jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Today I read a Q&A that went something like:

Q. Is it possible for one of my fantasy harpies to be transgender when they're an all-female species? Isn't that like a human who thinks he's an elf???

A. Of course it's possible, because gender isn't the same as physical sex. Write your own fluff to explain if it makes you feel better.

This is going to sound melodramatic, but the answer that my heart was aching to hear was "who are you to tell [PLAYER] what body their character would prefer?"

Yelling, swearing, angry depressive rant. )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Author's note: It's been over a year since I posted the last chapter of the Analogue fanfic adapt. But the emotions that forced me to write it are still raw ... as I learned when I fired up the sequel, Hate Plus, on my new laptop, just to see if it'd run.

I couldn't sleep last night, and was really depressive as well. So instead of laying there being miserable, I wrote the next chapter instead. This one deals a bit more with the Investigator's semi-mysterious backstory ... as well as Hyun-ae's fate.

The story so far )

This is the eleventh chapter of a fanfiction adaptation of Christine Love's visual novel Analogue: A Hate Story. You do not need to have played the game to understand what is going on. This story is designed to be accessible to newcomers as transhumanist dystopian sci-fi, and many liberties were taken with the setting and dialogue, as well as with certain events.

Content note: Child abuse, non-human animal abuse, graphic violence, and strong language.

* * *

I paced the length of my cage, back and forth, over and over again.

Step, step, turn around. Step, step, turn around. Brushing my wet nose against dry plastic every time. Feeling my tails bunched up behind me, curled in an arc that mirrored my nearly circular path. There was no room to swish them, no room to stretch. Barely enough room to walk.

It was maddening.

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Step 1. Pick up a copy of the Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Moon, at your friendly local games store. It, another softcover Player Companion, and the contents of the Beginner Box are the only Pathfinder books that you own.

Step 2. Discover the Lunar mystery for Oracles. Decide that it looks neat. However, it’s for a class that your books don’t cover, and it grants a lot of weird spells.

Step 3. Discover the following paragraph right at the start of the book:

Transcript

This Pathfinder Player Companion refers to several other Pathfinder Roleplaying Game products and uses the following abbreviations. These books are not required to make use of this Player Companion. Readers interested in references to Pathfinder RPG hardcovers can find the complete rules from these books available for free at Paizo.com/prd.

Step 4. Go online and get the rules you need to play your character. Show up at the Pathfinder event your friend told you about, at your local games store, with a Lunar Oracle.

Step 5. Confess that you’d much rather be playing a Kitsune.

Step 6. Find out that Kitsune do in fact exist, and are in fact a legit choice for Pathfinder Society. However, you need to have a “boon,” which is essentially a signed permission slip from your parents, I mean the Venture-Captains, saying you’re allowed to play a fox instead of a crow. The only ways to get these are to go to a convention in another state, which you wouldn’t be able to afford unless you sold your own body parts, or to go to a certain thread on the Paizo forums to trade a different boon for the Kitsune one.

Step 7. Remember that you have an honest-to-Daikitsu signed “get out of death free” boon because you participated in the Beginner Box Bash a few years ago.

Step 8. Offer it up for trade, and get a response surprisingly quick.

Step 9. Receive, via US mail, a sheet of paper that looks suspiciously like a photocopy or computer printout, which contains the following sentence:

This Chronicle sheet must be the first Chronicle sheet for the given character, and you must bring a copy of one of the above-listed rulesbooks [the Advanced Race Guide or the Dragon Empires Gazetteer] to all sessions in which you play this character as if access to this race selection were granted by the Additional Resources list.

Step 10. Ask yourself, “WTF is the Additional Resources list?”

Step 11. Oh.

Step 12. Read the following sentence from that link:

In order to utilize content from an Additional Resource, a player must have a physical copy of the Additional Resource in question, a name-watermarked Paizo PDF of it, or a printout of the relevant pages from it, as well as a copy of the current version of the Additional Resources list.

Step 13. Track down all the books that you need to duplicate the content relevant to your character from the Pathfinder Reference Document, which is an official resource published by Paizo itself and explicitly endorsed by a prominent paragraph on page 1 of Blood of the Moon, which says that those books are not required to use it.

Breakdown of expenses:

  • Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook. Rules for creating and playing a character. Not required; your GM is assumed to own a copy.

  • Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary. Game stats for the animal companion one of your revelations grants, and for creatures that your spells can summon. Not required; your GM is assumed to own a copy.

  • Advanced Player’s Guide. Game stats for playing an Oracle, and for three of the spells in the Lunar mystery’s list. $40 for a new hardcover, $30 non-mint, $10 for PDF.

  • Advanced Race Guide. Game stats for playing a Kitsune, along with the awesome Magical Tail feat. $40 for a new hardcover, $30 non-mint, $10 for PDF.

  • Ultimate Magic. Game stats for four of the spells on the Lunar mystery’s list, the first of which you obtain at level 2 after three sessions of play. $40 for a new hardcover, $30 non-mint, $10 for PDF.

  • Ultimate Combat. Game stats for one of the spells on the Lunar mystery’s list. $40 for a new hardcover, $30 non-mint, $10 for PDF.

Step 14. Realize that you have to pay a minimum of $40 to play a character you like, using rules that you bought and paid for and contained a large notice from Paizo itself telling you where to fill in the blanks. These PDFs would contain a prominent watermark with your email address, which is not information you want to disclose to men that you're casually acquainted with. Adding insult to injury, the PDFs themselves would be basically worthless for tableside reference, because it’d take much longer to look up rules text in them compared to in the PRD, on your phone. Even though that is the stated reason why you have to bring them on the Additional Resources page:

[…] we cannot assume that every Game Master will have the products listed below. As such, it's up to players to bring these items in order to familiarize their Game Masters with the rules.

Step 15. Realize that if your Kitsune character ever dies, you’re going to have to go back and repeat the whole process of finding another boon, if you want those $40 worth of PDFs that you don’t want to buy to do you any good.

Step 16. Go on the Paizo.com messageboards, to see if there’s any sign of the PRD being added as a legit “additional resource.”

Step 17. Find a ton of people like (and like-ing) this guy, who condescend to people who asked about it, dictate their own priorities to them, blame Paizo’s mixed messaging on them, ignore the fact that Paizo’s policies burden some players a lot more than others, and in general infantilize and insult them even more than Paizo already does by requiring things like signed permission slips.

Step 18. Give up and play other games instead, using books that you bought at the local games store that welcomes you and treats you like a person, instead of PDFs that you bought online from a company that doesn’t.

This is only a partly fictionalized account. I already knew about Kitsune and the Additional Resources list going in. What I didn’t know was that there’s a boon trading thread (i.e. that I had any hope of playing a Kitsune ever), and that newer Pathfinder Player Companions were explicitly telling people to go to the PRD to fill in the blanks, instead of burying the reference in legal text like they used to. So I tried to imagine what it would be like, for a newb to go into it this way.

Also, I’m still playing in Pathfinder Society, and buying Pathfinder Player Companions that I think are cool and want to use for my character (like the Animal Archive), instead of selling my Pathfinder stuff on eBay.

Why?

Because my PFS GM lets me use the PRD.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

"Civ V" lets you build a civilization (of humans) "to stand the test of time." In game terms, this means you start with stone-age settlers and end up with world domination, in or before the modern age.

That's the first thing that's horrifying in hindsight, to someone who grew up with these games and just played them again last night. The goal isn't to coexist and appreciate global diversity. It's to dominate all life on Earth, whether through armed conflict or cultural hegemony. And while there are benefits to cooperating with "minor city-states," in your struggle against the other players, by the modern age you drop all pretense of a mutually beneficial relationship and go straight to rigging elections. Because if you don't, your opponents' spies will.

The second thing is the cultural biases. They let you choose from dozens of historical leaders, but whether you're playing Boudica, Hiawatha, or George Washington you end up playing America F*** Yeah in practice. Either that, or a cartoon version of 20th century dictatorships.

Here's a short list of disturbing stuff from the "social policies" interface, as of the Gods and Kings expansion (I'm one behind):

  • "Faith" and "Rationalism" are mutually exclusive.

  • Socialism is a precursor to Communism in the "Order" policy tree. You can't have it active at the same time as "Liberty," which is the only way to grant universal suffrage.

  • Somehow, you can have Theocracy and Religious Tolerance active at the same time (and are rewarded for doing so).

  • There is an honest-to-goddess Meritocracy social policy, which was not ironically named (at least not on purpose).

You're rewarded for producing Great Artists, Engineers, Scientists, and so on, all of whom are named after real-world figures. There's no argument or discussion about what makes these people "great," and there are an awful lot of white guys, like patent troll Orville Wright.

Building a bank and stock exchange in every city won't result in rampant speculation, housing crises, and market crashes. There's no such thing as international banking. Money's a tool to be used by political leaders.

"Wonders of the World" are unique and exclusive, to the point where if your civilization's one turn behind in producing the Sistine Chapel you have to abandon it and start over once Catherine of Russia builds it instead. Awe-inspiring temples and monuments aren't ways to bring the world together, they're just more tools for domination and promoting inequality.

"Natural Wonders" are special and inviolate, and can't be "improved" by your Workers. They're pretty much the only land tiles that are like this, however. Everything, and I mean everything else, eventually gets railroad tracks, lumber mills, and strip mines laid out across it, until your country's a patchwork of farms, city skylines, and smokestacks. There are no ecological consequences to building coal-fired factories, nuclear power plants, dams, quarries, and gaudy landmarks everywhere. The sea level does not rise. Resources are never depleted. No continent-sized islands of garbage form in the ocean. If nonhuman species go extinct, you don't hear about them.

And that, to me, is the most horrifying thing about Civ V. Watching a game of it play out feels, to me, like it might to most humans watching the robots from the Matrix plate the Earth in cast iron. Nonhuman species have zero agency, zero voice, and zero way to fight back as they are annihilated, mere obstacles in the way of "progress." Rewards for leaving wild areas wild are few and far between, and there's always the possibility that you'll strike oil right next to the Great Barrier Reef.

This game is nightmarish.

I'll stop playing after I finish one more turn. :P

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

And was reminded of why I usually don't.

I'm a fan of the kind of intersectional feminism I usually see advocated on the Geek Feminism blog, even if I think it doesn't go far enough (it's annoying to hear people equate "human" with "person"). My experience with Tumblr social justice activism, though, has been much more negative.

It's not about people there being young, queer, or angry, or being whatever kind of person isn't allowed to have an opinion. It's not about being called on my privilege, either.

It's the mind-readers.

Tumblr social justice mind-readers know that you're being yourself just to upset them. Your identity is either a roleplaying character bio or proof that you "need help." You are appropriating them and their marginalized identity by being who you are, and you need to stop it right now.

This is hard for me to deal with, because it's the same kind of crap that I've gotten from my parents of origin and from religious authority figures my whole life. The person I am, they say, is unacceptable to them, is a performance I'm deliberately putting on just to offend them. I can choose to stop any time I want, and the fact that I haven't yet is proof that I'm terrible.

This really gets to me. Because deep down, I feel like the correct response is to disappear for their benefit, even if I have to kill myself to do so.

It takes a conscious effort for me to tell myself that no matter who someone is, no matter what authority they claim, and no matter what they're accusing me of, if the choice is between upsetting them and dying then I have to flip them the bird. Because that really does not come naturally for us.

Even though we're part protobird.

If our saying that upsets someone, or our using the first-person plural whenever we feel like it upsets someone, the most I can do for them is apologize for the confusion. I don't have the time or emotional resources to educate everyone who challenges me to a debate and then argues in bad faith. I'm not obligated to justify my existence to anyone.

The only obligation I feel is to explain who I am, what is important to me, and why. For my benefit, and for the benefit of anyone else who's having trouble finding the courage to be themselves.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

They'd be about as appalled by ads for technology that lets parents lock down children's internet use as we would be by overtly sexist ads from the 50's, that take it for granted a hetero husband needs to control his wife's spending, not let her anywhere near the car, and administer corporal punishment to her.

They'd be as nonplussed by the use of "human" to mean "person" and "human beings" or "humankind" to mean "people" as many of us are by "man" and "mankind" being used to mean those things.

They wouldn't even bother to engage pretty much any of today's conservative or neoliberal talking points, since it'd be obvious to them that these are just excuses for why large groups of people don't deserve life or dignity. Because of this, they'd be accused of derailing or "playing the race card" or "making everything about your gender" if they actually tried to talk about this stuff.

They'd find modern cities about as frightening and unpleasant as we would a medieval town, with its rivers of sewage and excrement thrown from windows.

Their minds would be blown by the almost-complete lack of atheist churches and firebrand atheist preachers, and how Christianity seems to be serving that role instead.

They'd think our computers are hilarious and adorable.

Finally, they'd be very chilly, and need to find clothes to wear that aren't suited for swimming.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Inspired by the Mormon-to-English dictionary I wrote earlier, and the fact that movement atheists attach a lot of emotional meaning to some seemingly straightforward phrases!

Please note that this isn't meant as criticism of anyone's choice not to worship a deity, or to identify as atheist for that reason. I completely respect that, and I think there are a lot more people who would choose that if they felt it was an option than there currently are. This is meant as criticism of what I call "movement atheists" or "internet atheists," who are basically the bad kind of Christian except they believe in one fewer god. And are more snobby and less shouty.

Content Note: Racism, sexism, classism, speciesism, theophobia, heteronormativity, and snark. Lots of snark.

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Note: This story is a sequel to Predator < Prey, but you don't have to read it first if you don't want to.

I started writing it in our head without realizing it, after finishing that last essay, and had to get it out in words quickly. [personal profile] citrakayah's story will come next, since [personal profile] cereus is not responding, and the first part should be done this week although it may not be shown here until it is finished.

Content note: Graphic violence and death, predation, ablism, speciesism, poverty, child abuse, self-injury, suicide attempt, suicidal ideation, depression, mental health industry, mild language.

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Regarding our immediate well-being

Our partners and adoptive family have stepped up to provide support for us. We will also have a few articles we can still write per month, for now, plus we have contacted [personal profile] cereus about resuming work on story commissions. [personal profile] citrakayah is next in line.

We're going to post the stories in a new community here on Dreamwidth, to keep them organized and easy to browse and keep up with. This will be a paid community, which will use the fursona.net URL and allow us to use Google Analytics to monitor its stats. We are also going to post the stories on FurAffinity and DeviantArt, plus cross-posting them to LiveJournal if possible. We're open to suggestions for where else would be good to publish them. Here are a few we can think of offhand:

  • Weasyl (people say good things about it)

  • Tumblr (i hear it's what all the kids are using these days)

  • SoFurry (although they only seem to like a particular kind there)

  • InkBunny (although they seem to have their own reputation)

Are our assessments fair? Are any of these not worth the time and/or difficulty?

Regarding Dreamwidth's speciesist language

I remembered incorrectly; I was not asked to file a support request. When the bug report was closed, I was asked to email feedback@dreamwidth.org with it. That was two weeks ago.

I posted again on the bug report asking when / how to escalate, and [staff profile] denise replied to say that this is considered a very low priority request which "will be dealt with when someone has time to deal with it, which could be next week or it could be six months from now," leaning towards the latter.

We're a bit nervous about trying to build on this site when it's seen that way, but we prefer Dreamwidth to WordPress at this point and consider it to be our home. We'd prefer activism to migrating elsewhere, and are open to suggestions from anyone who's read [staff profile] denise's full response. Do we wait it out?

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
[personal profile] avia, on my "Why I appropriate" essay:
It's an unpopular opinion, but I do agree about how in some ways it is harder for otherkin, too. In some ways, it is easier, a lot easier. We don't have to worry we will be beaten for walking down the street. But also, some of those ways that it is easier, are because of the things we don't have access to that non-otherkin, trans* people do. Like any kind of understanding or knowledge from mainstream people (trans* people don't have a lot, but, you have some, in liberal places... you can go to a transgender support clinic but you can't go to an otherkin one), or surgery.

If otherkin could get surgery to look like their kintype, I can almost guarantee that the hate, fear, murders, and religious groups saying "these people have been corrupted by Satan" will come down so fast, there won't be time to say "I told you so".

I would give anything to have a condition that surgery could fix, or even partly fix. Even if I never had the money to do it. Just knowing that it's possible, would be a huge source of hope for me, instead of the weight hanging over my head that I could never have it. It would put me more at risk, but I would take that over "your problems don't even exist", and the different kind of abuse that comes from that.
For the record, we don't experience species dysphoria -- at least as far as our appearance -- as much as Avia seems to. f!T is a reverse antherian, a fox allowed to live as a human via possession, while v!T feels she may be a human who was forced to become her species. (A specific human, but she's not sure she's ready to talk about that.) We both acknowledge nonhuman identity, but don't feel the need to change our appearance to match quite so much, at least not at this time.

It was a profound experience for us to see ourselves as a girl, and to be recognized as one without question in public. But even if otherkin could change their appearance, societal acceptance would probably lag very much, which is one reason most otherkin don't even try except in the most subtle ways. Fursuits are probably the closest thing (even if furries don't always accept otherkin), but they can't be worn for very long and they tend to require special circumstances to be brought out.

I am extremely grateful that I'm not in her situation. Because I remember what it was like to think I could never change, and it felt horrible.

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

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