Obergefell v. Hodges and Equality

Peach-and-Zelda-smoochJune 26, 2015 was a rather landmark day for the United States; the Supreme Court made a ruling that said states did not have the power to refuse the issuance of marriage licenses and couldn’t fail to recognize marriage licenses from other states. In fact, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote:

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

In Mississippi, where I currently live, a lot of people are very happy about this. Yet, this state does have a very vocal group of conservatives who have already stated such things like that they would never issue a license to a same-sex couple, and some lawmakers have said that they’d prefer to see marriage licenses of all types withheld in Mississippi, for it was their opinion that they could keep things “equal” by simply not recognizing any union, heterosexual or otherwise.

Time will tell what really happens, but I can say this: this is most certainly a wonderful thing for this country. Yes, there will be some who will complain and continue with their hatred, but eventually, like with all other things, time will pass and people will move on to other causes. Why fight over a hill that you’ll never win, that’s already been claimed and occupied by the opposing force? In my personal experience, a lot of people who said that they weren’t okay with members of the LGBT community actually didn’t know anyone from those communities. Once they were able to put a personal face on and form a relationship with someone, they could make a connection and come to the realization that, as a whole, they “weren’t that bad.” Sometimes, that’s just what it takes: knowing someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or anywhere in between. And the fact also is that it doesn’t really matter if they “get it” or not; what does matter is that they accept it and respect human dignity for what it is and what it should be.

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While the gaming community is certainly not without its trolls and haters, the nature of online communities that draw people together is that, over the last 10-15 years, the internet and common interest groups (like those associated with the gaming, geek, and MMO cultures) have brought a lot of people together from all sorts of varied walks of life. Chances are that if you’re active in a major MMO like World of Warcraft or Guild Wars 2, you’ll regularly interact with trans men and women, lesbians, gay men, and all sorts of other people. Heck, you might not even realize it. After all, if you’re there to play the game, get that loot, and beat that dungeon, you likely don’t care who your teammates are sleeping with, are attracted to, or want to do with their bodies. All you know is that they’re your partners and you have an objective to clear: kick some butt, get some goodies, and have fun!

Of course, there have been a large number of guilds in various games associated with being “safe spaces” for members of the community. These have served as great support nets for many, because while there they feel that they won’t be judged or harassed by others. In some ways, though, these are starting to become less and less necessary. In fact, before I took an indefinite leave from playing Guild Wars 2 in the summer of 2014, a good friend in the game commented to me that “safe spaces” were in some ways hurting the community more than helping, because what really was best was when a gay gamer could join a guild that had common goals (not just one only for LGBT players while not doing any of the other stuff they wanted) and be a part of without being judged, and really, most guilds were like that. Most had clear disclaimers that everyone was there to enjoy the game and make friends. It wasn’t a place to judge people based on race, gender, gender identity, sexual preference, or anything else.

The legalization of something won’t rid us of the trolls who are out there. What about the rare cases where an awesome trans gamer who runs big raids gets ridiculed and made fun off due to her deep, burly voice on chat and quits the game? What about the people who put themselves out there on YouTube or Twitch to play games and who take flack for how they dress, the fact that they’re butch lesbians, the fact that they are transgender, etc.? Add this to the fact that many, who are 100% biologically women, still take flack for being a “geek girl” or “girl gamer.”

Yet, things have, in my opinion, gotten better. I’ve met some totally awesome people through Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and other places, and for all of those negative troll remarks I get now and then, I tend to get many more that are 100% positive and supportive. So, gamers, I think, are awesome. Geeks are awesome. Really, the gaming and geek worlds are some of the most accepting and supportive types out there. One joke I read was basically saying that geeks were themselves a rare species, so what use would further limiting the pool by discriminating within serve? I agree. Why invest time in negative ventures when there’s just so much good out there to do?

Naturally, being a transwoman who puts herself out there on YouTube and elsewhere, people know who I am and I will, on a rare occasion, get someone who harasses me. Yet, in the past three-and-a-half years of publicly producing videos, streams, and other content, I’ve seen the times change. Whereas back in 2012 I might have been more reluctant to appear on camera or was very selective as to what I would publish, now I’ve realized that people think I’m awesome and they enjoy my content. I even get the (non-creepy) flirty messages too, so I know that putting myself out there has ultimately been a much more positive than negative thing. I don’t consider myself an icon or symbol of any movement whatsoever, but more just someone being themselves. That’s it, and that’s all any of us can strive for.

Thanks for supporting me all this time, and thanks for supporting the community.

You all rock! =^.^=

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