Gaming Convention Marred By Transphobic Incident

Thankfully, organizers were swift to take action.

An attendee at a recent gaming convention was kicked out after making a transphobic remark, prompting a strong response from both the event’s organizers and other gamers.

CoxCon, a two-day event in Shropshire, became embroiled in controversy earlier this month during a Q&A when one gamer asked founder Jesse Cox “Are traps gay?”

A “trap” is a slur used for transgender women, insinuating she’s trying to trick a man into sleeping with her. The phrase “Are traps gay?” has become something of a meme in gaming circles—a litmus test for whether or not someone is a “social justice warrior.”

The question at CoxCon prompted some laughter, but Cox, to his credit, was visibly offended. One of the event’s co-organizers, gaming YouTuber John “TotalBiscuit” Bain, quickly denounced the statement on Twitter.

“We condemn the transphobic ’question’ asked at the CoxCon panel,” Bain wrote. “If anyone knows the identity of the person please inform a member of staff.”

Within 15 minutes, Bain followed up by tweeting that the person had been identified and removed, adding, “We will not tolerate that bullshit in our event, ever.”

He later tweeted that he had donated the cost of the ejected attendant’s ticket to a local LGBT organization.

Undortunately other conference attendees expressed disappointment and even anger over Bain’s decision, insisting it was overkill for a harmless remark.

Others tweeted homophobic and transphobic remarks in his direction.

Bain remained resolute, though, insisting, “Thankfully your opinion is of no consequence.”

He added, “It’s not at all surprising that the kind of people that would oppose our action are the kind of people we wouldn’t want here anyway.”

He also received lots of supportive replies from attendees who were grateful for his actions.

Bain appears to have evolved in his opinions of the transgender community: In 2015, he openly mocked trans identities, tweeting, “I identify as a toaster. My pronouns are toast, toazt and tohst. Respect my choices or I will fucking murder your family.”

And the gaming industry as a whole has plagued by misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia: In 2014, female game developers and writers were targeted with malicious attacks and threats of violence during “GamerGate.” In 2015 the first-person shooter Kill the Faggot appeared on Steam’s Greenlight website. The same year, trans game developer Rachel Bryk committed suicide after being relentlessly trolled by transphobic gamers.

So while the “question” posed by the attendee at CoxCon was reprehensible, it’s nice to see a shift in how conventions and organizations are handling such incidents. Better late than never.

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