My own story in the FGC
I want to pretense this with two things. The wave of these stories coming out bothered me a lot, because well, it happened to me as well. Seeing all these people put themselves out there made me feel like I should tell others what happened to me. Also, while the extent of it is different, I know it happened to a lot of other people as well in this group.
The other thing is, I also no I'm not perfect and there are stories of my own wrong doings in the past. Of which I know I made mistakes and while I can never taken them back have tried my best to grow from it and am still doing everything I can to make amends for.
Growing up in the 80s and 90s and frequenting arcades, it was definitely a very boys club type environment. The guys at the arcade were exactly what you would think of teens to young adult males. We were vulgar as hell, we were definitely misogynistic, we used language that we (well most of us) now know is wrong.
It was 1992 when I started going to Southern Hills Golfland, I was 9 years old. I've told the story of my first time going a number of times, to see Champion Edition for the first time. Seeing a ton of people playing it, multiple machines. While I went, I didn't actually "join the club" until my brother started working there. This was in '97. I remember SF vs MSH coming, and my bro telling me about the mecha zangief code. The top players became more than just amazing players I played against, but people that started talking to me as they knew me as my brother's little brother. I made a bunch of friends there with a lot of the locals around this time. Tokenboy, the older black gentleman that played SNK games all the time, the big Asian guy that would later become a shooting victim at the arcade, all of the workers, and a number of people who would in the future be pillars of the FGC.
Valle, Watson, Ghetto D, Ingrim, MrWizard, Flipmeign, James Chen, Viscant and so many others became people I considered friends. And while people shit on each other, and we all did really stupid shit, everyone seemed like friends that cared.
So let's take a step back from here. I was born in '83. I was the baby of this group. Everyone was like 5-10 years older than me and I looked up to every single one of them. And I would try to join in and be part of the "boys talk" about sex and women and all that.
It wasn't hazing, but a lot of the old boys club would often have us do stupid shit just for a laugh, and they'd give us tokens or buy food for us if we'd be willing to do whatever stupid thing it was. Most of it was genuinely harmless. Scream something dumb really loud, shit along those lines.
Wizard was especially into this. He would pay people hundreds of tokens to do things like take off their clothes and jump in the water hazard pools for certain amounts of times. 99% of the time, it was young boys. There is only a singular instance I know of where it wasn't a young boy, and that singular instance, she was allowed to do it in the future, in whatever clothes she liked and only for a few seconds. But for all the boys (out of recollection 12-16) it was like 10-15 minutes, we HAD to be in our underwear (under the reasoning that it would be colder) and they were always challenges at the time so we couldn't prepare change of clothes, towel, or anything like that.
We were teenagers with no money and 100-200 tokens (20-40$ worth of tokens) was a lot. So almost all of us did it without a second thought. "Jump in a pool for 10 minutes for 40$? Hell yeah!". We never really thought of it in a predatory way.
From here I have to jump into a side story to jump into the context of this. At SHGL the male bathroom had 1 stall, and directly next to the stall was a urinal. Someone drilled a peephole into the stall so that while sitting in the stall they could see people using the urinal. Workers found this and put a screw into the hole.
So during a group conversation, a few weeks after B5 either late August or early September of 2001 someone asked about the screw, and one of the workers explained that. In the group someone made a joke about how "it's mostly Asian people even if you were gay, why'd you want to look at a bunch of tiny penises". And me... being who I am, who loved to research into things that are common myths and ideas said "That's not true. Asians on average are as big as other races when erect. The average male penis is 5 1/4 inches when erect"
Again... if you knew me back then, this is 100% on brand for me to say, even though I was only 17 at the time around a bunch of guys 5-10 years older than me. So Wizard took a stab at me by saying "So you're saying you're average?". I proclaimed back "I'm above average". Because of course I've measured it when looking this all up because I'm a teenager and wondered how I compared.
Wizard said "I bet you're not, I bet you $20 you're not". And so a bet was made. He later made stipulations, that he'd have to see it in person, and I argued how the hell am I going to be able to randomly get erect for you to see?
So I brought a bunch of porn to SHGL, went into the bathroom stall while he waited outside of the bathroom for me to call him in. It wasn't an easy task to get erect, and when I did I took out the ruler, unlocked the stall door and called him in, I instantly got flacid as soon as he opened the stall door. I stared at the ruler and the thought in my head was like "this still better count it was over 5 1/4 by the time he opened the stall door"
He made a joke about it "Man you shrank hella fast" and gave me $20.
I thought I was so awesome, proved my penis was above average in size as a little Asian kid (for reference I was 5'5 105lbs at the time. I definitely had a size complex so this was kind of a big deal to me).
None of this really registered to me until many many years later. People were talking about bets they've won and things they did, so I told this story. Viscant laughed and I remember the exact words he said. "You got $20 to give Wizard a night of jerk off material". I was like "Huh?" Viscant goes "You didn't know? Joey's gay."
It suddenly all came together. The pool stuff, the bet, and everything else all kinda came together. A few others there were like "yeah man, you didn't know?"
Before you ask, it didn't leave any kind of weird trauma or anything. I always had a bunch of issues and I didn't let it bother me. There was so much other stuff occupying my head constantly that kinda took the space of this bothering me. Also, fighting games and the community are what stopped me from suicide a few years prior to this. So I kinda just... pushed it aside and laughed it off. Ignored the pretense of it all and just focused on the "it was a dumb joke bet a bunch of us guys made because guys make stupid fucking bets". The same way someone bet me $20 to drink twelve of the maple syrup shot things they give at roscoe's, or the $50 someone bet me that I couldn't eat 4 dozen krispy kreme donuts. In those cases I totally won, and even if I got the $20, I'll just take the L on this one.
I'm not saying it had no influence on me, because it did, but there's no like underlying serious trauma or anything. But this is what happened to me nearly 19 years ago. I recognize how stupid I was in the situation for not realizing it, even though I also recognize how it's not my fault for not being able to recognize it.
I'm not looking for anything on my end. I just really want to state that, similar is happening right now to both men and women. Many of them are sharing their stories and I hope you take the time to read them, even if some of them get really difficult to read. Recognize these people and their pain and understand this is happening in our community. Believe them. Not only believe them, do something to help the situation and prevent things like this from happening in our community again. I also don't want people to only care about sexual abuse. Racism, transphobia, homophobia, and so many other issues are still blatantly in the community. Keep your friends in check, and if they don't, maybe you need to reconsider them as friends. There's a ton of you on twitter screaming for change, BLM, how we need to help disabled, and transfolk... when it's your good friend that is the subject matter of causing discrimination.
I've personally had threats against me for outing misogyny and homophobia. So it's kinda shitty to see a lot of the people shouting for change right now, act like good friends to those people. Be better people. We aren't perfect, all of us fuck up, but strive to be better.