League of Legends tournament backtracks on discrimination against LGBTQ players

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I already get upset when I hear about all-female tournaments. They are fine as an added component of a tournament series, but I worry that they will marginalize women more than they will uplift them. However, this latest Garena tournament out of the Philippines has instituted such a disgusting policy that even Riot is horrified.

[Update] Garena has offered a response, saying they’ll lift the restrictions.

Our initial ruling on LGBT player restrictions within the Iron Solari League has created a lot of good discussion and debate over the past 24 hours. 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.

Our original intent when we put together this tournament was to promote diversity in the competitive gaming community. Hence, we are grateful to our players who have consistently provided their feedback to help us learn and improve as we strive to develop an inclusive gaming environment for all. We’ll also be keeping our promise of having an open dialogue with all parties as we plan this and future events

[Original Article follows]

According to Garena, they have had an open discussion with “various parties” including the all female teams who wished to take part in the Iron Solari League. They made the following judgement:

For any events we do, we always want to make sure we are able to have an inclusive environment where no one feels left out, and of course for everybody to enjoy. On this angle, we believed that allowing more to be eligible to join is obviously the answer and as many of our female teams have expressed — Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered Women members are their friends too. On the other hand, for any competitions, we seriously look at 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.

Wait wait wait! LGBTQ members will have an unfair advantage? Are they assuming that due to their sexual proclivities these participants might have an unfair click per second ratio? Is there some form of dexterity that is only afforded to lesbian or transgender women?

As a result of this perceived advantage, each team will be allowed to have a maximum of one LGBTQ player for the entirety of the tournament day. But, it gets even worse.

Any team who has violated the above provision, regardless if intentional or otherwise, whether discovered during the day of the event or some time after, will have all their team members (the female members as well as the Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered women member) sanctioned with a 1-year ban on all Garena-organized events, including subsequent Iron Solari Tournament.

So, if a woman is unsure of her sexuality, or worried about coming out, she had better just stay in the closet – coming out could lead a year-long ban for her and the rest of her team. That is simply obscene and horrendous from the Garena team. Luckily, it doesn’t conform to Riot Games’ policies and they will hopefully be forced to change this ruling.

Poor form eSports! You should be better than this.

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Last Updated: February 4, 2015

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Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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