Throughout June, we are spotlighting LGBTQIA+ Streamers. Recently, we caught up with streamer OhKay (she/her). In the spirit of continuously supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, Streamlabs had the pleasure of hosting OhKay on our Twitch channel during Pride month. Follow OhKay on Twitch or Twitter so you can keep up with her amazing content.
Can you provide some background on your channel and how you got started. How long have you been streaming and what do you typically like to stream?
I have been streaming since July 2017 actually—I started off because a bunch of
friends and I played Rainbow six: Siege until late almost every night. We were
pretty good at it, so I decided why not. From there, I got super addicted to PuBG
and the rest was history. I focused on that until coming out as trans back in
March of 2018. The stream became way more community-based. I’ve also been
DJ’ing since around 2007, I never stopped, but kept it in clubs for the most part.
With the pandemic though, my stream has shifted to being mostly music focused
with some game content as well.
What was it about streaming that initially interested you and inspired you to give it a try?
Well I lived in a smaller town with not much to do. I’d get off work and just wanted
something else to focus on. I also thought my friends and I were pretty good at
what we played. Since coming out though I really do love the community I’ve got
around me—they always bring me back!
What is the most important thing to you about being an LGBTQIA+ streamer?
The honest truth is being someone visible. I grew up in the south around some
fairly hateful communities. I didn’t really get any exposure to trans or even people
under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella until college. I always knew I was trans but really
didn't know how to approach that with my family, so I kept in the closet. Being on
Twitch is a way for me to help people that have had my experience. Nothing
makes me happier than hearing how just being visible has inspired someone to
come out or help them figure things out.
Are there other LGBTQIA + streamers that you are inspired by?
This is honestly a massive list, a few years ago when I first started streaming I
found DistractedElf and FerociouslySteph. From there I found people like
Nikatine, Mia, Clairelynnd, Annie, Starsys, and almost all of Transmission
Gaming. While I’m not on that team anymore I still appreciate the heck out of
them. Since then I’ve met some incredible friends, a ton from Sidequest, my
current twitch team. Jambo, Tinytrees, AlleeMac, Gregor2424, Ms_Huffle, and so
many more. The list truly goes on and on, and I’m sorry if I didn’t mention you
here but it is hard to remember everyone honestly. I do truly see any
marginalized person who streams though as a huge inspiration. Any
marginalized creator who can put up with the hate they encounter on this
platform, and still want to come back every time is truly inspirational. Some days
it’s really hard, I know the threats and hate they’ve faced. Just knowing they are
brave enough to deal with it every time they go live means more than I can ever
Do you have any tips for new streamers entering the space?
Have fun with it and don’t get caught up in the numbers—that’ll really ruin it for you.
You are going to get hate—find constructive ways to deal with it and do your best
to not engage. Play what you want to play, and say what you want to say. I truly
think streaming should always be fun for you, otherwise it gets incredibly hard.
In your opinion, what makes a good/engaging live stream for viewers?
I think keeping a conversation going even when it’s slow is incredibly important. I know a ton of really skilled gamers, and I can promise skill is not always enough. You have to be engaging, and fun. You have to have an ability to connect with people, and keep those connections.
You also have to be persistent, almost to a fault sometimes. There is definitely
not a right answer for this though—if there was, everyone would be famous.
What kind of activities or hobbies do you enjoy outside of streaming and creating content?
Outside of the stream, I’m still a huge nerd. I have a full time job as a cloud/IT
engineer with a focus on automation. I love to DJ, and even play out at
bars/clubs/events. I spend most of my time gaming or watching movies with
friends. I have a huge love for cars, and I love driving. I love watching F1 and
I have been completely obsessed with it for the last few years. I enjoy college
football still, almost to a crazy degree thanks to college (Go Pokes!). I spend a ton
of time traveling, my favorite places to visit are Boston, Portland, and NYC.
Boston is probably my favorite though, hoping to move there one day soon!
How do you avoid burnout and stay motivated as a creator?
I think everyone faces burnout…it even beat me once. I had to take a break for
about a year before coming back. I think knowing when you’re at your limit and
not feeling bad about stepping away is important. Everyone needs a vacation, it
doesn’t matter what your job is. Absolutely take a break if you’re feeling
overwhelmed or at least try to change things up. Don’t ever feel bad for taking a
break either. Disconnecting is so important and it really doesn’t matter how much you
love your job.