Thursday, April 18, 2024

Meet Team Transtopia – the stream team looking to uplift and highlight trans voices

In April 2021, Team Transtopia revealed itself to the world, bringing together a group of people with one goal: to highlight and uplift trans voices and content creators.

At the time of the team’s creation, Twitch had yet to add the ‘trans’ tag for content creators to use. In May that changed with 350+ tags being added to the streaming platform, but with that tag came instances of hate raids, transphobia, and more, issues which Twitch is still addressing even now.

Yet even with the hate that is, unfortunately, so rampant on social media and social platforms, the forming of Team Transtopia shows commitment to making streaming better for trans creators.

We reached out to the team during its early stages to learn more about the team, their goals, as well as why it was important for creator of the team Ian, aka popular trans and queer streamer AQuarterGhost, to form a team of trans content creators on Twitch.

What is the ultimate goal of Transtopia? 

The ultimate goal of Transtopia is to highlight and uplift trans and gender diverse content creators. We want to refocus the narrative on trans people to be about our successes, joy and talents, not our trauma.

When the media only focuses on the violence and anti-trans sentiment thrown at us, we’re oftentimes diminished to our trauma, and we are seen as victims, not people.

We’re just like everyone else. We have lives, just like everyone else, and we can show that through making ourselves more visible through the stream team Transtopia.

How important is it to have a team of just trans and/or gender diverse individuals? 

Trans and gender diverse people are often overlooked in the entertainment industry as a whole.  Streaming platforms have not put in the effort to help bridge the equity gap in our representation either. It’s important to do what we can to provide more visibility and a community for us, in a space that is focused on our well-being and successes.

You’ve chosen Twitch as the place to stream, obviously that’s significant to your fanbase. Has it been a difficult decision to still continue on Twitch?

Twitch is the biggest streaming platform out there right now, and we’re used to having to fight for a seat at the table wherever we go. We deserve to be on Twitch despite the odds stacked against us.

A stream team can only be created by a Twitch Partner. AQuarterGhost worked really hard to get Twitch Partner, despite the many obstacles they faced to get there, and they wanted to use their Partner status to do something for the good of other trans/gender diverse people like them. We can use the tools we have for our own benefit and support on Twitch.

Another thing, Twitch has been a huge saving grace during the pandemic for trans/gender diverse people. We’ve been able to build a community through Twitch. Ironically, we’re oftentimes safer on Twitch than in person, and that’s why it’s not all bad.

Twitch streamers
Source: Wikimedia Commons
To your members, why did you decide to join Team Transtopia?

AQuarterGhost (they/them): It’s been a dream of mine to create a Trans and gender diverse stream team since I began streaming. I was inspired to create Transtopia because I didn’t see many spaces that were geared towards Trans and gender diverse people. I wanted that for myself as well as my community. Since the Trans Tag is such an important issue I wanted to create a way to promote it and work around that obstacle. Through this stream team we can find each other, uplift, and celebrate one another.

TheProudOwl (he/him): I decided to join Transtopia to support my partner, AQuarterGhost. They are the first person who I met who was like me, who allowed me to be myself without inhibition. This uninhibited acceptance is something we want to carry forward with Transtopia, that you can be your true self and you can succeed, you can be celebrated, and you can be impactful. Trans people deserve to have a seat at the table when it comes to creating content.

TheRainbowBard (he/they): I am TheRainbowBard, I am a queer disabled transmasc nonbinary person who likes to play in several different mediums, including videogames, tabletop games, drag and crafting. I joined Transtopia because being a Trans Person can be very lonely and isolating even in LGBTQ spaces. The Trans experience is quite different, and making friendships with other Trans people has helped me so much with my own journey. When I was still unsure of my gender identity, I didn’t see much transmasc representation, and I do believe if I had known someone like me who was out and proud it would have clicked for me sooner. I want to be visible for others, to see that being trans is valid, and beautiful.

CtrlAltQuin (they/them): I am so honored to be apart of the transtopia leadership team! I joined this team to not only find a safe space for myself, but also to represent Black trans creators and uplift the voices of all trans and gender diverse people. Intersectionality is extremely important to me in creating inclusive, safe communities. I am so excited to collaborate with so many amazing trans creators.

SierraxMyst (he/she/they): Representation is so important in all forms of media and streaming is no different. Transtopia represents the idea that everyone’s gender is valid and deserves to be seen. As a non-binary person myself, I felt honoured to be included in this space alongside so many other incredible trans and gender diverse creators where we can celebrate each other for the content we create.

LucilleXoXo (she/they): Hi there! I’m LucilleXOXO, a non-binary drag queen from Boston! I’ve been a drag queen for almost 10 years and started streaming on Twitch about a year ago!

My gender journey has been happening my entire life, but as someone who recently began to understand their non-binary identity, community on Twitch was so incredibly important. As a drag performer, I’ve always been incredibly passionate about community and activism. I believe it’s essential to have spaces for people with shared identities to grow and learn from each other. I joined Transtopia because I wanted to continue to have a space where I can continue to collaborate with so many others in an inclusive and uplifting environment. I’m so honored and excited to be able to help be a part of this team and this experience!

Source: Twitch

PaperStainedInk (she/they): I’m Lily, also known as Paper (paperstainedink). I’m a bisexual, non-binary, disabled writer and streamer who is passionate about improving access for marginalised people in both the gaming and streaming industries.

I’ve known that I wasn’t ‘all girl’ since my early childhood, but I didn’t have the words to describe my gender identity until my early twenties. Finding a space to celebrate my non-binary feelings openly on the internet was hard, especially on Twitch. It’s taken time for me to carve out and own my niche. So when I was invited to join Transtopia, I was overjoyed. Twitch lacks visibility when it comes to marginalised gender identities; it is a part of Twitch that has long been overlooked. And I don’t want it to be overlooked anymore.

Transtopia provides that safe and inclusive space for those who may still be searching for community, as I used to be. I want to help change Twitch for the better, and I firmly believe that Transtopia is a path forward to achieving that. This stream team is, I hope, a light in the dark to those who may need it.

LimeJelloo (he/him): I joined Transtopia because I believe in building a community where trans and gender non-conforming people can have their voices uplifted. I believe in celebrating our joys and different experiences, and our community deserves a space to have that.

FrazleyS (she/her): I joined Transtopia because I want to amplify trans and gender diverse voices on Twitch. There needs to be a safe-place for ALL types of gender diversity. A place that doesn’t just focus on trans women, even though I am a trans woman, as the full experience of being trans and gender-diverse needs to be shown. I want streamers to feel safe when they go live, knowing there is a team behind them. I have learned a lot and grown into myself by being openly trans on Twitch as I came out. It’s helped me explore myself. Streaming as trans shows who we are, and helps us to become comfortable in the body we have.

To find out more about Team Transtopia and the content creators that make up the team, check out their official Twitch and Twitter.

Aimee Hart

[She/They] Aimee Hart specializes in queer fandom, video games and tabletop, having started her career writing for numerous websites like The Verge, Polygon, Input Magazine and more. Her goal now is to boost LGBTQ+ voices in the video games industry.