A recent Pokemon Trading Card Game disqualified one of its players because he laughed when asked what his preferred pronouns were.
The player, Makani Tran, was disqualified and removed from the tournament (hat tip, Dexerto) which he detailed in a lengthy Twitlonger post.
Tran noted he moved to the livestream area of the tournement to face off against Alex Schemanske when he was promptly asked what his preferred pronouns are.
“Um he or him or uh..” Tran started nervously, after which he slightly laughed when he failed to think up the third pronoun he identifies as.
Alex proudly shared his pronouns without a problem, so Tran tried to declare his pronouns once again – only to awkwardly laugh again. This got the official Pokemon judge upset.
“Okay, just wanted to check to be safe. I go by they/them so don’t be a jerk about it,” the judge reportedly said in reply.
After the match kicked off, Tran and Schemanske were eventually told to leave the stage and got confronted by the judge who repeatedly asked what Tran said when asked his pronouns.
Tran was shocked and confused but said he awkwardly laughed because he felt embarassed that he couldn’t think of what to say.
The judge then cited an “inclusive policy” that Tran apparently violated, suggesting that he somehow made “someone feel unsafe and uncomfortable.” Tran was in further shock and repeatedly apologized, said he had zero malicious intent and had “nothing against peoples pronouns.”
This wasn’t enough – the decision was final and Tran was expelled from the Charlotte Pokemon Regional tournament. “The judge said that while he believed that I had no bad intentions, it didn’t matter because at the end of the day, someone was offended and upset,” Tran said.
His opponent, Alex, even posted on Twitter saying he believes Tran shouldn’t have been disqualified.
For getting disqualified from the tournament, Tran was down $800, a couple flights, and time off requested from his school. Thankfully, he was able to run a GoFundMe and raised a lot more than he needed to recoup his costs.