August 12, 2014

Transgender at Gen Con: An Operation Gamer Girl Epilogue

A year ago, when I was still pre-HRT, still had a job, and still lived mostly as my old self, I conceived of Operation Gamer Girl, an admittedly silly name for a silly idea that was meant to motivate me to work towards full transition. The plan was simple: attend Gen Con the following year as myself. At the time, I felt like I was challenging myself, and I felt that attending Gen Con would be like a milestone in my gender transition.

In the year since, I’ve more or less forgotten about the gimmick of Operation Gamer Girl. My transition is moving at a steady clip, I’m already living authentically, and I’ve even got my name change in the works. So in that sense, when I leave for Gen Con tomorrow it will not be a challenge to do so, nor will it be the milestone I thought it might be last year.

But in a lot of ways it is a milestone. That I’m even going is a big deal; the last Gen Con I attended was in 2005. And that I’m going as my authentic self is still something to be uproariously happy about. And I am happy — I am looking forward to this trip more than I have any trip in a long time.

Not to say that I’m not without worries. Despite recent developments in the gaming community, I’m still going into a crowded convention hall as myself, my true self, unarmed and exposed. Add to that, I will not be just a body in the crowd. I have volunteered to work at the con (hey, free badge, can’t knock it) so I will be front and center at times. I will be running table, DMing games. What if someone refuses to be seated at my table? Or doesn’t take me seriously as DM because of the way I look?

In fact, I’m worried about even picking up my badge, because I registered for Gen Con as Alison. Very likely they will ask for ID at the badge table, and my ID is not yet changed. I have a letter from my therapist to explain things, and I’m hoping it’s all I need to smooth that issue over. If I were turned away at the door, I don’t know what I’d do.

But even with my worries, there is no way I’d do anything different. I would no sooner go in there under his name, in his disguise, than I would go in there naked. This is my first Gen Con in a decade, and I’ll be damned if I let the fear of other people ruin it for me before I’d even arrived in Indianapolis. Besides, most of my male clothes have gone to Salvation Army at this point. I wouldn’t have anything to wear.

Tonight, meanwhile, is all about packing. And that means planning out a lot of outfits in advance. As is usually the case, I can’t just throw myself together haphazardly; I need to make sure that every day is a day where I put my best self forward. Controlling how I look helps me control how people see me. I have to look authentic, I have to look real, I have to look natural. It’s just me, folks, but unfortunately being me takes a lot of work sometimes.

So off I go, commencing the final phase of Operation Gamer Girl. I can’t guarentee I’ll be posting anything else this week, though you can be sure there will be something about the trip next week. In the meantime, I’ll probably be tweeting from Gen Con on both my @Ariamythe and @AliRolls4 Twitter feeds.

Wish me luck, folks!  See you next week.

[There is a companion to this post over at Ali Rolls for Damage.]

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