Being Transgender In Gaming (A Positive Editorial)

Being Transgender In Gaming (A Positive Editorial)

Before starting on this piece, I was wondering  just how to approach this. I mean, the last thing I wanted to do was to sound like I was filled with angst while writing an article for Cosmopolitan magazine. And then it hit me….

Just be myself. I got this.

It’s certainly a well-known fact that I love video games. I come from a time when playing my very first game of Asteroids was my introduction to gaming, that has spread across decades for me. I also come from a time when I can fondly recall the gaming industry’s first console war. What I’ve really loved about video games and gaming in general, is how I’ve been able to witness first-hand the changes.

Or better yet, the evolution.

And just like how gaming has evolved and continues doing so, I can say the same thing about myself.

For years — okay, for most of my lifetime so far — I have hid a very important part of myself. And I did this, due to the fact that I was afraid I’d be rejected, ridiculed, turned away, or something even worse. Because you see, folks, I am very much transgender; more specifically, a trans woman.

This is something that has been a part of me since childhood, to where I knew and I felt deep down that I was different, but just couldn’t explain it. It’s not something that I had picked up from back when I was in school, nor does it have anything to do with politics. But don’t worry, I’m not here to preach about all that. Instead, I’m here to discuss how it feels being a gamer girl.

For starters, it feels phenomenal to be no longer confused over what’s going on in my head and body. Please keep in mind that my feminine side has lied dormant since the late 1970’s/early 1980’s. I realize this was quite the burdensome cross to bear for 30+ years, but I truly felt I had nobody to talk to about things — at least not without being committed in a padded cell someplace. It wasn’t until 2016 that I finally told someone I was at least very much into wearing women’s clothing, but it wasn’t until 2020 that I fully realized who I really am – reborn, renewed, and no turning back.

What’s amazing to me about all of this, is that I’m taking this gigantic leap in my life, while not knowing how it’s going to affect my current life and moving forward. There will be casualties along the way, and I certainly don’t expect everyone to be so warm and welcoming about it. But at the end of the day though — as one friend had put it — I just need to be me. And it has nothing to do with politics, with the current pandemic, or what have you; this is just all about me.

Throughout my gaming journey so far, there have been a few female game characters worth mentioning that have been of inspiration to me. I could do a whole list of names here, but then this particular piece would end up being more novel-sized in length. So let’s just say these are my top three:

Samus AranTruly by far one of my fave characters of all time, Samus ditches the “damsel in distress” role and trades it in for a space suit. Starring in a game that has spawned a handful of sequels, she is living proof that she doesn’t need a dress to kick ass in.

Lara Croft Ah yes, the original PlayStation’s polygonal protagonist! I salute Lara for being an adventurous chick like Samus is, and I think she really left her mark in gaming as a female lead role character. And also kudos to her for looking much better these days.

Chun-Li How can anyone mention any of the Street Fighter games and NOT think of this woman? What I always loved about her was that she was underestimated because of her cuteness, and the fact she was clearly the underdog as being the only female fighter in the original SF2 line-up. And yet, she always managed to hold her own.

So yeah, this is me a nutshell. The kind of me that should’ve surfaced and came to light a long time ago, but I just didn’t know how to piece it all together until recently. I understand that I have a long tough road ahead of me still, but it won’t be so bad as long as I have the support that I need. And to anyone who’s going through what I’m going through, just remember to follow your heart.

Because life’s too short in being anyone else other than yourself.

Shawna Louise


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