A wee fundraising Twitch livestream has raised over $345,000 (£268k) and counting for a UK charity helping trans youth. It came to feature celebrity guests including Doom level designer John Romero, Fallout: New Vegas director Josh Sawyer, whistleblower and activist Chelsea Manning, and rising star USA congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Harry “Hbomberguy” Brewis had originally set a goal of $500 (£388) as he tried to 101% complete his gaming nightmare, Donkey Kong 64, and raise money for Mermaids, a charity which has been at risk of having funding revoked. It kinda blew up.
The YouTuber and streamer hoped to help Mermaids, the UK charity helpline and support group for youths who are (or think they may be) trans or non-binary and their parents. They’ve been at risk of losing a chunk of funding following recent campaigning from folks including Graham Linehan, the co-creator of TV sitcoms including Father Ted and Black Books. He’s somehow become a figurehead of anti-trans attitudes over the past year-and-a-bit, presenting his decreasingly coherent transphobic attitudes as feminist concern over trans women and protecting vulnerable children from being pushed into transitioning. Hence the move against Mermaids.
Hbomberguy’s Twitch stream started on Friday to have a little fun, to hopefully raise a couple of quid for Mermaids, and to spite Graham Linehan. It became larger than expected.
The stream gained more and more attention, more and more cash came in, game developers like Romero, Sawyer, and Donkey Kong composer Grant Kirkhope hopped on to chat and lend support, “Thanks Graham” became a common saying as cash kept coming, flipping CHER retweeted a tweet about the stream (THE Cher!), activists and trans people came on to chat and discuss issues, and even actual real US member of congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stopped by to talk about trans rights, intersectional politics, and video games.
2018 was a wild ride but 2019 is shaping up to be a step beyond. What even is this world where a Father Ted fella ranting on Twitter leads to a congresswoman talking about Donkey Kong on Twitch.