Next Week: The Random Fangirl Live!

I’ve been pretty quiet lately, mostly because I’ve been plugging away at the job search and working on various other projects. Among those projects, however, is a little talk I’ll be giving at Women in Games Boston next week. I already wrote up a description for WIG, so I’ll just repost it here:

In recent years, the transgender community has become increasingly visible, with singers, soldiers, journalists, game designers and more coming out as trans, and trans activists of all ages crusading for equal rights around the world. With numerous trans people involved in the geek and gaming communities, you may easily find yourself interacting with members of this diverse community as co-workers, employees and fans.

This month’s talk will offer a basic overview of transgender identity and a primer on preferred terminology (as well as a few words you should avoid like the plague) before explaining how you can help support your trans co-workers, how you can be the world’s best boss to trans employees, and how you can build trans-friendly and trans-inclusive games. We’ll also touch on games and blogs that can give you some insight into trans identity and the struggle trans people face every day before moving on to an extra-long Q&A to address any lingering questions.

Last I checked, there were still tickets available, and the event is free, so if you live in the Boston/Cambridge area and want to come see me speak, reserve your spot today. We’ll be downstairs at Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square from 7 to 10 pm next Tuesday, July 30th, and I’ll be going on at around 8. WIG Boston is a safe, open, accepting space that welcomes women and allies of all backgrounds, whatever their connection to the video game community (developers, students, journalists, fans, you name it), so as long as you conduct yourself according to the party policy, you’re more than welcome to attend.

Want me to speak at your event? Feel free to e-mail me at cassandra dot lease at gmail dot com and I’ll be happy to discuss the details.

2013 Boston QUILTBAG Gamer Meetup Is A Go!

Just a quick note to let you all know that, yes, there WILL be a QUILTBAG (gay, lesbian, bi, trans, asexual, ally, etc. etc.) Gamer Meetup during PAX East this year! Sorry for the late notice, but I’ve been scrambling to pull this together in the last few weeks and I just got the details finalized. We’re doing something a little different this year and selling tickets for a little under $17.50 a pop — said tickets include an entree of your choice, soft drinks, and dessert. You can find more information on the FAQ page here on the blog or at the Eventbrite page. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, and I hope to see you all there!

GLBTQA Gamer Meetup Update: 3/28/2012

The Writing Wednesdays post will be up later today, but before I get to that, I wanted to take a few moments to pass along some updates regarding the GLBTQA Gamer Meetup:

1. We’ve added sponsors! Pretzel Crisps and Vita Coco have generously agreed to provide samples of their fine products, and VitaCoco will even have brand representatives on the scene. Many thanks to both companies.

2. I’m very, very, very sorry, but preregistration is closed. I’ve literally released every ticket I could, right up to the venue’s maximum capacity, and I can’t release any more. I can’t promise any special favors to anyone who hasn’t already registered. Now, that said, if you missed out, you are still welcome to show up and try to get in. I am expecting that there will be some last-minute cancellations and no-shows. If we have room, I’ll let you into the party. I just can’t promise anything.

3. Let me add a quick related note here: if you ARE registered, please don’t feel guilty about it. Please don’t go thinking you shouldn’t come or that you should give up your spot to someone more worthy. I’ve had a few people say stuff like that to me and it’s really bothering me. Are you down with the GLBTQ crowd? Then you are WELCOME TO COME. Seriously. I am THRILLED at the response to this event. A little terrified, sure. A little sad that I wasn’t able to accommodate everyone, sure. But seriously ecstatic. Even if you’re ‘just’ an ally, this party is for you. And I hope you have a blast. And I will try to do better in the future, as promised.

4. If you’re not able to make this meetup for any reason, GayGamer.net is throwing its own shindig on Saturday night (April 7th) starting at 9 pm at Fritz. I’m actually hoping that I won’t be able to make that one, as (with any luck) I’ll be competing in the Omegathon around that time, but I’d certainly encourage you all to attend. For those of you who really wanted booze at the Friday night meetup, well…there’ll be booze at Fritz! Drink and be merry.

5. Last but far from least: donations. We’ve gotten some really generous ones and I honestly think we’re in a good place. I’m not going to turn down further donations; if we end up with excess cash, well, we can send it along to BAGLY, as previously proposed. But I don’t feel the need to harangue people about it. Which is nice, because I hate haranguing people.

I’m really, really excited for this. I am in awe at the tremendous positive reaction this event has received, and while I plan to spend a couple weeks after PAX thinking about anything BUT meetups, I can tell you that your support means the world to me and I WILL be doing a hell of a lot more with this moving forward. Thank you all. I’ll see you in a little over a week.

Kicking Ass At PAX East: The Campaign Continues

TL;DR: I’VE GOTTEN SOME VERY GENEROUS DONATIONS, BUT I COULD STILL USE HELP! PLEASE CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

I have some good news, some great news, and some complicated news. The good news is that I got some really generous donations last week from people like fellow Omeganauts Ross and Sophia, and friends and fans like Nate, Jeanne and Sarah, and I’m already over halfway to my original goal! The GREAT news is that I’m set to start a new job after PAX East – I’m not going to say where just yet, but I’m very excited. And the complicated news…well, the complicated news is that expenses have come up and are still coming up in relation to all this, and I could still use your help.

Since I’m going to be working regularly as of next month, I’ll need to get myself a monthly T pass rather than the weekly one. I could use some new shoes and I need to replace my watch strap, which is about to fall apart completely. That’s in addition to the various con expenses I’m still worrying about. So I’ve revised my target amount to $500, and yeah, I could still use some help.

Let me be clear: the initial deal still stands. It wouldn’t be fair to move the football when people have started kicking, so I’ll honor everything I said before. If I hit my original target of $400, I’ll tweet and blog live from the convention center. At higher goals, I’ll add video to the deal. And hell, I’ll tell you what: if I hit $1000 in the next week, I’ll drop all my inhibitions and cosplay every day of the con. During the Omegathon rounds themselves, I have to wear the Omeganaut t-shirt and all, of course, but I’ll make it work outside of Omegathon events. If you’d like to see me wandering around the convention as Jean Grey, Batgirl, and Wonder Woman, well, you know my price.

I’ll also see if I can do something nice for everyone who’s donated. Maybe you’ll get medals. I’ll come up with something when I see the final total.

If you want to help, but you can’t really give money right now – that’s perfectly okay. I get it. Retweeting or blogging about this would be a huge help. The more people I reach out to, the better chance I have of making my goals. Or, if you prefer, you can find me and help me out at the con itself. I may have trouble finding time to eat, so you know what – a candy bar, some chips (I love Lay’s Sour Cream & Onion and Pringles Ranch), a sandwich (I don’t like tomatoes or lettuce, but I really like chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad, onion, mozzarella and/or pepper jack) or a Diet Mountain Dew could be HUGE to me at the right moment. Find me and feed me and I’ll be grateful. 🙂 As a huge fan of The Hunger Games, I also wouldn’t say no to a mockingjay pin for luck, say. 😉

Your support – in whatever form it takes – means a great deal to me. If you can help me in any way, I’ll be very, very grateful. If all you can offer is moral support, I’ll take that, too. I am genuinely in awe of all of you. I am stunned each and every time I discover another fan. Thank you all. Each and every one of you. Keep your fingers crossed.

GLBTQA Gamer Meetup: 15 Days and Counting

TL;DR: PLEASE DONATE USING THE LINK ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE OR THE LINK ON THE EVENT HOMEPAGE. I ESTIMATE THAT WE COULD USE ANOTHER 200 DOLLARS IN THE BUDGET. YOUR CONTRIBUTION WILL HELP. FURTHER DETAILS BELOW.

We are now 15 days away from the GLBTQA Gamer Meetup at Bocoup, and I remain absolutely astonished at the sheer scale of this event. We are very close to the venue’s absolute maximum capacity – I had to release all the tickets (RELEASE ALL THE TICKETS!!) and I’m still getting e-mails from people who are eager to go and worried they won’t be able to. I wish I could put those fears to rest. All I can say is this: I will try to get everyone in. We may have last-minute cancellations, we may see some folks leave early to go to other parties. If you show up at the door without a ticket, I might, might, MIGHT be able to let you in anyway, but I can’t promise anything at this point.

You know, every year has brought a new lesson. In 2010, I learned that there was a need for this event. In 2011, I learned that a simple, casual restaurant thing wasn’t really going to cut it. And this year I learned that the demand for this event – particularly given its expansion to cover locals who will not be attending PAX East – is IMMENSE. I’ve also learned that there’s at least some demand for a regular GLBTQA gamer meetup in the Boston area. Well, message received, and lesson learned: planning for the 2013 meetup starts…uh, let’s call it a week after PAX, okay? I’ll need some time to recover. And I’ll look into establishing a monthly event as well, along the lines of Women In Games Boston and Boston Post Mortem. The monthly meeting will probably be a much lower-key affair: just a bunch of gamers, journalists, and industry professionals getting together to talk games at a local pub.

And as for the annual meetup? Well, let’s call it the GLBTQA Gamer Reunion. Or the Spring Ball. Or…I don’t know what we’ll call it yet. Suggestions welcome because my brain is kind of fried. I’ll start fundraising for that one right after we pull this crazy thing off. I’ll find a bigger venue – hopefully a place that will offer catering and booze to those who are of age (while still allowing those who are not of age to participate). I’ll start campaigning for sponsors months in advance. I honestly did not realize what I was getting myself into. Now I know, and I’ll do better.

Okay. That’s enough talk about the future. Let’s talk about what’s happening now. Right now, we still need money. I haven’t had a ton of luck pulling in sponsors and it takes a good chunk of change to provide drinks and snacks to a hundred people. I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got, but it’s going to be tight. Just two hundred more dollars in the kitty would be a HUGE help. Please consider donating. I’ve put a link over on the right hand panel, or you can go to the event homepage and follow the donation link from there. Several people have donated already, and I truly appreciate that, but I need to ask you all to go just a little bit farther.

I also have a couple announcements to make regarding the event (and I’ll be updating the homepage to reflect this): first, Phoenix Online has stepped up as our third sponsor, offering a financial contribution as well as some swag. We’ll be showing the trailer for their first commercial game, Cognition, at the meetup, and I’m trying to see if we can show some other video as well. I’m kind of biased here, because one of my best friends (who I seem to mention every other post) is hard at work on this particular project, but I think the game’s going to be awesome and I’m excited to show you all whatever I can.

Second – and I’ve been really, REALLY bad about announcing this, and I do apologize – Alli Thresher at Harmonix, who has been a huge, huge help throughout this whole process, has told me that Johnny Blazes and The Pretty Boys, a queer soul band she sometimes sings with, will be playing at Jacques Underground the night of the meetup. So if you’re looking for a rocking afterparty, there you go. It sounds like it’ll be an awesome time.

So there you have it. 15 days to the craziest thing I’ve ever done…and I couldn’t, I wouldn’t, have done it without you. Thank you all. This is going to be amazing. And the future looks even brighter.

UPDATE, REDUX: GLBTQA Gamer Meetup, April 6, 2012, Boston, MA

As some of you may have already noticed, I’ve added a new page to the blog specifically addressing the upcoming GLBTQA Gamer Meetup. If you didn’t see my previous posts on the subject, no problem! You’ll find all the pertinent information there. I’ll keep that page up to date as new information rolls in, but I may not always post those updates to the blog, so I recommend watching my Twitter feed or checking in on the page itself every few days to make sure you catch any further changes.

I do want to point out that I’m doing my best to step up my fundraising efforts. We’re currently a little over a month away from the event and our total budget is about sixty dollars. I’m extremely grateful to our donors, of course, but I am going to need further help defraying the costs of this event. If you represent a company or organization that might like to help sponsor the event in some way – providing food or equipment or other resources, or just helping with general cash flow – please don’t hesitate to contact me at cassandra DOT lease AT gmail DOT com. If you’d like to donate privately, really, any donation will help at this point – even if you can only give five or ten bucks. I’m accepting donations through PayPal but I’m happy to make other arrangements if necessary. I know money is tight for everyone right now, and I’m doing my best to make this a fun and free event for everyone, but I can’t do this alone.

I’ve also set up a CafePress storefront. Not the most ideal solution, but it’s the fastest and least expensive way to get event merchandise out there, and I think you might find some really great items there. I’ve added a bunch of buttons and shirts featuring the various ‘badge’ emblems you’ve already seen, as well as some shirts featuring a signature design I threw together inspired by the point and click adventure games of old. I’m happy to add additional products on request. Again, direct donations will be most helpful right now, but if you’d like something for your cash, please consider buying something from the storefront. The profits, after CafePress takes its cut, will likewise go to defray the costs of the event.

And, last but far from least, I’m making it official: any excess funds left in our budget after the event will be given to the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, or BAGLY. While this organization is not really related to the gaming community (and, I must emphasize, has no knowledge of and no affiliation with this event), they are a vitally important group for local teens and young adults who are struggling with their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. As a young trans woman who was in a lot of pain and turmoil in the early days of my transition, I attended BAGLY weekly, and honestly, just having a place to go on Wednesday nights, a place where I was accepted and loved for who I was, kept me sane. They deserve any support we can give them.

As always, I’m happy to talk over any questions, suggestions, or concerns you all might have about this event. In the meantime, that’s where we stand. Despite all the stress, I have to say that I am still ridiculously excited and grinning like an idiot as I look forward to Easter weekend. This party is going to be – dare I say it? – fabulous. And I thank each and every one of you for your support and enthusiasm. It’s meant a hell of a lot. I can’t wait to see you all.

UPDATE: GLBTQA Gamer Meetup, April 6, 2012

57 days to go. 29 tickets left. Holy crap. This is quite possibly one of the biggest things I’ve ever done, and I’m amazed at how quickly it’s all coming together.

That said, I’m definitely going to need some help with this one. We’ll still need to borrow or buy some extra equipment – controllers, batteries, coolers, that kind of thing. And we’ll need a whole lot of snacks, soft drinks, plates, cups, utensils and napkins. We may need some other stuff as well. I’m trying to work out some sponsorship agreements but I can’t say anything for certain yet. If your company or organization would like to help sponsor the event, or if you’d like to donate to help defray the costs involved, please e-mail me at cassandra dot lease at gmail dot com.

In the interests of full disclosure and accountability, I’ve set up a public spreadsheet detailing the donations and expenditures connected with the meetup. I’ll be updating the sheet regularly, and anyone can view it whether they’re signed in to Google or not. If you’d like to donate, but would prefer to stay anonymous, please rest assured that you can – I’ll only put your name on the spreadsheet if I have your permission to do so. The main point of the sheet is not to keep track of the donors, but to give everyone an opportunity to review the figures involved.

While I can’t say for sure if we’ll have any excess funds after the event, I’ve been giving some thought to what I might do if there is any cash left. I’m giving serious thought to giving any excess to BAGLY, a wonderful local organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and allied youth. I was a regular fixture at their meetings in my younger days and I think their work is of vital importance. That said, I certainly welcome feedback on this issue. If you have suggestions for alternative charities, or reservations about giving any excess funds we have to BAGLY or to any other organization, please let me know. You can comment here or e-mail me privately as you prefer.

That’s all I have for the moment. I hope to have some more news for you all very soon. In the meantime, I would definitely urge you to register just as soon as you’re certain (or reasonably sure) that you’ll be attending the event. We might have room for some extra people at the door, but I can’t promise that. If your plans change suddenly and you realize you CAN’T come, please let me know so I can release some extra tickets to the pool.

See you all in April!