Rue Dickey (they/he) is a returning guest to ID this week. You may remember Rue from last year as the organizer who helped raise over $400,000 for two trans rights organizations in Texas via Tabletop Role Playing Games (TTRPGs). Well, they’re back at it this year and we’re here to tell you all about it!
In February, 2022 Texas governor Greg Abbott called for teachers and members of the public to report parents of transgender children to authorities, equating providing support and medical care for trans youth to child abuse. This combined with a climate of increasing anti-trans legislation across the US, led Rue to take action. Rue is an Oregon State University alumnus and a freelance game developer, designing games for Hitpoint Press, Cobalt Press, and publishing independent work on game hosting platforms such as itch.io. Wanting to do something to help children and transgender people living in Texas, Rue decided to turn his passion for TTRPGs into a fundraiser. The online indie game hosting platform itch.io has been used in the past to create fundraisers for charities by bundling together and selling games. A few of Rue’s friends who run a BIPOC tabletop server have had experience with creating profit-sharing bundles using the platform in the past, so after he consulted them and walked through the steps, he set up a bundraiser. By the time of our interview with Rue in April, 2022 they had raised over $400,000 for TENT (Transgender Education Network of Texas, a trans-led group that works to combat misinformation on the community level through the corporate level, offering workshops as well as emergency relief funds for trans folks in need) and OLTT (Organización Latina Trans in Texas, a Latina trans woman-led organization focusing on transgender immigrants in Texas, assisting with the legal processes of immigration, name changes, and paperwork.) In addition to this they had been interviewed by several national news outlets, including NBC, Gizmodo, and The Mary Sue, as well as gaming-centric websites like Polygon, Dicebreaker, and GamesHub.
This year Rue is continuing the fundraiser, but focusing on Florida which has garnered national attention for anti-trans legislation such as the Parental Rights in Education Act, which restricts schools from including LGBTQ+ topics in curricula. The proposed expanded provisions to the act would ban teachers from addressing students by pronouns that differ from those they were assigned at birth, and staff would also be unable to share their own preferred pronouns if they deviate from those assigned at birth. Additionally, the Florida Board of Medicine enacted a rule that bars minors from starting puberty blockers or hormone therapy, essentially banning transition for those under the age of 18.
The organizations benefiting from the bundraiser this year are Zebra Youth Coalition (a network serving youth ages 13-24, that run shelters for youth that need safety and resources) and Transinclusive Group (a trans women of color-led coalition aimed at offering peer support, access to resources like HRT, and educating care providers in how to better take care of trans youth.) The current bundle launched on March 13th and has 505 game supplements and zines, the base price of which is $5 but the top donation is $1000. The fundraising goal for this year’s bundle is $250k, but in the couple of weeks since launching there’s already been $208k raised.
The bundle is live through April 6th, so there is still time to help reach their fundraising goal! To learn more about the fundraiser, tune into Rue’s episode this upcoming Sunday, March 26th at 7 PM! Be sure to listen live on KBVR 88.7FM, or download the podcast if you missed it.