Xbox One Presenter Humiliated Me On Stage, Says Transgender Journalist

A journalist says she was "completely dehumanised" on stage during an Xbox One Event at Eurogamer Expo 2013, by a comedian who made degrading jokes about her gender. Eurogamer Expo says it is investigating the matter.

Laura Kate Dale, who is a transgender woman, says she was called "he," "it," "thing" and "this one," by the presenter, who does not appear to be a Microsoft employee but an entertainer hired for the event.

Hope someone from Microsoft sees this. Your presenter made completely dehumanised me in front of an audience. Ruined my Eurogamer.

Shows me for trying to take part and have fun like everyone else.

Dale identified the presenter as Fraser Millward, a British actor and comedian.

She said later that booth personnel attempted to apologise but would not bring the presenter out for Dale to confront him.

People at the stage "appologise that I was upset by his comments". Refused to bring him out for me to talk to.

Refused to give full name, refused to appologise for his actual actions.

Eurogamer Expo's official Twitter account told several followers that expo staff were investigating the matter. An expo representative told Kotaku that comment on the matter was pending the completion of that inquiry.

Microsoft's corporate posture is one of support for transgendered persons, through its GLEAM employee resource group, and the company has been visible in that support, notably sending a Halo Warthog and a Master Chief cosplayer to march in Seattle's most recent Pride parade. Dale later said "I doubt it was intentional," referring to the comedian's jokes about her appearance, "but doesn't make it any less humiliating."

Kotaku has reached out to Dale and Millward via Twitter and is attempting to reach an Xbox representative for Europe.

Editor's Note: While we believe that it is important to report about issues of discrimination in gaming, we have decided not to link to Dale's Twitter account directly to diminish the amount of harassment she's received since the publication of this story. We encourage all readers, even those who disagree with the issues at hand, to remember that there are human beings on the other end of your online comments. Thank you to those who have used this story for measured, sensible discussion. -Stephen Totilo, Editor-in-Chief, Kotaku.com

To contact the author of this post, write to [email protected] or find him on Twitter @owengood.


Comments

    Pretty disgusting. If this situation did happen as the lady puts forward, name and shame the prick and burn him to the ground for sure.

    However that being said, definitely investigate it, review footage first and find out if the person isn't overreacting first. There's always that situation where they may indeed be doing just that... just playing devils advocate.

      Apparently the comedian denies calling her 'it', saying he only referred to her as 'this person'. I wanna see some video of this to see what really happened cause right now it's he said she said. But it brings up an interesting point. How do we refer to transgender individuals? Do we call them by their biological gender or their mental gender, either could be potentially offensive. I'll admit that 'this person' seems to appeal to me as the safe route.

      I'll never forget what my 7 year old once asked a transgender supermarket employee. They were really gender neutral in appearance and haircut and their name tag read 'Taylor' which didn't help. My son straight up said "are you a boy or a girl?" I nearly died of embarrassment but she smiled at me and said 'that's ok' then answered my son "I'm a girl". Kids ...

      Last edited 30/09/13 10:30 am

        Indeed, it's a very valid question. Legally they'll always be known as their original gender but socially they'll be whatever they want to be. I lived with my ex girlfriends cousin who received treatment from the age of 14 onwards in europe to switch genders to become a male, you would *NEVER* tell. He looked male, he had a male voice, there was zero chance of ever telling. If someone tells me they can, that person is a flat out liar. However, on his license, it says 'female' as the Australian government only recognises gender at the time of birth.

          Wrong. Your legal gender can be changed, as can your passport and drivers license.

            I read this in a dwight schrute voice.

            Personally I dunno, I've never applied to have mine changed lol. I was a little too forward and a little too jumping the gun in my comment up there, apologies. But as I said, when he tried to, he was told back in 2001 that he wasn't able to? Maybe it's because he's european and not naturalised, maybe it's because in 2001 the laws were different who knows and who cares. All that matters in the end is he sees himself as a male, that's his opinion. His drivers license STILL says female btw. We have a laugh about it because it's got a dude on it with a freakin beard.

            Last edited 30/09/13 1:30 pm

              I had a lot of issues with my name being automatically changed when I got my Passport. So all the stupid complications for what should be a simple matter make sense to me.

              Yes my name was changed, when I was 21 without my consent or knowledge. Because of the laws in place when I was born. And I was born in Australia in Southport, from a long line of people also born in Australia. So no it's not an accident to do with nationality and becoming an Australian citizen.

              I had for the first 21 years of my life me mothers last name. By Law a child born before 2001 must have the fathers name. When the mistake of my Father being absent from my Birth Certificate was rectified in 2001. My name was automatically changed and I never knew until I got a Passport two years ago. Yet I used my updated Birth Certificate to get Licences, prove my identity for banks, and all the other things you need it for. It wasn't until I tried for a Passport did this come to light.

              You see I needed a Photo ID with my new name on to change it back to the name that was actually on my photo ID. It involved lot's of expense, and long talks with people in the department of births, deaths and marriages.

          I used to be an entertainer and I once referred to a person in the crowd as 'this guy here' and as the words left my tongue I knew I'd just hung myself cause it they were a woman. She was wearing a really big hoodie, hip hop style, and baggy jeans but she had long hair and stuff. I could tell she felt embarrassed about it, especially in front of a large crowd. She wasn't transgender at all, she was just dressed super tomboy style. She wasn't trying to look like a man but she seemed to prefer less feminine apparel.

          It makes it hard because I expect transgender people to be used to explaining things but some people, girls I'm particular, can appear masculine and it could be really insulting to ask what sex they are.

          That was such an embarrassing moment for me O_o

            That's why you ask their name and then use it straight away.

            "I have a wonderful volunteer by the name of - I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name? - *waits for answer* Carbuncle! Thanks for volunteering Carbuncle! Huge help. You are truly one of my biggest fans, I can tell."

          You can legally change your gender and can change it to neutral: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-01/gender-story/4727326

        Why not just use whatever pronoun the individual prefers? It doesn't need to be confusing. If you're unsure of their gender you can ask if the situation is appropriate, otherwise use their name and wait for a clue to their gender.

        If someone looks and/or sounds male or looks female, there's no reasonable way for you to know otherwise without prior warning. In those cases, the trans folk I know expect the misunderstanding. It sucks for them when they've made pre-op efforts to try and appear otherwise (through make-up, hair, and clothing), but it's something they're used to and a serious reason for them to make the change - to combat their dysmorphia.

        It's on them to then correct you, and say, "Actually I prefer to be called/I am a woman/man." Then it's on you to respect that and file it away for future interactions.

        Some trans folk get uppity and complain loudly that people shouldn't be making assumptions based on every relevant sense their body has to intuit these things, but those people are just acting out on their frustrations, like a handicapped person who aggressively lashes out at anyone who might make harmless offers to hold doors open for them and things like that - only worse when there's no reasonable signs for you to use as potential indicators.

        That's their damage, not society's. It's completely unreasonable to expect everyone in the world to second-guess everyone else's gender for potential sensitivity to 0.01% of the population. It's a shame that the ones who have a problem with that are the noisy ones who are some folks only exposure to the trans community.

        (Being able to understand why someone is being a jerk doesn't make them any less of a jerk.)

          'get uppity'

          OH NO YOU DI'NT

          *read rest of post*

          oh dear, you did.

          At least your last line was ironically relevant.

        "How do we refer to transgender individuals? Do we call them by their biological gender or their mental gender, either could be potentially offensive."

        You could ask what they prefer, that's not offensive at all.

          Coming from a really old fashioned upbringing and trying to be as open minded as possible I would still feel a little offensive asking that question. I know I shouldn't be, but my small town instincts kick in.

            It's perfectly natural to feel that way. I think it's that cautiousness you're describing that keeps the question genuine and unoffensive; on the right track!

        From the few trans people I know & others who's work I read, it seems the consensus is that gender pronouns are used based on whatever gender they say they are. Eg: if they've transitioned to or they're transitioning towards female, use she.

        As I understand it, using at birth gendering is generally considered impolite or insulting.

        As for this shit for brains, he needs a slap upside the head and a sharp drop in high profile employment

          But if you're in a public setting, on stage, the moment to do that has passed, it'd be a little awkward doing that on stage. If the presenter's only crime was saying 'this person' I think that's pretty reasonable.

          Well. I'd say it's only impolite or insulting if you actually KNOW which gender they want to be referred to.

          Anyone who thinks it's impolite to refer to someone by their biological gender (without knowing they're trans) is a hypersensitive nutcase.

        'They' is usable as a gender neutral singular pronoun. I don't know if it's acceptable by transgender persons (each person I'm sure has their own preferred pronoun, he/she) but it seems a bit better than 'it' to me.

          Yeah, 'it' is pretty bad form

            Let's ignore the Transgender issue for a moment, singling somebody out for your comedy routine is pretty bad, especially when your representing somebodies company.

            Imagine if they picked on the somebody who had glasses on, or somebody in a Sony shirt because it was a Microsoft event.

            If it's some sort of multiple comedian insult fight, it could be quite funny. But randomly finding a member of the audience to pick on is just bad comedy. Now when that person is Transgendered and has probably copped far more than their share of Flak from small minded idiots.

            The one exception where you can single somebody out is when they start Heckling, than your allowed to take them apart. That being said if you need a good laugh at somebodies expense and it being deserved. Type Heckler into Youtube and find your favourite Comedian.

            Tom Gleeson, semi censored but probably NSFW
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQsInBTO6ew

        Kids'll do that - last year my daughter saw a man in a turban at the shopping centre and exclaimed to me "look Dad a Genie!"

      I agree

      Lets shelve the pitch forks and torches until we have reason not to
      I find people are very quick to think the worst of people when its in direct relation to politically, and socially, hot topics

      If it turns out that this comedian really is a massive douche, we can just as easily get those forks-n-torches back off the shelf and burn him at the "social media stake" after all

        This the truth. Obviously, terrible if true but something i'm finding absolutely sickening is Kotaku's inference of guilt when there is absolutely no evidence given. We have one person saying something bad happened, one person saying it did not ("This person" is not a call to arms) and Kotaku immediately stands to one side when they have limited information. I'll probably get downvoted for this but i'm going to go out and ask exactly why they're choosing to believe the words of one individual over the other when both provide the same "evidence"? I call this irresponsible. Playing Senator McCarthy only trivialises the issue.

    I do hope MS get out ahead of this, it'd be a shame to fumble after all of the good pro-lgbt stuff they do.

    If you are going to say in the story you are not posting Laura's twitter details then please make sure you change the thumbnail picture on the main page as it has her Twitter details on it.
    Editing is useful once in a while.
    However, I do think the behaviour of the "comedian" was disgusting and used as a means for a cheap laugh possibly due to a lack of any decent material??

    Last edited 30/09/13 9:41 am

      Kotaku is where editing comes to die.

      I would agree that if you are essentially bullying someone for laughs it's probably because your other material is pitifully weak.

    They've chosen to not post a link to Dale's twitter account, but posting Laura Kate Dale into google brings it up immediately. Looks like Dale is not happy at all about Kotaku posting about it as it's attracted a hell of a lot of hate to her, but then she was the one posting about it publicly on Twitter in the first place. Regardless, I feel bad for her, seems like a fair mess right now :/

    Its goddamn aweful that stuff like this happens, but im sure MS didnt intend on the comedian to do something like this.
    I hope that people dont abuse MS directly for this, but im sure some people will start labelling MS as hating trans-gender people.

      Videogame companies should stop hiring washed up celebrity 'comedians' for their events full stop. Anyone remember that Jamie Kennedy at Activision's thing a few years back? Unfunny, offensive and crude were just the tip of the iceberg. And when one of them goes out and does something like this, it reflects badly on the brand. MS should know better.

    Fraser Millward is not even that funny (check out some youtube clips), it goes to show what a poor "comedian" he is when he needs to attack a journalist to get some cheap laughs.

    Personally, I'm finding the back and forth between Owen Good and Laura Kate Dale on Twitter over getting this article removed from Kotaku and whether it should have been written in the first place (and initially with Dale's twitter address linked) to be far more troubling.

    US Kotaku doesn't have a good reputation when it comes to journalistic ethics. I think it might be time encourage them to rectify that.

    Last edited 30/09/13 12:05 pm

      Yeah, I just read up on that.

      At least Polygon had the deceny to ask if she wanted to be subjected to an article.

      Putting up an article that gave bigots/trolls someone new to attack was pretty poor.

        Is that what's happening on Kotaku US? As you can see, AU's been pretty mild, so far.

        Thank god for our smaller pool of haters.

          Yeah, mate. Horrendous.

          She's been getting the full range of death threats, etc. Also when she put out her mobile for Owen to ring her, she started getting "Kill yourself" calls.

            ...Fuck' sake.

            Don't ever change, Kotaku AU. Bastion of (relative) sanity.

        If people aren't allowed to write about it, then how can we ever address it? You can't claim to have been harassed, humiliated or bullied and then turn around and get annoyed because someone writes an article about your ordeal. It may have been wise to conceal the person's identity, but it seems this article has been edited because apparently the victim exposed the alleged bully by name on twitter in order to name and shame them.

        The bigots and trolls are always going to be out there and there is always a risk they might go after someone. To stop that you'd have to do nothing short of turning off the internet.

          Eh, she's complaining on Twitter to her direct followers.

          Owen making a Big Deal about it opened the floodgates of tweet and phone harassment, and she begged him to remove the article.

          Kotaku US declined.

          If their article is causing harm, and the subject asks for it to be removed, and you don't - "for the cause!" - then I think your priorities are wrong.

          Or, like others have said, you're after click revenue.

            Twitter is a public platform. I sympathise with her situation and condemn the bigots without reservations, but as soon as you go online and start posting you have to be aware the blow back it can have. Especially about an issue like this.

          I think it would have been wise to mention the events without naming anybody involved. The issue is discussed and nobody gets targetted.

        This is actually a lot worse than that. It was expressly stated that she did not want this article posted.

        "Wait did Kotaku even contact you when they decided to make an article about this?"
        "They contacted me over twitter, I said no and asked them not to. Posted anyway."

      Possibly a good point. It does seem sometimes like they have a quota to maintain on topics which mention gender issues. Difficult to tell if that's because of a desire to drag up awareness of minority issues and perspectives, or to drive up comments/ad-views. Or both. The latter would seem to be getting the upper hand if there's nothing productive to come out of the discussion, though.

      I feel embarrassed for kotaku after reading the exchange of tweets, that's all I can say.

    I just don't get "transgender" your DNA disagrees with what you are claiming.
    Personal belief nothing more.

      The brain's a pretty complicated thing, something we still don't fully understand, scientifically.
      When drugs and electricity can completely change people's personalities, it's not a stretch to think that too much of something in the womb could do something to make someone disagree with what they've got.

      That's like saying birds exist. Sure, you're correct but holy hell are you missing 900% of the picture.

      Sperm meets egg, you're just a lump of meat. Eventually, you form meat in the shape of a human. That fetus is set up female(technically neutral with female characteristics, but for the sake of simplicity..). As well as the body, there are differences in the brain structure of the sexs. For a male to be formed, a signal has to go off and trigger the body and the brain to transition into the other one. Ovaries become testes, labia fuses to from scrotum(And now you know where that line comes from). "Balls dropping" is completely apt, because they drop down your left over vaginal canal.

      Gender dysphoria is when only the body or the brain goes, not the other. Leaves a giant disconnect.

      Here is a handy video that will hopefully make things a bit more confusing for you.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXAoG8vAyzI

      Since you "just don't get transgender" I suggest you begin reading. Your statement of 'personal belief nothing more' is not backed up by any research I have read on the subject.

      The subject of gender is fascinating. Some people simply do not fall into 'man' or 'women'. It is all so wonderfully more complex than mere genitals.

        I see it like this. If you have a y chromosome then that makes you a male. If you don't then you'r not. I could believe scientific rd and transform my body into one however it's my opinion that I'm just a person who has changed their body to look like one.
        I understand a lot of people may disagree with me and that's fine.
        Also I don't need scientific proof to justify a belief/opinion on a subject matter. It's like saying someone would neee scientific evidence on why they thought abortion was right or wrong purely from a moral perspective.

          It's not too hard to imagine being a guy who prefers doing stuff typically assigned to women, or vice versa. In fact, it's stereotyped often. What you're struggling to understand, and it's a difficult mental jump to make the first time, but there is a significant difference between 'Gender' and 'Sex', and it's definitely worth your time to read about it. Just in case you weren't aware of this, a lot of people use scientific evidence to make their position on abortion too, I am one of those.

            But preferring to do things that are normally down by the other gender doesn't make you the other gender. I love shopping, i loved playing netball and i love decorating cakes does liking these stereotypically girl things make me a girl? No of course not. I'm still a guy who happens to like these particular things.
            For me i see it like this: if i a white guy sees himself as aboriginal and decides that he is one even though he isn't and dyes his skin to match the skin of the aboriginal population should he be recognized as an aboriginal and receive the same benefits as someone who is actually aboriginal?
            My perspective is no because at heart they are still the same person they were before.

            It is my view that their is nothing wrong with someone associating with the other gender however in my opinion that still doesn't change the fact that you aren't of the other gender no matter what currently available treatments you seek.
            I think the only time i could see this stance changing is if it became possible to replace the undesired chromosome Y/X depending on your situation in every single Cell in your body.

              Stereotypes don't define gender. There's nothing inherently 'female' about netball, it's just a sport. People infer that it's a 'girls' sport, but that's the result of culture and stereotypes. If you like decorating cakes, you like decorating cakes, whether you're male or female. The fact that you like decorating cakes is unconnected to your gender. So it's important to recognize that whenever you think "that's what girls do" or "that's for guys", then those are stereotypes that you are reinforcing, not some fundamental construction of gender. The pushback that a lot of women and men suffer for enjoying and participating in activities attributed to the other gender is not because "they're not doing what they should be doing". It's because society has encoded stereotypical behaviours and practices as uniquely masculine or feminine, and people react with opposition when they see those stereotypes being breached.

              Your analogy about aboriginal people is kinda dumb, because everyone has the potential to become male or female in utero, and we can recognize natural occurrences where the biological processes that determine gender sometimes result in intersex people; where the body DOESN'T develop in what we would consider a 'normal' way. On the other hand, if you don't have aboriginal ancestry, then you won't be born with what we recognise as aboriginal characteristics. There is actually evidence that indicates that certain structures in the brains of transgender people correlate with the gender they identify as, not their 'birth' gender, even before hormone therapy. So it is possible that transsexual individuals are merely another example of intersex people, where there is an actual physical component to their condition. So your analogy is pretty misguided, because while we have evidence that transgender people are that way because of certain occurrences during development in utero, it's impossible for a person not of Aboriginal heritage, with no Aboriginal parentage or ancestry, to ever be 'born Aboriginal'. A person outside that culture may adopt traditional practices and belief structures of that culture, but there's no physical basis for that, it's purely self-motivated. That's simply not the case for transgender individuals.

              Finally, what is your definition of 'at heart'? Because a lot of transgender individuals recognize that their external physical characteristics differ from their sense of self, and frankly, biological sex is not fully understood at this point in time, and it's certainly not a black/white dichotomy of male and female. Most people would probably recognise that identity is not a construction of physical characteristics, but it is a self-generated mental schema of one's own beliefs and perceptions, and how those perceptions intermingle with external social and cultural structures. 'At heart' is a phrase that really doesn't mean anything, most transgender people would probably state that 'at heart', they are the gender identity that most people would recognise as not corresponding to their biological sex, given our limited and sometimes naive recognition of what constitutes 'biological sex'.

              So should their identity be dictated to them, or do we recognize peoples' own liberty to choose how they identify? I would suggest that the latter is a healthier and more inclusive option, because that way everyone gets to feel comfortable expressing themselves with the identity that they feel best fits them. A guy who is born male, grows up, goes through a male puberty, and identifies as male, does not suffer if the society he is in accepts self-determination of identity. A trans woman who is incorrectly declared to be male, grows up and has to deal with the dysphoria that comes with being trans, especially when her body begins to develop in ways that differ from her own recognition of her body, and is then told by external influences that she's not what she feels she is, and refuses to recognise her as the identity that makes her feel comfortable in her own skin, and discriminates against her for not conforming to the societal stereotypes expected of a gender she does not recognise as her own, is going to suffer greatly from an external enforcement of an identity that feels incorrect to her. Sometimes the biological process doesn't work right, and it's really important that we recognize that as a thing that actually happens, that transsexual and intersex people actually exist in the world we live in, and recognize that sometimes our recognition of the relationship between gender and sex isn't as simple as the form of it we teach to children. It doesn't hurt you to accept people as their identified gender, but it DOES hurt them if you don't. If we're informed and cognisant that sex and gender are not inextricably interlinked, then it's a healthier and more inclusive society to recognize that people are the gender they say they are... not the gender we decide they must be.

      If you don't "get it", then how can you presume it's a personal belief thing? Also, why imply that personal beliefs are something to be dismissed? Please, if you'd like to learn more, Google it - there's a lot going on there.

    First off i have no problem with anyone that's LGBT. But I think Laura Kate Dale is just using this situation to boost her profile. If you read her tweets and what she is retweeting she does not sound very legit to me. Hey I could be wrong but in the midst of all this shit she tweets about having passed over 1000 followers now.....C'mon Son!

    I can't make a call without seeing the video. However, also I can't help but think about what the transgender individual was expecting to happen when they stepped on stage with a comedian?

    Last edited 30/09/13 7:10 pm

    Owen, I can maybe understand how you overlooked contacting her to ask permission to feature her prominently in your article, but did you seriously write an article where the only evidence provided was hearsay without so much as thinking about contacting her for so much as a statement?

    you're worse then Luke, and not by any small stretch.

    I'm impressed with the comments here, only one dumb comment out of 60+. And hey, he even qualified it that he doesn't understand. Good job Kotaku Australia :D

    Last edited 02/10/13 9:26 am

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