Pokimane uses old transphobic meme, angers streaming community

By Olivia Richman


Oct 1, 2020

Reading time: 2 min

Popular variety streamer Imane “Pokimane” Anys has been back on Twitch less than a month and is already at the center of drama. 

Pokimane fans have consistently been called “simps” throughout 2020, with many in the streaming community mocking them for spending money on a content creator “just because she’s a woman.” The “simp” meme became even bigger when controversial YouTuber Leafy alleged that Pokimane was hiding the fact that she may have a boyfriend in order to continue getting such support from male viewers. 

The overused phrase has started to rub some people the wrong way. Recently, someone shared a post on Instagram saying that people should stop calling men simps “just for being a decent male.” Pokimane screenshoted the picture and shared it on her own Instagram story. 

“You know what? Some dudes really do be simpin’ LOL,” Pokimane began. 

The streamer then said she was sick of seeing everyone, including male, female, and “attack helicopter,” being called a simp just for being nice to women. While the sentiment may have ended up sticking up for men being called simps, many people had a problem with another part of Pokimane’s statement. 

“I sexually identify as an attack helicopter” has been a meme since 2014. The original usage was from a copypasta on a Team Fortress 2 player’s Pastebin. 

Ever since then, the “attack helicopter” meme started being used as a way to minimalize and mock the concept of gender identity. It’s commonly used in the gaming community and beyond to point out the “impossibility” of people having an identity outside of societal norms. This includes being non-binary or trans. 

The phrase is also sometimes used in a more harmless context, and Pokimane could very well have meant it as a light joke rather than an attack. But it’s unlikely she’s unaware of the history of this particular meme and its frequent use in attacking people of different identities, making it an odd choice for the popular streamer to broadcast to her large following. 

This recent post has left a lot of fans upset, but others stated they weren’t surprised, bringing up the time Pokimane using a racial slur in an old stream. This is something Pokimane has never addressed directly, prompting people to consistently bring it up in her Twitter replies no matter the subject matter. 

So far, Pokimane hasn’t responded to the backlash following her use of “attack helicopter.” 


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