Autumn Burchett on Representation in Magic

Chantelle CampbellCommunity

In case you missed it, something monumental happened this weekend.

It was the 91st Oscars, and attendees did not come to play. Billy Porter rocked the runway in a custom Christian Siriano haute couture gown, Hannah Beachler and Ruth E. Carter earned Marvel its first Oscars (the first African-American women to win Oscars in their categories, and the first to win in a nonacting category since Irene Cara in 1984), and Selma Blair came out in public for the first time since her Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis with the fiercest cane I’ve ever seen.

“But Chantelle,” you say, “I thought we were here to talk about Magic?” Well, we are. Because another momentous thing happened on Sunday. Autumn Burchett won the first ever Mythic Championship.

“So what?” you may be thinking. “People win these things all the time.”

Cisgender men may win these things all the time, but Autumn is the first non-male to hoist the trophy. Just like Hannah Beachler’s and Ruth E. Carter’s, Autumn’s win is historic.

But why exactly is it historic? I went to the Mythic Champion themself to get their thoughts on representation, what the community’s support means to them, and where they see this great game going forward.

(Note: This interview has been condensed and edited.)

Why is representation important to you personally?

When I started playing Magic competitively, seeing the results that Melissa DeTora had had was a huge inspiration for me. It can be really hard to feel like you belong when almost everyone who wins fits into the same mold, and seeing people win in spite of that is huge. I can’t even imagine how big an impact it would have had if I’d had another trans person to look up to, represented on Magic‘s biggest stages of competition. Seeing people similar to you achieve great things makes you believe that you can achieve great things too (which you can).

You’ve had a lot of support following your win. Which reactions touched you the most?

There have been so many messages that have brought me to tears. The three that I can think of that have had the most impact are:

This open letter on Reddit.

This piece of writing by a dear friend of mine, Kaylee:

And this tweet.

What do you think the next steps are for increasing representation of marginalized communities in Magic?

I am really struggling to know how to answer this. I wish I knew exactly. It can feel kind of helpless sometimes, so much swimming up-stream. But I feel like in an overall sense we are making progress, slowly. Jess [Estephan] winning the team GP, Liz [Lynn] winning the recent Open. The love and support that was shown for me when I won, that can’t just be for me, and can’t just be for someone winning. We need to raise each other up, and make each other stronger.

Just like Melissa DeTora and Jessica Estephan before them, Autumn has already become an inspiration to many in the Magic community. Seeing the community raising each other up and empowering one another in the wake of Autumn’s victory has been inspiring, and it feels as though the tide is shifting toward a more inclusive, more representative game.

This is why representation is so important.

I wanted to leave you with a few of my favorite responses to what was truly a Mythic championship: