@spacevalkyries, 31 – FUNDED

@Spacevalkyries (she/they) is a queer, disabled, biracial Mexican-American sci-fi/fantasy writer as well as a variety streamer on Twitch. “I love all things narrative, cozy, and queer,” says this BroadcastHER Grant winner who also is dedicated to building a caring community. “I want to keep having fun with silly streams, but also talk about mental health and disability in a respectful space to help normalize it.”

What is your dream as a digital broadcaster?

My dream is to become a published author — and to get to flail on stream about games (from indies to JRPGs) and talk about writing.

How will your award from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals?

This grant will allow me to buy the mic and mixer and better lighting needed to really step up my stream quality. I have what I call my “hi-bi” camera — as in “hi! I’m your resident socially anxious bisexual streamer, so bi (as in, bye)!” And I turn off my camera. This means my sound quality and my narration of things is more front and center, so this is a dream upgrade come true and I can’t wait to enhance the sound effects shenanigans.

What does being a recipient mean to you?

Being acknowledged as a non-binary femme worth supporting means a lot. I’m a childhood cancer survivor and have chronic fatigue and pain issues, so I’m not able to work a more conventional job (due to needing a lot of accommodations employers rarely want to give), so this allows me to upgrade my stream and shoot for more brand sponsorships and opportunities with a higher quality setup, so I can more comfortably pay medical bills that I rely on streaming income to help with.

Women are underrepresented in gaming, broadcasting, and e-sports. What can we do to change this?

Women and femme folks are regularly harassed and pushed out of gaming spaces on all levels, even more so for BIPOC women and femmes. It’s important to actively fight against this and be aware of it and how these dynamics play out — especially if you’re white. It’s also important to consider who is given access to opportunities and who gets to make the decisions. Having few or no BIPOC women and femme people in higher level management positions in the gaming, broadcasting, and e-sports spheres is something that needs to change.

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way?

I’m a queer childhood cancer survivor who didn’t learn what C-PTSD was until my late 20s, and only recently (as in my early 30s) got an ADHD diagnosis. I didn’t realize chronic pain and fatigue were valid diagnoses and side effects of my experiences, either. I’ve been told I’m “not trying hard enough” because I can’t stream long hours or as many days a week.

I’ve been told I wasn’t “really a woman” enough or that I’m “too manly” and bullied about my appearance to the point where I didn’t think I could interact with people much.

But here I am! Doing the thing! I stream and engage with folks at a comfort level that works for me (not always being on camera, shorter streams, etc.). I love what I do, and it’s my dream to someday become a published author and a streamer and have a wonderful, supportive community and share love of narrative, games, and being seen in media when we are so rarely seen at all.

What advice do you have for women who want to start broadcasting?

Women and femme creators already know the odds are going to be stacked against us in this industry (especially if you have any other intersectional, marginalized identities). But we still have so much to share and do. If broadcasting and gaming is what you want, what do you have a passion for? Shoot your shots, do your research, respect your energy limits and your boundaries, and keep going.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

This is such a tough one! Both streaming/content creation and sci-fi/fantasy writing are very competitive fields. Streaming, in particular, is incredibly fast-paced, and I’m disabled and have chronic fatigue. So, there are many times where I feel I can’t “keep up.” But I try to look at the bigger picture of what I want: pay my healthcare bills, find and protect my community, and continue to grow as a creator and a writer. So, I do what I can, at a pace that won’t further cause harm to my chronic conditions.

I keep taking those shots at opportunities (like with this grant! I didn’t get it the first time applied, but I did on the second), I talk honestly about what it means to deal with having C-PTSD as a childhood cancer survivor. It will always be awesome to be a tiny part of normalizing having severe social anxiety and chronic depression as well as ADHD and trauma — and just having fun and relaxing and playing games! That helps keep me going on tough days.