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January 19, 2023

Gaming creators with disabilities connect and learn through Xbox pilot program

Bee Poshek found community as a full-time streamer and content creator after the pandemic disrupted a completely different career path.

“As an educator, one of my favorite aspects of teaching was kind of stripped out from under me – not getting to see students in person,” says Poshek, who was working at a university in Wisconsin. “I didn’t get to connect with them in that way or have deeper conversations. I also felt like students were going through some of the hardest things that I’d ever seen them go through and the systems in place were not giving me the tools I needed to really be able to help them.”

Poshek, who uses they/them pronouns, burned out. Their disabilities – chronic pain and polycystic ovarian syndrome – got worse. They also have autism. All those combined are a “triple whammy” that make traditional work challenging, says Poshek, who moved back in with their parents.

“Being an openly queer and disabled person in rural Wisconsin during the middle of a pandemic was an experience, to say the least, so I started seeking that community that I missed,” says Poshek, who found Twitch via some of their favorite Sims creators on YouTube. “I started finding niche communities that I really felt comfortable in, and eventually I worked up the courage to try it for myself. It’s been more than I ever expected it to be.”

Poshek, pictured above, was one of five people who joined the first Xbox Next Level (XNL) Creator Program, a six-week accelerator designed to help gaming streamers from underrepresented communities. Free virtual sessions focused on tools and resources to help them succeed in making creation a full-time job, and they received guidance on potential partnerships, creating a hosting reel, camera presentation, social media best practices and more.

Read more about Poshek and the other program creators on Source, which also has a shortform version of their experiences.