‘Don’t Be A Jerk About It’: NC Pokemon Competitor Disqualified From Tournament Over ‘Preferred Pronouns’ Policy

(Photo Credits: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

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A competitor in a recent Pokemon tournament in North Carolina shared a story claiming he was disqualified from the competition for laughing while giving his preferred pronouns.

The player, who goes by the name Makani, wrote about his disqualification from the Pokemon Charlotte Regionals tournament in a lengthy blog post. Makani claims a competition judge asked him what his preferred were while walking over to the event. Nervous because he drew a tough matchup for his next game, Makani claims he giggled and said “Um he or him or uhhhh haha his.” The player claimed that after the judge asked him again, he gave the same answer with another giggle.

According to Makani, his giggles struck a chord with the judge, who told him, “okay just wanted to check to be safe. I go by they/them so don’t be a jerk about it.” (RELATED: Poll: Americans Have Negative Views Of Preferred Pronouns And Trans Athletes)

Makani then claimed that two judges interrupted the competition and grilled him over the “tone” in which he presented his pronouns. While talking offstage, the judge then disqualified him for violating Pokemon’s “inclusive policy.” The player tried to reassure the judge that the entire mishap was a misunderstanding and that he had “no problem” with others’ pronouns. However, the judge stood firm and denied his request for an appeal.

“You guys didn’t even listen to me at all,” Makani reportedly said to the judge.

The Pokemon afficionado wrote that he spent $800, took two flights, and missed school to attend the event. The dismissal from the tournament caused him to break down into tears all night long.

Others in the Pokemon card game world have voiced support for Makani, saying that the judge’s actions went too far.

“While I understand the sentiment behind the judges being careful it is very hard to justify this kind of ruling. If Makani‘s account is truthful (we have no reason to believe it isn’t) it is a ridiculous stretch and is actively working against the inclusion policy,” a Twitter user who goes by Natalie Pro Militank Player, tweeted. 

“Fucking ridiculous, this dq alone puts them at the bottom of my list for event organizers. Makani is a child the same age as me,” Twitter user and Pokemon player Andrew Ganther tweeted.

“It’s glaringly obvious that Makani had no malicious intent and should at least have been given some leeway when appealing the dq,” Pokemon player Chris Franco tweeted.