Trans Geek Girl Meets Mundane World

The Cascade of Erasure

The erasure of women throughout history is pervasive. From Hypatia to Grace Hopper, there have been brilliant female minds working towards human progress who were relegated to the footnotes by men who minimize their contributions. This is one of the dynamics that drove the modern women’s movement.

But that movement has done its own erasure. In 1969, Betty Friedan warned about the “lavender menace” in the women’s movement, referring to the presence of lesbians in their ranks. Uncomfortable with lesbians, she rationalized her personal aversion into lesbians presenting a threat to the movement as a whole, and she was able to garner enough support in some quarters that lesbians were excluded, squelched and ignored, and the enormous contributions they had made to the cause were downplayed, straight-washed or outright ignored.

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Gender Fluid

chameleon2

I am gender fluid.

Gender fluidity is the state of not having a fixed gender identity. At any given time, I may identify as male, female, both or neither.

Gender fluidity falls under the broad definition of transgender, the one that encompasses any person misaligned with the gender assigned to them at birth.

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thorinthumb

I originally told this story at a storytelling event in Ultima Online, but I didn’t write it down. It’s been a few years since then, and I just had an itch to put it in a less ephemeral format. So, as best I remember it, and perhaps a bit more embellishment:

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Galaxies End

This story is for the Star Wars Galaxies MMO, which closed this week. Rest in peace.

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DC Universe Online

I was seriously prepared to hate this game.

There are so many things wrong-headed about the design that it’s hard to know where to begin. There are no character bios. Everybody has the same origin. While you can create your own character, the templates steer you towards replicating a handful of existing heroes and villains. And the ultimate elite gear that you can earn is a battlesuit bearing the logo of an iconic hero, so you can be part of an army of identical warriors all bearing the same logo.

But I don’t hate it. It’s fun. It’s playable. They’ve got a style system so you can keep your own costume instead of whatever random armor piece you peel off a downed robot.

This is not a great game, by any stretch. The content is thin, and the game systems just don’t measure up to City of Heroes or Champions Online. Most troubling, the executives at Sony Online come off as being apathetic if not actively hostile to the entire notion of community building, player relations, and incorporating player feedback.

But at the end of the day, it’s just plain fun to explore the Justice League Satellite headquarters and meet Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and all the other classic characters that DC is famous for (although, disconcertingly, some of them appear to be carrying on some retail business on the side — guess even heroes have to make ends meet).

It’s not bad. I’m hoping it gets better.

Now if you’ll excuse me… Luthor’s kidnapped the big blue boy scout, and it’s up to me to get his Kryptonian backside out of the frying pan.

“I’m Not a Feminist…”

I’m hearing that phrase a lot lately. A Google search on it turns up over half a million hits. And the irony is that much of the time it’s coming out of the mouth of a woman running for public office.

“I’m not a feminist, but I believe in equal rights for women”. Hello? That’s like saying, “I rob banks, but I’m not a bank robber”.

I submit that any woman running for the Senate or the Presidency is extremely unlikely NOT to be a feminist. The term has been loaded up over the decades with negative stereotypes. Enough is enough. There are male and female feminists. There are conservative and liberal feminists. There are feminists that are pro-porn and anti-porn. There are feminists that are anti-abortion and pro-choice. There are black, white, yellow, red and brown feminists.

Disclaiming “I’m not a feminist” before uttering anything vaguely pro-woman just serves to reinforce the view that there’s something wrong with being a feminist. I can understand why people want to distance themselves from the stereotype, but the only way to dispel it is for the entire spectrum of feminists to stop running away from it.

I am a feminist. And if a candidate says she’s not a feminist, I’m going to take her at her word. If you’re not a feminist, then do us all a favor: drop out of the race, put your apron back on, go fetch me and the girls a beer, and let a real woman have the nomination.

Curtain Call (fiction)

This is another short story based on one of my characters from Ultima Online. She was created as a temporary character to appear in a production of the Golden Brew Players, but after ten years or so, I guess she’s not so temporary after all, and deserves a bit of a background story. She’s also the only one of my characters to appear in a non-fiction book, sitting near Lord British in an illustration from Amy Jo Kim’s book, “Community Building for the Web”.