Category: LGBT

There’s nothing like venturing far from home to make you realize how difficult it is to be outside the gender binary in more conservative areas of the United States.

Sure, you hear about it plenty. You read the news articles and blog posts and your skin crawls at how awful people can be. You can try to empathize and put yourself in those shoes all you want, but until you have personally been on the receiving end of ignorant vitriol, you’ll never really down-in-your-bones know.

When a friend and I made plans for a cross-country road trip this past August, I did a lot of mental preparation for how an odd character like me would be received in more conservative areas of the country. I have no illusions; what I ultimately experienced was mild compared to what some of my non-cisgender brothers and sisters must endure. And I had the luxury of moving on right away and ultimately returning home from my road trip. The privilege I have in that respect is something I fully acknowledge and don’t take for granted. Still, what I experienced definitely left me a bit shaky at the end of the day.

"Not all gamer women like pink."

“Not all gamer women like pink.”

I’m used to getting called “sir.” Generally speaking, women who are able to grow facial hair usually choose not to let it grow out, whether for their own aesthetic preferences or due to social pressure. So between my curly muttonchops and propensity for presenting as butch, I get that it’s an easy mistake to make at a glance. Most of the time when it happens, I don’t feel compelled to correct the speaker; I’m not likely to ever see them again, and being unintentionally misgendered every now and then doesn’t–to me–warrant the discomfort for both of us that correcting the speaker usually entails.

However… (more…)

Yesterday morning, I checked my Facebook feed and found this right at the top:



“Great,” I thought. “I’m sure I’m the ‘certain people.’ What sort of anti-gay misinformation is she posting now?”

Let me back up a bit. Brittany is my cousin. She’s a year younger than I am. We have a very long, very tense history. I was never particularly fond of her, and admonished throughout my life to remember that “she’s family and will always love you no matter what.” Those words became more and more hollow as time went by and I could never seem to find common ground with her, or ways to feel more positive towards her. It didn’t help when she and her mother found religion, which increased the tension between them and my atheist mother and agnostic pagan self. I decided to educate myself about what their church at the time taught about different issues, and specifically went looking for what they preached in regards to homosexuality. What I found wasn’t exactly heartening, nor was finding out for certain that Brittany agreed with the church’s teachings. To make a long story short, it’s been a point of contention ever since.  (more…)


I’ve been sobbing with overwhelming positive feelings for the past half hour. Why? Because of this:

"Turtle-duck Date Night" by Bryan Konietzko

“Turtle-duck Date Night (Detail)” by Bryan Konietzko

I’ve been celebrating the revelation that the Korra/Asami (“Korrasami”) relationship from The Legend of Korra is canon since it was confirmed by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino. My friends, bless them for their patience, have either been celebrating along with me, or enjoying my excitement from the sidelines. But the image above finally undid me, and a rush of emotions I didn’t realize I’d been holding in check suddenly broke free and came pouring out all at once. Now that the torrent has settled into calmer eddies, I can try to channel it into words. (more…)

On the heels of my previous post, I had a day that ran the entire gamut of responses to my appearance. Pull up a chair, dear reader, and allow me to share with you what the full range of reactions to my fuzzy self looks like.

It started when I was headed to my favorite comic book store in Santa Monica. I was in kilt, as I am wont to be on weekends, and waiting for a connecting bus at one of the local bus stations when an older lady approached me as she was passing by.

“Are you a Scottish boy?” she asked.

For the sake not having to explain the complexities of my family history (which does, in fact, include some Scottish ancestry) or appearance, I nodded and said “Yes, ma’am.”

She asked about the tartan, and then winked at me and asked if any of the ladies had tried to steal a peek. I blushed and replied “no, ma’am, not lately.” She laughed and smiled, and then went on her way. (more…)

“No, don’t look at her!”

“Uh, too late…”

You’d be surprised at the things whispered behind your back when people think you can’t hear them. We tend to assume that this sort of thing is the stuff of immaturity, only lasting through the torturous years of junior high and high school. But that’s not always the case. I’ve heard things whispered in public, at work, on the bus, and caught furtive stares just about everywhere.

And it’s something I knew would happen, and it’s something I’ve come to accept as part of the reality of my existence. It is, for lack of a better term, the price I pay for daring to buck the norm, and to do so in ways that are outside the “acceptable” ranges of strange, even among the weirdos.

"We are what we are; her opinion will not change that."

“We are what we are; her opinion will not change that.”


This was my second year attending LA Pride (third watching the parade), and it was great fun! I only caught a portion of the parade, and that’s where I spent all of my picture-taking energy. It was, however, my first year attending the Dyke March on the Friday before the Pride festival proper.

To be brutally honest, the Dyke March, while pretty cool, was also somewhat underwhelming when compared to the throngs present during the next couple of days. This could be chalked up partly to practicality, as it IS held on a Friday night, after a lot of folks are getting off work, or need to leave early in order to attend. As a friend commented when we were marching, it’s a bit ironic to be marching for lesbian visibility in the dark (considering that by the time the march got underway, the sun had set and it was in fact getting dark quickly). Still, I didn’t regret going, and I hope to go again next year if my schedule allows.

I went to the Pride festival proper on Sunday, partly because I can get enough out of the festival in one day, and partly because I wanted to see the parade. The fact that EA had people marching in the parade was definitely relevant to my interests. I counted eight (nine if you count the child in the stroller) staffers marching, two of them cosplaying. I didn’t catch the whole parade (I missed part of the beginning, and was restless well before the end, so I took off to enter the festival). I spent the whole afternoon wandering around the various booths. A lot of the usual fixtures were there: Human Rights Campaign, Equality California, Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, NOH8 Campaign, and the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, to name a few.

I also discovered a few new groups of interest:

  • No-Kill Los Angeles – A campaign dedicated to ending the needless euthanization of healthy and/or treatable animals in the Los Angeles area.
  • The June Mazer Lesbian Archives – “The June L.  Mazer Archives is the largest major archive on the West Coast dedicated to preserving and promoting lesbian and feminist history and culture.” I didn’t know this existed prior to the Dyke March, and they definitely have my interest.
  • Bent-Con – “Bent-Con is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization created in 2010 and is committed to recognizing, celebrating, encouraging and appreciating LGBTQ and our (UnGay) Allies contributions to pop-culture and geekdom. Specifically, comic-books, gaming, sci-fi, fantasy and horror mediums from artists, writers, creators, publishers, directors, actors and producers that create works targeted directly to LGBTQ audiences and the larger realm of mainstream and underground pop-culture as a whole.” I’d heard of this convention before, but wasn’t able to attend last year. I had a chance to talk with one of the con staff members, and I’m excited about trying to attend this year.

I was also pleased to see a lot of companies and services I patronize either present with booths, or as sponsors of the event. I like knowing that the services I use support equality, and I’m willing to go out of my way to support companies that support me.

At the end of the day, I came home with a fair number of widgets, flyers, stickers, magnets, and a TON of rainbow beads like I’d just left Mardi Gras. And you know what? I’m looking forward to doing it all over again next year! Photos from this year’s parade are behind the fold.


However, transgender and gender-nonconforming youth are largely ignored in mainstream media.

Where is the message for these young people? It’s nearly nonexistent. There is, quite literally, next to no mention of gender-variant youth in popular culture, nothing for them in magazines, books, TV (OK, maybe TV — but then one would have to consider whether said gender-variant youth are portrayed as mentally stable, non-stereotypical, etc.). Adults and peers often ignore these youth or make them feel inadequate or damaged.
-Catherine Oliver, “I’ll Make a Man Out of You

As I was reading this article, I had flashbacks to my own youth. While on the one hand, my mother made an effort to let me make my own choices regarding traditionally “gendered” things (it was perfectly okay for me to play with He-Man and Ninja Turtles, though Barbie was discouraged because of being overly sexist; for some reason, I felt a weak compulsion to at least attempt some “girl things” like Barbie or other “girly” dolls and toys to try and be more “normal”), there were occasional subtle barbs below the surface. I remember the laments of “But you’d be SO PRETTY if…”, or “Don’t you see how pretty you would be/are??”, and frustrated reminders that women have the option of wearing pants, but men don’t have the same option regarding dresses, so I should take advantage of all of the options available to me (whether I want to or not). (more…)

I’m proud to have backed both GaymerX (formerly GaymerCon) and Gaming in Color. And I’m thrilled that both projects were funded (GaymerX spectacularly so). Both of these events are quite relevant to my interests, being a gay, genderqueer female who has been working in the game industry for almost ten years.

GaymerX has gotten a lot of flack, moGaymerConnectstly of accusing gay gamers of wanting to segregate and isolate themselves instead of trying to integrate into the gaming community as a whole. I think people miss the point. Consider the rampant use of homophobic slurs (notorious on Xbox Live). Gay characters are still punchlines as often as they are respectable (though this IS changing, thanks to games like Mass Effect, DragonAge, and the non-judgmental freedom of Skyrim). Gay gamers are still a minority, and the desire to seek out others like us and allies who support us in a safe space of our own creation is a natural desire. GaymerX is not inherently exclusionary; it is, as the tagline “everybody games” implies, inclusive of all. I wholly support GaymerX’s goal of creating a safe space for gay gamers and their allies to gather and share in their common interests. Jim Sterling has a lovely post on Destructoid that goes into thorough and eloquent detail on the issue. At any rate, I will be attending GaymerX as an artist, and have an artist table where I’ll have prints, chainmail, and possibly some leatherwork available. You can check out my GaymerConnect profile here.

Gaming in ColorGaming in Color definitely has my interest. I absolutely count my blessings in terms of being comfortably out in a very supportive office environment, but it hasn’t been without its trials at times (what do you do when a game your company publishes has some problematic content?). I’m curious to know what things are like for my compatriots elsewhere in the industry, and how they handle the challenges they encounter. I’ll be sending in a write up to the Gaming in Color folks (you can, too!).

All told, I’m pretty lucky in terms of my place in the industry. Sure, there are some things I want to improve (and work at it within my means), but where I’m at isn’t as bad as it could be. Hopefully events like GaymerX and Gaming in Color help to carry things forward.