6 queer stars we want to see drag GamesMaster kicking and screaming into the 21st century

Remember GamesMaster? The cult gaming TV show from the 90s is rumoured to be making a comeback, according to a pitch on the Channel 4 sales website.

The original was a magazine style show starring the late Sir Patrick Moore as the GamesMaster, who would provide hints and tips to players who competed in a number of challenges. 

The reboot is rumoured to have Patrick Stewart in the title role, with a possible launch later this year. According to the website, it will be a “social first” show in which “five bold celebrities will embark on a gaming odyssey but only one can go on to become the GamesMaster champion and take home the Golden Joystick”.

But which LGBT+ celebrities would we like to see in the title role?

Sir Ian McKellen

Sir Ian McKellen
Sir Ian McKellen. (Getty Images)

Taking the lead from Sir Patrick Moore and the rumoured Patrick Stewart, the GamesMaster is required to be someone with life experience, with gravitas, with a booming powerful voice, someone like…Sir Ian McKellen. Whether McKellen is a master of Fortnite strategies or knows his fake art from his real art in Animal Crossing is debatable, but there’s no other LGBT+ celebrity with the grandeur to take on this role.

Michelle Rodriguez

Michelle Rodriguez
Michelle Rodriguez. (Getty Images)

The queen of action films – best known for her role in Fast and Furious – is no stranger to gaming. From game-to-film adaptations like Resident Evil and Dungeons and Dragons, to voicing characters in Call of Duty and Halo, Rodriguez is also a keen gamer herself with a penchant for first person shooters. As GamesMaster she’d bring fearless energy and a wealth of experience in shooting actual zombies and demons.

Megan Thee Stallion 

Mortal Kombat 11 Megan Thee Stallion Mileena
Megan Thee Stallion as Mileena. (Warner Bros)

Mileena from Mortal Kombat is definitely having a moment right now, from the character’s own coming out, to featuring recently in two different Drag Race looks and a Megan Thee Stallion cosplay. The new queen of rap competed in a live Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate match on Twitch and YouTube earlier this week where she proved her skills – we’d love to see more!

Monet X Change 

Monet X Change
Monet X Change. (Getty Images)

RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars winner and host of her own chat show The X Change Rate, Monet is also a huge gamer who loves playing Super Smash Brothers on the Switch against other queens Bob, Kim Chi and more. She’s clearly no stranger to competition then, and would be a fierce and fabulous face of GamesMaster. Her Smash main? It’s Young Link.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga. (YouTube)

From one queen to another, Lady Gaga infamously tweeted about her (lack of) Bayonetta skills back in 2018: “#gamer respect to the experts I need emotional support.” Perhaps her skills have improved since then? The witchy femme fatale certainly seemed to inspire Gaga’s Rain On Me video, so she’d certainly bring some hair-whipping to the role of GamesMaster.

SonicFox

SonicFox
SonicFox. (Getty Images)

Professional Esports player SonicFox has won multiple fighting game tournaments, including five Evolution Championship Series (EVO) events across four different game franchises. They are also non-binary and are known for their anthropormophic fox fursona in which they often compete. A true multi-champion LGBT+ gaming icon, there’s no one else more qualified to be the GamesMaster.

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Mississippi ignores experts and votes to ban trans athletes from school sports teams

Mississippi has voted overwhelmingly in favour of banning trans athletes from school sports, ignoring all evidence proving that such bans are harmful and unscientific.

The state’s Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, passed the discriminatory bill in a 34-9 vote on Thursday (11 February) with very little prior discussion, AP reported.

The bill will now be voted on in the Mississippi House of Representatives, where Republicans also hold the majority.

“All this bill does is put transgender youth at risk of bullying, exclusion, and increased danger while discrimination and violence against transgender people is at a record high in this country,” the Human Rights Campaign Mississippi’s state director, Rob Hill said, according to CNN.

“If legislators would simply listen to medical experts and transgender athletes, they might know that transitioning for the sake of competitive advantage is simply unrealistic. So is the idea that transgender athletes even gain a supposed advantage in the first place,” he added.

Mississippi is one of a dozen states with lawmakers proposing restrictions on athletics or gender-confirming healthcare for transgender minors this year.

Supporters of bills like the one in Mississippi argue that transgender girls are naturally stronger, faster and bigger than their cis counterparts.

But it has been widely noted that any athlete, male or female, transgender or cisgender, can have competitive advantages for multiple reasons besides hormones such as testosterone (usually cited as giving advantage to trans women), including body size, access to training, and more.

And the idea that trans athletes’ physiological characteristics might provide them with an “unfair advantage” in sports is not based in science at all.

“There’s not really any sound body of evidence that speaks to the advantage that testosterone confers,” explained Dr Vinny Chulani, director of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Adolescent Medicine Program, in an interview with them last year.

“When you take a look at some of the studies that have been done on transgender females in terms of their athletic ability, it overlaps with the range that you would find in cisgender women. There is no body of evidence to suggest that there is an advantage.”

In fact, the ACLU notes that in many states, the very same cis girls who have claimed that trans athletes have an “unfair” advantage have consistently performed as well as or better than transgender competitors.

“These bills are not addressing any real problem, and they’re not being requested by constituents,” Human Rights Campaign said in a statement on Wednesday (10 February).

“Rather, this effort is being driven by national far-right organisations attempting to sow fear and hate.”

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Drag Race royalty Cheryl Hole and WWE stars compare the parallels between drag and pro-wrestling

What do drag queens and professional wrestlers have in common? Quite a lot, according to a recent interview with Drag Race UK superstar Cheryl Hole and WWE’s Pretty Deadly.

Cheryl Hole, who placed fourth on season one of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, sat down with WWE NXT UK tag team Pretty Deadly about inspirations growing up, life on big stages and even the similarities between professional wrestlers and drag artists.

Cheryl spoke about how her fiance is a big fan of the WWE, saying she’s “sort of losing her mind” that she was doing the interview. She explained that “character and performance” are key elements of both professions. Cheryl said: “Yes, the main stage of RuPaul’s Drag Race is a stage, but the ring in WWE is one of the biggest stages.”

She said wrestlers who go into the WWE area and donning their personas is like “putting on drag”. Cheryl explained: “They’re stepping into a character, they’re stepping into a persona.

“So that is how the two worlds collide together because we’re all putting on a bit of a show and a bit of camp.”

The show’s host then asked Pretty Deadly, the British professional wrestling tag team of Lewis Howley and Sam Stoker, what they thought the similarities between drag and WWE were. Stoker agreed with Cheryl, saying WWE is special because of “these large characters that come to life”.

“Whatever field you’re in – whether it’s wrestling or drag, I think there’s something to connect with there,” Stoker explained. “There’s characters, larger than life personas that you can kind of grab your favourite.”

He said the beauty of both professions is that fans can connect with and choose their favourite characters. Stoker said the duo has their favourite drag queens and wrestlers.

“You’re not going to love them all, but there’s some you’re going to connect that are going to connect with you, and that’s lovely,” he said.

Howley said both drag and WWE provided escapism for both fans and professionals alike. He explained: “It’s that release as well, isn’t it, for people where it’s an hour or two hours of just taking yourself out of your ordinary day.

“That might not have been a good day, and you can just relax and just watch something, and you just get pure enjoyment from it.”

So if WWE stars Pretty Deadly were drag artists, what would their personas be?

So apparently both wrestlers have given a lot of thought as to what their drag personas would be. Howley said they would “be lying if we said that this is the first time we’ve thought about this”. Stoker said he would prevail as “Miss Chana De La Blong” while Howley would be “Princess Consuela Banana Hammock”.

To which, Cheryl said the pair seemed “fully-fledged and ready for the stage”. She invited both to “come on over, I’ve got plenty of wigs”.

Both wrestlers said Cheryl would be welcomed in the WWE as the profession is “crying out” for a ‘death drop’, the iconic drag move of lowering oneself to the ground, one leg extended which is seen throughout Drag Race.

“I can make it happen,” Cheryl promised.

Both men promised a future WWE show would include them being “dragged up” by Cheryl, and Pretty Deadly would, in turn, show her the ring.

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Sponsor of Israel Folau’s would-be team claims club was ‘stitched up’ in failed signing attempt debacle

The Australian rugby team involved in a failed attempt to sign Israel Folau were “stitched up” by the NRL, a corporate sponsor has claimed.

Folau, who was sacked in disgrace from Australia’s national team in 2019 for his homophobic comments, attempted to make a triumphant return to the Australian league by signing a deal with the St George Illawarra Dragons.

But just as an agreement appeared to be reached the team hastily abandoned talks, with fans and sponsors branding the player “a sh*tstorm waiting to happen”.

The Illawarra Dragons were guarded about their reasons for dropping the deal, but one of the club’s sponsors has hinted that it was an acrimonious decision.

Norm Black, the founder of TripADeal, dubbed the drama a “stitch up” and suggested the team had been hung out to dry by league bosses.

“Do you think they didn’t consult me or consult other sponsors long before this became a public stitch-up of the club and the CEO?” he asked The Sun Herald.

“The board was across all of this. I think they met twice and it was discussed with them. So [chief executive] Ryan Webb isn’t some kind of cowboy.

“But here is where I have an issue: I think the club was poorly treated and positioned by the NRL. They gave the club the rope and then they quietly hung us. There was never a firm no from the NRL.”

Instead, he says, the sporting body “allowed us to explore it and led us down the garden path”.

“They allowed the club to look rash and stupid, and the reason they didn’t cut it off straight away is because the NRL knows they would have had to face a court case,” he claimed.

“They knew there was a restraint of trade or something similar at risk facing them.”

However it happened the news was likely a tough blow for Israel Folau, who has persistently maintained he was in the right to claim that “hell awaits” gay people, that the devil is to blame for transgender children and that bushfires are “God’s judgment” for same-sex marriage.

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