Podcast Oh Oh Five Addendum

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I’m terrible in real-time.

Like many of us, I’m better with a little bit of a buffer. Text, email, IM–these things give me the space I need to look over what I’m about to say before letting it out into the world. Especially if I’m passionate about the subject at hand. My passion-to-incoherent-rambling ratio is no joke.

So here, for my first text post, are some clarifications I’d like to make regarding podcast number 5. I said/didn’t say a couple things that I regret, and would like to try and make right.

Firstly, we touch here and there on the white-washing of the Major’s character in the current Ghost in the Shell movie, which has rightfully tanked at the box office. Shit like this happens all the time, it’s racist and shitty as hell, and as a white person, it is not my place to talk in-depth about race issues because it’s impossible for me to experience racism.

There are untold numbers of angry, intelligent, well-spoken, gorgeous people from these oppressed races with millions of blogs and vlogs and podcasts on this subject. Google them and educate yourself from valid (read: non-white) sources.

One bit of misrepresentation in the media I can talk about, though, is cisgender actors playing trans characters. Specifically cis men in the roles of transgender women. Lee Pace, Matt Bomer, Eddie Redmayne, Jared Leto. (Cis in this context means a person who identifies as the gender they were assigned at birth.)

We’re a gaming site, not a social justice site, so I’ll try to be brief, but cis men playing transgender women is extremely toxic and legitimately, physically dangerous to trans women. Having these famous men play transgender women and then publically lauding them for it reinforces the harmful stereotype that we are only acting as women, and are really just dudes in dresses. (Which there’s nothing wrong with, btw. If girls can wear jeans, guys can wear dresses.)

The danger comes when men find themselves attracted to trans women, and are confronted with the (erroneous) situation of being attracted to a “man,” and all the violence and repulsion our society has taught them to have towards f*ggots explodes. Very often with deadly results. Look up the legal defense “gay and trans panic” if you want a fucked-up read for the day.

Only trans people should play trans characters. You cannot tell us there are no talented trans actors and actresses out there, just as you can’t tell us there are no talented Japanese actresses. We really don’t need any more straight, white, cis people in these lead roles, especially when the stories being told don’t have them there in the first place.

Also, around 41:30 in the podcast, I say that media “naturally” caters to straight white males. I don’t mean that as in “Oh it’s the natural/correct order of things,” I mean it as 98% of media produced is geared toward that demographic already, and has been forever.

And finally, I made a couple comments about furries, specifically how I can’t “get behind” them and their community. And I’m sorry.

There’s no reason for me to call out the furry fandom and try to use it as an example of a “ridiculous” identity to contrast the plight of my own community. The more I thought about my comments, the more they felt like those “arguments” people who oppose gay marriage use: “If two dudes can get married then what next, I can marry my dog?!”

I don’t know a whole lot about the furry fandom. Most of my exposure is via Tumblr and the–quite frankly–fantastic artwork people post there. (Full disclosure: I have perused furry porn but it wasn’t for me. Catgirls are different though. Nyaa.) Hell, there’s even a big anti-fascist movement in the fandom, and from my limited experience they’re very inclusive and seem to share a lot of overlap with the LGBTQ community.

But I don’t need to know a lot about it. It literally has nothing to do with me. (Just like how my gender has nothing to do with anyone else.) It’s none of my business how people live their lives, so long as they’re not hurting someone else. (Just like how my sexual orientation has nothing to do with anyone else.) If someone feels better moving through this crazy world as their fursona, then great.

My point is, we can’t expect inclusion and acceptance and then turn around and disparage another group for no good reason. So again, I’m sorry.

I’d also like to apologize for the length of this post. Yikes.

~ Laurel