Today the online community Bulbagarden, one of the most comprehensive resources for all things Pokemon, enacted new anti-discriminatory policies in support of its LGBTQ members. Wonderful news for the queer Pokemon fans out there, and a step forward for the gay community at large when it comes to the very real issue of cyber-bullying. But of course, what would a move towards progress be without somebody voicing their disagreement. A group of users, likely the ones whose behavior this new policy aims to combat, argue that the admins of the site should not be taking political stances.
Webmaster Archaic of Bulbagarden announced today a new policy against discrimination, hatred and intolerance toward lesbian, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, queers and questioning members of the Bulbagarden community. Many people, even among those who support gay rights, may feel that this is out of place and that Bulbagarden, as a Pokémon fansite; shouldn't be taking stance on political issues.
But our new policy isn't about politics.
Our new policy is about the teenagers and young adults who begin to realize they're "different". The ones who are afraid anyone will find out what they are, because they live in a place where being what they are can get them shrugged, beaten, and even killed. The ones who have already lost their family, or fear they will lose their family. The ones who can't bear to go to school anymore. The far too many who have been driven to end their lives because of this intolerance.
The policy is about the hundreds of Pokémon fans who experience this everyday, or who experienced it in their past, and who come online to enjoy their favorite games, only to find that even here, they cannot escape being mocked, attacked, condemned and told they don't deserve equal rights. To find that even here, trying to play the games or watch the anime they love, what they identify as is being used as an insult.
Saying those fans deserve to enjoy Bulbagarden as much as any other fans is not politics. Saying that they won't be able to enjoy Bulbagarden as much as any other fan, if we tolerate people saying homosexuality is a disease, or immoral, is not politics. It's being humane.
Going out of your way, on a Pokémon forum, to hound teenagers who are struggling with who they are to tell them they are going to hell; that they shouldn't be able to marry; that they suffer from a disease? That's not about being who you are, it's not about trying to live your life - it's about trying to tell others who they have a right to be, and how they should live their lives. That is politics. Letting it happen is politics. And it's the bare truth that this sort of politics doesn't belong on a Pokémon fansite.
At the end of the day, we don't feel that choosing between these two sides is playing politics.
Who would have thought that one of the most poignant, beautifully articulated, and concise statements on cyber-bullying and LGBTQ rights would come out of a Pokemon forum of all places?
Kudos, Bulbapedia staff! From all of us here at gaygamer.net, Pokemon fans the lot of us, thank you! And keep up the great work.