Igor, an LGBTQIA+ gamer, began streaming online from a young age. Growing up feeling isolated and lonely, he found it provided both a creative outlet and a source of community. At the same time, he has been the victim of cyberbullying, and has faced a number of difficult challenges as a queer creator.
Nevertheless, Igor is determined to make systematic changes, and make the online space safer and more inclusive for the LGBTQIA+ community.
How long have you been a creator for?
I’ve been a creator since I was 11 (and I’m almost 22 now), but I started my current channel almost 6 years ago.
What inspired you to start / what is it your channel about?
I grew up feeling very lonely and isolated, so I played LOTS of games online, and then it stirred in me a desire to do more and start creating something around it. I saw other YouTubers creating game content and posting gameplays and I wanted to do the same, but for people like me.
“It is difficult for an LGBTQIA + person to fit in anywhere, especially in the gamer community”
As a member of the LGBTQIA + community, what challenges have you faced?
It’s difficult for an LGBTQIA + person to fit in anywhere, especially in the gamer community, but I am very proud to have conquered my space, and my community has grown more and more. But the challenges are not just online, we are challenged from when we’re little to adulthood. I think this is sad but in a way it prepares us and makes us stronger (which we would not need if society were less hypocritical).
How do you deal with these challenges?
I think it takes a lot of inner strength, and surrounding yourself with people who love you and want the best for you is a great help.
“Games for me are an escape”
Do you have any experience with cyberbullying?
A lot, since I started playing online games and still today. What is sad, is that games for me are an escape and sometimes it becomes a trigger because of other people. But I found ways to avoid being affected by it. However I fear a lot for more fragile people who end up being exposed to that kind of thing.
What kind of incidents have you faced?
Several times I read horrible and homophobic comments, both on my YouTube and playing live, and also in online games with voice chat or text chat. There were comments that told me to kill myself or that I shouldn’t have even been born, or simply trying to be offensive by calling me gay and synonyms.
Did you come out before or after starting the channel? Do you think it made it easier or harder?
Before! And it was much more difficult, difficult in terms of reaching audiences, but getting to know me, and accepting me, made it much easier in the matter of me knowing who I am, finding my personality and being able to transmit my best to people.
How do you balance your YouTube identity with your personal identity?
When I am playing I believe that I am more myself, happier, more excited, more spontaneous and when I am “working” and not streaming live, I am more reserved, more calm. I believe it is the perfect balance. I have this thought of always giving my best when I’m entertaining, and focusing more when I’m producing and editing my videos to get everything out as good as possible.
“People’s words have no power over you unless you decide to empower them.”
What would you tell your younger self?
People’s words have no power over you unless you decide to empower them. You are stronger than you think, believe it.
What advice would you give to other creators who have dealt with discrimination?
Trust your potential and words have no power over you. Fortunately in Brazil, homophobia, transphobia and racism is a crime, the correct thing is to make a police report.
How could companies – whether it be social media platforms or advertisers – better support the LGBTQIA+ community?
I believe that supporting the LGBTQIA + community should be done through including us more, and not just putting a rainbow filter in pride month. Invite more LGBTQIA +creators to advertise, and show that your brand supports the cause and creators all year round.
Meeting Matchmade helped me a lot, and connected me with amazing brands that gave me the freedom to be creative in my own way. I think you guys are creating opportunities for creators like me to follow their dreams and to be able to live off doing what they love.
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