Today, I stupidly turned down a chance to write for a large scale gaming site. I got an email out of the blue from an editor who was interested in having me write a feature for them, I was ecstatic. I then saw they wanted an article about how it feels to be a Trans person in the games industry. I turned it down, I didn’t feel up to it. I’m not in the mood to write about this yet again. I fear soon I won’t have much of a choice.
I have pigeonholed myself as a writer. My biggest successes, the only things I write that get anywhere near the traction that I’ve been aiming for all these years, are my articles about things that require I out myself as Trans. Being Trans used to be a roadblock for me to getting published. It now seems it’s also the key to any progress ahead of me.
As a Trans writer in the games industry, my value lies squarely in my willingness to exploit my own unique situation. Nobody really wants my work unless I’m opening up about the parts of my life that are personal, that are hard to talk about, that further reinforce the view of me as “That Trans Game Critic”. Those kinds of articles are how I’ve managed to get published places like The guardian, but every high profile piece like that raises the expectation from my growing Twitter base that I’ll write an article every time something in Media effects Trans people. That I’ll always have an opinion on it to vocalise. That those are the articles I’m good at and the ones I need to write.
It means that for me to put somewhere like The Guardian on my CV I have no choice other than for my writing samples to give away rather quickly that I’m Trans to my maybe future employer.
It means that when I pitch one article on the games industry to an outlet, I instead get a reply asking if I’d be willing to further talk about the fact my gender designated at birth and my current gender do not line up and that some gamers don’t react well to that, or that games triggered the realisation in some way, or that they don’t represent me.
I to some degree wish I didn’t have the expectations of a growing follower base that want me to write about the issues effecting them. I wish I wasn’t becoming known squarely for my work covering Trans issues rather than the other aspects of Gaming I write about. I wish I wasn’t becoming pigeonholed into being that Trans writer.
The only solution I can see is to spend a period of time not covering Trans Issues at all and getting some space from the topic, but there are two main problems with that. Firstly I feel like I would be letting down those who my work has helped. Secondly, I fear that if I refuse to cover Trans issues in gaming I might suddenly find myself a nobody in this industry, I fear loosing all that I’ve achieved through that self exploitation.
I kind of wish I was unsucessful.