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SonicFox one of the People of the Year 2019 by GameIndustry
SonicFox one of the People of the Year 2019 by GameIndustry
Published by MKRayden
12-06-2019
Post SonicFox one of the People of the Year 2019 by GameIndustry

Dominique "SonicFox" McLean
While Chung's story of using his platform to advocate for change happened entirely over the course of a few months, McLean has been fighting their own, very different, explosive battles over a longer period of time.

sonicfox2
Dominique 'SonicFox' McLean

McLean has been garnering attention for their fighting game prowess since 2014, emerging as a powerful contender in the Mortal Kombat and Injustice scenes and managing to take home a first place victory in the Injustice tournament at EVO in their debut year. But McLean didn't settle for notoriety in one or two games -- they have since branched out to win tournaments across multiple different fighting titles, taken home five EVO trophies, cultivated a popular rivalry with fellow Dragon Ball FighterZ player Goichi "GO1" Kishida, and last year was named Esports Player of the Year at The Game Awards.

"As you guys also may know, or may not know, I'm also super gay," McLean said with a laugh during their acceptance speech. "So I want to give a super shoutout to all my LGBTQ+ friends that always help me through life. Obviously, I'm a furry, so shoutout to all the furries. Guess all I gotta really say is I'm gay, black, a furry, pretty much everything a Republican hates, and the best esports player of the whole year, I guess!"

In that segment of their speech, McLean effectively summarizes how they have used their platform over the last five years to bring visibility to the LGBTQ+ community and promote the presence of those who consider themselves a part of it within the fighting game community. That has taken numerous forms, the most visible of which is McLean's donning of parts or all of a blue fox fursuit during most of their public appearances, and speaking frequently and casually about both their sexuality and, more recently, gender identity.

But that has also involved more outright public action. Late last year, McLean donated $10,000 of their winnings at the 2018 Injustice 2 Pro Series Grand Finals to defeated opponent Curtis "Rewind" McCall for his father's cancer treatment. A few months ago, they held a three-hour livestream to raise money for LGBTQ+ non-profit The Trevor Project, bringing in a total of $22,000. One of their donation thresholds involved writing the words "Trans Rights" on their chest. And at many recent events, McLean has worn the transgender Pride flag as a cape.

Though McLean certainly has their share of detractors and Twitter critics, far more respond to them with gratitude, encouragement, and awe. Many call them an inspiration -- a loud, visible, skilled professional able to command attention, and then direct that attention to making the esports space more welcoming to more people. In a space that's still struggling with a lack of diversity, McLean refuses to let anyone stop them from showing the world that everyone, regardless of gender, sexuality, or ethnicity, belongs in esports and the fighting game community.

"The only way they can stop me is by being better at what I do," McLean said in an interview with The Washington Post earlier this year. "I have everyone's attention now, and the only way you can get that attention off of me is by [outclassing] me. A lot of people have absolutely no choice but to look at me, and that makes them more upset... If they have a problem with it, what are they gonna do about it?"


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