@xocheergurlox, 32 – Funded

A cheerleader xocheergurlox (she/her) started playing Call of Duty in August 2020 as a joke and accidentally turned it into her job! This JBL Quantum Grant winner says that no matter what she’s playing her goal is to empower women and the LGBTQIA+ community to stick up for themselves and not let anyone discourage them from playing the games they enjoy.

What is your dream in gaming and/or esports? 

For women and LGBTQIA+ gamers to be seen as equals, not an afterthought!

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

This will help me upgrade my PC to get the performance I need to successfully game and multi-stream at the same time. This helps me to not only have the best gameplay I can, but also to reach a larger audience and inspire more people to play FPS games.

What does being a 1,000 Dreams Fund – JBL Quantum Grant recipient mean to you? 

It means I now have a larger community. I’ve always loved seeing 1,000 Dreams Fund winners interact with each other and support each other. I’m honored to now be a part of that, and I hope I can continue to make everyone proud and carve out a space for women in gaming.

Women are underrepresented in gaming and esports. What can we do to change this?

Signing women to teams and having all-female tournaments has been a great start, but in my opinion the men in the industry need to be more vocal in supporting us. In my mind, if every big pro gamer spoke out when their fans were disrespectful to women gamers, it would either change their minds or make them know they’re not welcome in the community.

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

Being a queer woman in gaming, I am constantly underestimated and looked down on. I’ve been told I only get views because of my body. I’ve gotten death threats. I’ve had men in esports talk about how they want to sleep with me within minutes of us meeting. Thankfully, I am a Sicilian Leo from New Jersey, so these comments only push me to keep going and to never let those garbage people forget that I’m succeeding despite what they think or what they want.

What advice do you have for women who want to work in the gaming or esports industry? 

The loudest people are not the majority. People will support you, and there is space here for you. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and give these gamer boys a taste of their own medicine.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals? 

Every time someone tells me I inspired them to pick up gaming again or unmute their mics after the toxicity pushed them away, it helps keep me motivated and focused. I do this for all the gamer girls and all the LGBTQIA+ gamers who need to know there’s a space for them.