To most of you who follow my articles here on Nerdy But Flirty, you probably think of me as this crazy person who has a ton of TVs to review and who likes to take people on adventures to shores unseen with all kinds of indie games and retro content (mixed in, of course, with some AAA goodness), but every now and then I like to write an article of a more personal nature. Since the month of June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, this seems to be as good a time as any to write such a piece now!
June 2016 has been a mixed bag in a whole lot of ways. On the one hand, the gamer and geek side of me was extremely pleased with all the good things that came out of E3 this year. On the other, the terrible tragedy in Orlando on June 12 made the overall experience rather bittersweet. It was kind of hard hearing about all the tragedy and mayhem in the news but then also seeing things proceed as “business as usual” elsewhere. It’s not that I blame anyone for pushing on and carrying on (no one would want to postpone something as big as E3, if that were even possible), but horrible events like what happened then can really put a damper on one’s mood.
One of the things that really bothered me though was when I was reading a post on one major tech outlet I follow that was talking about AMD’s presentation at the PC Gaming Show announcing the new RX 470 and 460 graphics cards. The commenter, of all things, wanted to know why AMD President and CEO Lisa Su had a rainbow bow on her coat during the announcement. He even went as far as to ask if this was some kind of presentation by a bunch of “soapbox warriors.” As I said in this post about it earlier, it’s amazing how someone can see an entire presentation about computer tech and the only thing they focus on was a symbol of LGBTQ+ unity. The good thing is that the site in question pulled down his comments and all the replies to it, but that doesn’t mean that in the time those remarks were online they didn’t trigger really negative emotions with those who stumbled across them.
In a way, that’s the problem we face. Yes, as a community we have come an awful long way when it comes to supporting equality and championing the differences in our fellow humans, celebrating the diverse human experience. Video games (as well as film, TV, anime, etc.) have all done a good job in recent years when it comes to portraying strong gay, lesbian, or even transgender characters. It’s hard not to think that their prevalence in these various forms of media doesn’t at least make some people think a little more. My belief has always been that exposure can go a long way. If someone has a friend who comes out as gay, they’re more likely to be able to accept it because they can now put a face to it. But, with as much progress as we’ve seen here lately, there are times like this terrible shooting and the troll remarks of a few (even if they are just a nasty vocal minority) that can show that we still have a long ways to go.
As you may or may not be aware, I myself am a male-to-female transwoman. If this is the first time you’re directly hearing about this, though, that’s not really much of a surprise to me. It isn’t that I’m not open about this fact, but rather I really just find that it isn’t that big of a conversation point. Yes, gender does matter to a degree, because if it didn’t matter we wouldn’t have desires to potentially change that gender identity, but that fact notwithstanding, I personally think that it doesn’t have to be the main defining quality of an individual. If you come to my YouTube channel to enjoy some quality gameplay videos (and yes, the occasional VLOG!), should it really matter to you whether I was born female or not? Is that the only thing that would matter to you about me as a person? If so, I’m not sure I’d want you as a subscriber on my channel anyway.
I think my stance on it mirrors how a lot of people feel. There are also two extremes to the spectrum: some will want to totally do away with their past and only accept their present identity (ignoring any commentary on their origin), while others will go out of their way to advertise who they were and who they are now so that others can follow in their example. For me, I find that I should be able to be who I am and who I want to be and that my doing so should hopefully inspire other people to do much the same. I shouldn’t have to go out of my way constantly to remind people of the fact I was born male, because that’s not necessary for me to do. Of course, I do feel that I have a duty to the LGBTQ+ community to further it and be a champion of it, so I certainly do take pride in who I am and where I’ve gone and will go.
Women in the gaming world have to fight pretty hard to get through adversity and be successful. Obviously, there are people that will argue against this fact, but as a whole, I would say that YouTube is still a male arena. Then, lesbian women will have to work even harder than that, and then for a transwoman to get there, it may take even more work. At least, this is certainly true when it comes to being openly so.
I suppose my point is that I know that I’ve struggled with a lot of things over the years and yet, here I am still pushing on. I really enjoy my work with websites like Nerdy But Flirty as well as my career with the military, and I know that if I could get to where I am right now then there’s certainly hope for others who are struggling to get by. Still, I make no mistake of the fact that I still have a long ways to go to get to where I ultimately want to be as a person, but life is a journey and we have to enjoy and savor it. Sometimes it’s difficult, but both the good and the bad times help form us as people.
The tragic shooting in that Orlando club is indeed a stain on the world. The comments of people who just cannot understand the differences in how people are also set things back. Thankfully, each of us has the ability to stand up and say something. To take action. To make a difference in our own lives and the lives of those around us.
If you read this far, thanks so much for sticking through and thank you for your support. I truly do appreciate all of my subscribers and fans, and I definitely love the diverse team we have on the site here.
Hopefully things continue to get better – I definitely believe they will. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to do my part to make the world a better place, and I hope that you will too!