Happy Pride Month!
It has been some time since I contributed to Up Your Geek and this is in no small part due to some massive changes in my own life. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives, but it has also led others to walk down the path of self-discovery and self-acceptance. With this being said I have an announcement about my own life. You may have known me by the name Christian Michael Stoic on this site and even back when I was writing for Heroic Hollywood, but that is not me and never really has been. My real and genuine name is Chrystal M. Stoic and I am a Transgender woman. I’ve known this truth about myself for some time and it has always been there even when I wasn’t aware of what it was. Even when I was a kid I remember knowing that there was something about me that wasn’t allowed to be and I didn’t understand it. I didn’t have the language for it, but with the terminology being way more accessible now it has led to people being able to come out to themselves and to the World much earlier now than ever before. Trans people are way more visible in the media and that has helped so many people like me live in the ways that we need to live. Living freely and honestly is crucial to one’s own mental health and as a Trans Geek girl I have noticed something. What I don’t see a lot of is discussions from Trans people as to what it is like to be Trans in Geek-Centered Spaces. So many of us exist in these hobbies and spaces, but our voices aren’t always the loudest. We are so often talked over and neglected, but we are just as valuable a member of the Geek community as any Cisgender person is. This is why I feel it is important to look at our place in Geekdom and explain the joys and hardships of it all.
The truth of the matter is that being Transgender in a society that doesn’t favor my existence is difficult. The World has a negative and inaccurate representation of who we are as people. They often paint us into stereotypes and don’t view our realities as one worthy of understanding. This is extremely taxiing and this sort of negative perception can bleed into Geek communities.
Trans people like any other person can be just as much fans as the content that everyone else enjoys. Most of the Trans people that I know in my life are the biggest Geeks. We play video games, read comics, watch movies, and even play Tabletop Games. Our passion for fandoms can be unrivaled, but those very things we love so dearly can be weaponized against us. There is a trend of Gatekeeping bigoted Geeks who see us as less than nothing. They mock our existence, actively cheer when we are done harm, and insinuate that we can’t be fans like they can. These types of people often try to suggest Trans fans aren’t worthy of respect. While Trans Men and Non-Binary people most definitely get pushback it’s mainly Trans Women like myself who are the target of more specific scorn and hatred due to stereotypes about us and ignorance because of how visible we are. They often attack us in misogynistic tactics even if they misgender us. Our knowledge about whatever piece of media it may be discussed at the moment is tested. We are expected to meet their standards and if we don’t we aren’t given an ounce of respect.
Transgender people face harassment and attacks constantly especially in Geek communities due to proliferation of Hateful Internet Grifters who weaponize their followers against us, but their ignorance causes them to miss out on our beauty. We shine while they stay in the darkness.
While the hate, harassment, and scorn can make it difficult for us to thrive in Geek spaces we often deal with this by finding our own corners of fandom. We all need someone who understands and from what I’ve seen Trans Friendly Geek Spaces are some of the most loving, accepting, and incredible spaces for mutual appreciation for the art that we adore.
In my own experience I have met and became friends with some incredible Geeky Trans communities. We all find each other through mutual experience, but stay together because it is some of the most honest and incredible expressions of pure toxic-free fandom. We lift each other up when the ignorant people take shots at us and we obsess over every detail of the next new geeky thing. While I often feel like there is an ever-increasing divide among our spaces, the trans communities of geeks keep on having fun with it all and continue to stay true to the spirit of why we all branded ourselves Geeks in the first place. The best Geeky people I know are in the fandom because it gives us a sense of fulfillment and shelter from the harshness of the realities of life. Many Geeks feel like outcasts and bond over this shared need of catharsis and joy that art brings us all. I’m certain that most Geeky people can agree to this, but others don’t look beyond the simplicity of things because of the privilege afforded to them. When you get people who understand oppression and share many of the same things in common it is a beautiful thing.
I’ve seen huge portions of Geek communities do some great work in terms of expressing representation and making moves towards charitable endeavors. Trans Geeks are extremely generous in this regard. We genuinely care about not only the fictional worlds we obsess with but also the reality of lifting our own communities up. We want what is best for the world and for broader acceptance of all people in Geek Spaces. We are making great strides and we set an example of how we can all do and be better.
How We Can Better Ourselves
It often feels like people will naturally try to stay within what feels most comfortable and normal for them. Change in any reasonable sense is often scary because it requires giving up some form of control. That loss of power can be incredibly terrifying to a lot of people, but that change can be a great tool for betterment. Things can get better and I feel like Cisgender Geeks could learn a lot from the Trans members of their community.
When you understand the reality and lived experience of Trans people you know how difficult it is. Our strength and courage has to be at a 10 all of the time because we have to protect ourselves to survive, but when we love we love deeply. Our love for any sort of Geek based property is strong. Cisgender geeks can see the passion we have and instead of mocking our existence can apply that love to the same properties. They can even find ways of making the art even more meaningful like we have. There was a lot of pushback to the Wachowski sisters confirming that The Matrix is a Trans metaphor, but the question I have to ask is why? The movie you loved before is still the same. It is just adding a new and more empathetic lens to view it through. Looking at a property you love with new eyes and a willingness to understand another person’s existence does nothing, but help you understand the world even more.
The phrase “touch grass” is being thrown around a lot lately and while I don’t like all of the implications of its use I do understand the sentiment of asking people to break away from what they perceive as their understanding. It is often a naive view of what reality really is. The best ways in which we can better ourselves is by listening to the most marginalized members of our communities. Their perspective can really shed a light on how to not only love what we love even more, but how to do so while acknowledging that other types of people deserve the same level of love and respect as those properties. Empathy is crucial and with empathy we can make these spaces even better for future fans to thrive in.
I love being a part of Geek communities. It is who I am just as much as my womanhood is. I’m overwhelmingly grateful to all of the incredible people who have carved their own path in these spaces before me and I’m grateful to this community of Geeks that have and will continue to show me love as I move towards a more honest version of myself. I want to thank Lamar for the opportunity to spread love, positivity, and acceptance through Up Your Geek. It is a real honor to write things that mean a lot to people and to actively advocate for real changes in our shared spaces. As a final note I ask you all to try to reach out and understand others even if it is something you don’t quite know how. Attempting to better yourself does nothing, but make the world a significantly better place in the long run. Thank you.
Happy Pride and please consider making a donation to an LGBTQ+ Charity if possible.