Tag Archives: Transphobic

“Don’t Feed the Trolls”

If you are wondering what happened to the next part of my look into a Trans Horror Game, well I have decided to actually make one, so I am holding off on it until a get a more focused image.

Anyway, onto today’s subject, where I will be looking at harassment, a recent “movement” focused on it, and the crazy defence of it. For those who don’t know, my title is in reference to one of the common defences of digital harassment. You see, people who harass others online are often referred to as Trolls. The common or garden Troll will often leap in randomly to conversation and offer either dissenting opinions or bring up random topics. Their aim is often to de-rail the conversation, for any number of reasons like boredom or wanting the winning side of a conversation to lose. They can be harmless morons, wasting what little time they have in this life, but they can also be dangerous and zealot like in their attacks.

In the latter case they cease being Trolls, and instead turn into Demons, the Demons of society. You want to see the issues still prevalent in society, look where anonymity is preserved. Right now that is the digital world. Across the internet and gaming worlds, open harassment happens on a daily basis to anyone who is unfortunate enough to not be “normal.” I know, as I have experienced it. Last year, I was really into Star Trek Online (no I am not a Trekkie, but I do love the Trek Universe, and the combination of tactical RPG style ground and space combat was really good in my opinion). At one point, while wandering round the social area that is the Space Station above Earth (forget its name) I was invited to join a Fleet, essentially a Clan for questing and so forth. It was the Star Fleet LGBT CORPS (or something similar). I decided to join as, hey, I am Trans and I had written a Trans backstory for my character (visible only to friends). What I wasn’t prepared for was the backlash for having my LGBT status visible online. I had to deal with a lot insults for walking around, raids could only be done with my fleet or I would face ridicule. I eventually left the fleet and the game, which I miss dearly as I felt that it was pretty cool.

This is the thing, harassment can quickly push people away, and now people have caught onto the idea and are using it. Just look at the GamerGate “movement,” if it can even be called that. Some claim that its originators where looking for ethics in video game journalism but I personally find that a little hard to swallow. The only people I have seen using that story are GamerGaters and apologists, mainly as ways of negating the horrible nature of the GamerGaters. And trust me, GamerGate is horrible, and if you truly believe in video game ethics, stay away. I have avoided talking about this for some time, as I fear the implications for my little indie blog. Though never encountering a GamerGate crowd, my post to the creators of Warface, which I recently saw, is as close as I ever got. It confirmed to me that I didn’t want to play that game, considering its fan base.

Anyway, this harassment is being used to push people away from games and discussing games. So far the GamerGaters have pushed three women to flee their homes for safety fears, and cancel talks to protect the public. It has nothing to do with ethics, even if it did “start” that way (as said, I’m not convinced). It is being used to silence those that challenge the status quo of games, which put the white cis het dudes on top. Sure advances are being made by some companies, Bioware has included a Trans Man in its most recent Dragon Aga game (which I just bought, so expect to see something on it in a while), but as long as Gamers still hold these ideas, and most games fail to challenge them, things are grim for me and many of my friends.

And here is the real kicker, apologists and defenders. Why the fuck would someone defend actions and words that have scared people to death? Forced them to run away and sleep on friends couches just in case someone decides to follow through on a threat? I mean what the actual fuck? Commen defences include “It’s just words,” “Don’t feed the Trolls,” and “Just turn it off and go away.” They generally fall into two categories, ignoring the harassment or implying the harassed person is the one with fault. Ignoring the harassment is probably the most common, and certainly done at a political scale. To this day the disproportionately high levels of violence against woman and LGBT people is ignored to the point we need to scream and shout to be heard. Indeed, when I have pointed out Transphobic language on Facebook, they ignore it (then they started blocking Trans peoples accounts for not using their birth names, so I wonder where their allegiances lie?). It is horrible and dehumanizing. Ignoring it is indeed a defence because it allows it to go on. For years people ignored the Anti-Semitism the Nazi party displayed, and what happened? Attempted genocide. Now I am not saying all those who have taken part in the GamerGate are new Hitlers and Himmlers, merely that they are beginning to climb the same ladders they did.

The other group of defenders are worse than the ignorers, because they twist it round to be the victims fault. It is unfortunately very prevalent in our society to blame victims, just look toward rape. “Why where you wearing that?” Why didn’t you come forward sooner?” “Why didn’t you fight back or scream?” These all cast doubt on the victim, and cause almost as much scaring as the incident itself. In games, it is thankfully not as bad, but still plagues us. We are often told we are too sensitive and need to grow thicker skins. Bullshit. It is easy to claim someone is oversensitive, but hard to look at why. You don’t know what has happened in their life that means that something upsets them. Let’s give an example, two in fact. I occasionally use the T word (don’t know what it is? Ask Ru-Paul) in a mocking sense on myself, but a couple of Trans friends mentioned really not liking the word. So I stopped. My Dad kept using the R word (annoyingly it is considered a medical term in America as far as I can gather) and I asked him to stop as my Head Mistress had called me it at school. So he stopped (one of his more decent moves, the Transphobic Bigot (he doesn’t let me wear what I want or call me Emily as well as apparently trying to get my Mother to Detransition me, so I can call him what I like here)). You need to accept that people get hurt by things, and change according to who is around you. On the internet of course anyone could be around you, so even greater care is needed. Merely telling them to switch of or go away for being offended does not improve them or yourselves. In fact it can drive people away from what they enjoy (look at me and Star Trek: Online). By shutting out the voices of others you loose the ability to learn. That is what GamerGate is all about, not ethics, shutting out the voices of others because they don’t want to learn just how horrible things are.

So yeah, I think this was one of my longer posts, but I have been holding this back a bit.

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“Top 5 Transsexuals?” Not quite.

TRIGGER WARNING! Transphobia and Not Quite Safe For Work.

Being a Transsexual, I pay a bit of attention to Transgender inclusion in the media. It’s only natural that I want to know how we are represented. This is what led to me finding the video “Top 5 – Transsexual Characters in Games” by Zoomin.TV Games on YouTube. At first I thought “Oh, cool. A video that celebrates the inclusion of Transsexuals in games. This will be worth a watch.” Oh how wrong I was. It was poorly researched, misinformed and had a fair bit of Transphobic language. So where do I begin?

Well lets begin before the video even starts. Here is the thumbnail, lets play spot the issues!

If this isn't click baiting, what is?

If this isn’t Click Baiting, what is?

Firstly an issue that isn’t specific to Trans* people. It is blatantly clear that Poison’s ample assets are being use to do what I call “Click Bait.” Using a scantily clad woman (or women) for the Thumbnail will obviously attract straight men (check out this awesome article on the the “Male Gaze” by my mate Mitch on Gay Gamer.net) as they will want to see more. Zoomin.TV Games seems to use this a lot. Misogyny at its best. Now about that text. “Dude looks like a lady” is an insult to Male to Female (MtF) Transsexuals such as myself. It does this by maintaining the idea that MtF Transsexuals are men who simply look like woman, not that we in fact are. So what on earth is it doing here!?! As I said it would seem that this video is celebrating Transsexuals, so why insult them? I can only assume it was a poor attempt at a joke, so perhaps all the other thumbnails poke fun at their subjects.

It would appear not. What could be taken from this? Transsexuals are funny, funnier than funny games, even funnier than toilets (yes, they have a video on toilets).

Now, lets actually talk about the contents of the video. Obviously it includes five characters, but does it include five Transsexuals? Short answer: no. What I will now do is go through the five characters and discuss what my issues are with them as well what is wrong with how Zoomin.TV Games conducts the video.

5. Poison: Final Fight & Street Fighter. Ok, Poison is a Transsexual, at least to a large enough amount of people, including those who make the games she appears in, for me to accept her as such. She also doesn’t follow the horrible stereotypes seen in Grand Theft Auto 5 (again, check out Mitch’s stuff). Of course Zoomin.Tv Games mucks up by focusing on her genitalia, and even imposes a little bit of Trans-misogyny. The Trans-misogyny is basically the suggestion that we MtFs need to tuck away “our business” to look like woman. We should not have to do anything to look like woman as we are woman, and woman come in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes, intersex woman may also be insulted if they have a penis. Focusing on Poison’s genitalia also objectifys her, and completely avoids a very important talking point. You see, the reason not everyone accepts Poison as Transsexual is that she originally wasn’t. She was Cis-Gendered (not Trans)  but this didn’t sit well with Western testers as the main character of Final Fight was a man, so we had a man beating up a woman. Of course the best way to deal with it was to make the woman a man, so let’s make her a transvestite, and later a Transsexual. It is an unfortunate view that a man beating up a Cis-Woman is a no-no but a Trans-Woman is acceptable, or even funny (Bad Trans Jokes covers this here). Thankfully, Poison has moved on from this as she appears in the Street Fighter games alongside other women.

4. Bridget: The Guilty Gear Series. This is where we learn that Zoomin.TV Games has done little or no research into Transexualism or Transgenderism as Bridget is a Transvestite not a Transeexual. As Zoomin.TV Games points out, Bridget asserts that he is a guy, becoming angered when anyone claims he is a girl. He of course wears girls clothes but that is not Transexualism. I think the issue here was not that Zoomin.TV Games is confusing the word Transvestite with Transsexual, but confusing the word Transgender with Transsexual. Why? Well Transgender and Transsexual are commonly confused with each other. As Transgender is Umbrella Term that would include both Transsexuals and Transvestite it would have made more sense for it to be used to include them. If that had been the case Bridget would have been fine. However Bridget has served to show that Zoomin.TV Games has failed to research even the basic terminology, suggesting that this video was based upon personal understanding and a flawed personal understanding at that.

3. Naota Shirogane: Persona 4. Naota is a girl who creates a male persona to become accepted by the police. Whilst it isn’t perhaps common knowledge, there is an actual medical condition Transsexuals (and others in the Transgender community) are diagnosed with. It is called Gender Dysphoria (formally Gender Identity Disorder) and explains that it stems from someones Gender Identity (a persons internal perception of their sex) is not aligned with their Biological Sex (whats between your legs). It also contains some reasons that someone is not Gender Dysphoric. An important one here is that someones Gender Identity  must not be based on any perceived advantages of that sex. Well that is what Naota is doing as she has seen that men are more readily accepted by the police so she acts like on to also become accepted. She is not Gender Dysphoric, so she is not a Transsexual. She is actually rather damaging to the Transsexuals as her character suggests that it is done for purposes beyond our mental wellbeing, that we are all deceitful. If we do accept her as a Transsexual, she can also be talked out of presenting as male. This is highlighted as positive, despite major Psychological groups condemning attempts to change or remove Transsexual thoughts and feelings. So either way she really does not belong here at all.

2. Kaine: Nier. Zoomin.TV Games actually acknowledges that Kaine is a Hermaphrodite, not a Transsexual. I don’t agree with that either but more on that later. Kaine has a penis thanks to a demon possession. Now, I haven’t read much on this as I am playing Nier and don’t want to spoil plot points, but a possession suggests it wasn’t Kaine’s choice. Transsexuals are not forced into Sexual Reassignment Surgery, though they may be coerced. So Kaine is not a Transsexual either (I think we are one out of four so far). I am actually  confused as to whether Zoomin.TV Games thinks she is Female to Male or Male to Female. As previously mentioned Kaine is described as a Hermaphrodite, really the correct term is Intersex, although really I don’t think this should be how she is described. This is magic, and to claim that she is a good example of Transsexuals detracts from the reality of the experiences of those who actually live with it through their lives. Kaine is cursed, that is the best way to describe her.

1. Birdo. Argh, Birdo annoys me (and Mitch) terribly. She is often billed as being the first Transsexual, and I suppose that is correct. However lets look at the manual description brought up by Zoomin.TV Games:

Birdo

See if you can find what’s wrong.

Yep, the best Transsexual character according to Zoomin.TV Games is misgendered in her official description. Yay! If this represents good inclusion, do not show me bad Inclusion. Birdo also looks sort of like a Dinosaur Drag Queen,. Pink with a bow? Seems very stereotypical of girly, and not all Transsexuals want to be girly (my favourite outfit includes a tank top with a pair of skulls squaring off, some knee-high black goth boots and a black skirt). Her Transsexuality has also been dropped so it wasn’t really seen as a good enough thing to remain part of her character. That is likely as it was really all there was to her and probably really for the best. However Zoomin.TV Games gets bad again by stating “We all know her little secret.” This is really the worst issue, Birdo’s Trans* past is a cool little fact, it’s a secret she doesn’t want you to know and so forth. It goes right back to objectifying Transsexuals and suggesting we are deceitful. Why is that the best Transsexual character?

So, Zoomin.TV Games may have attempted to be accepting, but they fall at the start line. Between the Transphobia and lack of research this video is a two and a half-minute insult to those they would appear to celebrate. Perhaps that is actually the intent, it wouldn’t be the first time that a group has acted as an ally to diminish others. It certainly seems to have worked if that was what they wanted as the comments are full of insults to Transsexuals, or reminding us that we are objects of sexual desire, nothing more.

So as to make this fair, here is the video so that you may watch it and draw your own conclusions. I wouldn’t recommend it obviously.

All the images for this post have been taken from YouTube and the Video in question. I do not own any of them.