May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB), and “League of Legends” developer Riot Games is releasing a special in-game icon to celebrate.
The icon, available from now until the end of May, depicts a rainbow of poros, the cute furry creatures found on the “League of Legends” map. There’s also a special rainbow spawn animation that will trigger in Summoner’s Rift until the game’s next patch. Players can buy the icon for one blue essence, a currency that’s easily obtainable during matches. Riot is not charging real money for it.
“This icon is an-game expression that enables people with diverse sexual and gender identities to feel like they have a place on the Rift,” Riot said.
IDAHOT began in 2004 as a way for activists worldwide to raise awareness of LGBT rights via coordinated international events. The day’s organizers chose May 17 to commemorate the decision to remove homosexuality from the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases in 1990.
Riot has celebrated IDAHOTB for years and made charitable contributions for it, but this is the first time it’s trying this kind of in-game awareness effort.
“At Riot, we believe in building a gaming community that spans the world, crosses language barriers, and unites people of any and every background through their shared love of games,” said Riot Games development manager Ghiyom Turmel. “Participating in IDAHOTB is one way to keep moving toward that vision. This year, I’m excited that we are taking one more little step by inviting players to support IDAHOTB with an in-game icon. I really hope players will chime in, equip the icon, and show that they also want to build an inclusive ‘League of Legends’ community.”
In addition to the icon, Riot plans to donate $50,000 each to the It Gets Better Project and the Trevor Project, two non-profit organizations dedicated to LGBT rights and suicide prevention.