Rachel Byrk, a notable transgender developer known for her work on both Gamecube and Wii emulators, has committed suicide at the age of 23.
Byrk had reportedly suffered from low self-esteem and chronic pain for years, long before she had become a game developer, where she was subject to a constant flow of harassment and abuse online due to being transgender.
Being transgender or gay in any community isn’t a walk in the park, and can paint a target on your back for the less accepting. Byrk had been told for months that she should jump off a bridge. Tragically, on April 23, she did just that – jumping from the Washington Bridge in New York just a few days after announcing on 4chan VG that she would be leaving various online communities because of the way she had been treated. That 4chan post was also met with numerous hateful messages, which again urged Byrk to commit suicide.
News of Byrk’s death is now spreading and other, more accepting, gaming communities have come out to publicly mourn her death. Various Memorials have appeared across the internet in remembrance of her, and all her contributions to the emulators she loved.
Rachel Byrk did some significant work on the Dolphin emulator, and the community that surrounds it are missing her greatly. One member of the Dolphin community said that “she was a very kind and helpful person, one of many to help guide me through the project when I first started to contribute to the program. Her contributions to both the TAS and Dolphin Emulator community were vast, adding multiple helpful and sorely needed tools to make Dolphin easier to TAS. Although I did not know her as long as the others, I know she will surely be missed by all of those who knew her.”
You can read the full blog post on the Dolphin Emulator page here.