Is this a good thing, a potentially dangerous thing, or both?
In the gaming world, Valorant is currently a top-tier first-person shooter. Created by Riot Games, Valorant puts two teams of five against each other in a series of capture-the-hill-esque games. Whichever team first gets13 wins will win the overall game.
As with many online games, Valorant comes with optional upgrades, including gun designs and cards for player profiles. For LGBTQ players, there’s a growing rumor that Valorant will be including LGBTQ options in those playercards come June.
PRIDE Playercards | #VALORANT
~ Will be available with Code Redemption on June 3rd pic.twitter.com/27AVdhFh5C
— Mike – Valorant Leaks & Info (@ValorLeaks) April 23, 2021
The rumor comes from Valorant dataminer RumbleMike, who revealed on Friday, April 23, that the game will be adding purchasable LGBTQ player cards. These cards will show the Pride flag colors, the lesbian pride colors, the trans pride colors, the non-binary pride colors, the bisexual pride colors, or the asexual pride colors.
These rumored playercards align with Valorant’s mission of being more inclusive. For instance, Riot Games introduced the Valorant Champions Tour Game Changers program in February 2021 in an effort to incorporate “women and other marginalized genders within Valorant esports.”
me: using nb or lgbtq+ playercard
average valorant male player: pic.twitter.com/Ooll6mts7t
— ray (@RayStanToon) April 23, 2021
Valorant players after they see an lgbt calling card pic.twitter.com/37Pi2MWxO6
— DeFinite (@Dokai420) April 23, 2021
While the data leak has been well-received, it has also garnered calls for concern and caution. Specifically, there’s the worry that anyone using one of the LGBTQ playercards could become targets for anti-LGBTQ discrimination and harassment.
There’s a history pointing toward this fact. A study from earlier this year found that 88 percent of LGBTQ gamers said they’ve experienced some form of anti-LGBTQ discrimination and harassment. Because of this, 50% of LGBTQ gamers said they hide their sexual identity and 44% percent said they keep their screen names neutral of any gender identifiers or queer context. In response to the harassment, 43% of the study’s respondents have had to block or mute other players and 41% have had to avoid specific games and/or communities.
With that in mind, would introducing LGBTQ playercards be inclusive or putting players at risk? Ultimately, it’s each individual players’ choice on whether they want to buy and use the cards. We’ll see what they decide come June.