Pokémon Professor reportedly banned for transphobic behavior, highlighting issues in Pokémon’s competitive scene

There's no room for that behavior at Pokémon tournaments.

With one of the biggest Pokémon regional tournaments underway in Vancouver, hundreds of players are competing in Pokémon Go, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet VGC, and TCG. So far, there have been many highlights, including seeing popular YouTuber and official VGC commentator Aaron Zheng compete in a major for the first time since the release of Scarlet and Violet. On the TCG side, however, things havent been so pleasant.

Following the events of Day One of the tournament, an officially sanctioned TCG judge (also known as a Pokémon Professor) reportedly made transphobic comments toward multiple players on several different occasions.

The Play! Pokémon Equality, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Policy states the company is committed to fostering an environment that is inclusive to all participants regardless of factors, including but not limited to age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, and/or disability. This policy extends to all members of the Play! Pokémon community, including the Professors serving as judges in the tournaments.

With multiple accusations of behavior that clearly violates the policy, the accused judge, Travis Madaris, has reportedly been permanently banned from Play! Pokémon tournaments and stripped of his Professor/Judge title as a result.

Team Northwest, the tournament organizer and an offical partner of The Pokémon Company, were credited with handling the situation in a timely manner, less than a day after the initial accusations were brought to their attention.

According to players and tournament goers, this isnt the first instance of discriminatory misconduct by a judge, which brings this type of issue into the community spotlight once again as it continues to harm individuals and the scene as a whole. 

Players are asking for change from tournament organizers to prevent situations like this from happening again and to make the space safer for players moving forward, in hopes of ensuring those Play! Pokémon policies arent just there for show.

This comes just one week after a big policy update from Konami for official Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG tournaments addressed adjacent concerns in that community.

Under the Unsporting Conduct section of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Infractions and Penalities Policy, players can now be disqualified for intentionally misgendering another person. This is a step in combating transphobic behavior to make players feel welcome and safe at these tournaments, and something other communities have pointed to as needing to be adopted or better enforced in games like Pokémon or Magic the Gathering

With the quick action from the organizer, additional issues were avoided in this instance. But now the pressure is on The Pokémon Company, Play! Pokémon, and their partners to make improvements to prevent interactions like this from happening in the future and live up to the inclusive environment they talk about fostering. 

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