LoL criticized for pushing through an “LGBTQ agenda” – “In 2025 all champs will be gay”

Riot Games released splash art for Pride Month in June 2023 showing gay and queer characters in League of Legends. The image is intended to serve as the background for the Pride Month 2023 event in LoL. That triggers criticism. Riot Games reacts calmly.

What is the trigger for the discussion?

  • Riot Games is supporting League of Legends’ Pride Month with special skins and emotes. Pride Month is designed to celebrate members of the LGBTQ+ community. The first Pride Month took place in 1970 after police raided a gay bar in New York in June 1969.
  • Patch 13.11, which is live on the test server, already showed items that will come to LoL in June 2023. The leaker Big Bad Bear presented 3 icons for Pride Month in a YouTube video (via youtube).
  • An image was posted on Twitter on May 18 showing a selection of LoL characters belonging to the LGBTQ+ community. These include Netflix series star Vi, Caitlyn, Neeko, new champion K’Sante, Nami, lovers Leona and Diana, Twisted Fate and Graves.
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    Reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, but some are grumbling

    What is the reaction to the picture?? The picture is extensively discussed and commented on reddit. A corresponding thread has 381 comments.

    The vast majority of word contributions with many upvotes are positive. You talk about details and the background stories of the champions. Ask why certain characters aren’t in the picture that are “canon” transgender, or talk about each champion’s individual relationships within the game.

    But there are also comments that deal negatively with the picture. Users say something like:

  • “When is straight month? What about 95% of the population?”
  • “Since when is Neeko gay?”
  • “Wonder who Riot is making gay this year for marketing reasons?”
  • “Seriously Riot? I mean 8 champs out of 163? Is everyone in the game really gay now? I can’t play a game that has an agenda imposed on me. So in 2025 all heroes will be gay?”
  • Riot: Characters weren’t changed after the fact – you just assumed they were straight

    Here’s how Riot Games is reacting: Alex Quach, producer of Riot Games, commented on the criticism on Twitter and published an FAQ:

  • The image will be the “pro background” when using certain icons during the event window.
  • When asked, “Why did you guys change XYZ?” Quatch says, “We didn’t. You just assumed they were straight.”
  • The picture also does not show all LGBTQIA+ heroes in LoL; but only a specific selection.
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    Riot Games seems to be able to handle the isolated criticism with ease. The community also reacts calmly to the criticism, negative comments about the picture are downvoted on reddit and are mostly hidden, they have to be activated separately in order to read them.

    Despite all the tolerance, there is one downer. Riot Games will probably not feature Pride Month everywhere in LoL again, but only where there is no fear of strong political resistance:

    LoL proudly celebrates gays and lesbians – Except in Turkey, you’re not allowed there: LGBTQIA+ issues