@Wxnnie_, 24 – FUNDED

“As a digital broadcaster, it’s important for me to be able to cultivate an inclusive and safe space for other neurodivergent, disabled, LGBTQIA2+, and people of color,” says @Wxnnie_. “In far too many spaces, voices like ours are so often excluded, dismissed, or misrepresented and it’s important for me to have a space where I feel safe and know that the community I foster shares and upholds similar values and goals.” That said, this BroadcastHER Grant winner is focused on providing a relaxed, sensory-friendly, and welcoming space with indie games and creative streams.

What is your dream as a digital broadcaster?

My dream would be to create content that is authentic, holistic, and positive for other women like me. I’ve spent a long time trying to mask and fit neurotypical, able-bodied, and heteronormative expectations. But, with streaming, I am trying to dismantle many of those internalized thoughts and feelings while fostering a community that can bond and grow over our passion for video games, popular media culture, and our hobbies.

I want to break the mold and expectations of content creation and who we see in content creation. My ultimate dream is more authentic, inclusive, and positive representation.

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

It will help me in upgrading my streaming setup. I will be able to purchase a second monitor, a more spacious and ergonomic desk, a microphone upgrade, and an ergonomic chair.

As a disabled creator who has chronic fatigue and chronic pain, it’s important for me to prioritize my health and comfort. With the grant, I’ll be able to have a much more comfortable and safer working space that will help ensure I can create content long-term without sacrificing my health.

What does being the recipient of the BroadcastHER Grant mean to you?

It gives me hope and validation. There have been many times where I’ve felt intense imposter syndrome and questioned whether or not I would fit in the content creation world because I’m “different.”

Receiving this grant helps alleviate some of those challenging thoughts and feelings. It reinforces that what I’m doing is important and encourages me to do what I do because it may help others who identify similarly to me.

So many previous and current BroadcastHER recipients are creators who I’ve looked up to and feel supported by. Knowing that I’m one of the recipients along with them is a truly humbling and wonderful feeling.

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

We need women and non-binary folx in the room, on the teams, behind the scenes, in the writing and consulting process, and more. There are so many talented women and non-binary folx who are creating amazing content and doing the work but aren’t given the proper recognition or opportunities that are given to men and masc-perceived folx. Making sure that women and non-binary folx are properly paid, commissioned, highlighted, hired, and included is a crucial step and is something where many companies and spaces need to do better.

Our experiences and stories deserve to be highlighted. We also need to make sure that we have security and proper management to help us navigate these spaces. We know that so many women, specifically women of color, are harassed and targeted constantly. This can make creating content and accepting opportunities a difficult decision because of the lack of security and preemptive measures taken place to ensure our safety.

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

Safety/security, imposter syndrome, and the lack of inclusivity and/or representation can be daunting to tackle on top of the rigorous schedule of managing and creating content across multiple platforms. My chronic pain and disabilities also affect how I create content. There have been times where I felt that being a content creator was for only neurotypical and able-bodied people, but I’ve been trying to challenge myself and others on breaking those expectations and defining what it means to be successful.

Being autistic and ADHD makes it difficult to collaborate with other creators because many multiplayer games are inaccessible and trigger my sensory processing issues. I don’t like to use voice chat, and socializing can be overwhelming to navigate, so content creation can also be lonely at times when there is a common “standard” on networking and collaborating with other creators.

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

My advice would be to ask yourself why you want to start broadcasting. Depending on your answer, it will help visualize and set up your expectations and goals for what you want out of content creation. For a long time, I struggled with my “brand” and goals as a creator and felt unhappy with everything that I did regardless of the “numbers.” If I didn’t feel like I was authentic or that I was playing games that made me happy, it was hard to consistently create content and be happy.

Above all else, find what’s most comfortable for you to hit that “go live” button and don’t be afraid to be “you.” Don’t think that you need to be like anyone else but yourself. You get to define your success and you get to decide what is important to you as a creator. It can be easy to slip into believing content creation looks or presents a certain way, but it doesn’t have to be.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

I follow other creators who share similar goals and experiences as I do. I noticed that when I would actively search for other women and non-binary creators of color, disabled creators, and LGBTQIA2+ creators, I would feel a sense of security and mutual understanding of experiences when watching them talk about their gaming experiences and/or life experiences. Being autistic, there are many times where I feel “different” or don’t process the world the same way that other people do so it’s important for me to find people who are inclusive and understanding.

Find people who you vibe well with; you’ll learn a lot more about yourself and your goals. You’ll also get to meet some really cool people, too.