Following the launch of Hogwarts Legacy, it was reported that streamers were being hate raided on Twitch. However, since this incident, over a dozen transgender Vtubers spoke to Dexerto about the abuse they have received on Twitch for years, attacks that have continued following the game’s launch.
Hogwarts Legacy has created division, as many people called for a boycott of the game. J.K. Rowling has been accused of making transphobic comments – which she denies – and many people have campaigned against playing the game based on her Wizarding World. However, the boycott did not stop Hogwarts Legacy from breaking a Twitch viewership record.
Some players who were streaming the game on Twitch have been targeted by a website that was tracking those who were playing “That Wizard game” (it is now deleted), and one couple claims that they were reduced to tears by those criticizing during their stream.
However, following the emergence of this story, several transgender Vtubers contacted Dexerto to share their stories of hate and abuse. As one Vtuber Marina stated: “I don’t think these hate raids and such are happening because of Hogwarts Legacy. They have always happened to us. But I think the vocal transphobia on Twitter surrounding Hogwarts Legacy has made these trolls and bad actors want to go harder with their actions lately.”
Hate raids against Trans Twitch streamers
Shortly after the release of Hogwarts Legacy, Dexerto was made aware of more than a dozen Trans Vtubers who had experienced near-identical hate raids.
These streamers would gain a wave of new followers – each with a transphobic username and/or demanding acts of self-harm – followed by an influx of abusive chat activity from the newly followed users.
According to Marina, a transgender woman Vtuber and prominent advocate in the Trans streaming community, trans hate has continued to be an issue since she started streaming in 2020. And she began to experience hate raids every time she went live starting in the Fall of 2020.
Twitch implemented tools like auto-mod and raid settings that helped mitigate the damage done by these raids. But Marina explains, “This helped for a while, but the hate raids never truly stopped, and in the past month, they have picked up again with more vicious methods of getting around the verification system.”
Streamer ValkYui says these hate raids have crippled her stream, causing her to shut down a variety of Twitch’s interactive features, including stream alerts, channel point redemptions, text-to-speech, and stream avatars that display the names of individuals in chat. “It also impacted my ability to collab and raid people,” she added.
These raids have become an all-too-common occurrence for trans streamers on Twitch, especially for Vtubers. And the users behind the raids don’t always stop at follow botting.
Often, they will attempt to infiltrate Discord servers or private messages. “Hate raiders came into my Discord to post gore, hate speech, transphobia, and more,” said Vtuber VirtualLily. Others shared similar stories and screenshots of direct messages they received that included transphobic rhetoric and threats of violence.
In some cases, that’s where the harassment stops. However, there are several cases where Trans hate spilled over into the real world, causing streamers to fear for their safety.
Trans Vtubers doxxed and threatened
Members of the trans Vtubing community shared firsthand accounts of the hate directed at them. The streamers and their families were victims of doxxing, swatting, and abuse.
Senna (sennvenn), a Trans Female Vtuber, explained how hate raids escalated to doxxing and swatting. She shared messages from Discord DMs and online forums where users would post her old photos, address, and phone number.
Senna claimed they would send pizzas to her old address, and she was swatted twice.
She provided a video where the caller had seemingly recorded the audio for one of the swatting call-ins. Senna also showed how hate raiders use online forums to coordinate attacks against streamers who use certain tags such as “Trans,” “LGBT,” or “Vtuber.”
ValkYui, a trans female Vtuber, has had to change her entire online identity to protect herself and her family. She shared messages from hate raiders that included old addresses and their dead name.
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Yui said she’s been dealing with online attacks since November 19, when she decided to use Twitch’s “transgender” tag. The hate raids continued until Yui was forced to beef up restrictions limiting how her chat could interact with her stream.
Then, a month later, Yui was followed by an account that used a relative’s first and last name. She claims she called the relative to confirm it wasn’t them and immediately ended the stream. This was just the beginning.
“That’s when all the more focused and doxxing raids came in,” she stated, “Following with my former full name, my birthday, that relative’s full name.” She showed Dexerto messages from users threatening to dump her personal information onto doxxing forums if she didn’t delete her channel.
Yui claims she combed the internet to delete any publicly available information regarding her real-world identity, and now she only exists online as Yui.
What can Twitch do about Trans hate raids?
The next logical question is, “What’s Twitch doing about this?”
The platform has already made a few improvements to help combat hate of all kinds. Over the last couple of years, Twitch has implemented better moderation tools such as Auto-Mod and Chat Bots to help automate the process of keeping the chat clean without real people having to keep an eye on every message.
Though, this doesn’t address every problem Trans streamers face. And as stated prior, hate raiders have already found ways around these restrictions, putting the responsibility of combating hate speech in the victims’ hands.
Accounts that are made for hate raids are swiftly removed from the platform, but often not until the damage is already done and they are reported.
VirtualLilly shared what she wants to see from Twitch in regard to transphobia and LGBTQ+ hate. “I’d love Twitch to just tweet ‘Trans Rights,’ and that alone would be a massive support.
“Even better, a statement such as ‘We see, acknowledge, and are mitigating anti-trans hate raids. We know bots are hard to moderate, and we can’t default to manually approving every single new account. We don’t have the resources, but we stand with trans people and are doing our best to support you.’ That would be, in my honest opinion, the best response to this.”
After speaking to several transgender Vtubers about their experience, Dexerto contacted Twitch for feedback: “Twitch supports the transgender community unequivocally. We do not tolerate harassment or abuse in any form on our service and are committed to listening to and elevating trans voices on Twitch and among our staff,” Twitch told Dexerto.
“While we always have more work to do, we’re proud to support trans streamers every single day. A diverse community is a stronger community, and the trans community will always be celebrated on Twitch.”
Has Hogwarts Legacy exacerbated the issue?
Many of the Trans Vtubers Dexerto spoke to didn’t want the focus to be on the Hogwarts Legacy debate. Some have shared their adversity toward supporting the game/franchise on Twitter, and others claim they don’t care as long as players aren’t playing the game out of spite for the trans community.
We asked the streamers about their experiences following the game’s launch, and almost everyone said the hate they had received had been going on far before Hogwarts Legacy was making headlines. If anything, the ferocity of the discourse has shone a torch on the pre-existence and prominence of transphobic hate raids.
“I’m hoping to draw attention to the very serious bullying and harassment that Trans streamers face every day.” Marina wrote, “Recently, with the release of Hogwarts Legacy, there’s been a lot of discussion about streamers being bullied for playing the game, and while no one deserves harassment, it’s important to be consistent with denouncing bullying, especially the kind that marginalized communities – such as the Trans community – are experiencing.”