A few firsts for Outsports: an award for someone in LGBTQ sports who identifies as non-binary or gender non-conforming, who happens to be from the world of eSports.
The winner is gaming champion Dominique McLean, 21, best known as SonicFox. Sponsored by EchoFox, McLean started out wearing a costume that they said cost them more than $1,000 to make, and signaled to fans and followers their status as a furry.
“It’s sort of empowerment, putting it on,” McLean told Outsports in an interview earlier this year.
One year ago, as they accepted the Best eSports Player Award, they made headlines by coming out; Not just as gay, but “super gay.”
“I want to give a super shoutout to all my LGBTQ+ friends that have always helped me through life,” McLean told the audience. “Obviously I’m a furry, so shout out to the furries…. Guess all I gotta really say is I’m gay, black, a furry — pretty much everything a Republican hates — and the best eSports player of the whole year I guess. Thank you so much!”
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In September of this year, McLean came out again, this time as non-binary, and expressed their preference for they/them pronouns. They tweeted that close friends can use “he” or “they.”
“I’ve always found myself enjoying things that were typically considered ‘not masculine,’” they wrote on Twitter. “I’ve always thought of myself as 50% masc and 50% feminine. But I always felt ridiculed and made fun of for liking the more “feminine” things of life.”
Forbes named McLean to its 30 Under 30 In Games list earlier this month, capping a year in which they cemented their position as the best Mortal Kombat player of the last decade. In August they took home the EVO 2019 Mortal Kombat 11 championship. McLean also recently wrapped up the 2019 Mortal Kombat Pro Kompetition as the top qualifier for Final Kombat, to be played in Illinois in March.
In our interview, I asked McLean about being an LGBTQ advocate in a world that still discriminates against people who are different. Being out and proud, he said, is his way of fighting the haters.
“Honestly, you’re going to have to really stand up against these guys,” he said.
“We just got to show that we’re everywhere, so that they won’t be able to deny us, or who we are, because of who we love or what we like. I’m a true believer that everyone should be whatever they want to be.
“I hope that my influence over the next couple of years will help people.”
Dominique “SonicFox” McLean is the inaugural Outsports Non-Binary Person of the Year. Runners-up for this award include roller derby competitor Juniper Simonis of Oregon and All-American shot put athlete Clay Conley of Swarthmore College.