This article is cross-posted on Shiny New Cartridge.
In a story that once again links up social justice and video games, a translator for Valve has filed a discrimination lawsuit after being terminated by Valve. I’m not going to get too far into the particulars as others have already done that better: here’s a Polygon article, for instance.
I also know that there’s a lot of nuance as to what is discrimination and was is firing for cause. I’m not a lawyer. Not even close.
But what caught my attention was the woman involved being called “it” by her supervisor. Even if that only happened once, that’s one time too many.
Pronouns are important. I’ve chosen not to do anything about mine (I don’t write about it much here, but I identify as gender non-binary, perhaps slightly feminine, though I am biologically male and plan to stay that way), but for many people, being called by the correct pronoun is so important. It’s a kind of validation of existence, but in a workplace, it means that you’re more or less safe.
I’m careful about how much I express myself in my job simply because I don’t have tenure yet. I’m protected by the law, but still, just to be sure, I don’t really throw myself out there. It’s not my nature.
I expect this, though, to be a topic that’s much more explosive in comments sections, especially given how many strides have been made in social justice around video games (and how much push back there has been). It’ll be a lot like the comments over at Yahoo! Sports on the situation related to the national anthem at a recent Padres game.
This is an important reminder, though, that video game companies are made up of people. People who screw things up. We’ve made a lot of progress in the last decade in a lot of areas in social justice, but we have a long way to go, too. Someone being called “it” is a stark reminder of that.