Image via Penny Arcade.
Today our friends at Penny Arcade shared an eye-opening piece on Dani Landers, creator of the acclaimed Kickstarter project (9 days left to support!) Bloom, and her experiences as a trans gamer. In the piece Dani speaks to her experiences playing as female characters in MMOs and other titles, and how those experiences taught her what it was like to be perceived as female; something much harder to accomplish in real life:
“I always played the female characters in games,” Landers said when I asked how she started to explore her gender identity. “When I started getting into MMOs, they provided a more unique opportunity to play a character that really represented you more, because you were putting so much time into these characters. That’s when I really started to delve into the… I labeled it the ‘feminine side’ of myself.”
“The thing is, going out into the real world and doing things that way is not really possible. This is one thing doctors… I think they still do this, they call it ‘real life experience,’ where they tell the transgender person to dress up like the opposite sex and start living as them for a year. But without any hormones, without any treatment, without anything else,” Landers said.
But Landers isn’t the only member of the trans gaming community speaking out. Far from it.
In addition to sharing Landers’ experiences, author Dabe Alan reached out to the PA readership and found a huge number of trans gamers wanting their stories to be told. For many the freedom of character design in RPGs and MMOs, and even in Miis, offers trans gamers an opportunity to freely express themselves with little hassle. Alan also directly addresses the detractors of the community; those that don’t see trans issues and gaming as having anything to do with one another.
Yet increasingly trans-visibility in the world of video games has become a hot topic and one that many gamers are eager to chime in on. Not too long ago we shared a piece from Samantha Allen of The Border House on recreating trans experiences in indie games. For Allen, most telling was how non-gamer students eagerly embraced titles like dys4ia and Mainichi while others questioned their legitimacy as games.
Just yesterday our friends at Gaming In Color, the Kickstarter documentary hoping to profile the rise of LGBT gaming culture, shared the following video where Black transgirl gaymer Iina bravely shares her experiences growing up in an environment where her differences were not celebrated:
We here at GayGamer.net have always made efforts to shine the spotlight on trans issues in gaming but even we have, admittedly, made our share of missteps. Thankfully with projects like GaymerConnect/GaymerX and Gaming in Color, as well as the ongoing efforts of sites like Penny Arcade, The Border House, and yes, GayGamer, these voices are finally getting heard in a major way.
So let’s make sure to embrace every member of our diverse community and help support everyone making the effort to enact change. If you haven’t already go support Gaming In Color, which is already halfway towards its goal. And then be sure to check The Border House, Penny Arcade, and Gaymerconnect.
And while you’re at it why not check out Dani Landers’ Bloom, and help it reach its goal!