An all-women League of Legends tournament in the Philippines has imposed bizarre rulings on who can participate in their event. The Iron Solari League is being dubbed an “all-feminine” league, and it’s about to host its second leg of the tournament on 22 February in the capital Manila.
Organisers Garena eSports have decided to “experiment” with an LGBT participants limitiation. They claim to be doing this in the interests of having “an inclusive environment”. According to Garena eSports, and various participants from the previous leg of the tournament, lesbian, gay and transgendered women “probably have some unfair advantage”.
“On the other hand,” the organisers said, “for any competitions, we seriously look at ensuring there’s a fair level playing field for all participants.” As such they’re implementing the following two rulings for the next leg of the Iron Solari:
“1) Each team will be allowed to have a maximum of one (1) Gay/Transgendered woman for the entirety of the tournament day. Therefore, teams cannot do the following: Team_A’s first game will be 4 female members and 1 gay, then on Team_A’s second game, they will have 4 female members and replace with another gay or transgender member.
2) Any team who has violated the above provision, regardless if intentional or otherwise, whether discovered during the day of the event or some time after, will have all their team members (the female members as well as the Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered women member) sanctioned with a 1-year ban on all Garena-organized events, including subsequent Iron Solari Tournament.”
That language alone is just… awkward. This also drew the attention of League of Legends creators Riot Games, who sent out the following tweet:
LGBT players are welcome at official LoL tourneys. We’re working with partners to ensure consistency with our values across all regions.
So I guess the thing to take away from this is that LGBT people have gaming super-powers, or something.
UPDATE: Garena eSports has bowed to increasing criticism from the gaming community and have dropped their “experimental” restrictions on LGBT players. You can read their full statement below:
Our initial ruling on LGBT player restrictions within the Iron Solari League has created a lot of good discussion and debate over the past 24 hours. After discussing the ruling with our partners and re-examining our approach, we have decided to remove these restrictions completely. This means that any player who self-identifies as female will be allowed to participate. We sincerely apologize for any offense we caused to the LGBT and gaming communities.
Our original intent when we put together this tournament was to promote diversity in the competitive gaming community. Hence, we are grateful to our players who have consistently provided their feedback to help us learn and improve as we strive to develop an inclusive gaming environment for all. We’ll also be keeping our promise of having an open dialogue with all parties as we plan this and future events.
We hope you will tune in to support these awesome teams and players in this upcoming tournament.