Photo credit: Austin & Abbey Sager, Sager Electronic Services
Bullying has affected my life ever since I can remember. No matter what, I felt as if I never had a safe space to go to. I would only feel comfortable and relieved when I played online video games, where I felt like I had friends and like people cared. But this was also my main source of bullying. Most of the video games I play have chat options, whether it be voice chat or text chat. This helps smoothly coordinate team-oriented games. Unfortunately, I am always the center of attention – not because I want to be, but because I am forced by my fellow gamers. It’s rare to find a girl on a video game, especially ones that have the courage to be proud of who we are, but it’s not rare for people to antagonistically ask us uncomfortable questions. These go along the lines of, “Are you a girl?” and “how old are you?” They even reach topics as inappropriate as my relationship status, where I live, and more. You would think it stops at the questions, but it doesn’t. The entire time I am treated differently because of my gender, whether it be good or bad.
It’s something I never asked for, yet it always happens when I play video games. Sometimes, it can get very scary. On one occasion, someone tracked down both of my home addresses, along with the names of my parents, and posted it online for everyone to see. It made me feel uncomfortable and, most importantly, unsafe.
This was a breaking point for me. After dragging myself through the pain and suffering, I decided to make a change. Not just for me, but for all the people out there who also have to deal with this.I decided that crying wasn’t an option. I wiped my tears away and thought long and hard about what I could do to promote change in my online and offline communities.
I thought, “why not start a movement?” As simple as it sounds, I wanted to be different than the other movements and organizations. I wanted to connect and relate to my peers in a way that would attract them to want to do more. After months of hard work and planning, Diverse Gaming Coalition emerged and paved the way for all of this to happen.
Photo Credit: Diverse Gaming Coalition in Boston, MA March 2017, Taken by Diverse Gaming Coalition
Diverse Gaming Coalition strives to incorporate fun into promoting kindness online and ending overall bullying and harassment. As an organization, we do it this way to get people involved in the movement that otherwise would never even think about it. Relating to people today is so important, and we are always coming up with new and exciting ways to do just that.
Our current project involves our anti-bullying Comic Book following our main character Asher, who is non-binary and a person of color- two major issues facing bullying today. With this comic, we hope to tackle these issues while promoting mental health, self-care, and most importantly, kindness.
Overall, I am proud of where I have come since I was a victim of bullying. Unfortunately, bullying does affect people every day. According to stopbullying.gov, kids who are bullied can feel like they are different, powerless, unpopular, and alone. Because of this, we need to come together and be stronger than the bullies. Never let a bully drag you down from what you love doing most because you will never push yourself to do what can change the world.