 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Game 2 against OstoJiY is pretty good too, although it's not as close. Scarlett shows some really solid micro and defense through the midgame (despite losing a queen in kind of a silly way at one point).
posted by IAmUnaware at 10:29 AM on July 20, 2012


YESSSSS
posted by nataliepo at 10:37 AM on July 20, 2012


Yeoz:

Thanks for that story. I have a very similar experience to your friend.

I'm closet trans, and have been a Scarlett fan since she hit the scene a few months ago.

Watching Scarlett win WCS Canada was the most positive experience I've had as a transperson, ever. I hadn't had a trans hero to root for, before. Seeing her win, and everyone cheer for her, was so euphoric.

After she won, I used it as an excuse to come out of the closet to some of my closest friends, many who play Starcraft, because I wanted so much for them to know her story, and how much it affected me.

I wish for a world where Scarlett's birth-sex didn't matter, but for marginalized people like me, it matters intensely, in the most positive way. I hope this stops becoming a story soon, and we can just talk about how sick her play is, and how awesome it was when she makes her Ultralisks dance, mid-battle, in the grand finals. I didn't even know Ultralisks could dance!

I hope your friend can walk a similar path, Yeoz.

(This is a throwaway account, as I'm still not publicly out, though I've been on MF for a long time)
posted by probu at 10:43 AM on July 20, 2012 [20 favorites]


Sadly, I can't seem to find any VODs of her games against HuK (except maybe here, behind their paywall: http://www.twitch.tv/nasltv). Anybody know where those games are available for free?
posted by IAmUnaware at 11:15 AM on July 20, 2012


IAmUnaware:

VOD vs HuK: http://www.twitch.tv/nasltv/b/324902860

Link to other WCS Canada VODs: http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=353433&currentpage=3#49
posted by probu at 11:21 AM on July 20, 2012


if a trans person does anything the story is immediately "omg a trans person!"
posted by Theta States at 12:40 PM on July 20, 2012


Well to be fair, I think Scarlett's gender identity is probably the most interesting thing about her for a non-gamer audience like here on Metafilter. There's a lot of top level SC2 players. Few are women, and fewer still are transgendered, so it merits some notice. Particularly in a male dominated culture like gaming. And I'm touched by the stories here on MeFi from other people who take pride in her success. Coming out helps everyone.

But reducing her to "omg a trans person" is annoying, particularly since she herself has said " I have never tried to bring attention to myself for anything other than my play, so I don't feel like this should be a big deal". That's why I dumped a bunch of gamer links above. She's a top Starcraft player, let's enjoy that. (Speaking of which, is her official battle.net profile online?)

That's part of why I like her fanclub so much; I didn't read the whole thing, but it seems like a generous combination of admiring her player skill and photos showing her as an attractive, formidable gamer. And some Canadian pride, and sweet things like this drawing. Adoring fans are nice.
posted by Nelson at 12:49 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Her fan club site is pretty neat, I agree Nelson. I do think this drawing does a much better job of capturing some of her personality... dose eyes.
posted by papafrita at 1:24 PM on July 20, 2012


I mean - the basic intro is GLHF "Good Luck, Have Fun" -- that's a great spirit to have, and really honorable. Does it mean all SC players are great people? Of course not. But to have a community that overall enjoys what it does, and loves to play it for the game and not talk full of hate, well that's pretty good, IMO. Then again I don't go reading much on /r/Starcraft or forums anywhere, so I dunno if there is a lot of drama, but IN GAME drama is very low from what I've experienced.
I think part of it may be due to the fact it was so popular in Korea, which has a completely different "gaming culture" People who were really into SC1, of course followed top korean players and I guess the cultural aspects rubbed off on them. Apparently Team Liquid, which is one of the top SC forums has a tight moderation policy compared to other places on the internet as well.

Another aspect is the fact that the game takes a lot of skill, way more then FPS or whatever to be good at. Particularly intellectual and strategic thinking compared to just reflex action or whatever.
posted by delmoi at 2:43 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just to add, even though it was just the Canadian open, she had to get past Huk to win, who is arguably one of the best Protoss players in the world.
posted by empath at 3:05 PM on July 20, 2012


Yeah, more intellectual and strategic games seem to have better communities… NetHack and roguelikes in general probably have the most awesome community :)
posted by floatboth at 3:10 PM on July 20, 2012


The writers first instinct was right, too bad she found the whole "trans gamer" angle too irresistible to respect this woman's privacy and right to not be turned into a political symbol.

So, I think this is problematic. The article's pretty pointless and crappy--it could be summarised in on sentence "Oh hey, this person who is good at Starcraft is trans." But it doesn't turn Scarlett into a political symbol.

'Respecting someone's privacy' can be code for refusing to mention they're trans because trans people are icky. And when we randomly start claiming someone's been turned into a political symbol and that their privacy should be respected, I start wondering about that code.

As I've been writing this comment, I've been becoming increasingly skeptical about the article itself, actually and am starting to wonder if it's just condescending. Like, no shit, not everyone who's good at Starcraft is is a straight, cis man. If you're not, that's probably not worthy of praise in and of itself.* So when I feel cynical, I do worry the article's saying "Oh, look, how cute, a trans person." given that it has no other substance.

*It is worth noting that the suicide rate among trans people is horrific. Still being alive can certainly be a victory, but that's not for others to congratulate someone on.
posted by hoyland at 4:23 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hmm. I do consider it a small personal victory that I haven't killed myself as of yet, and I'd be OK with people congratulating me for that!
posted by yeoz at 4:45 PM on July 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Congrats yeoz! (and I mean it in all earnestness) :)
posted by symbioid at 4:54 PM on July 20, 2012


Delmoi has it right about the gaming culture: the strict codes of conduct and all dating back from the early days of Starcraft 1, you could be expelled from the league if you lost a game and you didn't wish the opponent GG (good game) at the end of it, and once you're expelled from the league that is the end of your Starcraft career.

Sort of like if a tennis player or boxer didn't shake hands with his opponent before and after the match.
posted by xdvesper at 4:56 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is it important she is trans? I'm guessing for the same reason it's nice to see more than white-straight-male-middle class in things. For her, it's awesome she beat a top rated player and on the way up. For those of us out there that don't fit into things as well, it's nice to see positive coverage and representation, especially with all the negative stories about gamers and how nasty they can be. (the video kickstarter about women sterotypes in games and the felicia day country video)

While it's less an issue now that someone is gay, trans people are still being beaten and killed at a higher rate. Fear of acceptance, representation in media, etc are all big issues still. Are there any big name media personalities other than Chaz Bono? I'm not on top of it all, but he got a lot of crap for being out there.

I'm feeling cynical, but i'm getting frustrated at all the "why do they need..." with people complaining about characters in comics and movies and such being made gay or people of color or female, and the chorus of hate comes out. If you are now seeing people like you represented positively instead of as serial killers or psychopaths, it means a lot to you.
posted by usagizero at 4:57 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


@damienmce

i think it's kind of mean to imply that this gamer isn't getting sex because she's trans
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:14 PM on July 20, 2012


It's important that she's trans, because way too many of the messages we trans people get from the world are "The system is against you; you can't win". She provides a wonderful example to the contrary.
posted by jiawen at 11:20 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Like, no shit, not everyone who's good at Starcraft is is a straight, cis man.

There are probably a lot of gay Starcraft players, but I can't think of a single top player that is gay and out. There are currently no female players who can compete at the top level(ie, who can win big tournaments), other than Scarlett.

As far as I know, this is the case for every major e sport, though I don't follow the non-starcraft ones as much.
posted by empath at 5:50 AM on July 21, 2012


Trans* people need heroes too.
posted by jopreacher at 8:07 AM on July 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


People need trans heroes too.
posted by Splunge at 3:37 PM on July 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


The WCS VODs were just released!

This post in Scarlett's fanclub provides links to all her WCS Canada matches:

http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=353433&currentpage=20#394
posted by probu at 4:19 PM on July 23, 2012


But reducing her to "omg a trans person" is annoying

Agreed. I was not doing that myself, more lamenting how every article feels the need to spend 2 paragraphs on that, regardless of relevance to the article.
See also: Wendy Carlos, Rae Spoon.
posted by Theta States at 6:15 AM on July 24, 2012


Also understand that if it's a blog that pretends to be a news outlet, this is the lede. There are a few, nay, a bunch of people that consider this the story. Trans anything is surprising because they do things that the cis community does.

This is a problem. Sure. But the people here usually understand the tropes and the triggers. In the "real" world this is like chum to the news sharks.

Remember the "if it bleeds it leads" thing. News today be it blog or paper or TV is about shocking the average asshole. They have been running the story of a guy who saved his girlfriend from the recent shooting by taking a bullet for her non-stop. It's the girl crying over the loss of her boyfriend and the parents crying about the loss of their son. Over and over and over. Is this really news anymore? Sure it was when it first happened. And I was as sad as anyone else. The first time. But they keep pounding it into our senses.

CNN is running the same interview over and over again.

The bottom line is eyes on the commercials. It sucks and the people that make those decisions should be put in stocks in the public square. But unfortunately it's the way of the fucking world.

In the stocks and pelted with shit is my idea. I wouldn't waste rotten fruit on them.

Sorry for the rant. I'm going to sleep and dream of a better world. I hope.
posted by Splunge at 8:40 PM on July 24, 2012


Trans anything is surprising because they do things that the cis community does.

Googles "trans people eating lunch".
*gasp* it's true!
posted by Theta States at 6:08 AM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh my god, I eat so much lunch.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:20 PM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


GaymerCon wants to provide a "safe place" for LGBTQ gamers: Organizer talks Kickstarter success, fighting past backlash.
posted by homunculus at 8:11 PM on August 10, 2012


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