UMISHO throws up peace signs on stage at Combo Breaker 2024 | YouTube

No area of the esports world features more top-tier LGBTQ talent and as welcoming of an environment that the fighting games community (FGC). Several outstanding competitors have emerged over the last decade in a multitude of different games that proudly represent various parts of the queer community, and last weekend’s fighting games major event Combo Breaker proved this fact.

Most notable among this community of players is Dominique “SonicFox” McLean. The six-time EVO champion is widely recognized as one of the best overall players in the FGC regardless of any identifier, and they proved that fact yet again in Chicago. They won two tournaments on consecutive days to claim the 2024 Skullgirls Championship Series world title, fought back from the losers bracket to finish second in the Combo Breaker tournament debut of “Mortal Kombat 1” and even found the time to place 33rd in the weekend’s “Tekken 8” tournament.

SonicFox’s ability and personality always draw an audience and plenty of attention, but they weren’t the only out LGBTQ competitor to score major placements during the weekend worthy of recognition.

Both “Skullgirls: 2nd Encore” tournaments featured additional LGBTQ competitors in their respective fields of top finishers. Gender-diverse player Swergin secured seventh place in Friday’s SGCS Last Chance Qualifier tournament while Argentina’s Merahreed battled to a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s SGCS Finals.

Top “Guilty Gear Strive” pro Claire “UMISHO” Harrison rekindled her rivalry with Matthew “TempestNYC” Tulloch en route to her second top-three finish at Combo Breaker events.

Over in “Super Smash Bros. Melee,” Sasha “Magi” Sullivan and Claire “Essy” Young made the podium, finishing second and third respectively, after battling each other in the losers bracket finals.

Multiple other tournaments saw several LGBTQ names counted among their top eights, including “Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2” (Hyper Crasher, Matador), “Them’s Fightin’ Herds” (GOTHOPPRESSION, Poco), “Vampire Savior” (VickiViper, Servo), “Dragon Ball FighterZ” (Vyrmyr), “Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising” (Wavie) and Combo Breaker’s Mystery Game Tournamnet (Ryer). And that doesn’t take into account all of the LGBTQ players who competed in the opening rounds of tournaments that didn’t make it to the late stage rounds of tournaments.

Nearly half of the main tournaments held at Combo Breaker saw LGBTQ representation within its top finishers. It shows just how much further ahead the FGC is than other esports fields when it comes to the presence of pro-level athletes from the LGBTQ community, and its only going to grow.