This is an editorial piece. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of, and should not be attributed to, Niche Gamer as an organization.
For the third time this year a Tweet posted by digital game retailer Good Old Games (better known as GOG) has the gaming press up in arms. The now-deleted tweet in question, posted in the late morning of October 22, said: “Classic PC games #WontBeErased on our watch. Yeah, how’s that for some use of hashtags”
Immediately the site’s social media accounts found themselves retreating from a deluge of fiery anger. The Tweet itself was deleted within mere minutes but that didn’t stop game journalists from lobbing accusations of ‘transphobia’ at the digital retailer.
To someone not in the know, they’re probably asking themselves, “What could possibly be offensive about that Tweet, what gives?”
Well, a day earlier the New York Times published an article about a leaked memo from the Trump administration that could, as per the paper, define transgender people out of existence. Without getting too heavy into a topic many people visiting this particular game site probably care to read about, the general gist is that the Department of Health and Human Services wants to “establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX.” An effort that would define sex as purely male or female, and be determined by the genitalia of a baby upon birth. Any disputes about gender would be clarified with genetic tests.
As can be expected this caused an uproar within the LGBT community. Never mind that as of now this is purely a leaked internal memo and there has yet to be any legal precedent set into motion, this began an online movement of sorts to highlight trans voices and anger.
Hence the hashtag WontBeErased was born. Throughout the next 48 or so hours, the hashtag was trending and at various points was in the top 5 trends within the United States. Fast forward to the morning after the New York Times posted its piece and GOG made what could potentially be described as an ill-informed tweet.
Within hours articles began cropping up on a variety of sites. A slow burn that grew faster as the day wore on. A pace that was accelerated after small indie company Zombie Orpheus decided to pull all of their content from GOG due to what they described as ‘hate speech’.
GameRevolution, GameIndustry, DailyDot, and of course, Kotaku, as well as countless others began posting news articles and opinion pieces about the situation. Kotaku went so far as to say that “GOG Account Publishes Yet Another Awful Tweet” and this sentiment was matched over at Polygon where they claimed that Gog’s Tweet was transphobic.
As a transgendered individual myself, I heavily fucking disagree.
Nothing about Gog’s tweet was transphobic nor does it match any definition of hate speech. Even if tugged to the lengths that many online reactionaries have forcefully stretched it towards in recent years, the Tweet is still far from being defined as it has been by many in the gaming journalism industry.
The word “transphobia” quite literally means: an intense dislike of or prejudice against transsexual or transgender people. Now I may not be a professor, or a linguistic expert, but I’m certainly smart enough to see that Gog’s Tweet in no way, shape, or form falls under that definition.
There’s a big difference between using a popular hashtag, regardless of what the meaning behind its rise is, and actually being hateful towards a group of people. Last I checked GOG hasn’t prevented me from buying games from their site, nor have they ever expressed a desire for trans people to go away. All things that by definition would actually be transphobic.
There is a big problem right now with game journalists misrepresenting situations to play into their own pity politics. In doing so they are misusing words and definitions and falsely labeling a variety of situations.
GOG is a notoriously consumer friendly site, and for them to be labeled as advocating hate speech or as being transphobic is not just wrong, but it’s pretty damn offensive. As a trans person I call foul.
This industry has massive problems, and until journalists leave their petty social politics at the door, I’m afraid nothing will soon change. Too many sites have stopped being the deliverers of truth. Opinion and lies have become the mainstream while facts have been left behind.
It’s one thing if articles were being labeled as ‘opinion’ and such views were presented as such, but as of this moment, that is not the case. GOG has been finger painted as a villain and the ugly picture that has been drawn has been shown to the public under a false light of truth.
Journalists are not saying they “think GOG is transphobic and here is why”. They are instead crying foul and screaming names into the heaven like a toddler throwing a tantrum because they didn’t get their way, and the “truth” they are presenting is about as strong as the snot bubble growing out of their nose.
It holds no weight and will pop at the slightest touch… or once its been filled with too much hot air.
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