‘Representation always matters’: VALORANT fandom stands up to Clove non-binary backlash

VALORANT’s most toxic players are losing it after early March leaks revealed the newest agent, Clove, is non-binary, but the community is speaking up about the importance of this kind of representation in the game.

We haven’t been given all the official information on Clove just yet, but VALORANT’s newest agent is already generating a lot of discussion across the fandom—and not just for their leaked abilities and gameplay. Ever since it was leaked that Clove is non-binary, players have either been excited and thrilled or negative and unaccepting.

VALORANT Agent 25 teaser image of a desk with a plant, butterfly decorations, and a message.
One of the few official teasers for the new agent. Image via Riot Games

The players who can’t accept having a non-binary character in VALORANT or other video games give the same old arguments we’re tired of hearing: “Keep gender identities out of video games,” and, “Who cares about being represented in a game?” Others are upset that Riot chose to focus on designing a non-binary agent rather than features they want to see added or fixed. Either way, these types of comments are proof the toxicity of the VALORANT community goes way further than simply flaming someone for poor gameplay, and it remains a huge issue for non-binary and marginalized people who just want to play the game in peace.

Thankfully, there are also players who call out the toxicity and explain why representation does matter in media, including video games. Those players explained that Clove’s background can make non-binary players feel accepted, even if the info doesn’t directly impact gameplay—“Representation of minorities will always matter.” Sarah Simpson, who won the 2023 VCT Game Changers Championships with Shopify Rebellion, also called out creators and personalities who use their platform to feed their bigotry to their young audiences for profit.

While it’s great to see Riot take another step in the right direction with Clove, it’s clear the VALORANT community still needs to work on being respectful and accepting of marginalized people. If certain players are offended by agents who are different from them, perhaps it’s time for them to uninstall the game. There was a similar negative reaction when Killjoy and Raze were confirmed to be VALORANT’s first LGBTQ+ couple, and it’s disappointing to see that the toxic crowd stuck around to bash details about Clove now too.

If you’re hyped to see Clove in action, the new VALORANT agent will officially be revealed and showcased ahead of VCT Masters Madrid’s finals on March 24.

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