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Drama Mamas: Transgender bullying

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

I really, really wanted to embed People are People by Depeche Mode, but Warner Brothers won't let me. Rather than rage about that here, you can go to my tweet, if you wish. So instead of an awesomely appropriate video and song, you get a screenshot taken at the <It came from the Blog> Brewfest 2010 event -- because people are still people, even when they are multiboxing druids dancing with blood elves in bunny ears. Let's just move on to the letter.
Hello Drama Mamas,

I've been playing WoW for about a year and a half now. While I've always been a member of some minority groups (I have a few disabilities, for example) and have always had a problem with the pro-bullying majority environment on WoW, the problem kind of got a bit worse for me about six months into that time when I joined the most maligned group yet and came out as transgender. I really enjoy the game and I'm in a guild that handles this (and many other) things about me quite expertly, but the backlash I get in pickup raids mostly because of Vent (which is how quite a few people on my very small server know my trans status), has me seriously considering quitting the game or at least quitting raiding, which is my favorite part of the game.

The frustrating thing is that WoW was originally an escape for me, where I could function as preferred-gender much more easily than I did in the real world. But ironically the reverse is now true. I'm pretty much done with the process outside of WoW and yet because of rumor creep, a huge amount of people in the game know about me, and even my guildies have trouble with pronouns because my voice hasn't sounded preferred-gender for incredibly long.

To top it off, I'm kind of interested in getting into some more hardcore raiding, but on my server the three hardcore guilds in existence are full of transphobic comments and all sorts of other crap. If I were personally being harassed it would be almost easier because there'd be a clear path to solving it. But it's like a server-wide bucket of crap that's making me think I just want to change servers and not tell anyone in my new guild, preferably to a place where hardcore mature guilds exist and there's a lot of people. Am I letting people get to me when I could just fix the situation, or is this a good idea?

Gender Reroller
Drama Mama Robin: First of all, congratulations on being brave, open and truthful. Bravo! But blech, no matter how rational you are about the haters, their comments and reactions still hurt. Bravery has a big cost, but it can be worth the pain in the long run. For example, when I was growing up there were zero openly gay couples and now there are gay pride parades. It's a different world and I expect it to only get easier for you ... eventually. But that doesn't really help now, does it?

Let's go over your options as I see them, complete with pros, cons and recommendations.

Give up raiding.
  • Pro You don't have to put up with the haters anymore.
  • Con You love raiding. You let the funsuckers win.
  • Recommendation No.
Keep doing what you're doing.
  • Pro You give people courage to be themselves. You are making the concept of transgender more familiar and therefore more accepted. You get to do what you like. You can show them that physical world realities have nothing to do with in-game skills and personality.
  • Con It still hurts. A lot.
  • Recommendation Only do this if you want to lead by example and are willing to tolerate the intolerant.
Move to a different server and join a raiding guild as your preferred gender.
  • Pro You get to be treated like a "normal" person. You get to raid without nastiness.
  • Con You go back to hiding. Moving away from friends is hard.
  • Recommendation If you would really like to be accepted as your preferred gender and don't want to be "out" anymore, this is the choice for you.
Move to Proudmoore and apply to join one of Taint's raid groups. Of course, this only works if you have a U.S. account. If you don't, perhaps one of our EU readers can recommend a tolerant guild and server more local to you.
  • Pro You get to be yourself -- completely out and accepted for who you are. You get to raid without nastiness.
  • Con Moving away from friends is hard.
  • Recommendation It is so relaxing to be exactly who you are among tolerant people, no matter how you play. I recommend at least creating a character there to try out the culture and see how you like it.
Thank you for writing in and I hope this helps.

Drama Mama Lisa: I'm going to drive off the beaten path here, Gender Reroller, and turn you over to the capable care of Guest Drama Mama Seraphina Brennan, senior editor at our sister publication Massively. Sera has personal experience with this issue, and I'm betting you'll find her guidance both realistic and reassuring.

Guest Drama Mama Seraphina: Well hey there, Gender Reroller! First off, as Robin said, good for you for being you! For as much as being transgender is accepted, there are still so many people who are willing to send out venomous vibes. It's sad, really.

Anywho, Lisa asked me to offer a few tokens of advice, as I'm transgendered and a former raid leader from the Ravenholdt (US) server. Now, I was able to be pretty open with my guild (luckily) and people on my raids were usually quite behaved (most likely because I ran a tight ship and was entirely willing to use to use the Holy Banhammer of Justice skill). But if the topic would come up ("Why does everyone call you she when you're a dude?"), I would very simply answer it and ask for it to be respected. For the most part, people would respect it because we were there to raid, not there to start drama.

So, my advice to you is to try to be open and yourself if you stick around. If those players don't want you around, then that's their loss. Your guild sounds welcoming, so try to stick with them and enjoy some upper-level content. If you need to step into a raid and someone has a problem with your being there, try stick it out and show him you can raid like a pro. That can usually get him to quit the griefing, because raids aren't about insulting the other people with you. (That's just bad raiding, and I don't care how "hardcore" you think you are. Raids are teamwork.) This is the harder path, however, because the person may not want to change. Some people are just morons through and through, and doing this may not be worth it for you.

The other option is to move servers, as you said. You're there to have a good time and see some content, not be assailed by morons every five minutes during your raids. If this drama is locking you out of what you want to do, then by all means transfer servers. You might find a much more welcoming environment, another great guild of people, and a great server community that's competitive but awesome at the same time. In the least, it will give you a fresh start and a chance to have some fun doing what you want to do.

You play this game to have fun, and if you're not having fun because of your environment, then change your environment. Enjoy yourself, enjoy your raids, and enjoy Azeroth. Don't let a few jerks get you down, and never stop being true to yourself.

Note: We will be monitoring the comments and moderating them heavily as needed. If you don't want to get deleted or banned, don't be That Guy.

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at DramaMamas@wow.com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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