Ask anyone what makes the fighting game community so unique, and one of the most common answers would likely be diversity. That’s why players in the scene such as Rose Lockhart have worked to build the LGBTQ+ Fighters Discord. Since 2017, the server’s moderator staff has worked hard to maintain a welcoming digital environment that is driven by positivity and a shared love for fighting games.
“During my first time moderating a large fighting game space, I would visit FGC subreddits quite often,” she said. “I managed to stumble across this post that Kurri made on reddit promoting the server.” Rose set a goal for herself to help the LGBTQ+ Fighters community and be there for the server from the start. Over the past three years, the server community has grown from around twenty members, to now over 900 users.
“The main way this server has grown over the course of time has been through word of mouth by people who have had a very enjoyable time in this community, inviting other members that they’ve met through the FGC. It can be kind of difficult for players to find people to play with who are just overall really pleasant people.” Rose mentioned Twitter as a main source of social media promotion for the LGBTQ+ Fighters server. Big names in the community like pattheflip using their social media platform has helped to raise awareness of the server’s existence. “It goes a long way to let people know that they don’t have to play games they love with people that don’t respect their identities or care for them. It’s a social experience and you should enjoy it with people that cherish you.”
As a digital community, Rose and the moderator staff recognize the limitations and even new opportunities that come from operating in a virtual space. With weekly “Sunday Night Fights” game lobbies featuring often older and more obscure titles, the staff aims to keep member engagement healthy and active not only through conversation about fighting games but also through interacting with lesser-known titles.
“We try to place an emphasis on members who the community as a whole gets along with very well,” Rose said about how moderators were assigned for the community. “At the end of the day we are in a position of authority, but it can be a bit off-putting if authority solely acts in the shadows. Even though we’re in a higher position, our desire to love and support our members shows in our constant engagement with them.” This consistent presence of the LGBTQ+ Fighters staff is a testament to how the server embraces the dynamic of friendships and comradery in the FGC.
Every new fighting game release typically has the entire community’s eyes on it for a while, and this is reflected within LGBTQ+ Fighters. Rose mentioned how refreshing it is to see increased interest in different franchises as the community grows due to these new games.
“You pick up on a lot of knowledge and insight at a much more comfortable pace because everyone is learning the same thing at the same time, especially if it’s an IP where there isn’t an established playerbase, such as Granblue Fantasy Versus. As a whole, we try to discuss how people feel about a game, in terms of their qualms, things they love about it, and we always encourage people to let others express their feelings while nobody rains on the parade of others. It’s very important for players to enjoy themselves without feeling uncomfortable to express that.”
After a surge in activity following the rollback netcode update to Guilty Gear XX Accent Core +R, Rose is anticipating lots of discussion and lobbies for Guilty Gear Strive within LGBTQ+ Fighters. Hoping to run community events for the new game, her idea of a team exhibition could bring together people within the server who may not otherwise talk as much.
“Something that left a massive impression on me was this battle of the communities that the Japanese Granblue Fantasy Versus community first ran… essentially players from different communities such as Street Fighter, KOF, Melty Blood, etc. all got together and played in a GBVS team tournament.” This kind of community interaction is what Rose would like to generate within LGBTQ+ Fighters, especially with games such as Guilty Gear Strive or Melty Blood: Type Lumina on the horizon.
Moderating a large digital environment may not always be easy, but Rose’s ambitions for the LGBTQ+ Fighters community shows her commitment to providing a fun, welcoming side of the FGC that members can be proud to be a part of.
“Shout out to Babu and Leia, shout out to Noir, shout out to the entire mod team; I love all of you, and I love LGBTQ+ Fighters and the community that we run.”