A judge for Pokémon TCG tournaments has been permanently banned after harassing a team of trans women. The incident took place last weekend, during the Vancouver Regionals where TCG teams competed to win a chance at entering the Pokémon 2023 World Championships in Japan.
PokéBeach reports that the unnamed judge was harassing TCG group Girl Power. Elizabeth Barbera, one of the members of Girl Power, recounts how the judge seemed supportive at first before slowly harassing and antagonizing them. It’s a hard read, so readers may want to brace themselves for Elizabeth’s first-hand experience.
[He] started out positive asking us how Pokemon judges could do better [to be] more inclusive,” Barbera said. “I do think the original discussion was coming from a place of sincerity. But it quickly devolved.”
Not long after niceties, the Pokémon judge quickly told each trans player he could tell “they were ‘born a boy,’” before antagonizing them over their appearance. Girl Power member Natalie Miller also recounts trying to politely excuse themselves to no avail. The judge forced himself into their dinner event and proceeded to tell them they didn’t pass for women.
Soon after, the TCG team filed complaints through the official Pokémon support system and swift action was taken. Miller says that the staff and other judges were more than accommodating to them, which is great to hear.
“[The event organizers] and other judges were absolutely wonderful with how they handled everything,” recounts Miller. “It was a clear sign that the vast majority of this community is loving, inclusive, and wants to treat people that right way. But the few who get through the cracks do so much damage.”
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Having to suffer harassment like that is unacceptable, so it’s good to see the Pokémon TCG staff step up like this. It’s a shame that this happened at all but seeing the solidarity behind Girl Power after these terrible events is heartwarming, to say the least.