57-hour Donkey Kong 64 stream raises more than $340,000 for trans charity

22 Jan 2019

H.Bomberguy. Image: YouTube

YouTuber H.Bomberguy raised hundreds of thousands for trans charity Mermaids by streaming a Nintendo classic.

On 18 January, YouTuber H.Bomberguy began streaming Donkey Kong 64 on Twitch, with the aim of fully completing the game while raising money for UK trans organisation Mermaids.

H.Bomberguy, whose real name is Harry Brewis, was motivated to undertake the challenge after a recent campaign against Mermaids that was spearheaded by television writer Graham Linehan.

The campaign, which has since been deleted, had called for UK National Lottery funding to the tune of £500,000 to be recalled from Mermaids. The organisation had been labelled an “aggressive group” and the National Lottery chose to undertake a review of the grant in December 2018.

A response to ‘woefully misinformed’ media discussion

In response, Brewis decided to set up the stream to try and raise money for the organisation, which provides information about gender nonconformity in children and young people.

He wrote: “I chose to support this charity because as a person living in Britain, I find the media discussion surrounding this issue in my country, especially in its tabloids, to be woefully misinformed. And I’d like to do my bit to help support the people who do the hard work of contributing to people’s thinking on an important issue.

“I chose Mermaids in specific because when they were designated some funding by the National Lottery, Graham Linehan, a comedy writer who did some work on a good show, uh, 20 years ago, who happens to be very normal man who’s just just very angry about trans people all day nowadays, went on Mumsnet and told them to email a lady from the National Lottery en masse and now the funding is under review.

“So well done, Graham! You have a massive audience and the power to choose to fight for progress in all the many forms we need in the world right now and you used it to make sure some children won’t have access to helpful resources.”

Special guests joined the Donkey Kong stream

US Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined in on the stream after numerous requests for her to do so on Twitter. As well as one of the US’s biggest political rising stars, Brewis was also joined by Doom co-creator John Romero, Chelsea Manning and game composer Grant Kirkhope, who voiced the titular gorilla in Donkey Kong 64.

Ocasio-Cortez also spoke about discrimination against trans people on the stream, following criticism from television writer Aaron Sorkin about young politicians being distracted by “transgender bathrooms”. She said: “It makes these issues much more acute in their crises than they usually are on average for other people. So it’s important that we do talk about these issues in the economic frame, but not let go of the fact that that discrimination is a core reason for the economic hardship.”

The stream concluded yesterday morning (21 January), after almost 58 hours of gameplay and donations of more than $340,000.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects