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Episode 6 – Trans-Identity in Game: A Welcoming Community

Hello Everyone and Thank You for Checking out Episode Six of Game on Girl!


I am very excited about this week’s guest, Michele, because her interview marks a further step in expanding and embracing of the ideas in my research. Michele is transgender and in this episode she discusses her experiences and how her gaming changed throughout her own transition.

If you’d like to read more about Michele, check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.

If you have question about what it means to be trans, check out a website recommended by Michele – Transsexual Road Map – or take a look at True Selves: Understanding Transsexualism by Mildred Brown.

We would love to hear your feedback about this episode or any of the episodes so far. Drop us a Tweet: Regina @doclizz and Rhonda @rhorhoom or leave a comment here.

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Until next time, Game On!
Regina and Rhonda

2 thoughts on “Episode 6 – Trans-Identity in Game: A Welcoming Community”

  1. Ok, finally got caught up with the podcasts (well, one mini-cast to go, but still). I really enjoyed listening to Michele and found that I kept forgetting that the topic was "trans-identity" because I was so interested in what she had to say about gaming – she was very articulate, and I appreciated her insight.

    It did open up the question for me on how many gamers go into online gaming to "escape" what they have to deal with in their tactile world… I know that's often the assumption, or the dramatic track that writers, etc. take on gamers, but just how much does it play out in reality? Or more often it is just a happy side benefit of a pursuit that was just "playing a game, for fun"? I bet the side benefit aspect would outweigh the escapism angle… do you have any insight on that, Regina?

    There are a couple of things I'd like to respond to directly, not from the topic but just from within the discussion:

    1) Regarding the socialization bent of many female gamers in MMOs – I think Michele is spot on there, that many female gamers do derive a lot of satisfaction in the social aspect of the game; I certainly do. However, I want to perhaps go out on a limb here and say that while we, as vocal female gamers, want to put a positive light on our compatriots, it would be remiss if there was not an acknowledgement that there are a significant number of (most typically) female MMO gamers who enter games solely for that social interaction and that can be just as frustrating and (for an RPer) immersion breaking as the "douchebaggery" that we tend to relate to male posturing. Just a thought.

    2) In WoW, the only character I have gotten to level 80 is a hunter, and when I played her to endgame, I went back and made another hunter. I've tried the other classes, but none of them (except DK) ever got over level 50. When trying to figure out why, in light of your discussion of the hunter class, I realized that for my style of game play – role play – that having a pet allowed for me to RP in my head at any give time, rather than waiting for RP interactions with others. This opened up a whole new thought tree on my RP style…. mmmm, interesting! I'll have to bandy this around a bit!

    If one measurement of a podcast is that it provokes new thoughts and ideas, then I'd have to say this one was pretty successful for me! Thanks, Regina and Rhonda!

  2. Thank you, Sharon, for your thoughts and for commenting here. It is great to hear that the podcasts are inspiring thoughtful discussions! That is certainly my aim. 🙂

    About the "side benefits" of gaming vs the escapism: I won't say that it's the same for everyone, nor will I deny that escapism is often a large part of what drives anyone to game. I most certainly have those days when the demands of my out of game life are overwhelming and it is quite peaceful to escape into the game, even if it is just to go into WoW and pick flowers. (Literally – my lock has max herbalism and alchemy.)

    I think the most significant idea here is that what many people learn in game maps well into their physical lives. We talk about this in-depth in an upcoming episode about Gamification, the idea of how game mechanics can be used in some other way to motivate or engage people to new achievements or goals. It is often overlooked in favor of the dismissive ideas behind gaming as addiction or as socially isolating activities. In the last chapter of the dissertation I talk about how embracing game culture and gaming as a hobby takes many women away from a hobby that is much more profitable for advertisers: watching TV. Although there are plenty of ads in game (I use Kinect sports as an example) if gaming replaces TV watching, as it does for many gamers, the exposure to new products is greatly decreased. This is significant since so many female pop culture narratives are about women being empowered through shopping. (Think Sex in the City.)

    So it is threatening to have anyone gain that kind of empowered feeling from gaming where there might be an initial monetary investment or a subscription fee, the overall spending is quite decreased from say buying the latest style or brand of jeans. Anyway, I think I wandered a bit off topic here but I hope you get the idea.

    I am going to have to chew a bit on your other ideas here, especially about your hunter pet as a RP companion. That is a fascinating topic all on its own! 🙂

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