Well, it had to come at some point and this has been skulking in the shadows for too long. This post may end up being long, so I ask for patience and hope that you can bear with me. It is an important one, after all, and it had to come at some point. It refers to many personal issues as well, but I feel that nine years is long enough to keep everything bottled up inside.
So, I shall first start talking about a few things in the past. My pieces of creative writing will be the first call. Many of the pieces that I write feature female protagonists and/or important female characters. I prefer writing female characters and feel that modern media definitely has a sexist bias, so I will do my part to bring back the balance. Next, tabletop role-playing games; whenever I take part in one I will often opt to play a female character. In video games, the pattern remains constant, having played through Dragon Age (Origins and 2), Mass Effect (all of them), Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (1 and 2), Star Wars: The Old Republic, World of Warcraft, The Secret World, Wildstar, Fallout (3 and New Vegas), Borderlands (1 and 2), Saints Row (2, 3 and 4) and even multiplayer games such as Garry’s Mod, Killing Floor, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament (all of them) all as female characters. Suffice to say, that’s a long list. But why?
First, I am a feminist. A rather blunt way of putting it, but I see modern media and sigh. Protagonists are often male and women often play unimportant roles or that of the damsel in distress, a prize for the hero. Many films and games include female characters predominantly as a love interest for the protagonist with little more purpose other than that of an object, something that is acted upon as opposed to taking action itself. Fortunately, literature may offer us some measure of comfort beyond the fringes of modern media, though sexism and misogyny still run rampant within the pages of many books. I will not delve into my views on such matters, as this would be material for an entire article or two or three or ten. This is not the article I wish to write today.
Secondly, I am a male-to-female transgender. This is the main thing that I have kept hidden for years, kept hidden from people even to this day. True, there are a few people who are already in the know, though I was incredibly selective at first with who I told. First were my housemates last year, a very accepting fellow and a female-to-male transgender who I will forever be grateful to for helping me come to terms with it. Then, close and trustworthy friends, then part of my family, then some more friends, now everyone. This ties in with the first point I made about what I have done in the past; recreational activities have always been a means of escapism for me, a way for me to be who I feel I am at heart. I went so far as to lie to my family to cover up this truth for years. People always though that I was obsessed, some would go as far to throw the word ‘addicted’ into the mix, with video games. Perhaps when I was ten years old, the obsession theory had some truth; I enjoyed video games a lot and played them as much as I could, though that would also bring the parental limitations that were in place into consideration. You know what they say about the forbidden fruit, after all. The truth of the matter, however, was that I craved the possibility of being who I wanted to be as I grew up. Society largely shuns what I am, much as they used to shun homosexuality, and how they still do in parts of the world. I could not just come out with it and expect everyone to act responsibly concerning my life choices; not at the age of sixteen and finally in a school where I had friends, where I was not bullied every day and where I finally felt comfortable. By thirteen I found myself uncomfortable with who I was, fourteen saw me start to explore my real identity through the means of the internet. By sixteen I was sure, but it took me until I was twenty to fully come to terms with it and start telling people. When I say that this is my closest guarded secret to date, I mean every word of it. Now, however, I feel that I am prepared to reveal this to all of my friends and anyone who may read what I post. If you think that this makes me some sort of abomination, or if you’re one of my friends and this changes your perception of me for the worse, I don’t want to hear it; you’re probably in the wrong place.
Thirdly, this technically makes me a lesbian. Some people are probably thinking that I’ve lost it by now, or think that this post is a joke or an attempt to troll (I could name names, but I won’t). Gender identity is independent of sexual orientation; just because I have come to terms with my identity, associating as a female, does not mean that my orientation will suddenly change to match. You can imagine the confusion that this may bring to some. I’m glad to have made friends this year, however, who are accepting and understand. It was really helpful to be able to just get it all off my chest, if only to perhaps a dozen people total.
Suffice to say, my years at University have not exactly been smooth sailing. I graduate in a week and a half from posting this and I am just glad to be leaving with a piece of paper on top of my debt, as opposed to just a debt. Of course my hatred and complete incapacity for computer science was a major contributor to my difficulties, being a computer scientist who can’t write code (translation: do half of their degree) is rather harrowing, especially when the person in question is used to high grades; scraping by was not only stressful, but also degrading. Nevertheless, I would be a fool if I were to say that this was the only reason; I re-sat my second year because of my issues, proving to be sufficient extenuating circumstances for my University to give me another shot. Turns out all it did for me was land me an extra year in debt as the outcome was the same with slightly better grades as I had still not really come to terms with it until the end of the last academic year. This year at least I passed the majority of my modules quite handily, only failing one where I did not do the coursework which happened to be worth 40% (I thought it was only 25%!), though I managed to get 60% in the exam. Unfortunately, 60% of 60% is only 36%, and therefore a fail. Oh well, I passed the year, I will graduate and I am happy for it. The best years of your life will be at University? Perhaps, but also bear in mind that this may not necessarily be the case. I have personally hated most of my time at University and I will not have many fond memories of this place. Happy to be returning to Brighton in the foreseeable future!
So, that is all I really wanted to put out there for now. Serious post, I know, but I felt that I needed to put it out there. As I post everything I write on my Facebook page, some of my friends will likely see this so it will be interesting to see what, if any, kind of response it will garner there, as well as here from people who have not known me for years in person! I wonder if any of them will read it at all.
But damn I’m good at hiding proverbial skeletons in my closet. I really need to go into politics.