Back in the day, I was pretty well-known in the indie rpg community. I was an early adopter of The Forge and still have a very credible post count over there. I wrote a couple games that people seemed to like, and playtested the shit out of a lot of others. I was a regular Forge Booth staffer, and although I always felt a little out of place there, I did get to know many awesome people.
And then I disappeared from the face of the game community entirely.
Not coincidentally, that was about when I transitioned gender roles.
How my transition impacted my involvement in the gaming community might not be entirely clear. It doesn’t totally make sense to me either. Part of it was that I no longer had the time to participate in online discussions. Part of it was that I was extremely fragile and very tired; I was already reinventing myself in front of my wife, my family, my friends, and my co-workers…I just didn’t have the energy to do that in front of yet another group of people. And still another part was that I wasn’t playing games anymore, let alone designing them, and without games, I had no point of access to the community.
But in June of 2010, under a dark cloud of moral conservatism and bigotry, I was let go from the job I had held for 14 years. To save money, I moved in with my best friend – Matt Gwinn, designer of Kayfabe – and because I had nothing better to do, I joined his ongoing Pathfinder game. Now, I hate Pathfinder, but I did rediscover the joy of roleplaying, and pretty soon I was gaming all over the place again. The Laundry, Warhammer Fantasy RolePlay 3rd Edition, Secret Games Whose Names I Can Not Speak, and so on.
But I never reconnected with the gaming community at large. In the time I was gone, stuff had happened. The Forge downsized, Story Games became a thing, Vincent Baker wrote a bunch of games. I was out of the loop entirely…I didn’t know the jargon any more, didn’t know a lot of the people. Wasn’t sure how safe an environment it was. I tried a couple times to recapture the old magic, but it was gone.
That’s sort of a long way of saying I don’t know how I got here. Oh, I know the mechanics of it: wundergeek invited me. But it’s weird to me that I’ll be talking to many of the same old people (and a lot of new ones) again not because of my games, but because of my gender.
So what am I going to be talking about? Probably how games are different for me now. How the community is different for me now. Maybe how I feel about the stuff I wrote back in the day, and what I would do differently now. Lots and lots of trans stuff. I’m also open to suggestions…I’ll even do Trans 101 up to a point 1. I do ask, however, for those of you who know me to refrain from leaving identifying information in the comments, including references to things I may have written pre-transition.
And on that note, I offer you this…a game (of sorts) by a trans woman about what transition is like for (some) trans women.
Not exactly what I went through, but pretty damn close. I’m currently playing the sequel, the first two levels of which are “Unemployment Bullshit” and “Intimacy Bullshit”. More on both of those later, I have no doubt.