My Life In Neon

Sci Fi / Fantasy writer Autumn Nicole Bradley – Dream in digital, live in neon

Archive for the category “Transgender”

Trash Magic and Queer Love at Trashmance.com

Trashmance.com is now live!

Trash Romance is a serial romance fiction available for free at Trashmance.com. However, in order to keep it free for everyone and keep new updates rolling in several times per month, I need the support and patronage of folks like you.

From the patreon page:

The coolest thing about magic? Duh, it’s magic. The worst thing about magic? It’s magic. No one understands how the fuck it works. Yet for Mackenzie Chen, whose magic power is limited to manipulating the broken, cast-off junk of society, it’s hard to not feel the world owes her an explanation. Or an apology. But when she meets magical girl-turned-barista Natalie, she learns just how valuable broken things can be.

Contributors get access to a DRM-free monthly digest in any eReader format, as well as free copies of my other short fiction: “Mercy Killing the Dragon”, “The Last Warband”, and part 1 of “Parts: A Steampunk Tale of Love and Mechanomorphosis”.

Player 2 Shirts Now On Sale

Show your support for Player 2 by picking up an “I deserve” shirt, based on the “I deserve all that and more.” passage in the game. You can order any of the tops Zazzle has in stock, not just the one in the image:

 

This is the back of the shirt:

Player 2 Shirt Back - Click to Enlarge

Player 2 Shirt Back – Click to Enlarge

 

The “Your Enemies Don’t Have To Die For You To Win” Game Jam!

Your Enemies Don't Have To Die Game Jam June 7 to June 11

You don’t need to sign up. Just create!

Share or Reblog using the #CreativeConflictJam tag on twitter and tumblr.

If you need hosting space, you can find my email address on my contact page.

 

The Theme: Conflict with creative resolutions

(Alternative Theme: Consequences of the protagonist’s violence)

 

The Dates: June 7 – June 11.

(It’s a jam, so think about what you can do in a weekend. No guilt if you need to start early in order to finish in time; I want to make this accessible to everyone!)

 

The Tools: Anything you want.

Credit to Pauli Kohberger for this list:

  • TwineHub is a great place to start if you’re interested in playing and making Twine games. Its resources section is really helpful. If you want a good starting place, definitely check out Anna Anthropy’s Twine tutorial. Leon Arnott’s blog has some fabulous Twine scripts as well to add a little extra functionality, as well as easy to tweak CSS.
  • Ren’Py is a great visual novel engine, and it has a pretty good Quickstart guide on the website. If you want to do more complicated things or just make your game a little jazzier, I’m really fond of the Cookbook as well.
  • Need some music or sound effects? Try nosoapradio.us or Freesound!
  • Need art or fonts? Try Openclipart and Lost Type!
  • Yes, you can use concepts and artwork you’ve made in the past as a starting point!
  • Yes, you can collaborate!

Other options include:

  • Construct 2 is free for those who feel inclined to dive into HTML5 games
  • One of the most tried-and-true tools out there: RPGMaker! (I would personally love to see some examples of using JRPG combat mechanics in creative ways that are not combat as we think of it)
  • Or something else entirely!

The WhyDoom gave us conveniently inhuman, mindless hordes of monsters to kill. Wolfenstein 3D gave us hordes of mindless Nazis to kill, as though the average soldier weren’t human. Deus Ex made us choose between violence or stealth, and to Human Revolution‘s credit, there was the moral nudge of more XP for non-lethal “takedowns”. In CounterStrike the only way to deal with terrorists is to kill them, because their ideology is inherently evil and wrong, right? Bioshock and Spec Ops: The Line tried in vain to tell us violence and obedience are a choice while only allowing the player to kill to reach the end. Even JRPGs have elaborate combat modes. Their tabletop RPG cousins like Dungeons & Dragons focus almost exclusively on combat, even when stats are nominally available for conflict resolution without it. In Anita Sarkeesian’s latest video, Tropes Vs Women: Damsels in Distress pt 2, she takes aim at the way developers box themselves into a corner by making combat the core mechanic: keep swinging that hammer because this level is just full of nails.  Why do games make us kill the bad guy before we can call it winning?

This is where you come in!

[Edit 6/8/13: Correction to the title of Spec Ops: The Line.]

My Queer Identity Labels (According to YouTube Captions)

So, a while back I did a Seven Questions video for the We Happy Trans project. A friend’s fun with her YouTube captions made me decide to check out my own. So I grabbed my most-watched video and turned captions on:

2013_05_03 - 001

Bustin (Lesbian)

2013_05_03 - 002

Holly Harris (Polyamorous)

2013_05_03 - 003

Alone (um)

2013_05_03 - 004

Transactional (Transsexual)

2013_05_03 - 005

Androgynous woman (Hey, they got this one right!)

All of this is perfect. (Yes, yes it is)

All of this is perfect. (Yes, yes it is)

Sandals With Glitter

Another in the series from my old blog. This pertains to a paper I wrote as a teen in my early college years.

I used to own the comfiest pair of sandals ever made. They were these cheap, $10 things hanging on an aisle end cap that I bought on a whim. I have yet to find more comfortable footwear.

During a performance of the play Prometheus Bound, I was playing the role of Hermes, and so I volunteered my sandals to be part of the costume. I figured, hey, they were $10 and I can replace them pretty easily. (I was totally wrong there, they were sold out and I never found anything like them since.) But it involved painting them with glitter and adding wings. After the show was over, the wings came off but the glitter paint was permanent.

That’s when I said: fuck it; these are the best sandals ever made. I’m not gonna stop wearing them just because of some glitter. People made jokes about it, but my attitude was always one of, “Yeah, there’s glitter on them. And?” And that usually shut it down.

Then, in first semester of my sophomore year of college, I was taking a human sexuality class. I don’t remember what the assigned topic was anymore, but I wrote an essay about the sandals and what they say about gender roles.

While packing to move this past week, I came across that essay:

My first lucid moment on my way to full, conscious memory came when I was less than a year old, standing naked in Nana’s sink, taking a bath. I was still too young to be bathed in a full size tub, so Carol, the next door empty-nester who took care of me while my parents were at work and I called Nana, would use the sink instead. I don’t remember much more than the image of her kitchen as it was two decades ago, being delightfully naked and thoroughly enjoying splashing water all over her counter tops. That would be the last time I was comfortable with my body for a number of years to come.

Children have a way of discovering one’s greatest flaw, whether it was in fact a flaw or not, and amplyfiying it to a size that can only be described in two places: an astronomy lab and an elementary school playground. Physically speaking, I was significantly larger than the other boys in all proportions, and I had a lack of coordination to match. This gave my would-be taunters the advantage of teasing with impunity, for no matter how large I was, I could never catch them. The object of their scorn was my stomach, and I still carry the mental scar of five years of relentless playground harassment.

It was no surprise, then, that my closest friends tended to be female. From R— that lived upstairs in the duplex to J—r, my neighbor, I socialized with girls more than boys. I was fascinated by my babysitters’ skirts, and earrings. For a long time I dreamt of actually being [emphasis in essay] a girl. I wondered why boys couldn’t wear dresses, like pink, or have long hair. My staunch Catholic mother explained that it was because boys just didn’t do girl things, and that pre-adolescent and adolescent girls have a language of their own that boys could never possibly understand. I was suddenly one without a place in schoolyard society. I had earned the boys’ scorn, but I had one penis too many to be one of the girls.

I was not completely without friends, however. One boy that lived on the end of the block named J— was the first to sate my sexual curiosity. I had seen my mother naked before, and knew girls didn’t have a penis, but until J— came along I didn’t know what they did have either. As soon as I heard it, I set about burning the word vagina into my mind so that I could be the one who knew what no one else knew. Knowing the word alone, though, brought a barrage of questions, the most significant of which was: What does it look like?

My physical insecurities plagued me in middle school. The one time I was not keenly aware of my stomach sticking out that unacceptable inch further than everyone else’s was when I was with my girlfriend of ten months, L—. It was an astonishing length of time for a relationship, and what drew us together was that we were both outside our traditional gender castes. She was the tomboy who was always regarded as dirty, or in some intangible, ephemeral way wrong. So we celebrated our relationship in secret, knowing well the social implications it would have for both of us. Our relationship ended when she moved to Ohio, but I knew what I strong relationship was, and suddenly wanted it again very badly.

I saw high school as my chance to start over with others that never knew me as the big kid with the bad temper in elementary school. [“Reaction to harassment?” This was the note my professor marked in the margin on this line. I’ve said elsewhere in this blog that yes, that is indeed the case. No one sees the first punch, they see the second one.] For the most part it was a success, and my freshman year was a year of many firsts. My curiosity was never sated though. Health class was fine if you wanted to know how to conceive a child, but sex was solely for reproductive purposes. When I gained access to the internet, however, things changed significantly. Suddenly I had access to all the information I wanted, uncensored. Sexual health websites offered all the insight I had been looking for all along. While my parents would always have been willing to explain things, they were clearly uncomfortable with the topic, and very biased toward Christian ideals. It was also around this time that I turned away from the Catholic Church, which had a surprisingly large impact on my decisions sexually.

No longer was I confined to strict rules mandating that sex should only take place within marriage. Armed with my new-found data, I was free to form my own opinions, and make quite a few decisions I still adhere to today. I can say “no” to sexual intercourse, even when presented with the opportunity, and I can offer a stronger argument than just simple religious opposition. More importantly to me, though, is that I can say “yes” as well, and for my own reasons.

Most of my friends are still female, and I admit to having quite a number of so-called “effeminate” habits in my daily life such as the amount of time I spend on my hair in the morning, crying at movies, or choosing female avatars in computer games. However, I am still confidently heterosexual, and I wear sandals covered in glitter to prove it.

Initial reactions:

  • I came right out and said I wanted to be a girl. Seriously. Read it again if you missed that.
  • I am indescribably reassured to have hard copy evidence that yes, it’s not in my head, I have always been this way.
  • The wording is a bit clumsy. This was written almost a decade ago while I was still a college sophomore.
  • There’s an awkward transition that could be misleading. I tied my desire to hang out with girls to the bullying by the boys, but my desire to hang out with girls went back much further than that. So the cause-effect relationship I hint at with that transition phrase simply didn’t exist. If anything, it was reversed; I was bullied because I didn’t identify with the boys.
  • There’s a lot of this that I could clean up and make more clear. It reads like a first draft, and I’m pretty sure it was.
  • One other thing that has always been this way? My love of commas.
  • I forgot the gender flipped relationship I had with L—. I remembered the relationship, I forgot that she was bullied for being a red-haired tomboy, and how we had bonded over that.
  • I didn’t really come out and say this in the essay: my sexual curiosity really was one of wonder and longing, not sexual desire. I wanted to experience vaginas first-hand because I was lacking one of my own, not because of some innate sexual desire to stick things in them. This is one thing I know I’m not playing revisionist history with. I really did spend hours reading womens’ health websites to find out everything about the female pelvic region. I spent hours reading about how the clitoris worked so that I could please a future partner. This was in 7th or 8th grade, contrary to the implication in the essay that it was in high school.
  • Clearly, I was still confusing sex and gender. But c’mon, it was ten years ago and this class was my very first dip in the academic gender studies pool.

What do you all think?

Check out Anna Anthropy’s interview in Gamasutra

I never thought 3-4 years ago I’d see my name on Gamasutra in any context, but of the list of gaming related things for which I might imagine it happening, “Making an interactive fiction game about queer trans cyborg D/s relationships in a transhuman future” wouldn’t have even been a possible thought to have, let alone utter.  And yet my name was just mentioned by Anna Anthropy (creator of Dys4ia among many other fine games) during an interview.

Roundtable: The Interactive Fiction Renaissance

LA: What do text games do that other games can’t, and what do you think traditional developers should learn from the current IF community?

AA: How about: Don’t be such fucking cowards. While mainstream games like Spec Ops: The Line and Hotline Miami are tiptoeing up to the idea that maybe violence is something we should be worrying about while continuing to let the player inhabit the role of an armed dude acting out fantasies of violence, Twine games are talking about identity, alienation, abuse, sexuality, dysphoria, sexual assault, depression, self-discovery, loss, and D/s dynamics in the cyber-future [Reset]. Look at these games and be ashamed of how small you’ve allowed your world to become.

You should check out the rest of the article. That savaging blow directed at the industry is just a taste of it.

 

The Neon Test – A Transgender Bechdel Test

This is a repost from my old blog

Inspired by yesterday’s Guardian article, I propose this reinterpretation of the Bechdel Test for trans people:

  1. It must feature a character that the audience knows is trans
  2. In a non-principal role
  3. Where their trans status is neither the source of comedy nor tragedy

Friend Defense

Screenshot of Friend Defense by Lydia Neon

Friend Defense by Lydia Neon

Friend Defense is a tower defense game centered around the circle of friends and supportive acquaintances I’ve made over the last two years, particularly the last few months. It’s got a definite slant toward those I interact with on twitter. I tried not to censor by “is this person actually a friend, or just someone I know, or a friendly acquaintance, or something else?” because even for those who aren’t friends in the traditional sense, I tried to acknowledge that even non-specific good will can have an impact.

<3 each and every one of you. You’ve done your part to make the last couple years amazing.

Play Friend Defense Here

Friends and supporters in game (in alphabetical order):

  • April
  • Carmen
  • Carolyn
  • (Wm) Caylee
  • Emily
  • Erika
  • Erin
  • Hannah
  • Jules
  • Julia
  • Kim
  • Lauren
  • Leon
  • Lillian
  • Merritt
  • Mym
  • Natalie
  • Nire
  • Nyux
  • Porpentine
  • Rachel
  • Roxanne
  • Sky
  • Splicey
  • Whit

Given there’s such a wide net being cast for who is being included, please don’t take not being listed as commentary on how close of a friend you are! There’s a sharp bias in favor of a very narrow group: people I’ve interacted with on Twitter in the last 24 hours. I also selectively didn’t include some folks who I suspected wouldn’t have wanted to be included. I tended not to use FB pictures, preferring avatars used on Twitter, simply for the matter of only wanting to share peoples’ faces if they have put them out there. So if we only talk on FB, that’s probably why as well. There’s already so many I know I left off. Jenna, Ozy, Thorin, Jen, Nat, Zoe, Avory, Susan, the AV collective, Claire, Tess, Monica, this list would never end!  <3 <3 <3

Fangirl

Looking Back on Underlight – Part 1

Part one of two. This first part is a twitter conversation that took place earlier this month. In part two, I will elaborate on some of the old feelings this conversation brought up, and what the game meant to me.


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