I’m a Transgender Woman Because of Video Games - I'm just as surprised that CatParty hasn't posted this either.

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Gordon Cole

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I’m a Transgender Woman Because of Video Games
by Riley Constantine

I discovered my identity as a transgender woman through video games. While the very notion that gaming contributed to my feminine coming of age might seem preposterous, it is the honest-to-goodness truth. Video games are literally why I know I’m a woman.

Let me start from the beginning. In an America that regularly failed (and still fails) transgender youth, video games were my coping mechanism. Silly as it sounds, collecting crystals in Crash Bandicoot and plowing through pedestrians in Grand Theft Auto weren’t just fun and games for me: they were how I survived a grueling 1990s/2000s childhood as a confused, self-loathing trans girl in denial.

Games like Halo and Mario Kart were how I distracted myself from an emotional gauntlet exacerbated by societal negligence. My existence was deemed taboo by “family values” culture. Transgender issues just weren’t spoken of at home, school, work, chess club, or anywhere — as if the act of being queer was more controversial than a Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction. The “Sundays belong to Jesus” crowd had essentially created an effective LGBTQ blacklist so extensive that the word “transgender” didn’t enter my vocabulary until adulthood. I often dreamt of my dying day so I could become a girl in heaven.

Playing video games was what prevented me from committing suicide. Gaming swooped in like a muscular Superman to rescue poor little me from the burning closet I was shamed into. Experiences like rescuing Princess Peach in Super Mario 64 or lighting Ripto’s cape afire in Spyro were the rare constants in my tumultuous existence, and these games (as well as many others) gave me direct control of a virtual reality that I enjoyed far more than my actual reality.

Being a teenager complicated matters. Aggressive action games such as God of War and Gears of War were the only reason I survived the trauma of the “Puberty of War”. Where my figure rightfully should have blossomed to that of a woman, testosterone permanently scarred my body as I grew in height, my beard grew thick, and my voice deepened to an unmistakably masculine register. Chainsawing enemies and impaling a hydra gave me an angry outlet to channel the internal agony I experienced glimpsing myself in the mirror.

It was a horrible time.

A few years later, video games (role-playing games in particular) became the primary way my subconscious identity crisis was reflected back at me. While I had the desire to steal into my sister’s closet or stuff apples into my shirt to pretend I hadDead or Alive style breasts, I avoided these temptations because I believed they were sinful. Video games picked up the slack: Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and other games with a character creation feature were how I experimented with gender roles. I wasted hours contemplating my character’s gender. Sometimes I would create a female character only to delete her because I felt ashamed that I wanted to play as a woman. How scandalous.

Then I played Fable 2. Even though the Fable series is often criticized for failing to live up to expectations (to be fair, so am I!), Fable 2 has a special place in my heart because it directly confronted my lifelong desire to be female. While I controlled a male avatar as normal, there was a post- end-game quest that offered a secret award: a single use potion that would change your character’s gender if (and only if) you used it right then. I really wanted to change my character’s gender, but I feared what that thought said about me.

After hours of deliberating, I declined to drink.

The sense of regret was instant. Frantically, I researched YouTube videos on “the Fable 2 gender-bender potion” (incognito mode of course, there must be no evidence). The search results were surprising: instead of Fable 2 videos, many of the uploads consisted of transgender people transitioning to their true gender utilizing hormone replacement therapy. This was a stunning development because not only was this the first time I realized what it meant to be transgender, but I had also discovered I could transform my body through a modern medical miracle! Still, I resisted the temptation to transition because I believed I wasn’t a “real” girl,

Ultimately, Fallout 4 was the game that convinced me that I needed to transition. I found the synths (basically human-like robots) and their storyline relatable because, like me, they were stigmatized by many of their fellow citizens and portrayed as subhuman (i.e. not real men or women). The synth plot was a revelation. The synths as a race desired to fight for their right to exist against antagonistic human forces who literally purveyed the synths as disposable parts. Where I had spent years being ashamed of my feminine side, the synths were proud of who they were and motivated to fight for their existence. After playing through Fallout 4’s main quest, I was ready to do the same.

Fallout 4 was the capstone to a lifetime of gaming memories that helped me realize that I didn’t just want to be a girl but that I was a girl who needed to transition. Witnessing the synths experience pride in their own personhood taught me that I must stop being ashamed of my womanhood, and while the synths did this by starting a literal revolution, I did a revolutionary act of my own by transitioning.

Now, after being on hormones for a few years, I truly have never been happier to be me while getting authentically wrecked in Bloodborne.

https://www.escapistmagazine.com/v2/2018/10/02/im-a-transgender-woman-because-of-video-games/
 

CIA Nigger

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Then I played Fable 2. Even though the Fable series is often criticized for failing to live up to expectations (to be fair, so am I!), Fable 2 has a special place in my heart because it directly confronted my lifelong desire to be female. While I controlled a male avatar as normal, there was a post- end-game quest that offered a secret award: a single use potion that would change your character’s gender if (and only if) you used it right then. I really wanted to change my character’s gender, but I feared what that thought said about me.

After hours of deliberating, I declined to drink.

The sense of regret was instant. Frantically, I researched YouTube videos on “the Fable 2 gender-bender potion” (incognito mode of course, there must be no evidence). The search results were surprising: instead of Fable 2 videos, many of the uploads consisted of transgender people transitioning to their true gender utilizing hormone replacement therapy. This was a stunning development because not only was this the first time I realized what it meant to be transgender, but I had also discovered I could transform my body through a modern medical miracle! Still, I resisted the temptation to transition because I believed I wasn’t a “real” girl,
But they keep telling me that anyone who says wanting to be a girl is a fetish is a transphobic bigot. Hmmm...
 

Khayyam

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I actually found this one kind of interesting.

TL;DR Power level: I used to DM Dungeons and Dragons games way back, and three times across a few groups I DM'd for, there were episodes where players basically used their PC's to what I can only carefully describe as sexual issues. Steroid monster dude "unknowingly" putting on a garter of change gender and leaving it on for the rest of the campaign, another one who was super touchy about this stuff ended up having his super religious cleric have an affair with another dude etc.

I didn't care, but this doesn't suprise me. Especially on role play sources with greater anonymity.
 

Ted_Breakfast

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wasn't the point that almost all synths didn't even realize that they were synths?

At no point in the game was Synth Pride a theme, not even in the Far Harbor DLC, which was mostly about synths. They were typically portrayed as a bedraggled, desperate lot, and even when left to their own devices in Far Habor they came across as depressive and paranoid. "Pride" was nowhere to be seen. The author was just seeing what he wants to see, and is probably the same type of person that writes at length about the anti-consumerist themes of Harry Potter.
 
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CrunkLord420

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I'm convinced this is the actual reason why "I need a female character" is such a big deal. I cannot imagine your average female having such a big issue with playing a dude.

Demanding development time be dedicated to duplicating assets and gimping the story/dialogue is dumb.
 

OhGoy

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in runescape, when i first found the mage that could change your gender for 1000 gp, i thought, "oh sweet, i can change into a female and ask thirsty neckbeards for free stuff at the grand exchange, then go back and turn into a male again when i'm done"

...meanwhile, these sorts of people find something like that in a game and they have an existential crisis and start to fetishize the idea of changing their sex

what the fuck is wrong with these people

but the true sin of this article is feeling inspired by the terrible writing in fallout 4
 

Block Me

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Translation: I have crippling autism and I blame my social issues on my gender.

People who are socially retarded tend to rely on escapism for relief from their problems, usually something like anime or video games. Some of them role play as the opposite sex as a form of escapism, which is why we’re seeing so many socially awkward nerds trooning out. They hate being themselves, so they pretend they’re somebody else.
 

Changeofheart

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"Ultimately, Fallout 4 was the game that convinced me that I needed to transition."

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E

ES 148

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I might be more sympathetic to them than most but fucking LOL at the bit about puberty

No, your internal agony isn't making you like violence, that's all the testosterone turning you into a brute male. Or you just like hurting things, which is fine.
 

Your Weird Fetish

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"As a person that uses fantasy video games as blatant escapism as a coping mechanism for even the minor annoyances everyday life, I can say 100% that I am objectively a woman on the inside."

I'm convinced this is the actual reason why "I need a female character" is such a big deal. I cannot imagine your average female having such a big issue with playing a dude.

Demanding development time be dedicated to duplicating assets and gimping the story/dialogue is dumb.
Power level but I know a couple women that prefer to play as men in games. They're not trans. I think it's just an aesthetic thing.