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Drama Mamas: To come out or not to come out

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.

Be excellent to each other.
Hello,

I'm in an extra interesting position presently. Let's start with the gameplay perspectives:
I play a Protection Warrior currently, and I'm looking to partake in tanking for my guild. In most cases, this is fine, even with the use of Vent and all that. My significant other is a healer in the same guild, and we're working our way in and being friendly. And it's a great guild, one we both enjoy very much.

But the kicker is that both my partner and I are Transgender, Male to Female, and hoping to start transitioning this year. We RP a couple of female Pandaren with the same guild, and after discussing it with eachother, we've decided we want to do what we can to simply stealth it. It's far easier to just be what we feel we should be online than it is to try and explain it all over again.
However, with the tanking and gameplay above, and with enjoying the guild, comes a desire to be honest with them. I want to partake, but I'm afraid of the reactions when they hear my currently obviously male voice on the other end of the headset, even though I'd ask to be referred to as female.

So I come asking for some wisdom and advice. Should we just out ourselves to our guild? Should we continue stealthing it until it's no longer necessary to have our mics turned off during the times we're in vent? Or should we take other measures that aren't occurring to us?

Thank you for your help.

Signed,
Confused Fox
Drama Mamas To come out or not to come outDrama Mama Robin: I think your decision should depend on the general chat atmosphere (chatmosphere?) in the guild. Are there people who use gay as an insult? Do people in general think it's ok to use any kind of racist language? Do you think there is anyone with sexist tendencies? If you answer yes to any of those questions, you may find your audience not so enlightened and your reception not that welcoming. Even though your situation doesn't involve race, for example, people who are prejudiced at all are likely to be prejudiced about anything or anyone that is different. If the chatmosphere is toxic, I don't recommend you outing yourselves.

You and your partner say it's a great guild so perhaps none of the above is the case -- which is a very good thing. But I have another question. You both have represented yourselves as women. Have you also represented yourself as partners? If the guild accepts lesbians without a problem, they are much more likely to accept transgenders -- though it's not guaranteed.

If you have any fears about your reception, you need to ask yourselves how you would react if your guildies respond poorly. Would you grin and bear it and stay in the guild if they let you? Or would you want to leave for greener pastures? You should prepare yourselves for the worst.

If your guild is as great as you say and if they are already accepting of you both as lesbians, then I really think that while there may be a bit of shock and discomfort at first on their end, that overall they will be accepting. I wouldn't wait until you have to go on vent before speaking up, else they may feel lied to -- even though referring to yourselves as females isn't lying. Start by talking to the guild leader. His or her reaction will help you gauge the reactions of the rest of your team. Then move on to your raid leader if he or she is not also the guild leader. Then, with the raid leader's permission, make your announcement over vent before a guild run. Just stick to the facts. And prearrange with the raid leader to move forward with the run without too much discussion. You're not putting this info up for debate, after all. As I said, you're just stating the facts.

I do not recommend a forum post. This just allows people to make comments and again, your being women is not up for debate.

If things work out, yay! Otherwise, you may want to look into the many guilds on Proudmoore (US) that are open minded and accepting of everyone who isn't a funsucker. The Insiders, from the It came from the Blog family of guilds, on Zangarmarsh (US-PvE-H) also doesn't care who you are as long as you are into having fun, though I wouldn't consider them a progression guild if that's what you're looking for.

Good luck and let us know what happens.

Drama Mamas To come out or not to come outDrama Mama Lisa: There's a lot of potential "legalese" you could inject into this decision: Do your guildmates currently believe you are female, or would they accept males RPing female characters? Would you have to cross the whole trans bridge now, or could you wait until you've begun to transition? Is this about what you can get by with now or what you'll have to deal with later?

If this guild is where you want to make your home during your transition, you need to build a foundation of transparency from the outset. Consider things from your guildmates' perspective, Confused Fox. How would you feel being party to a revelation that someone had obviously held off on making until the last possible moment? I sympathize with your very real misgivings, but I believe that in your guildmates' place, I'd feel a bit set up and manipulated by an obviously reluctant, postponed announcement. And that sort of situation plays into all sorts of stereotypes about drama queens. Don't go that route. If you want to make this guild a permanent home of friends, don't build any pretenses.

Remember that your transition will be a challenging situation for your guildmates as well. Even if they're completely accepting of and open to your transgender identity, many will find it awkward and tricky to refer to a male-sounding friend as "she." Be forgiving of their bobbles.

I recommend the advice from a post on coming out as a transgender person that we featured here in the Drama Mamas column last year. It was written by Rachel Gold, author of Being Emily, a novel about a trans girl main character who also plays WoW. "I've had a lot of opportunities to come out, first as a lesbian and now as the author of a trans novel," Rachel wrote. "I'm also a guild leader and long-time WoW player, so that's the background to this answer." Rachel offers seasoned insights for not only trans players but the players they meet in the game.

I'd also like to steer you toward another of our columns that might help you, a post about helping transgender players cope with bullying. This post includes thoughts from Seraphina Brennan, a transgender woman who's a community specialist for Infinite Crisis and a former senior editor at our sister publication Massively -- more good insights from someone's who been in your shoes.

As Seraphina noted, "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."
Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at robin@wowinsider.com. Read Robin's section of this post on how to get your letter answered and please remember that we cannot answer privately.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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