Only One LGBTQ Person Allowed Per Team In League Of Legends Tournament

Only One LGBTQ Person Allowed Per Team In League Of Legends Tournament

Garena, operator of League of Legends in places like Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and the Philippines, is hosting an all-women eSports competition. Hurrah! There's just one problem: they have put a limit on the number of LGBTQ people allowed per team because they might offer an "unfair advantage."

It's a puzzling policy that could've, admittedly, been mangled a bit by the language barrier. But still, the rule itself is clear as day: one lesbian or trans woman per team in Garena's upcoming all-women Iron Solari League tournament, which will take place at the end of the month in Manilla, Phillipines. No exceptions. Breaking this rule — whether knowingly or not — will apparently result in a one year ban for all team members.

Garena made the announcement in an update on their eSports site:

1) Each team will be allowed to have a maximum of one (1) Gay/Transgendered woman for the entirety of the tournament day. Therefore, teams cannot do the following: Team_A's first game will be 4 female members and 1 gay, then on Team_A's second game, they will have 4 female members and replace with another gay or transgender member.

2) 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-organised events, including subsequent Iron Solari Tournament.

The organisation claims to have reached the conclusion that this is a good and sensible idea — not, you know, a backward and exclusionary one — by talking to previous competitors from the first leg of the Iron Solari competition and LGBTQ members of LoL's community. Garena said they want to be inclusive, but also that "there are arguments and concerns from other participants who disputes that Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered Women members may probably have some unfair advantage."

Only One LGBTQ Person Allowed Per Team In League Of Legends Tournament

So again, the wording is sloppy (and in places, outdated), but the message still comes through loud and clear. What we're missing here are not the whys of this decision, but rather the hows. How does being lesbian, trans, or queer in any other way confer an advantage in a video game, a virtual space where physical characteristics cease to matter? Most people have the same tools — hands and reflexes — regardless of sexual orientation or which fleshy protrusions populate their nethers. Even setting aside other questionable decisions here (of which there are a ton), Garena's stance already doesn't hold water.

Don't get me wrong: it's a good thing that Garena is attempting to put on an all-women LoL competition. In theory, these kinds of things make it a bit easier for women to feel invited into spaces that have traditionally been extremely male-dominated — both culturally and from a raw numbers standpoint. However, in this instance Garena has drawn lines that exclude just as much as they include, that arbitrarily put people in pens based on characteristics with little relevance here.

I've reached out to Garena with questions about what exactly brought them to this conclusion and whether they're considering tweaking their policy. I'll update this post as soon as I hear back.

UPDATE: Riot has tweeted the following, implying that they're hoping to rectify the situation:

To contact the author of this post, write to [email protected] or find him on Twitter @vahn16.


    My theory is that one of the organisers list in a game at some point, called their opponent gay for beating them, only to be informed that they were beaten by a woman, and standing by what they said. So now they're under the opinion that anyone who's good must be homosexual (or trans), and thus they've limited the number allowed.

    Because that's somehow less sad than believing that there are idiots like the organisers out there who apparently left their brains on the floor one morning and have spent years without actually needing to think.

      Personally. I think that the organizers are simply trying to avoid a situation where accusations are thrown around about a team of woman who were actually born male, therefore still have male biology, and thus have a physical/mental advantage over a all woman team.

        Yeah, it's something we're going to have to deal with more as transsexual awareness becomes a thing - if I was born male and transition to female at 18, can I compete in the 100 meters at the Olympics as a female? Is it different if I transition at 30? Is it any different to someone being born just naturally more athletic than someone else?

        That said, I'm not sure how being gay could give you an advantage in League of Legends, unless that game is vastly different to what I've been led to believe.

          Yeah this sort of thinking is the sort of thing that you can see coming from a sensible place, but unfortunately I can't see a way they can instigate a rule like this without being torn to shreds.

          The sexual orientation thing doesn't make any sense but if you used to be a man, and recently used to be a man, and if you haven't had hormone replacement or are in the early stages, that's something that could definitely have an effect on any competitive activities, even eSports.

          Last edited 04/02/15 2:42 pm

        I don't know about mental advantage being born male though it has been studied that males on averagehave significantly(competitively at least) higher reaction time/speeds when compared to their female counter parts. No if that is the sole reason for this policy then I can understand their perspective.

        In saying that, as we(society) get more progressive you would have a lot of people simply refusing to acknowledge their male birth and only identify themselves as what they desire/choose so the policy would need really invasive policing which will not work in their favour.

        I think so too. I think mainly the issue was with transgender but when it comes to transgender, they cannot exclude the other LGBT.

        Technically they could all be dudes wearing wigs just to join the competition as female since anyone can be a transgender, which I believe happened before that is why such a precaution has been placed so that no team can get unfair advantage.

        Not to mention, even with this rule in place, I believe each team will have a dude dressing up as a girl calling themself transgender.

        I think this is the most likely explanation, but I also don't think it makes a lot of sense.
        I don't think males have a physical advantage in the eSports arena, the only advantage they have is that they're less likely to suffer abuse and be more likely to be surrounded by their peers and so on.
        The point of an all-female league is to give the girls an environment that feels safer while they build up their tournament experience. LGBTIQ (etc) people probably need that just as much and are probably less likely to throw abuse on the basis of gender, so having them be allowed to play there makes sense.

        Basically, unless it can be shown that they have some sort of definite advantage (which I doubt), I see no reason to exclude a minority from a competition whose purpose it is to make minorities feel comfortable.

        I think you are probably right, and the intention is almost certainly to prevent the controversy you mentioned, as well as stopping people from gaming the system by just claiming to be transgender. But that said, why include homosexuals as well? And also, you should really be able to show some actual evidence before excluding a group based on a belief in an unfair advantage, or that someone will abuse the system.

        Seems likely. I recall there was some fuss about a female athlete a few years ago where her gender was questioned. Seems like a similar issue.

        Given that the standards in mens' events tend to be higher, I can see what they're trying to prevent, but it seems like a baby/bathwater thing to me...

        Upvote for guessing that you've probably intuited their reasoning.
        Not actually approving of the reasoning, itself.

      Is it truly that difficult to just have a mixed gender, all competitors welcome, event?

    I find this really exciting personally. This has to be the first time that being gay has been seen as an unfair advantage!

    I all seriousness though... what the hell?

    Is there good prizemoney?

    I suppose at a pinch it stops the world’s best male team from whacking on skirts and some makeup and pocketing an easy payday. I’d do it, particularly if I found out that some of the other teams were made up of women who were born as men.

    It’s ridiculous, but if you’re going to be a “sport”, you’re going to segregated competitions between men and women and you’re going to take a liberal approach to gender then these things are inevitably going to happen.

      Thanks for making being trans seem a little bit more frivolous. Appreciate it. :P

        When you're talking about a gaming tournament, it IS frivolous.

    The other "How" is how are they even going to know? Lifting skirts and kissing contests? This whole thing is ridiculous...

    (Disclaimer for those who might misinterpret: My suggestion is merely satirical to highlight how ridiculous the stuation is and not any commentary or hidden opinion about LGTBQ people. I am sure they use less invasive techniques like interrogation about your orientation and asking for birth certificates to prove your gender at birth or somesuch.)

    Last edited 04/02/15 4:16 pm

    there are arguments and concerns from other participants who disputes that Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered Women members may probably have some unfair advantage.
    That statement is so loaded with uncertainty it does my head in. They have no reason at all, what possible advantage could the LGBTQIA community have in LoL??? Transgender women could use their dick as an 11th finger??? Lesbians could seduce the enemy team??? This is just a joke.

    Last edited 04/02/15 11:04 am

      Not to mention those lesbians have much more nimble fingers ;) Too far? As an LGBT person myself I find it bizarre to see these kinds of exclusions as a result of a perceived unfair advantage. I guess discrimination swings both ways...

    This is pretty weird. I'd understand if it were a physical competition, but esports? I mean, my gut says, "Jesus, just let 'em do what they want, guy," but... I dunno.

    We really need more evidence to base assumptions on.

    I mean, we've always known that most men and women think differently in general; a fair bit of our programming is behavioural (learned), but a whole lot is biological, not just social conditioning. The neuroscience proving biological gender differences has been well-documented and isn't really (or, more accurately: shouldn't be) in dispute... the only thing in scientific dispute is what those differences actually MEAN in practical terms.

    What impact does that gender-based difference in our brains have on gaming? DOES gender actually influence playstyle? Do some mentality-based playstyles trump others?

    Numbers can be deceptive.
    It does NOT help us to say, "There are obvious advantages to being male because the top end of the competition is almost exclusively stacked male," if it then turns out that 90% of players are male, thanks to social conditioning and marketing tactics. We need to know more than just a total, we need to know what percentage the total is out of.

    Intuitively, I find it hard to believe that gender makes a huge difference in a primarily-mental exercise such as esports, but in this I'm possibly falling prey to the well-known psychological tendency for everyone to subconsciously believe that we all think pretty much the same, even when it's proven that we don't.

    But even if there are noticeable differences, are the differences in esports as extreme as in physical sports? Are they simply playstyle differences like rock, paper, scissors, or are they clear and direct advantages or disadvantages?
    In physical sports, it's so much clearer.
    It doesn't take much research to compare the world's top athletes by gender. The world's fastest and strongest men have an obvious advantage over the world's fastest and strongest women... at being fast or strong. If there was no allowing for a breakdown of categories in those sports, we'd hardly ever see women competing at the high end.

    It would suck to completely eliminate categories from competition entirely only to end up with an all-male competition. But maybe that's the price we have to pay to find out if there are gender differences in esports? If you let pre-op trans women into women's events in the olypmics, people would probably have better cause to object, but that's the olympics. Do esports really need to be held to the same standard as physical sports?


    Last figures I saw had trans folk at apparently less than 1% of the population. I really feel like it's such a rare occurrence that they could probably just make an exception out of good faith and address it only if it starts actually turning into a REAL issue with real results instead of people freaking out that someone else might get some sort of imaginary advantage over them.

    Alright, I have a more tangential issue with this, wtf does the Q stand for? queer? If so, really? really garena (or society) isn't that acronym long enough already? I get L, a homosexual female, I get G, a homosexual male, I get B, a bisexual person, I get T, a member of one sex identifying as a member of the opposite sex (though my stance on this is to call BS from a purely scientific PoV). What I don't understand is queer (I understand it, just not in this context). We already have gay, also lesbian however debatable the term is these days as political correctness would have us call all homosexuals regardless of gender gay. Queer simply doesn't fit as it is already covered thrice over. Also consider it is more often used as a derogatory term, if we are adding queer we may as well add faggot and dike to the list and bloat it even further.
    Da fuq garena?

      Queer is a term that has changed meaning over time. Generally speaking it used to be an insult, but now a bit of an umbrella term for people who don't think they are accurately idnetified by the other categories. It can be pretty complicated. Add to that the Q is interchangeable for Questioning as well. As in they aren't totally sure how they identify themselves but know they aren't hetero.

      Last edited 04/02/15 1:19 pm

      That's Quadsexual, for people who get off on acquiring the Quad Damage.

      It's a really unfair advantage.

      Q = Questioning - ie: someone who isn't sure of their sexuality.

    Probably to stop a team of guys from registering and saying "We identify as female".

    Who's going to question them?

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now