Friday, March 1, 2024
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Tabletop Simulator under fire after anti trans and gay chat bans

Tabletop Simulator is currently being review bombed after the tabletop game’s developer, Berserk Games banned a trans and gay player for simply stating they were gay in the game’s global chat.

Twitter use Xoe, a gay trans woman, has revealed via a Twitter thread and an online word document the extent of the homophobia and transphobia they received for merely expressing themselves on Tabletop Simulator’s chat. It was due to Xoe stating she was gay and/or trans that she was promptly kicked and banned from the chat for a short amount of time.

After being banned, Xoe took to Tabletop Simulator’s official Discord to ask a mod to clarify why they were banned in the first place. The moderator first responded with a general link to rules, however further clarified that when using global chat there was a certain expectation to keep things ‘family-friendly’. When asked whether mentioning being gay or trans was not considered family-friendly, the moderator responded that Tabletop Simulator was about playing board games and “not a place to discuss sexuality, fetishes, politics.”

Comparing sexuality to festishes aside, the moderators of the Discord immediately ignored Xoe’s question about whether they considered LGBTQ+ inclusivity a fetish or not and summarized that the banning of certain content (such as ‘gay’ or ‘trans’) was due to the fact that most uses of these particular words were used in a hateful way, making it easier to just blanket ban people who used them.

The problem with this, however, is that this means that LGBTQ+ players who are a part of Tabletop Simulator’s space have no way to express themselves if they wanted to find other queer players in the game’s global chat.

“The suppression of identity tells those people it’s not safe to be themselves in those spaces. I’d occasionally see some banter of people celebrating their queerness, people saying they love being gay, and the like, and I assume all of them must have gotten kicked the same way I did when I joined in.” Xoe explains in their word document. “This sets a precedent that you are not welcome here, that you can be here as long as you leave your marginalized identity at the door. When other people are allowed to speak about their hetero cis experiences but gay and trans ones are silenced, you are using your platform to say only hetero and cis people are embraced here.”

In an effort to see whether Tabletop Simulator would react the same if they behaved like a straight person (e.g saying ‘I’m straight’, ‘I’m cis’, etc) Xoe logged on as a different user to see what would happen. They were not kicked at all, up until they started to mention a fetish.

Xoe also included (via Twitter) several times that they mentioned the word ‘gay’ and was met with a ban each and every time.

As for Berserker Games’ response to this accusation of transphobia and homophobia within their rules, they posted the following tweet on Twitter.

We reached out to Xoe via Twitter direct messages in order to find out more.

“I would need to see their current moderators replaced with diverse moderators, including queer staff,” Xoe told Gayming Magazine after we’d asked what Tabletop Simulator and Berserk Games would need to do in order to rectify the homophobia and transphobia their moderation team and rules have displayed. “I would need to see an actual financial commitment to a notable LGBT charity.”

They also stated that they’d like a direct apology from Tabletop Simulator and Berserk Games. “I would at least like to be acknowledged and apologized to personally. I understand that I’m just one of many people who were kicked for expressing queerness, and that I was just someone who decided to pull threads, document, and share my experience, but for me personally to feel better I would need at least that. I will say I don’t see myself using the platform ever again. The damage has been done and it will take a long time for trust to be restored.”

We have reached out to Berserk Games for a comment on the ongoing situation.

Aimee Hart

[She/They] Aimee Hart is Editor-in-Chief of Gayming Magazine. She 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.

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