As the world of gaming has opened up over the years, so has streaming alongside it. Streaming has revealed new and exciting avenues for entertainment, with a variety of streamers around the world doing their utmost to foster communities and bring together likeminded people.
For LGBTQ+ streamers community, striking out against the norm, charity work and being a role-model is part of what makes streaming so fun and rewarding. That’s worth celebrating and to lead up to the Gayming Awards 2023, we’ll be highlighting each streamer who has been nominated for our LGBTQ Streamer of the Year, a category sponsored by Streamlabs.
Our latest Gayming Awards 2023 Streamer Spotlight is Espé Symoné.
Espé Symoné is a Louisiana native and Twitch Partnr who loves everything Dead by Daylight, Pokemon and Runescape. They stride to build a safe space for Black Queer viewers.
How did you get into video games/streaming?
I’ve been a game for as long as I can remember, but a streamer since January 2021. I was playing some Dead by Daylight with CoderGirlChan, a dear friend of mine that I’ve actually known before we both started streaming, and she told me “You would make a great streamer! Go live!” To that, I responded, “Oh, once I figure out how to get everything set up I will!” and she gave me that nudge to just press the go live button and learn as I go because there’s no time like today!
What is your favourite thing to stream?
Dead by Daylight and Fortnite!
What can people expect from your stream?
In my stream, you will find a safe space for Black, Queer viewers that just want to throw shade at each other all day and I love to have it that way. So often, Black, Queer viewers are misunderstood and labeled as “aggressive” for being their authentic selves and I wanted to create a space where they could exist without fear of being judged.
From myself, you can expect a bunch of screaming, some cracked gameplay, and horrible singing. Also, reading the girls in the chat right back because that’s how we show love to one another!
How has your experience as an out LGBTQ+/QTPOC streamer been?
Ha! My experience as a QTPOC has been quite interesting. I’ve actually gotten hate raided so many times that I’ve lost count. I’ve been banned on Twitch after someone joined my Discord while I was streaming and called me the N slur.
While there has been alot of negative things that have happened, the positives outweigh them for me. I have been able to meet and be around some amazing people who I love so dearly and am so glad to have met. Examples being Elix, Lillipie101, Coopackshun and DragTrashly. I’ve been blessed with having such a wonderful community that has my back and are often there for me. I’ve been able to join a wonderful stream team, Stream Queens, where I am surrounded by beautiful Drag Artists who have my back also! I’ve been featured on Twitch’s social media (and they even followed me) and gotten to do things like the Drag Showcase at TwitchCon SD 2022 (shoutout to Jenny, icon!). So, while there have been some lows, the highs are so much better, and they keep me going.
What do you do outside of streaming?
Outside of streaming, I am a full-time graduate student getting my Master’s Degree in Business Administration. I, actually, just entered my last semester and I am so excited to see what is next. I went back to school because I was bored and wanting to shake things up in life and I do not regret it.
I, also, love to vacation. Cruises in particular.
What do you enjoy the most about streaming?
I enjoy the sense of community! It feels great to have surrounded myself with Queer people who just want a place to belong. These people have inspired me in the same ways that I have inspired them. They, actually, were the ones who gave me the courage to come out as a Trans Woman in October of 2021. I wouldn’t trade them for the world – even though I’d probably tell them I would because we love to throw shade at each other.
What have you learned about yourself through streaming?
I wouldn’t say streaming has ‘taught’ me anything, but it has reinforced things that I’ve already known. I’m funny. I’m shady. I love my Black community. I love my Queer community. I will fight tooth and nail to ensure that Black, Queer individuals are represented fairly and not plagued with microaggressions.
What’s your main goal as a streamer for the future?
My main goal as a streamer for the future is to become a Twitch Ambassador. Twitch is a platform that I enjoy so much and I have been able to do so much within a span of two years. The next step for me is getting another stamp of approval from Twitch and providing me with more of a platform to continue to represent for the Black, Queer individuals on the platform.
As a Black, Queer streamer, a goal of mine is to continue to fight for representation and let it be known that our voices deserve to be heard regardless of how consumable we are for a white audience.
What are you looking forward to most this year?
Graduating with my Master’s Degree and diving deeper into my craft as a Streamer! I’ve been in Graduate school for a majority of my streaming career and that has held me back (in a good way) quite a bit due to schedule restraints.
How does it feel to be nominated for Gayming Magazine’s Streamer of the Year?
It feels AMAZING to be nominated for Gayming Magazine’s Streamer of the Year award! Being nominated for this award confirms that I am doing something right. My community trust me and put their faith in my mission to continue creating safe spaces for Black, Queer individuals and fighting for representation for us!
How do you think it’ll affect your streaming to win Streamer of the Year?
Growth is something that is always around me and winning Streamer of the Year will be proof that I am still growing, and I am doing things right! As a Black, Trans Woman, it would be such a great moment for me to know that I am representing the Black, Queer community to the best of my abilities and ensuring that our voices are heard!
Winning Streamer of the Year will provide me with more accolades to speak on when I am having conversations with different brands in an attempt to highlight the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the gaming world that extends past giving us LGBTQ+ representation that does not look like me but encompassing all forms of LGBTQ+ individuals within their brand and/or games!
So, I cannot wait to fly to New York City in April and walk on that stage when it’s time for them to announce me as the winner!
To find out more about Espé Symoné, head on over to their Twitch channel.