Trans Geek Girl Meets Mundane World

Los Banditos Return

In 1985, I got my first byline and writing paycheck for an article in Autoduel Quarterly, a magazine published by Steve Jackson Games for their game Car Wars.

The feature I wrote was a travel guide for Boulder, Colorado in a dystopic, “Mad Max” future. I shoveled in a bunch of insider jokes and references, gave a shout-out to my friends at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and put together a piece that was certainly readable, if not brilliant.

But while writing that article, I did one thing of which I am not at all proud. Read the rest of this entry »


Live Like a Refugee

Live like a refugee.

If tomorrow your property, your belongings, your titles and degrees and career are stripped away from you, don’t cling to that which is lost. Have the courage to leave the rubble and strike out into the unknown.

There will be barriers, physical, mental, cultural. Believe in your capacity to overcome them.

You will face both contempt and pity. Recognize that they are two sides of the same coin, one that sees you as lesser. You are not lesser. You are equal and deserve to be treated as such.

You have skills, aspirations and talents beyond what the world sees. Don’t let yourself be stuffed into somebody else’s preconception of who you are.

Above all, live. Live in defiance of chaos, of rigidity, of hate, of death.  Live with love and laughter, for they contain and control tragedy. Live and help others to live. Live in the knowledge that those who place themselves above you are made of the same flesh and blood and they will return to the same dirt as all of us.

I don’t want to trivialize the plight of refugees around the world, but often when we focus on that plight, or on the problems of migration, we lose sight of individual faces, their courage and sacrifice and compassion and humor and intelligence. We forget that they are us, and if we listen, we can learn from them.

When we forget that people are people, it allows terrible things to be done to them… to us. We’ve had quite enough of that. Let us love and celebrate OUR people: ALL people.

letter to the past

Hey Samantha,

I know you hate to be called that. They used to tease you with that name, didn’t they? You tried so hard to keep it under wraps, but it seemed like they knew, somehow, and they taunted you with your secret shame. Read the rest of this entry »

Through Your Eyes

I just woke up from a dream. I was in a post-apocalyptic world, part of a community in an abandoned theme park. I was speaking to a woman who was overcome with despair and preparing to strike out on her own — a course of action tantamount to suicide. She was of indistinct ethnicity, perhaps part Chinese and part African-American or Native American, and she felt so alone and isolated. I was pleading with her to stay. I don’t remember all that I said, but I recall these sentences: “We need you. We need to see the world through your eyes”. Read the rest of this entry »

No. It really doesn’t.

It seems like an innocuous statement of comfort, but it has a darker undertone.

“Everything happens for a reason” is an echo of the traditional notion of divine justice. Given an infinitely compassionate and powerful creator, why do bad things happen to good people?

Different theologies and philosophies have come up with different answers, but one of the more pernicious is the idea that divine justice is infallible — that bad things happen to good people because they’re imperfectly good. Some stray act or thought has incurred the wrath, and misfortune is evidence of sin.

While this is a peculiarly medieval way to view the world, it’s one that is also peculiarly persistent. It comes up often in discussions of poverty. If one believes that wealth is granted to the worthy through the invisible hand of the free market, the corollary is that those without wealth are in some way unworthy.

It’s pernicious nonsense. One of the gifts of humanity is the ability to understand cause and effect, but the drawback is an unfortunate tendency to impose causal relationships where none exist (and often invert those that do).

The universe is not that predictable. Our actions and choices can strongly influence the probability of some events, but there is always an element of chance. Often that’s all there is — pure blind chaotic chance, unheeding of the narratives built around it by mere mortals.

Everything happens for a reason? Only if “reason” includes the unpredictable non-patterns of random entropy, a definition so broad as to render the statement meaningless.

In that case, we might as well just murmur “empty platitude” and leave it at that.

Recently I got a message from a woman who took issue with me speaking on feminist topics in other forums. I dealt with it the same way I deal with all the other messages that say I’m not a “real woman” and that I should kill myself or just be male (a different way of saying the same thing) — I deleted it.

So I can’t quote from the author directly. But paraphrasing broadly, she felt that since I had the option of just washing my face and taking off my wig and putting on boy clothes and being accepted as a man, that my loss of male privilege was illusory and I was therefore unqualified to speak on matters of female oppression. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Love is Love

In June of 2016, 49 people were brutally murdered at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. This graphic novel is an anthology of stories inspired by that event.

Comic book writer Marc Andreyko organized a team of creators from around the industry to contribute to the project. It’s a collection of one and two page stories, all dealing with the shooting or related themes.

DC Comics helped launch “Love is Love” in cooperation with IDW Publishing, and their signature characters are here, but this is not a book focused on superheroes. This is a book of comic creators dealing with tragedy in a range of ways, some of them polished and controlled, some of them a cathartic release of emotion. Read the rest of this entry »