An Interview focusing on why it’s important to recognize non-binary creators by giving them their own front-page feature on Twitch.
The streamer known as Sage or EarthySage on Twitch has been promoting a UserVoice that they created in order to give non-binary and gender non-conforming streamers a front-page feature during July 14th, which happens to be international Nonbinary People's Day with Nonbinary Awareness Week starting on Sunday or Monday preceding International Nonbinary People's Day.
“I'm Sage, a variety streamer who plays a lot of horror games and cozy games while focusing on community interaction. I am genderfluid, bisexual, chronically ill/disabled, and neurodivergent. I began streaming on Twitch in February 2019 and was affiliated shortly after in March 2019. I had no real understanding of what Twitch was when I started streaming and had only watched a few Twitch streams before I decided to dive into content creation myself. A few weeks before I started streaming, I had completed my Master's Degree and internship program. With all my schooling complete, I suddenly had a significant amount of free time on my hands. That extra free time combined with my lifelong love of video games was the spark that led me to create content.”
After Twitch announced that they would be including and featuring streamers who were women, non-binary, or belonged to marginalized genders, many non-binary streamers were disappointed, including Sage, who voiced their concerns about this issue.
“In the Women's History Month announcement post, Twitch mentioned they'd be featuring streamers who were "women, non-binary, or belong to marginalized genders." Although some nonbinary or gender non-conforming people may be comfortable participating in women's events, it is very disappointing to assume that all nonbinary/GNC (gender non-conforming) people would be comfortable with this. Many nonbinary/GNC people do not identify with womanhood or femininity at all, so to assume they'd want to be grouped into a Women's History Month was very disappointing.”
“This is certainly not the first time an organization or company has grouped nonbinary people into programs or features that were previously exclusive to women. While I believe that this was intended to be more inclusive, it actually had the opposite effect. Many nonbinary streamers voiced concerns about how this decision made them feel like their gender identity was being invalidated and viewed as "woman-lite." There is absolutely nothing wrong with having spaces that are just for women. Women deserve their own spaces! And so do nonbinary people.”
After knowing that Twitch has repeatedly educated and talked to streamers about UserVoice, Sage decided to create their own UserVoice suggestion for the front page feature for Non-binary and Gender Non- Conforming streamers. Speaking on the User Voice suggestion they created, Sage had this to say about the situation.
“Twitch staff has repeatedly educated streamers that the UserVoice is the best way to communicate ideas and suggestions for improvement on the platform. With that knowledge in mind, I decided to create my own UserVoice suggestion for Twitch to create a front-page feature specifically for Nonbinary and Gender Non-Conforming streamers. I suggested that this could be done during Nonbinary People's Week which occurs in July, leading up to International Nonbinary People's Day on July 14th."
Sage hopes that twitch will take notice of the User Voice and hopefully make a change. Currently, the User Voice is at 366 votes, showing us that there is support for the idea but Twitch tends to move slowly on their requests, so it might take some time before we see a change. For now, Twitch users can UpVote, increase the chances of staff at Twitch seeing the UserVoice, and decide to make it a reality.
"Anyone who has a Twitch account has the ability to "upvote" ideas which they support through the UserVoice system. Although there is no guarantee that a high number of upvotes will result in Twitch making a change, the more upvotes an idea has, the higher chances of it being noticed by Twitch staff who have the power to make those decisions. Since Twitch already features many other marginalized groups throughout the year, I am hoping that they will notice my request and all the support it has garnered, and make it a reality.”
Sage has always been vocal about their gender identity on Twitch to help others not feel alone. They believe that representation is extremely important, especially on Twitch and the gaming industry. Whether it would be being open about who they are on Twitch or even starting a stream team for non-binary and gender non-conforming creators.
“I am vocal about my gender identity and my other marginalized identities because I want to show others like me that they are not alone. Representation is so important in helping people feel validated and like they belong, especially in the gaming industry. Something I am very proud of is the creation of my stream team, Amphibious--a charity-focused team for nonbinary and gender non-conforming creators. I was inspired to found this team in January after noticing that--to my knowledge--there were no spaces specifically to celebrate nonbinary creators. A handful of additional teams for nonbinary/GNC creators have also been formed, and I am so happy that there are now multiple teams specifically for nonbinary creators!”
Sage’s advice for a non-binary creator who is struggling with their identity is that it’s okay to not have everything figured out right away.
“It's okay to try out different pronouns, different labels (or no labels!), different clothing, etc. Gender identity is a very personal and unique thing, and there is no right or wrong way to just be who you are.”
Sage has many overlapping goals for this year.
“This year, my main goals are to successfully run my stream team, expand my charity streaming efforts, and continue to advocate for inclusivity and diversity in gaming.
Some of Sage’s current achievements are listed below.
“My community has already raised over $1500 for charities including Trans Lifeline, 1000 Dreams Fund, and The Bail Project.”
“I am excited to be participating in many more charity streams this year! I am very proud of my community for supporting me in everything I do and helping me get through some difficult times in my life. While I would definitely love to become a Twitch Partner and Ambassador in the future, that will happen when/if it happens..”
“I have spent years cultivating a safe and inclusive space through my Twitch community. I accomplished this by continually educating myself, listening to other marginalized creators about their experiences, and exploring my own identities. Additionally, I do not shy away from enforcing healthy boundaries for my community and removing people who do not share our values. This has paid off tremendously, and I love the community I have developed on Twitch!”
Through many years of building a community on Twitch, Sage hopes that they will continue to create an inclusive and safe space through their Twitch Community. “More than anything, I just want to continue using my platform to be a light in the darkness for others.”
Listed Below are Sage’s socials along with the Uservoice to spread and share across all platforms.