Garena Philippines eSports, a Filipino eSport organization, created an “all-feminine” League of Legends tournament called The Iron Solari, in an effort to increase diversity in the gaming community. But a funny thing happened on the way to the tournament, and the organization is feeling the wrath of the gamersphere and reversing an odd but very real LGBTQ discrimination.
The Iron Solari, which the organization stated was created to “have an inclusive environment where no one feels left out, and of course for everybody to enjoy,” had a very specific stipulation – teams could only have one person who identifies as both female and lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, or face a one year ban.
According to IGN, Galena explained that the stipulation was in place “ensuring there's a fair level playing field for all participants. And there are arguments and concerns from other participants who disputes that Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered Women members may probably have some unfair advantage,” though they never commented on what that “unfair advantage” could possibly be.
Progressive gamers did not take too kindly to this, least of all Riot Games, developer of League of Legends. The studio, known for having a pro-gaymer reputation, tweeted that “LGBT players are welcome at official LoL tourneys. We're working with partners to ensure consistency with our values across all regions.”
The backlash has prompted Galena to reverse the stipulation. A statement on its website claimed the policy created some “good discussion and debate over the past 24 hours,” and that “after discussing the ruling with our partners and re-examining our approach, we have decided to remove these restrictions completely. This means that any player who self-identifies as female will be allowed to participate. We sincerely apologize for any offense we caused to the LGBT and gaming communities.”
Galena thanked gamers “who have consistently provided their feedback to help us learn and improve as we strive to develop an inclusive gaming environment for all.”