Gaming and online streamers seem to be all the rage these days. The past year, especially, has seen an increase in gaming due to people staying home and having more time on their hands.
However, gaming has a toxic history of racism, sexism, and homophobia.
Similar to the rise of online bullying through social media, online gaming communities have led to the creation of harmful spaces where hiding behind a screen offers protection. This often takes the form of hate speech, spamming, doxing, and more. However, these virtual actions have real world effects, leading to serious mental health issues including anxiety and depression.
That’s where Michael Reynolds, aka The Fierce Diva, comes into play. As an African American and LGBTQ+ creative, gamer, streamer, and comedian, The Fierce Diva is redefining culture and inclusivity within gaming communities.
The Fierce Diva’s Project: Inclusivity, Diversity, and Mental Illness in the Gaming Community
Reynolds is using her following on platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Twitch, and Discord to address long-standing issues within the gaming community.
“I want to combat what we all kind of know about the gaming community and challenge everyone to become ‘better’ but also challenge myself to be better because I can’t succeed in these endeavors if I’m refusing to work on myself too. So, having said that, it challenges me to be better because I want to be better for them and them to be better for me and let it all become reciprocal.”
Mental Illness in the Gaming Community
Reynolds is aware that gaming offers a form of escapism and therapy for many.Upon realizing the prominence of mental health issues in the community The Fierce Diva is focusing on education, allyship, and advocacy.
1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness in some capacity, and many turn to gaming, especially in times of stress and anxiety. So, why not offer more in the gaming space?
That’s why the Fierce Diva is embarking on a new project–a platform that provides a safe space for conversations and information on mental health issues, inclusivity in the LGBTQ+ community, and building leadership.
Diversity and Marginalized Communities
Reynolds’ goal is to help change the stereotypes and stigmas that marginalized communities face along with promoting and supporting creative, diverse content within social platforms.
The Fierce Diva is working to partner with like-minded influencers who want to use their platform for good and redefine what gaming can be. “I didn’t want to be someone that just says ‘I have a positive community.’ I wanted to do something and illicit something that is tangible and can be used to change someone’s life.”
Social Media as a Force for Good
For The Fierce Diva, diversity, creativity, and inclusivity are at the forefront of how the world can best utilize online communities and platforms.
These platforms provide an opportunity to help people, to learn, and create real substantial change that can extend far beyond the gaming community. In an age where social media is everywhere, it is time to use it as a tool rather than a weapon.
Be a part of the change and keep up with The Fierce Diva’s mission and work here.