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A certified judge has been banned from participating in an official procedure Pokemon Event for “transphobic behavior” towards a group of trans players at an official event that took place last weekend.
PokéBeach reported that several players had filed complaints about Pokémon’s official support system after the judge in question allegedly harassed a group of trans players during and outside of the Vancouver Regionals. According to players, the Texas judge approached them and asked for feedback on how judges could be inclusive at these events. But then the conversation started to turn sour as the judge commented on the players’ performances and started talking about them.
“[He] started on a positive note, asking us how Pokemon judges could do better [to be] more inclusive. I think the original discussion came from a place of sincerity.
“But it developed quickly. The judge “told each of the trans women in our group what they could tell they were ‘born boys’ for reasons like ‘You have a boyish build’ or ‘You have a male face.’ He didn’t listen to ours [views] and chose to talk about us instead.”
Players also reported that the same judge in question followed them to a private dinner uninvited and “continued to anger” the group. The judge asked for feedback for a chance to climb the ladder. At the same time, however, he continued to criticize the players’ looks, claiming that “they don’t pass as women”.
“He needed players who give him good feedback to move up the ladder. During dinner he continued: “[go around] one by one to all of us pointing out why we don’t pass as women.”
It was reported that the Texas judge had allegations ahead of the Vancouver regional election. Fortunately, after shaken players reported the judge for his transphobic actions, the organizers acted quickly and made sure the affected group was safe. As for the judge, it was reported that he was stripped of his certified status and banned from the community.
In 2019, The Pokémon Company International released a company-wide policy dedicated to promoting diversity, equality, and inclusion in all areas of the organization. This includes official tournaments. The policy outlines the Pokémon Company’s commitment to “encouraging an inclusive environment for all participants” and the importance of this.
“The Pokémon Company International is committed to its role as the Play! Pokemon Tournaments worldwide to foster an inclusive environment for all participants, regardless of factors including but not limited to age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender and/or disability…
“…Building a truly diverse and inclusive program is a long-term and ongoing process to which we are fully committed.
We recognize that this is a core area of the program that we must continually monitor and strive for
And it’s not only Pokemon that pushes for a safer playing environment in his tournament. Konami recently updated its tournament rules, stating that it will immediately disqualify players who intentionally misgender other players. According to The Gamer, players with a reported or known history of toxic behavior could also be disqualified from participating before they even set foot in the event.
With trans rights continuing to be an ongoing issue in the United States and other parts of the world, it’s great to see popular gaming tournaments taking steps to promote a safer environment for players, particularly those who view these games as an escape from their view everyday life.