On March 20, Trans Lifeline launched Peer2Peer.Live to fill gaps left by Twitch’s lack of identity-based tagging that left minority streamers with limited to no discoverability options on the platform. As the #TransTagNow demands for identity-based tags on Twitch grow, trans organizers Lucia Everblack, Steph Loehr, Sabrina Mack, and Irene Nieves built their own seat at the table – following Twitch’s refusal to create ways for broadcasters to connect with each other. Built by a team of transgender, BIPOC, and Twitch community members living with disabilities, this discoverability tool will be a gamechanger for broadcasters and gamers with lived experience in multiple communities who struggle to find and support one another – and content that’s relevant to them – on Twitch.
“Broadcasters are looking forward to using the directory to find who to host, who to support, and to help each other grow audiences, because when we host other marginalized streamers, audience & streamers win,” says Peer2Peer’s Lead and Creative Director, Steph Loehr. New users can sign up today, and are prompted to select tags which can be added and removed at any time. Users can also request new tags, or unlist themselves from the directory at any time.
Irene, a nonbinary transwoman on the project’s advisory board, says that she has been largely misgendered and harassed on Twitch, and has come under attack more than once there for her race and gender identity. She became involved in the project because, like countless other trans broadcasters, she was tired of advocating for the reinstatement of community tags with the company. “Twitch has not made space for us at the table,” she says. “We don’t gain visibility on Twitch because of the ways we’re marginalized” She joined up with Loehr in order to create their own table when they tired of excuses for poor moderation for harassment on the platform. “We’re taking the power into our own hands.”
Trans Lifeline is hosting Peer2Peer Live because we know the value of peer support. We know that having community prevents crises. People thrive in communities with shared experiences, and Twitch isn’t helping people find community. We know that we can do that, and give back to the trans community on Twitch that has embraced our work: last year more than 15% of our funding came from content creators on Twitch.
This directory is especially timely during the height of the COVID pandemic. Lucia Everblack, a lead developer on Peer2Peer Live, says that “COVID stripped so much of our autonomy and ability to choose to seek community out, but here, we get to make the decision to find and connect with others in our communities – especially those of us who are already more isolated.”
Creators say that it’s time for Twitch to pay attention to this need they’re filling, and their user base will only grow. “Why people engage on Twitch is changing – it’s not just games anymore,” says Everblack.
Irene explains this need: “My identities matter, and having an individualized tagging system provides me, as both a user and viewer, the ability to personally curate an experience that brings me comfort, inclusion, visibility, and joy. That’s a level of autonomy I have the right to.”
Follow @Peer2PeerLive on Twitter and join as a beta user.