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Twitch’s queer-disabled streaming space matters now more than ever

There’s something special about a Twitch stream chat that no other streaming platform has yet managed to replicate, especially for queer disabled people.


V.M. Ayala

Internet Culture

Posted on Jun 26, 2023   Updated on Jul 26, 2023, 5:30 pm CDT


I was featured for Twitch’s 2021 Pride event, appearing on the front page along with an impressive list of queer streamers. I played the game “Dream Daddy,” and to this day, it’s one of my favorite streaming experiences.

See, I had recently come out as non-binary, and she/they was new to me. I never would’ve tried they/them pronouns without encouragement from friends online. Twitch itself underscored the significance of this moment, using a soundbite of me talking about it, affirming that it’s okay not to know.

Gender is complicated. Non-binary folks in online spaces like Twitch helped me realize that—and that I was definitely she/they. ADHD and chronic fatigue friends I met in queer disabled streaming communities on Twitter and Twitch helped me embrace those elements of my identity on top of my queerness—to the point that I finally got an ADHD diagnosis at 31.

During that 2021 stream, I also mentioned that I’m a childhood cancer survivor dealing with chronic illness, pain, and fatigue. Some people in chat said that honesty from myself and other streamers about disabilities, mental health, and queerness helped them embrace their own. That’s why I love streaming. 

Twitch might be a lot to navigate, especially during Pride, but that moment of finding people like you? It’s beautiful. There’s something special about a Twitch stream chat  (when the chat is moderated and not bigoted and toxic, at least) that no other streaming platform has yet managed to replicate, especially for queer people. …

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*First Published: Jun 26, 2023, 4:54 pm CDT