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Categories: Ali Finds Her Self

I tried to come up with a clever title for this post, but nothing seemed to fit. Instead, I decided just to be honest. Gen Con was a blast; it was an amazing way to spend a weekend; and I cannot wait for next year.

In a general sense, the whole event was just a ton of fun. For four days I was more or less removed from my daily routine. I barely checked my email, didn’t respond quickly to texts, and posted on social media only to share pictures from the con. I met a lot of nice people there while playing a lot of good games — mostly the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons, which is a huge step above the last edition.

It was also an incredibly self-affirming place for a trans woman to be. I knew going in that Gen Con was a “safe space” for trans people, but I had no idea how it would feel to spend four days with people who didn’t even think twice. From the time I first presented myself to pick up my badge (with a letter from my therapist explaining why my ID and Badge name didn’t match), I was Alison throughout the con. When playing RPGs, it’s common for two players at the table to reference a third player in the third person as they discuss tactics and such; over four days, not once did someone use anything other than she and her when referencing me … even when I was playing a male character. This was a group unconcerned about conforming to gender norms.

GenCon2

On one side is Erica. On the other is a Khadoran Man-O-War. One one them is my BFF.

It wasn’t perfect, of course. Specifically, the servers in the local restaurants and coffee shops were less open to gender identities outside cis expectations. I was misgendered more than once, and I think one shitty little barista even sniggered at me behind my back with her fellow employee. But I tried to ignore these moments and enjoy the rest of the experience.

When I decided that Gen Con would me a milestone for me a year ago, I made the right decision. I have never been so comfortable in my own shoes as I was at Gen Con. Even in the crush of anonymous people, even meeting all these people I have never met before, even when I was front-and-center as Dungeon Master for a table full of players waiting for me to give them a fun time — even then, I was myself, and I was seen as myself, and I was happy.

I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. Now if only the rest of the world were so accommodating!


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