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.
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.
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.
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