Streamer Spotlight: SailorAmy

A shot of Amy mid-stream. Isn’t her overlay cute?

We’ve all been catching up with our favorite media recently, binging Netflix and YouTube, finding new streamers on Twitch, etc. Today, I wanted to take the chance to put the spotlight on a smaller trans streamer from Australia who I was lucky to have the chance to interview and ask some questions about what it is like getting started and trying to find a foothold in the over saturated market that Twitch has become.

Many people have been calling for a mass exodus from Twitch to Mixer, an alternative platform that is cited as being better if not only because it isn’t owned by Amazon. I’m not going to be touching on those things today, but it is relevant. It helps to realize how big streaming has gotten. Not only has Facebook and Youtube attempted to get in on the action with live streaming, but even Discord has had the functionality for some time, allowing streamers to control their audiences more.

On top of this, the different tools for streaming have been getting better and more varied as we go on. I remember starting out using OBS when I began trying to stream years ago, while many people are starting out now on Streamlabs OBS, which has exponentially more functionality that is more intuitive, streamlined, etc.

All of this in mind, let’s hear from the lovely SailorAmy about her experience with gaming in general and with getting started on Twitch.

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Me: Okay so first things first: When did you start gaming?

Amy: I began playing games at a young age, around 7 years old. I vividly remember my days on the PS1, playing timeless classics like the Spyro Trilogy, Crash Bandicoot and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Now as a 22-year-old, I still experience the joy of gaming that I did as a kid but now I’m playing games like Animal Crossing, Breath of the Wild, and Cuphead

Me: How has being trans changed gaming for you, if at all? Was any part of it helpful in your journey coming out and discovering your identity?

Amy: I do remember through my early years, even before I realised I was trans that I had spent time creating female characters within games. It took quite some years to realize I had done this as a way to connect more to the characters, which in turn helped me along my path of exploring my gender identity. I find that throughout many trans gaming pages, many of us like to use these character creations to explore who we are and I hope that kids are able to do the same too. Being able to have your own little world where everything feels right is a great first step, and it definitely worked for me.

Me: I agree! It’s a very common thread among trans folks who have grown up with video games for a reason. Do you have a day job at the moment? If so, what brought you to streaming?

Amy: This leads to a really defining moment in my life. Almost exactly a year ago I suddenly fell ill with an unknown illness which resulted in many hospital admissions and for many months I was an undiagnosed patient who experienced continuous pain, nausea, and breathlessness. Eventually, I found a doctor who trusted me and listened to what I had to say, and not long after I was diagnosed with gastroparesis, and Postural-Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). Due to my illnesses and their sudden onset I had to leave my two jobs in the music industry which I had started right out of university, both being dream jobs.

Without being able to work, and having to be home very often due to pain and such I eventually decided that streaming was the best thing I could do. Now I’m able to work whenever I like, and at my own pace, however, the great thing about streaming is that it doesn’t feel like a job, and I’m able to relax and have fun with others. My goal through streaming is to prove that as both a chronically-ill/disabled person and as a trans-woman it is still possible for me to succeed in life, and I want to give hope to others in my community. If I can prove the bigots wrong and show [that] we as a community are worth listening to, then I’ve done my job.

Me: Wow! What a twist! With a wife that suffers from chronic illness and has suffered from gaslighting by Doctors, I understand your relief to finally be heard and trusted! I love that answer, how heartwarming!

So streaming is your full-time job now? If so, are there days where you wish you were reaching a bigger audience more easily? Or do you prefer to be more connected to a smaller community of regular viewers?

Amy: That’s a great question, and I’ve got a few different points of view or ideas about reaching a larger audience. With my streams, I find the most enjoyable ones for me are the streams where I can interact with viewers and be able to have a fun time together. Given that I still have quite a small following, I’m not reaching a lot of people currently but as long as my viewers are enjoying the content and I’m having a fun time, then I’m happy.

Relating back to the previous question, it’d be nice to have a larger audience so I’m able to expand the voice of my communities and be able to show that we’re not all as different as people may like to believe. I don’t necessarily aim to be the next big streamer, but I do like to think that I’m the first Amy Nitsch and that if I work hard enough, I’ll reach my goals.
I’m aiming for streaming to be my full-time job, especially as it caters to what I want out of it. Given that I can feel quite unwell at times both physically and mentally, I’m able to stop streams early if don’t have the energy on that particular day. I like to mention on stream that I do have my illnesses, and that some days will be slower than others but everyone who watches completely understands. I already feel like I’m fulfilling the goal of creating an understanding and respectful community, one where we all listen to each other
Me: Speaking of communities, have you had any luck networking with other trans streamers?
Amy: Given that I had a lot of extra time with being ill, and that I hadn’t checked out Twitch too much previously and I went looking for trans streamers and eventually stumbled across a streamer known as LinusFrog. After watching a few of her streams I joined the discord and become friends with a few people within the community. A few of these people became my first trans friends and I’m forever grateful for their hospitality and their open arms. Whilst I haven’t streamed with other trans streamers yet, it’s something I’d like to do in the future and I’m hoping that through these streams I can do dedicated events where I’m able to raise money for several charities relating to both chronic illness/disability and trans charities. I also hope that I can do the same for other people as LinusFrog has done for me. If I can give people the confidence to stream or do anything then I’m happy. No streamer is a competitor, we all do the same thing and all understand that streaming is something we enjoy and have fun with. I’m just another streamer who hopes to give light to others and the more of us there are, the louder voice we have on Twitch

Me: I find this attitude a lot in the trans community to be honest – uplift others as you wished someone had uplifted you as a young egg, be a good example, share your light, etc.

To switch gears a little bit: As an Australian Streamer, do you find that you have a better time streaming during times when more Americans are on or when its more Europeans and fellow Australians?
Amy: It’s really interesting because for me a lot of it comes down to statistics. Funnily enough, I came close to failing many math tests through high school but now I’m using math to help me find what my best suited time is. Currently, I’m trialing streams to be accessible in the US market as 20% of all Twitch viewers come from the US, and it seems to be doing well. Whilst I start streaming at 9 am AEST, I’m currently deciding if I want to do longer streams, or do a night stream as well as the morning one so I’m able to reach a wider audience. I’m lucky that my Dad has let me move back in with him due to my illnesses and I’m very fortunate to have the time to work all of this out. Not everyone has this opportunity and other streamers may be working during the week and streaming on weekends. I’m very thankful that my Dad has been able to help me with Twitch and has given me guidance along the way. His support is undeniable and I’m incredibly thankful for that.

Me: Ahhh, yes very lucky indeed to have familial support. That’s always good to hear! I’m very happy about how well you’re doing after what you’ve struggled with :slight_smile:

I know most of us are stuck on Animal Crossing right now, and for good reason! Aside from that, what are your favorite genres of games? What systems do you play aside from switch?
Amy: Once the PS2 and Xbox had come out, I ended up playing a lot of stereotypically male games primarily due to not being socialised as a woman and expected to fall into a certain stereotype. I was playing Call of Duty, Halo, and Fifa often which are games I’m still happy to play but now that I’m free of that particular stereotype my library of games has expanded.
I’m a big fan of RPGs such as Fallout New Vegas, Witcher 3, and Skyrim on Xbox and I’ve found myself playing more relaxing games as of late. I stumbled upon Celeste and Stardew Valley and the calm and soothing nature of them both have both open my eyes to a new style of game. Being able to take things at my own pace and decide how I want to play is a wonderful part of those games.
Funnily enough one of my favourite types of games is idle games, and I think that’s partly the reason I enjoy slow soothing games. One that I’ve been playing for almost a year every day is NGU Idle, something that I would’ve never expected a few years ago. It emphasises the idea of slow progression and it’s an idea I have tried to apply to my mental and physical health. Understanding that progress is slow with health has definitely helped me learn how to manage and cope with my situation and knowing that eventually I’ll reach my goal is a wonderful feeling
Me: To wrap things up, do you have any advice on things to avoid as a Twitch Streamer for those thinking about getting into it? Especially as a trans individual?
Amy: When I started thinking about streaming I went to quite a few streams asking the same question and one incredibly valuable piece of advice came from streamer Crakie. She mentioned that it’s important to block or ban viewers who are being inconsiderate and rude and this can definitely be applied to being a trans streamer. Whilst increased viewers sounds great on paper, it should never come as the cost of your own mental health. I’ve set up a few banned words and created rules for the stream to keep people in check and I’ve not had a single problem since. It can be hard to face criticism especially for something that is core to you as a person but if you keep yourself surrounded with a positive community, your viewers will stand up for you too, and seeing this happen gives you the feeling of safety which I’ve found to be important.
The most important advice I can personally give is to enjoy what you’re doing. Whilst I’ve had a few standout streams just based on viewer numbers, I’ve found that the streams where I’m having more fun, and feeling more relaxed have been the best streams without a doubt. I also find it important to acknowledge all of my victories whether it be donations, follows, or just a positive and enjoyable stream because you won’t always be able to tick every box when you start streaming. If I just tick one box per stream, I’m happy.
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Isn’t she sweet? I more than enjoyed my time chatting with her and I hope this has helped some of you who may be thinking about starting your own channels, no matter what platform you might use! There is tons of great advice from external sources, but hearing from within our own community is always good because it is tailored to us and we understand the nuance in how different it can be for us while it might seem mostly the same from the outside.
If you’d like to follow her, here are her social accounts that she gave me to share:
Until next time, stay safe out there and try to stay home!

About BaileyQG

Bailey started gaming under the wing of her grandmother who played RPG games on the Sega Genesis. Her first actual console was the N64, where she played games like Smash and Donkey Kong, but she really got into gaming with the rise of the PS1 and Dreamcast consoles alongside her trusty GameGirl that was always running Pokemon Blue (the first game she ever beat). Since then, she's played through 3 Xbox 360s, several Gameboys of different gens, a PS2, and a few PCs! Now mostly on PC and Switch, she spends her time at home when not at work, taking care of her disabled wife and their precious cat-baby, Tart.

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