The Time Games Helped Me Come Out

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Epic Fail 1977:
I get that the discovery of some aspects of sexuality (fetishes for example) might be, well, just that - a discovery.

And I get that coming out as gay or bi must be really difficult.

But I really don't get how someone over a certain age (like, say, 14) can be unaware of something as basic as their own preference of males vs females, at least not if they are male. Doesn't the average 14 year old boy-man get a near-instant erection at the slightest visual stimulation? I know I did, and comedy sketches like Kevin and Perry make me think I was far from unusual in that regard. So then I have to imagine that if said stimulation is in the form of another male then, well, wouldn't that be a pretty big fucking clue?

I'll go into my own experience as a still-in-the-closet dude and describe my experiences. I don't represent other people in the same situation, this was just my personal experiences. Anyways...

I started to get an inkling of what my sexuality was when I was younger, but I didn't become truly suspicious until I was around 13-14. However, at that stage of puberty you are prone to.. well.. that 'stimulation' at any number of things for any number of reasons. It's rather unpredictable at times. I actually did some research on what other people go through at that age and I convinced myself that it was probably a side-effect of growing up. Just something that I'd get over. When your horomones are going haywire it's hard to know what you do or don't like anymore.

Sexuality is a complicated thing. It seems even more complicated where you aren't eased into it. Your body simply thrusts you into the world of sexuality without a road map or anything of that description. It isn't as simple as 'pop a boner when the thing you like appears', and like I previously said it can happen for little to no reason at all. Do I find that dude appealing because of him being a dude, or is there something else at play? Is my body just messing with me? I used to create excuses for myself about my attractions, and tried to rationalize it in a way that still allowed me to keep with what people considered 'normal'. To find people of the same sex as me attractive yet still rationalize myself to be straight.

At that point almost all of what you were taught about sexuality from the media reinforced the 'ordinary' archetype. Men love Women, Women love Men. I've seen Mario kiss the princess ever since a young age and the idea that romance worked that way was reinforced constantly by many different types of media, remembering of course that at the time I was only around 13. To learn that you might not quite fit into what you were taught was normal made me question myself. It made me create excuses for my behavior and put up the facade that I was still completely straight and everything was peachy with me. I put on an act.

It didn't really work out as you might imagine.

I think you've oversimplified the process of finding your own sexuality a tad in the case of the LGBT. Am I gay, am I bi? Not to mention that even in people that are completely straight, they can still show signs of homosexual attraction without being LGTB themselves. In my own experiences, I really didn't come to terms with my sexuality until I was about the age I am now, which is 17. I'm still young and I'm still discovering myself. I haven't even come out to my family yet, which is something I've been meaning to do since I've come to the discovery but just haven't had the courage to actually do.

I'm not expert on the field of discovering your sexuality; hell I'm in the midst of it myself even though it might be a bit embarrassing to say. There are just more layers of complexity then I think you and me don't realize.

I agree with you on how games help us see who we really are. Though not always sexually but our character gets build on games in my opion. Im glad you found out who you are through video games and anyone who says you're screwy just tell them to make like a tree and get outta here.

Callate:

If being "gay as shit" is the most important thing to you, I hope you have a happy life. But you're going to miss out on a lot if that's the entirety of how you present yourself to others. You may find an echo chamber of people for whom being gay is the most important thing, but it's very hard to grow or expand if all you ever interact with is people who are as much like you as possible and who are like you largely in having defined themselves in such a narrow way.

An admittedly facile comparison: have you ever been around someone who spent large amounts of their time talking about some MMO they're deeply entrenched in? If you weren't playing that game, how interested were you in what they wanted to talk about? How interested was it reasonable of them to expect you to be?

I was fine with "M" being bisexual, and I did tell her that. But because of how she defined herself, she visibly grew less as a person than many of the other people I knew at college. Her social circle shrank, rather than growing. Her interests narrowed, rather than expanding- at precisely the time in her life when expansion of such things was easiest.

This is my experience. It may not be yours. If what you find for yourself works for you, I wish you well. It may not work for everyone, and I'd sooner people understood that.

I'm not accusing you of anything, I'm sure you're a well adjusted human being that treats people fairly. The thing is I don't believe it is anyone's right to tell another person how much part of their identity should matter to them. But it is well within your right not to associate with that person, or even not like that person at all because of how much they drone on about it. But you shouldn't tell someone how much part of who they are should matter to them and how they present themselves, even if it really is something of little consequence in College like their sexuality.

It can breed an attitude I've been weary of as of late. You probably aren't this person, but I've met people who basically said
"I can deal with you being gay. Just don't be gay anywhere near me." Which is people's way of trying to sound tolerant of others without actually being tolerant at all. It's just something to think about.

About four years ago I was playing Mass Effect for the first time with any serious commitment, work etc. had my time monopolised and although I liked the concept I never really gave it a proper play-through. I picked the default manshep, I was bad at customising appearance and I didn't care enough to try it at the time, and about an hour on promptly returned to the main menu and picked the default femshep. The VA for manshep is, in my view, irredeemably irritating.

I was perfectly happy with femsheps VA, and indeed default appearance, and my journey continued. ME2 came out and I continued as femshep, I tried again as manshep but just couldn't play comfortably with that voice. Then something really odd happened, I started seriously customising my femsheps appearance. That is to say, redder hair, a bit shorter, fixed the skintone, made the eyes more defined, tweaked the prominence of the lips, brought the rest of the face into proportion with that, added vivid green eyes.

Prior to this, in almost every game I had played with customisation options, I went default. Never tickled my fancy, or I thought it didn't.

Eventually after playing through ME2 a few times I picked up another title by BW with some customisation, Dragon Age: Origins, and rolled a dude. I ended up really enjoying the customisation, and began giving a crap about everything that was linked to it. This started spilling out into my personal appearance. I was never "poorly dressed" but I was... lazy? If it appeared to work, I wore it without much thought.

But after that in game experience I began to experiment clothing wise, I found that I liked suits (this coming from a guy who thought that a hoodie and jeans was "formal wear") and that with a bit of careful work I could pull off a very respectable goatee. The funny kicker here is that my girlfriend, a patient and no doubt sainthood worthy woman, had been trying to get me to wear that kind of stuff for almost a year. But no, it was femshep that did it.

Windknight:
I think the first hints that I was transgender (apart from always being more interested in strong heroines vs strong heroes in films and shows) was just how much more 'right' I felt as a female character whenever the game had me be one, or gave me the choice to be one, the the point I would (and still do) look at the cover of the game and if I saw a woman inwardly go 'I hope I'm playing as her'. Took me a long time though to fully understand why that was though.

You're not alone there. Hell, because of this sometimes when I'm in gamestop I like to switch the cover art for Mass Effect 3 to the femshep version just for shits and giggles XD

GeneralFungi:

Epic Fail 1977:
I get that the discovery of some aspects of sexuality (fetishes for example) might be, well, just that - a discovery.

And I get that coming out as gay or bi must be really difficult.

But I really don't get how someone over a certain age (like, say, 14) can be unaware of something as basic as their own preference of males vs females, at least not if they are male. Doesn't the average 14 year old boy-man get a near-instant erection at the slightest visual stimulation? I know I did, and comedy sketches like Kevin and Perry make me think I was far from unusual in that regard. So then I have to imagine that if said stimulation is in the form of another male then, well, wouldn't that be a pretty big fucking clue?

I'll go into my own experience as a still-in-the-closet dude and describe my experiences. I don't represent other people in the same situation, this was just my personal experiences. Anyways...

I started to get an inkling of what my sexuality was when I was younger, but I didn't become truly suspicious until I was around 13-14. However, at that stage of puberty you are prone to.. well.. that 'stimulation' at any number of things for any number of reasons. It's rather unpredictable at times. I actually did some research on what other people go through at that age and I convinced myself that it was probably a side-effect of growing up. Just something that I'd get over. When your horomones are going haywire it's hard to know what you do or don't like anymore.

Sexuality is a complicated thing. It seems even more complicated where you aren't eased into it. Your body simply thrusts you into the world of sexuality without a road map or anything of that description. It isn't as simple as 'pop a boner when the thing you like appears', and like I previously said it can happen for little to no reason at all. Do I find that dude appealing because of him being a dude, or is there something else at play? Is my body just messing with me? I used to create excuses for myself about my attractions, and tried to rationalize it in a way that still allowed me to keep with what people considered 'normal'. To find people of the same sex as me attractive yet still rationalize myself to be straight.

At that point almost all of what you were taught about sexuality from the media reinforced the 'ordinary' archetype. Men love Women, Women love Men. I've seen Mario kiss the princess ever since a young age and the idea that romance worked that way was reinforced constantly by many different types of media, remembering of course that at the time I was only around 13. To learn that you might not quite fit into what you were taught was normal made me question myself. It made me create excuses for my behavior and put up the facade that I was still completely straight and everything was peachy with me. I put on an act.

It didn't really work out as you might imagine.

I think you've oversimplified the process of finding your own sexuality a tad in the case of the LGBT. Am I gay, am I bi? Not to mention that even in people that are completely straight, they can still show signs of homosexual attraction without being LGTB themselves. In my own experiences, I really didn't come to terms with my sexuality until I was about the age I am now, which is 17. I'm still young and I'm still discovering myself. I haven't even come out to my family yet, which is something I've been meaning to do since I've come to the discovery but just haven't had the courage to actually do.

I'm not expert on the field of discovering your sexuality; hell I'm in the midst of it myself even though it might be a bit embarrassing to say. There are just more layers of complexity then I think you and me don't realize.

Great post and thanks for the reply. The bits I bolded make a lot of sense specifically regarding the what I said I "don't get". As for my oversimplification, I didn't mean to imply (as another poster said) that getting a boner at a dude = 100% gay. But I would think it would give someone (at the very least) pause for thought.

My mother (at the age of 45) left my father for a woman. Now, eight years later, she still says she is "100% straight, but in love with a woman". Those are her words. Prior to this I hadn't realised that such levels of denial were even possible. I'm not saying she's 100% lesbian, but she sure isn't zero. And I know it's not a straight line (no pun intended) from 0 to 100, it's more of a multi-faceted spectrum of things, but you get what I mean right? She's not "100% straight". Hell, nobody is, so say the psychologists. Yet she can't self-identify as anything else. She just can't. So you can see why the way this works is of interest to me.

You sort of skipped past the point where you realised you were gay. May I ask, was there a sudden epiphany or was it more gradual?

Epic Fail 1977:

GeneralFungi:

Epic Fail 1977:
I get that the discovery of some aspects of sexuality (fetishes for example) might be, well, just that - a discovery.

And I get that coming out as gay or bi must be really difficult.

But I really don't get how someone over a certain age (like, say, 14) can be unaware of something as basic as their own preference of males vs females, at least not if they are male. Doesn't the average 14 year old boy-man get a near-instant erection at the slightest visual stimulation? I know I did, and comedy sketches like Kevin and Perry make me think I was far from unusual in that regard. So then I have to imagine that if said stimulation is in the form of another male then, well, wouldn't that be a pretty big fucking clue?

I'll go into my own experience as a still-in-the-closet dude and describe my experiences. I don't represent other people in the same situation, this was just my personal experiences. Anyways...

I started to get an inkling of what my sexuality was when I was younger, but I didn't become truly suspicious until I was around 13-14. However, at that stage of puberty you are prone to.. well.. that 'stimulation' at any number of things for any number of reasons. It's rather unpredictable at times. I actually did some research on what other people go through at that age and I convinced myself that it was probably a side-effect of growing up. Just something that I'd get over. When your horomones are going haywire it's hard to know what you do or don't like anymore.

Sexuality is a complicated thing. It seems even more complicated where you aren't eased into it. Your body simply thrusts you into the world of sexuality without a road map or anything of that description. It isn't as simple as 'pop a boner when the thing you like appears', and like I previously said it can happen for little to no reason at all. Do I find that dude appealing because of him being a dude, or is there something else at play? Is my body just messing with me? I used to create excuses for myself about my attractions, and tried to rationalize it in a way that still allowed me to keep with what people considered 'normal'. To find people of the same sex as me attractive yet still rationalize myself to be straight.

At that point almost all of what you were taught about sexuality from the media reinforced the 'ordinary' archetype. Men love Women, Women love Men. I've seen Mario kiss the princess ever since a young age and the idea that romance worked that way was reinforced constantly by many different types of media, remembering of course that at the time I was only around 13. To learn that you might not quite fit into what you were taught was normal made me question myself. It made me create excuses for my behavior and put up the facade that I was still completely straight and everything was peachy with me. I put on an act.

It didn't really work out as you might imagine.

I think you've oversimplified the process of finding your own sexuality a tad in the case of the LGBT. Am I gay, am I bi? Not to mention that even in people that are completely straight, they can still show signs of homosexual attraction without being LGTB themselves. In my own experiences, I really didn't come to terms with my sexuality until I was about the age I am now, which is 17. I'm still young and I'm still discovering myself. I haven't even come out to my family yet, which is something I've been meaning to do since I've come to the discovery but just haven't had the courage to actually do.

I'm not expert on the field of discovering your sexuality; hell I'm in the midst of it myself even though it might be a bit embarrassing to say. There are just more layers of complexity then I think you and me don't realize.

Great post and thanks for the reply. The bits I bolded make a lot of sense specifically regarding the what I said I "don't get". As for my oversimplification, I didn't mean to imply (as another poster said) that getting a boner at a dude = 100% gay. But I would think it would give someone (at the very least) pause for thought.

My mother (at the age of 45) left my father for a woman. Now, eight years later, she still says she is "100% straight, but in love with a woman". Those are her words. Prior to this I hadn't realised that such levels of denial were even possible. I'm not saying she's 100% lesbian, but she sure isn't zero. And I know it's not a straight line (no pun intended) from 0 to 100, it's more of a multi-faceted spectrum of things, but you get what I mean right? She's not "100% straight". Hell, nobody is, so say the psychologists. Yet she can't self-identify as anything else. She just can't. So you can see why the way this works is of interest to me.

You sort of skipped past the point where you realised you were gay. May I ask, was there a sudden epiphany or was it more gradual?

I think that no matter what orientation you identify with, there is someone that wouldn't normally fit into your usual attraction zone that you could hit it off with. I'm happy to hear that she's happy. Best of luck to their relationship. :)

My discovery was a very gradual thing. I used to create characters and stories in my imaginations. For the longest while I wanted to create cartoons. I won't go into detail, but.. let's just say they were sometimes less then straight. Often times it would involve the trope of saving the princess except that instead of a princess.. it was a prince. It's kind of embarrassing for me looking back on it now. My lame child-fiction wasn't especially good. But I think it was one of the very first signs. I didn't really realize this until much later.

And then there was 13 year old me. I was just old enough to have the basic idea of what a gay person was. It was also when I got my own laptop and well... let's say I studied human anatomy and leave it like that. I became suspicious. Like I said before I crafted excuses and stories to try and make me feel more like the 'norm'. At that point gay people didn't really seem to be real to me. It seemed more like something that existed in another world. Almost something of fantasy. I had never met an openly gay person in person before, and I still haven't.. So I chalked it up to horomones and ignored my feelings thinking that they would pass.

They didn't of course. I think it was either late 15 or early 16 that I was finally convinced that my attraction to men was something that I would have to deal with. I looked back to my experiences from when I was younger and put the pieces together. For a while I thought I could pass as bisexual, but I realized that I just didn't have much sexual attraction to the fairer sex at all. It would have only caused more confusion when I did eventual come out of the closet. A lot of what brought me to this conclusion was people I read about on the internet. I still felt for the most part alone, since I still hadn't met someone else who was also openly gay. It just isn't something spoken about often in my province. It wasn't until I read about people and their coming out stories that I accepted that I was how I was. It helped get me out of my self-denial.

I still haven't come out as I stated before. I'm still a bit nervous about how people will react. I'm going to be taking many precautions but I'll be glad to get this weight off of my chest when I finally tell someone. The anxiety has been giving me small headaches recently..

Sorry for the late response. It took a while for my to properly articulate what I wanted to say.

Nice article. My only criticism is leveled at the example of Mass Effect. I don't really think it's a great game for exploring sexuality. It's a very binary dictionary definition style of romance. It's pretty much such that you're either straight or gay, nothing in between. Considering the fact that it seems they were very reluctant even just to add male homosexual relationships (not adding them until the 3rd game) and the very shallow romance mechanics, I don't think it's great for "exploring". Perhaps if you already know yourself well and you happen to be perfectly straight or gay it could be interesting, but otherwise I dunno.

What a coincidence. Yesterday in a class, we read a story about a boy who questioned his sexuality and today I read this.
I usually try not to talk about this stuff because I'm not the kind to think about those things. Though sometimes I think it comes and haunts me in my dreams.
Also, I think I laughed at parts I shouldn't but I'm bad at telling the difference on what I should laugh at and not.

I'm happy for you mate, your ability to open up in such a way with gaming media really got me thinking, and will probably keep me thinking for several weeks xD

While I am glad that Games and Gaming helped the author come to terms with his own sexuality and figure out who he is, I'm not sure that this is really the sort of article that we as gamers want floating around out there. It's not the sexual exploration or cross dressing. It's this one little bit of it, that we as RESPONSIBLE gamers really really really don't want to support, encourage, sensationalize or fall in behind in any way shape or form.

He was a 14 year old... who found his way into bondage dungeons in Second Life, using Dad's Credit card. At which pointed he hooked up with a very nice dominatrix who discussed all sorts of sexual things with him and helped him come to terms and discover his own preferences. Great. Wonderful. Quite possibly unbelievably criminal in some states. This is called being the victim of an internet predator. No adult should be discussingthis sort of thing online with a 14 year old. We certainly should not be giving it page space in a gaming blog that frames it as a good thing. It may have, this one time, had a positive outcome for the child involved, but we can't get past that a child was involved. THIS IS BAD!!!

A year from now this article is going to end up on the desk of some Congressman from ButtWype Mississippi and it's going to be the comics code all over again. We as gamers of all stripes and orientation need to promote encourage and harshly enforce responsible play. And that means we must not tolerate anything sexual involving kids and strangers in our games. Ever! We must not put such things forth lightly or positively. Unless it ends with "And then Chris Hansen and the NBC news team showed up" it's probably not a good thing.

Just sayin'

I never expected to read an article like this on the escapist, but I'm glad I did. Signs of a changing world.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some thinking to do, some drinking to do, and a need to express my burning rage through brutal acts of random virtual violence.

faefrost:
While I am glad that Games and Gaming helped the author come to terms with his own sexuality and figure out who he is, I'm not sure that this is really the sort of article that we as gamers want floating around out there. It's not the sexual exploration or cross dressing. It's this one little bit of it, that we as RESPONSIBLE gamers really really really don't want to support, encourage, sensationalize or fall in behind in any way shape or form.

He was a 14 year old... who found his way into bondage dungeons in Second Life, using Dad's Credit card. At which pointed he hooked up with a very nice dominatrix who discussed all sorts of sexual things with him and helped him come to terms and discover his own preferences. Great. Wonderful. Quite possibly unbelievably criminal in some states. This is called being the victim of an internet predator. No adult should be discussingthis sort of thing online with a 14 year old. We certainly should not be giving it page space in a gaming blog that frames it as a good thing. It may have, this one time, had a positive outcome for the child involved, but we can't get past that a child was involved. THIS IS BAD!!!

A year from now this article is going to end up on the desk of some Congressman from ButtWype Mississippi and it's going to be the comics code all over again. We as gamers of all stripes and orientation need to promote encourage and harshly enforce responsible play. And that means we must not tolerate anything sexual involving kids and strangers in our games. Ever! We must not put such things forth lightly or positively. Unless it ends with "And then Chris Hansen and the NBC news team showed up" it's probably not a good thing.

Just sayin'

Aye well you know what mate? Don't just say. That person was lovely. She wasn't a predator, she wasn't taking advantage; she didn't actually fuck a fourteen year old me. You can't know much about D/s if that's what you think happened. Without that person, I'd have fucking done myself in when I was fourteen. I don't give two fucks what some reactionary right wing cunt might think. Not two fucks. Responsible gamers? Fuck that. How's it responsible to let teenage kids fucking want to cut themselves up because they've got no one to talk to? If some bell end jumps on this as an example of gaming's irresponsibility I'll be the first one to jump back, on the end of their dick, with golf shoes. We need to ignore this kind of scared bullshit.

thatsthespirit:

faefrost:
While I am glad that Games and Gaming helped the author come to terms with his own sexuality and figure out who he is, I'm not sure that this is really the sort of article that we as gamers want floating around out there. It's not the sexual exploration or cross dressing. It's this one little bit of it, that we as RESPONSIBLE gamers really really really don't want to support, encourage, sensationalize or fall in behind in any way shape or form.

He was a 14 year old... who found his way into bondage dungeons in Second Life, using Dad's Credit card. At which pointed he hooked up with a very nice dominatrix who discussed all sorts of sexual things with him and helped him come to terms and discover his own preferences. Great. Wonderful. Quite possibly unbelievably criminal in some states. This is called being the victim of an internet predator. No adult should be discussingthis sort of thing online with a 14 year old. We certainly should not be giving it page space in a gaming blog that frames it as a good thing. It may have, this one time, had a positive outcome for the child involved, but we can't get past that a child was involved. THIS IS BAD!!!

A year from now this article is going to end up on the desk of some Congressman from ButtWype Mississippi and it's going to be the comics code all over again. We as gamers of all stripes and orientation need to promote encourage and harshly enforce responsible play. And that means we must not tolerate anything sexual involving kids and strangers in our games. Ever! We must not put such things forth lightly or positively. Unless it ends with "And then Chris Hansen and the NBC news team showed up" it's probably not a good thing.

Just sayin'

Aye well you know what mate? Don't just say. That person was lovely. She wasn't a predator, she wasn't taking advantage; she didn't actually fuck a fourteen year old me. You can't know much about D/s if that's what you think happened. Without that person, I'd have fucking done myself in when I was fourteen. I don't give two fucks what some reactionary right wing cunt might think. Not two fucks. Responsible gamers? Fuck that. How's it responsible to let teenage kids fucking want to cut themselves up because they've got no one to talk to? If some bell end jumps on this as an example of gaming's irresponsibility I'll be the first one to jump back, on the end of their dick, with golf shoes. We need to ignore this kind of scared bullshit.

So we are to encourage interaction between young children and adults in hard core online sex chat rooms? That's what we should be defending or encouraging? And questioning that maybe, in spite of the positive outcome you claim to have had, that maybe this might not be the best approach for us as gamers makes me or others "reactionary right wing types"?

I'm sorry I'm nowhere near as trusting as you. I've had experiences with a real predator. One of those people who dedicated their lives to being that special person that confused kids could talk to and help them work through their problems. In this case a supposedly wonderful Pediatrician. Boy Scout Leader. Specialist to all of Long Islands school sports. Had the largest most successful Pediatric practice in New York for almost 20 years. Had a "special" counseling service for troubled boys. I know what he did to me, and I know I got off lucky. One of my friends ended up so screwed up that he has never had a normal relationship with either or any sex. Another member of my scout troop ate a shotgun because of this guy. He's currently serving 350 years to life in Ossining. You got off lucky. There is literally no situation where an adult stranger is interacting with a young teenager regarding sexual subjects that is not predatory behavior. (assuming said adult knew your age). Call me what you want. Claim that I wasn't there, or I could not possibly know, or it was different for you. Whatever. But this is still a line we as a gaming community must not cross, must not encourage, and must be ever vigilant to not ever put forth as a positive.

Nice points made here, even if you just convinced me to stay far the fuck away from this Second Life game (I'm typically not into those kind of games, unless it's called Katawa Shoujo - which still gets some squirms out of me. I'm just not into sex games, plain and simple).

As for the female-characters thing, I used to more often than not play as female characters when given the choice unless it's a build-your-character type thing like in Oblivion. I guess it just comes down to me seeing female characters as the underdog, as the character most other people won't play as. That type of thing is something I could really relate to back in the day, though these days it's worn off quite a bit due in large part to ze poniez. These days I just come up with an idea for a character and try to live their story most of the time rather than making them an extension of myself (though that still happens every now and again - especially on first playthroughs), which leaves me playing as both genders quite often. I just really like deep characters, and yes I blame that on poniez too. :P

great article, you hit on some familar points with me. my ways of exploring were a little different (though the fetishes sound very similar)but the result was more or less the same and i feel that i'm much more comfortable with myself now. its intresting that your told if you go exploring on things like chat sites or second life its just going to end up with you getting kidnapped (and if your really reckless or uninformed i guess that could happen) but really what your more likely to find are other people trying to figure out who they are and if your lucky, people that want to help them/you do exactly that.

faefrost:

thatsthespirit:
SNIP

So we are to encourage interaction between young children and adults in hard core online sex chat rooms? That's what we should be defending or encouraging? And questioning that maybe, in spite of the positive outcome you claim to have had, that maybe this might not be the best approach for us as gamers makes me or others "reactionary right wing types"?

I'm sorry I'm nowhere near as trusting as you. I've had experiences with a real predator. One of those people who dedicated their lives to being that special person that confused kids could talk to and help them work through their problems. In this case a supposedly wonderful Pediatrician. Boy Scout Leader. Specialist to all of Long Islands school sports. Had the largest most successful Pediatric practice in New York for almost 20 years. Had a "special" counseling service for troubled boys. I know what he did to me, and I know I got off lucky. One of my friends ended up so screwed up that he has never had a normal relationship with either or any sex. Another member of my scout troop ate a shotgun because of this guy. He's currently serving 350 years to life in Ossining. You got off lucky. There is literally no situation where an adult stranger is interacting with a young teenager regarding sexual subjects that is not predatory behavior. (assuming said adult knew your age). Call me what you want. Claim that I wasn't there, or I could not possibly know, or it was different for you. Whatever. But this is still a line we as a gaming community must not cross, must not encourage, and must be ever vigilant to not ever put forth as a positive.

Firstly let me say I am terribly sorry about what happened to you and your friends. That you can talk about it at all really speaks to your strength.

In regards to your post: Where did you get the idea that the dominatrix was aware of his age? Or for that matter that she was even an adult? I'll have to defer to Ed on that one because I didn't notice mention of it in the article.

As far as kids accessing adult content or having sexually charged discussion/role play, is anyone ignorant that this happens? Anyone at all? I'm not convinced that the appropriate response is to not talk about it happening in fear of some sort of crackdown by political organizations or exploitation by sexual predators. I'd think kids would just find other (and possible more dangerous) ways of exploring their sexuality. Surely the answer then is to encourage it in a safe manner? While certainly not an ideal situation, it is stated that there was no information given as to age/sex/location making it a relatively safe environment. I'm not saying that I wholeheartedly approve of minors taking such a path but by no means am I going to pretend it never works out okay.

And no one can make fun of you in GTA cause everyone knows you're liable to flip out and kill everyone on the street!

In all seriousness though, major props for having the courage to write this - well made read.

Daeggreth:

faefrost:
[quote="thatsthespirit" post="6.403894.16718385"]SNIP

snippity

I'm with daeggreth on this one... fae, that's a bit too black and white what you're thinking there. When it comes to exploring sexuality, some people need counseling of some sort to explore it somehow. We can't let it be taboo, we have to somehow be able to educate people on what it sexuality actually is, instead of what they see in their own environment.

OT: The best thing I can say about the article is that you do got courage. Me, myself, I'm looking for a more romantic affair with the fairer sex... yet not, since I'm a coward.

I think that, even without the suppression, sometimes it's actually difficult to know what you want, because your brain does this thing where it is really unhelpful when it comes to figuring things out about yourself.

I can't help but imagine your Christmas dinner now...

*awkward silence*
"So, Ed, *ahem* I, err.. I *cough* found this article on the internet..."

Well written article, and funny too.

These articles by these freelancers are literally the only reason for me to even look at The Escapist.The awful Jimquisitions, the terrible ZP's and the butt licking reviews are all worth it because somewhere a freelancer will write about such things and how games have had an actual impact on them.

Thank you, OP.Thanks alot.It was a wonderful article.

Sergey Sund:
Oh, I forgot to ask:
Have you previously come out to your family or
is this article your way of coming out?
Because that'd be awesome, and good luck!

My sister and mum have both read this now, as have a few friends who might have been unaware. Working on printing a 6000x4000 version and hanging it on the front wall of my dad's house for when he gets home from work. That'll learn him.

This all is rather interesting, to say the least. I only suspected what the theme would be but didn't really know how the article would unfold. Then I thought there'd be quite the raging shitstorm here in comments but there's not? Did, did the universe stop expanding or the like? Bit I digress, extremely...

Nice article, as already stated, but there was this unvoluntary thought I got; "What if young people learned some crazy unhealthy stuff from games?". What if someone gets aroused by sleeping with a prostitute and then killing her and then decides that this should be tested in real life? What if that thought pattern would never had occured if those actions hadn't been done in a game? Could just be me who's overtly cynical. But then again if someone is unconsciously frustrated and then discovers that the outlet is less than legal, then maybe something could be done about it.

I read those posts about there being online predetors but I think that in this case, seeing as there was no personal information exchanged it's all fine. That Dom could've been a pre 20's guy for all we know. I think it's more important to teach younglings that they shouldn't disclose personal information during any circumstances rather than trying to prevent possible predators even get in contact with young people to begin with, which would more likely lock down the good people than the bad people.

I hope that some day during my lifetime, preferably sooner than later, I'll be living in a world where sexual orientation is as much of a topic as one's hair color. While it wouldn't affect me it could affect any possible children and future friends. It certainly would make the world better for some few that I know. And when it comes to kinks I hope that people can relax a little. As long as all involved parties are comfortable with what'll happen and it doesn't cause permanent damage I see no harm in it.

Have to also add that ME maybe isn't the best game seeing as there wasn't anything for homosexual male sheps until the thrid game and don't let me start on the asari and how "they aren't really women" but the good thing is as said, that one's sexuality THAT big of a deal.

faefrost:

thatsthespirit:

faefrost:
SNIP

SNIP #2

So we are to encourage interaction between young children and adults in hard core online sex chat rooms? That's what we should be defending or encouraging? And questioning that maybe, in spite of the positive outcome you claim to have had, that maybe this might not be the best approach for us as gamers makes me or others "reactionary right wing types"?

I'm sorry I'm nowhere near as trusting as you. I've had experiences with a real predator. One of those people who dedicated their lives to being that special person that confused kids could talk to and help them work through their problems. In this case a supposedly wonderful Pediatrician. Boy Scout Leader. Specialist to all of Long Islands school sports. Had the largest most successful Pediatric practice in New York for almost 20 years. Had a "special" counseling service for troubled boys. I know what he did to me, and I know I got off lucky. One of my friends ended up so screwed up that he has never had a normal relationship with either or any sex. Another member of my scout troop ate a shotgun because of this guy. He's currently serving 350 years to life in Ossining. You got off lucky. There is literally no situation where an adult stranger is interacting with a young teenager regarding sexual subjects that is not predatory behavior. (assuming said adult knew your age). Call me what you want. Claim that I wasn't there, or I could not possibly know, or it was different for you. Whatever. But this is still a line we as a gaming community must not cross, must not encourage, and must be ever vigilant to not ever put forth as a positive.

Sounds like you had a fucked up situation. However, just like in your situation of which we don't know your age at the time, we don't know the age of the internet dominatrix person that the author was talking to. It could have been a well-versed-in-sex 17 year old, which if they ever met up (never even came to topic, did it?) it would have been perfectly legal.

That said, I would say that talking to someone and getting educated about sexualities is far better than having no clue and getting "a special massage by Pastor Dan." In more cases than not when it comes to sexual abuse, the victim is young and their parents or school has yet to teach them that other people -especially adults- aren't supposed to touch you "there" without consent (even that's blurred by raging hormones in teenagers). In my rural school, they taught Sex Ed in the 6th Grade and one of the first things in that class that was mentioned is that "nobody has the right to touch you down there, particularly an adult. Be it relative or someone else you know, but if this ever happens you tell someone. A police officer like ***** ***** (we all knew the local cops), your teacher, or the principle."

Last counter-point I'd like to bring to the table is that the Author was no "kid", but was a 14 year old TEENAGER. By that age, being in...um, either a Freshman or 8th Grade middle-schooler. Sex Ed would have been taught to him by then, same with basic biology classes. Heck, in most schools now days at least one girl at the age of 13 would have been pregnant or been around the block enough times to be known as the 'school slut'. So I wouldn't go lumping a 14-yr old curious about sex talking porn on the internet to be "predator material" in with 8 year old kids being touched by their Priest, Coach, or Scout Master.

ON TOPIC:

I would like to extend utmost respect for the author in being able to come out to friends, family, and the general public. That takes guts and a strong willpower. I personally am unable to do that for various reasons, most of which are very outspoken relatives that would instantly disown me (though that is very hypocritical of the Christian "love thy neighbor" concept, isn't it?).

As for my little story, during school I've always been friends with groups of girls without having a "girlfriend". Twice I was invited to the Prom, both times I had turn them down [politely] and I never really went myself because I wouldn't fit in. It was a weird place of watching all female+male couples that I just didn't fit into for some reason.

I think that my sexuality finally solidified mostly based on the pornography I'd looked up. I know, some will say "pervert". Whatever. But, when you start searching one thing instead of another...when PlayGirl is more disirible than PlayBoy, that kind of enforces where and who I was sexually.

As for video games, I'm an MMO player and a social one at that. It's not so much that the games themselves have helped me, but that the guilds I've been in and the friends I've made. Talking to a few of them has been a great outlet many times. In one such case in WoW years and years ago the guild leader was a very understandable friend who had insta-kicked a very outspoken anti-gay player and helped to led a campaign to get him Blacklisted on our server (this was far, far before cross-server dungeons and such, so being Blacklisted was a huge thing).

This was a good article. Now I dunno about everybody being a perv in SL but about like 95% so pretty much I guess. Shame the picture of the article is a human though, So much better looking furries in that thing.

Interesting article, and it's nice to see a positive comment on Second Life in the wider gaming media, for once.

But...

thatsthespirit:
We need to ignore this kind of scared bullshit.

I get what you're saying, but we really can't ignore it. SL was the centre of a major shitstorm back around 07/08 when some news station (from memory I think in Germany) ran a story on ageplay in SL.


Linden Lab is based in the USA, and governed by US law. Simulations of sex with children could - almost certainly would - draw unwelcome attention from the law - even if all concerned are over the age of 18. Responding to the tv story Linden Lab had to make some changes - such as moving all adult/sexual content off of the mainland to the adult continent of Zindra (or private islands) and making ageplay a bannable offence.

Now... I'm not suggesting that your situation was anything like that. To the best of my knowledge actual underage SL users are far more likely to portray themselves as adults, as I believe you did, in avatar appearance.

Regardless, if you were under 18 you shouln't have been on the adult grid - that's why the teen grid existed. Personally - and I'm saying this as someone who has been on SL for close to 5 years, and in that time I've moved in some similar circles to what you allude to - if I learned I was speaking to someone under the age of 18 in SL in any even remotely sexual context I'd stop contact with that person instantly, and quite possibly report them to LL, depending on the circumstances. You have the right to express yourself. I have the right not to get perma-banned and/or investigated by the police.

SL remains a fantastic and unique example of hands off management and freedom of expression, but that freedom is precarious as hell. This isn't a case of kow-towing to right wing reactionaries, this is a case of SL not being shut down by the FBI.

My God, I love this article. I can relate.

For me, in most RPG's, I almost always went for a female avatar. I wanted an outlet for that side of my life that - growing up - I wasn't exactly allowed to express. Even today, I almost always prefer playing female than male, but that's less "because I have no outlets for my femininity" and more "personal preference." Nowadays, yes, I live as often as a woman as I do as a man, and I get a kick out of assuming either identity.

But I have so many games to thank back then, growing up as an alienated gamer with extreme gender issues, that allowed me to try things out. It always felt so natural.

This article got me thinking about a lot about the things I saw earlier in my life. My oldest sister is a lesbian, she says she has been one since the end of elementary school. My family and I found out in her second to last year of high school. She was one of the people who was one of the guys, with mostly male friends when we grew up. She went through some really hard times because she was unsure about this. She had a friend in middle school who was her best friend, my sister doted on her and was always around for her. That friend got a boyfriend and my sister saw less and less of her. She thought it was weird that at her age she still hadn't had a relationship with anyone. She was and still is a gamer, her friends she goes to anime conventions with introduced her to this guy. They dated for a few months and got around well, but it was like friendships she had had with guys when she was younger, she would invite me to come with her sometimes. I realize now that me being there gave her an escape plan in case she felt uncomfortable. Eventually the two had sex, and she didn't feel anything from it. Things became strained and they broke up. It was at this time she became a lot more involved in anime conventions and she found that she liked to do cross-play, and is very convincing. She met who became her first girlfriend at an anime convention, my sister as Naruto and the other as Sasuke. Yaoi-fangirls being into there slash asked her to kiss a person cosplaying as Sasuke, the other person agreed and the rest became her first invested relationship. They eventually broke up, but my sister eventually got over it and has been in a happy, stable relationship with her girlfriend for the last 3 years.

As all of this was going on I was just starting to go through puberty myself. Other people around me were dating, but for myself I never seemed to meet anyone who I want to be in a relationship with. I didn't even think about sex etc. I didn't think anything was weird about it, when people would brag about stuff related to it I'd ignore it and everything was fine. When I saw people regardless of how attractive they were I didn't feel a physical draw to them. I meet women I liked and never thought about myself in a sexual way at all. I thought I was just a person who didn't think about it. During this time period I was online a lot and was linked to tvtropes. I realized I like to read romance and shoujo, I like fantasy and coming of age tales, I also came upon the page about asexuality. It was like every question I had about myself made staggering amounts of sense. I became a lot more comfortable with myself. It seems I also became a more affectionate person, I spent a lot more time with my older sister and it didn't seem awkward at all even when her girlfriend was there. I am now 21 and still yet to have any sort of sexual relationship with anyone, but it doesn't bother me. I am kind of a hopeless romantic, but frankly I don't mind it. I look forward to just having a person I am comfortable with and who is comfortable with me. Its annoying how I am a person who loves personal contact and being all cuddly, but not wanting more than that is weird to people; does everyone else in the world only do that when they want in someones pants?

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