On April 23, after months of severe bullying developer Rachel Bryk, 23, jumped from the Washington Bridge in New York.
Rachel had been an active member of several development communities and worked extensively on the Dolphin Emulator, designed to run games for the Nintendo Gamecube and Wii on Android and PC, helping to program such features as full HD video, networked multiplayer and PC controller support.Despite her contributions to the gaming community she was still made the target of discrimination and abuse from some of her fellow members, often being insulted and demeaned for her transgender status, an aspect of her life she would on occasionally discuss openly on forums and message boards. She had previously talked about the effects of transphobia and of receiving transphobic hate mail for her opinions, citing them as reasons for her withdrawal from numerous communities during a post on the 4chan videogame imageboard several weeks ago.
In a statement regarding her daughter’s death Lisa Bryk described Rachel’s long struggle with Fibromyalgia, a syndrome which often affects how pain signals are processed in the central nervous system causing fatigue, prolonged muscles spasms, and chronic widespread pains in sufferers. She also spoke about how Rachel’s worsening pain and discomfort had significantly influenced her decision.Rachel’s fellow developers working on the Dolphin Emulator also spoke highly of her, praising her hard work and kind heart, talking about her support in forums, helping users on IRC and Reddit, and her work on designing and creating several new tools for the program.
Considering the talent and passion Rachel had for her craft, it is saddening to think that someone with so much enthusiasm and potential in a life afflicted with persistent pain wasn’t able to find peace and acceptance contributing to something they loved. Unfortunately, the recent fervor for taking sides and discriminatory politics in some sects of the gaming world mean such cruelties are unlikely to stop any time soon. Until those using and running the message boards and forums take more responsibility in moderating users, paying closer attention to the homophobia and discrimination that’s hatefully spewed on their own members, the undeserved attacks against forum users, many like Rachel, who only seek to aid and improve their community, will likely continue unabated.
The staff of Hardcore Droid extends our sincere condolences to the friends and family of Rachel Bryk.