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Teala's Wickedly Cool Blog For The Masses

Just my thoughts on MMO's, roleplaying, game companies, and the people that play these games.

Author: Teala

RealID and the Transgender

Posted by Teala Thursday July 8 2010 at 3:16PM
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Please read this with an open mind. It is a very real and serious subject and I am going to do my best to do it justice so that I can shine some light on another area of how realID will effect another segment of the gaming community that needs to have their voices heard on this subject. I hope that people who read it are mature enough to handle such a subject and that if you decide to comment please comment in a manner that is not degrading to the subject or the people I am writing about. Thank you in advance.

RealID what can I say, in the last couple of weeks my eyes and ears have been constantly bombarded by it, on forums, in the news, on Youtube and even from my own friends. You can’t escape it if you’re a gamer that frequents the various forums and tech sites that deal with gaming. Blizzard has created a massive backlash in the gaming community the likes of which haven’t been seen since SOE pulled the NGE debacle on the players of Star Wars Galaxies. I was actually for realID up until I changed my mind. Read on to learn why.

What realID will do is allow friends to form social networks using there real names to stay in touch in games and across realms for World of Warcraft produced by Blizzard Activision. No matter what toon you are playing if you are in a friends realID network, then they will know when you are on. OK this is cool.  Makes it simpler for heavy raiding guilds to keep track of who is on and who isn't.   This can be a problem if you wish to be left alone to do some farming or solo gaming, thankfully there are options provided in game to avoid unwanted tells from people when you are busy.  

Then there is the bad things. Say I befriend Will. Will has a list of friends now using realID. On that list is my name. My name is now also visible to all Will’s friends. It does not tell them if I am on(the only way they might know this is if I was also a realID friend with them) it only provides my name. OK cool...and not cool.   This is why it is not cool at all.  

Here is a subject that has not been brought up and should have been because it has some serious ramifications to some of WoW’s player base - transgender players.

I am involved in a gaming website dedicated to players that are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and yes...transgender. I recently read a thread by many WoW players that are transgender and this realID thing terrifies them. It doesn’t just scare terrifies them. There is good reason for their concerns, just watch or read the news and you’ll learn about a transfemale or transmale that was beaten or killed when someone found out that the person they have been sharing a drink with, or went to a movie with turned out to have been born the opposite sex they are now projecting. Movies have been made on this subject like Boys Don't Cry (1999) starring Hillary Swank who portrayed a transmale(female to male transgender) and was eventually outed and killed by the girls family - even though the female herself that was involved in the relationship didn’t care once she found out - it was the family that didn’t like it. Anyway, that is beside the point...the point is with realID it brings up a very touchy and personal situation for many players that play the game World of Warcraft that are transgender.

It is one thing to be gay or lesbian or bi, we have our own issues....being transgender...that is a whole other aspect of the real world that many people just do not get or understand and have a seriously hard time wrapping their minds around. This is understandable. This misunderstanding can lead to some serious backlash that can get people killed. Yes - killed - murdered - there is no other way to say it. It happens more often than not and it is a sad state of affairs that this kind of thing takes place in the 21st century.

Here is the issue and I am going to say this in the simplest terms possible so that it may make it easier to understand. Some gamers are in the processes of changing their bodies to fit their minds. That also means they are changing the way they live to fit how they perceive themselves, not only the clothes they wear, but their names as well, so that they may project the proper image within society to be accepted as the gender they identify themselves with. They are trying to fit in. That is the simplest way to put it. That also means that these gamers may also portray themselves in games as the gender they identify with. So what does this mean and what does it have to do with realID? A lot, because there are a lot of transgender players that play World of Warcraft...and many people maybe hurt physically, and surely most will be hurt emotionally if realID is implemented without giving this some serious thought on how to handle this very real and touchy subject in a manner that will cause the least damage to all those involved.

Here is an example(based on real world events - names changed to protect the identity of the people involved).

So you’ve been playing World of Warcraft and you meet a nice girl in game and you both play in the same guild. You slowly get closer to said person. You even exchange real names and talk about possibly meeting some day. It does happen. Don’t say it doesn’t. People meet and hook up in MMORPG’s all the time is more common than you might expect. But I digress. The two players Joe and Stephani are best of pals in game and even on the phone and Skype. There is one little problem though...Stephani use to be known as Steve. Stephani hasn’t quite been totally honest with Joe about her situation. She is still in the process of finalizing her transformation. Like she still has genital reconstruction surgery to deal with and of course she has to have her name legally changed in the courts and birth certificate changed to show the proper sex...that also means when Stephani signed up to play World of Warcraft using her old name which was Steve Doe.

Stephani signs into game and soon gets a message from the guild leader of the guild she is in that all members must use realID, to make it simpler to keep track of who is on and who isn’t for raiding purposes. Stephani knows about realID and what it entails. It means people in her guild will now know her real, current name, and that means they’ll also know the real life issue she is dealing with and know that she hasn’t exactly been truthful with them. Due to the very nature of people, she knows she was taking a serious risk by not divulging her history and it will surely cause some issues within the guild and the relationship she has built up with Joe. What does Stephani do now? She tries to reason with her guild leader that she’d rather not do it for personal reasons. He ask her why...we all ready know your name so what’s the big deal? Stephani has a choice. Either she lies and says that the name showing is her fathers name because he originally set up the account for her or she decides to just up and leave the guild - oh wait she told Joe her fathers name was Todd. What is Stephani to do? She is in a serious bind. She has been with this guild for 5 years. They have built up a great relationship and small community within the game and suddenly she will have to make a choice that is surely going to impact the guild and her relationship with Joe. Stephani was hoping beyond hope that maybe her and Joe might one day become more than just friends but she needs a little more time to set things right so that when she does meet Joe he meets the girl Stephani as she sees herself.

Stephani is really scared now. Her life upto this point was actually going great. Now is heading into a tailspin all because of some stupid games policy. Stephani knows she was going to have to tell Joe one day about herself..but she wished it to be on her terms and now she is forced to either tell Joe before she is ready or just break it off with him and her guild. She is terrified of what might happen. What if the people in the guild do not accept her? What if Joe will no longer have anything to do with her? She knows that is a real possibility...but this...this whole thing just destroyed her plans to come out on her terms.

Stephani, though I used a different name for her, is a real player from the game World of Warcraft and though she feels terrible that she had to hide her past to move forward with her life, she knows that there are people out there that will fail to understand the real fear she has had to live with the last few years when she chose to transform herself from the Steve she was once known as to the Stephani people have come to know. She never wanted to hurt anyone. All she wished was for people to accept her as Stephani and she was doing it the only way she could. Stephani knows how society looks at transgender people and she knows very well the hate, bigotry and discrimination that comes with being transgender and she has done her best to navigate around such aspects of our society - until now. Now realID is forcing Stephani to make a choice that will have a very real impact on her life and the relationships she has created online in the game she has played the last five years.

Stephani now stands a real chance that she may have to deal with cyber bullying. Cyber bullying can lead to some serious problems with those that encounter it and sometimes it actually causes people to take their own lives. This is not a subject to joke around with. Real peoples lives are involved. It maybe just a game, but real people play it and real relationships are formed and when people are forced to relinquish a part of their soul in a manner that is detrimental to their well being due to some new, in and out, of game policy that doesn’t seem to have been thought through thoroughly enough - real serious issues arise that may cause someone to lose their friends and maybe even their life.

I can only hope that Blizzard comes up with a way for people, like Stephani, because this has devastated her. Seriously, realID could make it a lot easier for people to cyber bully and lead to even worse things...and that is something I do not think any of us wish to see happen - no matter who we are.

Blizzard needs to come up with a different solution to whatever problem they perceive to have, so that peoples lives are not turned upside down, realID is not the answer - in fact it looks like it will cause more problems than it will solve.

Tarsidous writes:

Before I posted on Jon's I read through this and it is VERY true.  I, myself am facing some identity issues and I do not give my real or "real" name out to anyone.  I wish Blizzard would take this into account.

Thu Jul 08 2010 3:59PM Report
Codenak writes:

When gaming causes real life fear, there is something VERY wrong!

Ave Teala, Ave!

Thu Jul 08 2010 4:02PM Report
Liljna writes:

Thanks for the read, it was an interesting read. I wish I could say 'Stephani' is overreacting, but I very much doubt she is. I have know a few transgender people during the years and life is not easy for them.

Perhaps Blizzard should moderate their forums and curb the trolls that way, instead of putting out peoples real names (said with my tongue in cheek).

But I do hope a solution can be found. Best wishes to Stephani and others :)

Thu Jul 08 2010 4:05PM Report
jposavatz writes:

Please read my response with an equally open mind...

it's perhaps unfortunate but indeed true that sometimes systems are put in place (not just in games, but in real life as well - i.e. laws, statutes, etc.) which are created and justified by looking at what's best for the "majority", not what's best for "everyone".  The reason is obvious - it's impossible to satisfy the needs of everyone, and consequently those who fall outside the majority must make due in some alternative way for pragmatic reasons.

With that in mind, is it reasonable to ask the vast majority in this case (every WoW gamer who is not transgender) to abide by some different mechanic so that the (I suspect very very small percentage of) transgender gamers will have their unique needs met?  Or is it more reasonable to ask the transgender minority to make due via some alternative?  Maybe it's not Stephani's dad's account, but her uncle/brother/friend/etc.  Or maybe Stephani re-rolls her character(s) from scratch (on a new account) and tells the guild she has decided to start fresh for whatever reason. Granted that may be a rather harsh alternative given the time commitment she has already invested, but sometimes life is harsh and we need to make tough decisions.  What's more important to Stephani?  The time invested or the possible repercussions of others learning one's new identity? 

I will grant you that Blizzard should take as close a look as possible at designing a system which satisfies as many of it's subscribers as possible, but building a perfect system is simply not possible.  Even if it's 99.99% perfect, there will always be 0.01% unsatisfied.  That 0.01% will need to either work within the system, accept some alternative, or quit.  Tough call.

(All of this is written by a non-WoW gamer who doesn't really have any personal agenda or strong opinion re: the Real-ID issue).

Thu Jul 08 2010 4:16PM Report
Smash9033 writes:

This whole thing is completely disgusting. Blizzard has NO right to do this to anyone, and these sorts of reasons are the exact reasons as to why.

I'm currently involved in a relationship with a... well, someone who isn't quite "who they are" either. Fortunately for her, everyone knows that she isn't quite a 'she', or rather, that she even wants to be a she, and she isn't going to be outed, so to say.

This does not in the slightest way make this ok for Blizzard though, because not so many people are as "lucky" as her, and I use this term loosely for reasons I'm sure anyone understanding of this blog writer's topics will understand.

Regardless of if this problem dosen't quite apply to my gf's situation, she, and myself, are still outraged over it. With any hope WoW itself will die off from this horrible abomination they've created with no concern for anyone, LGBT, other ethnicities, or even your usual "John Smith".... well correction, they created it for the concern of good old Mr. Kotick, or rather, he created it for his own concern.

Thu Jul 08 2010 4:50PM Report
Tarsidous writes:

it's not just the name thing though, have any of you read anything else about how RealID works?  You'll have to be logged on even in a single player game.  Your e-mail address is visible to everyone and your friends' friends are visible to everyone.  It's not just the name bit at all! It's all a, sorry for cussing, piece of shit that will be rammed down everyone's throat.

Thu Jul 08 2010 5:08PM Report
solarine writes:

Kudos to you, Teala, for a well written, straightforward blog on a very real issue. 

Some may say: "OK, how is this different to real life? Same problem there."

Ah, but weren't games a haven where we made our own world? Weren't they these spaces where we were judged by our deeds there, and not our "real life baggage"? I still remember how the online space was our small utopia for everybody back in the early 90s - from what I've seen of your posts, you would remember those days, too: the BBS games, the MUDs, the newsgroups... the gaming boards....

Yeah, there were always trolls, but that's ultimately just words on cyberspace, just some provocation, no real harm done. To risk bringing real-life issues in trying to circumvent that virtual problem seems like a fundamental mistake to me. 

And this is just principle... I'm not even speaking about other potential "serious issues" like religious or ethnic minorities who will have a similar fear of having their real name "exposed" as the transgendered player in your example.

Thu Jul 08 2010 5:08PM Report
Swanea writes:

As often as I disagree with many of your posts Teala, I agree with this 100%.

A very valid reasoning of why this is a bad thing.  There are many others that have been discussed.  But I think at this point, 100 million people checking out Blizz/activision is more important to them then the few of us that care about our privacy, our sexual orientation, or if you are transgendered or not.

I was talking with some of my friends, and they really think the new "MMO" Blizz/activision is working on, is a Free realms sort of thing, on facebook.  They said it would be a new IP, and something different.

Thu Jul 08 2010 5:21PM Report
risenbones writes:

@jposavats maybe I'm missing something but how does having the first and last name linked to your account and then made public in the forum actually benifit the customer that couldn't be done less intrusivly?

Anti Trolling well you could benifit the customer more by say actively moderating the forums and handing out forum bans and such.  Maybe a post rating system evan.

Linking forum accounts to toons could be done by making people have 1 forum name per account which would create a profile containing all the toons in that account.  Much less intrusive.  Heck if you have multiple accounts you could have the option of linking all the accounts to the one forum name.

The fact of the matter is the RealID doesn't really do anything positive for the consumer that can't be achieved by other less intusive means.

Thu Jul 08 2010 6:40PM Report
Zyllos writes:

Interesting perspective. I am 100% against this RealID thing, but for different reasons. In the end, like you said, it would only cause more problems then fix.

Thu Jul 08 2010 7:15PM Report
candycoated writes:

Hear! Hear! Issues like this should be taken into account as well. Even if it involves minorities. Isn't it that one of the purposes of playing MMOs is for players not to be themselves. Though the fix would be good for the many, but it can be life-threatening to the few. I'm hoping things like this would be reconsidered. 

Like what others said, not only the transgendered gamers would be affected by this but also other gamers as well (with whatever personal reasons they have). 

Thu Jul 08 2010 7:29PM Report
jposavatz writes:

@risenbones - again, not that I'm pro Real-id (because I don't play WoW), but I do see where a case can be made that people who are able to "hide" behind forum names are more likely to act socially irresponsibly.  On the other hand, link a person's real name to what they post, and they might think twice about some of the things that they say.

I suppose that's effectively the "anti-troll" argument.  Your point about actively moderating forums has, I suspect, been tried.  The problem with forum moderation is #1 it takes a lot of man power, and #2 it just upsets people... how many times on these forums have you seen people rant about getting banned or having threads locked for stating their opinions?  It's all very subjective.

But if you attach a real name to somebody's post, I think they may be more likely to self-moderate.  

I'm not 100% on top of this issue, not really being a WoW subscriber, but from what I understand people can simply "opt out" from using the forums and thus having their Real-ID exposed?  That seems like a fair compromise to me - they're not forcing anyone to lose their anonymity, only those who choose to post in their public forums.

Thu Jul 08 2010 7:32PM Report
Cripnoah writes:

If someone could correct me on this, but I'm pretty sure the RealID is being implemented on forums only is it not (and the buddy list if they get your e-mail)? I'm an avid WoW player but I've kept a very low profile online that it doesn't worry me at all if my name is revealed. So i don't care what goes in the RealID, but i can see the issues that everyone else faces and your post has opened another serious hazard that this could bring. 

So great post, but we have to think, these will be isolated incidents its just like actual content changes in MMORPGs. Not everyone can be satisfied with every change. If one starts to face his/her life clashing in any sort of way with a video game he should just drop it, temporarily at best. 

As for Stephanie, she could have just dropped WoW for a while until she gets her transformation, if you will, sorted out I don't see whats so difficult. She could even say its for health issues or academics that she needs to drop out of WoW for a bit and nobody would have ever known.

Thu Jul 08 2010 11:41PM Report
Teala writes: Actually it is all ready in game and when you wish to be  a part of someones realID friends network you simply give them your email address.  When you do this, they can now see your real name and so can all the people that are on that persons friends list that is in their network. Fri Jul 09 2010 1:58AM Report
Asellia writes: Ah. I have to say, this was a very good read, and actually hit home for me. Perhaps it is questionable the way I go about my life, however, I myself am transgender; though i'm not certain I completely qualify.   I started cross-dressing about eight years ago, but slowly came to realize I was more comfortable as a female, then I was a male. By a long shot. A lot of the anxioty I had, for whatever reason I didn't understand at the time, came from my gender of birth.   While I myself haven't been able to change my name, and similar, luckily I do not play World of Warcraft. But all the same, this is either a closed-minded move by blizzard, or an uneducated one. But either way, it needs to be changed, or similar. It could probably be simple, too; A support line to have the name of your account changed, or a form. Fri Jul 09 2010 3:19AM Report
MurlockDance writes: Great post Teala, and something I admittedly didn't think about. This really sucks for transgender people. It also sucks for female gamers like me who like to hide behind a make-believe male persona so that people don't get into politics with me being a woman. I don't like being hit on, I don't like having people treat me differently because I'm a female gamer, so I usually adopt a male persona and don't speak on voice programs. All of my male characters would become associated with my very female name, so would suck.   Thankfully, I don't play WoW anymore, so not directly involved in the crash-and-burn. I think we should voice our opinion loud and clear though so that other game companies don't follow suit. If CCP ever adopted this model, I would be screwed. I would not play EvE, my favorite MMO, over something like this. Fri Jul 09 2010 5:56AM Report
Xianthos writes: First time you managed to catch my interesst in your blogs! It was a very interessting blog and i never seen it from this view. You never learn everything. This blog just confirms my concerns about the Real ID. The point is im not a WoW player, but im concerned that this could end up to be standart to MMO industry like WoW clones. Fri Jul 09 2010 9:48AM Report
neonaka writes: This scenario is just well wow.... #1. Stephani should have never been trying to build a relationship with Joe based on lies to begin with. She should have been honest with him as soon as they started getting "Closer" and revealved her situation. Joe might not have liked the idea of being with a girl who used to be a guy. This would have also gave Stephani insight on just what kinda guy Joe really was. It also might not have mattered to Joe at all in which case, Stephani would have nothing to fear on that front. #2. The Guild Leader and or people in the guild, it shouldn't matter what Stephani is or wants to be, if they have a problem with people like this, then obviously Stephani was in the wrong guild the entire time. Problem with trying to build up a straw house of lies is eventually the wind blows. #3. You said it yourself, this is the 21st century, gay, lesibian, bi and trans are still discriminated against, but at the same time, in the year 2010, it is becoming much more socially acceptable and tolerable for these sexual pref. This community makes it harder on themselves by not being open about the situation. You will always have bigots in the world, people who will always refuse to see any view outside of their own. My suggestion to Stephani is quit trying to hide who she really is. If those around her reject her, then they were not the type of friends she needed to associate with to begin with. You should never fear to be who and what you are. Before you question why I say these things, I will tell you about my end of it. I am a 30 year old Straight male, however my mom's brother is a 50 year old gay male. He was gay before gay was cool so to speak, he REALLY grew up in a time where people would have killed him for coming out. In the last 30 years I have seen this man spit on, pushed around, and be held down in life for the way he is. Only in the last 10 years or so did he finally say enough, and just be honest about who and what he was, and fight for what he believed in. He has always held successful jobs, he now holds one as an openly gay male. He associates with anyone who is understanding of his way of life, and has built up a good network of friends and support around him. Now I will be the first to admit, I do not agree with his lifestyle,however I do respect him for being honest not only with the world around him, but himself. In closing, we are who we are, if know by NeoNaka or my Real Name it really doesn't matter, we shouldn't have to live in fear for ourselves in being ourselves. Please excuse any typos. Fri Jul 09 2010 12:20PM Report
Stormwatch writes: That was a good read, but I have to disagree to some things. Real ID was a bad idea, because the bottom line is: WOW is a fantasy and a game and both things are about trying things and learning new things, you want this lab sealed. Period. In a certificate driven society, where you have to pass tests all the time Real ID is really a horrible idea. Does it look good for Handsome Joe if the Human Resource department of the company he has applied to finds out he plays a female gnome dressed in leather? So you don't need the whole transgender extreme case to make the point. However where I disagree. Stephani can not just pretend when it comes to dating. This is equally violating the rights of other people, because for most people gender does matter (and no, you can't blame ignorance). It helps to apply the real categorial imperative and not the dumbed down version of "don't do to others, what you don't want done to yourself". Stephani doesn't care about gender, so with the dumbed down version s/he might be cool with telling the wrong gender (or not tell at all), but it doesn't work as a general rule as most people actually do care. Fri Jul 09 2010 4:46PM Report
alakram writes: I dont know if that can be done. Tell your friend to setup a completely fake realid. Fake email, fake name. I dont know if it can be done (but I hope), Is she sure the name showed by real id is the name in your account or is the name you setup in real id?. At the end, it's not fake at all, it is the real Real-ID she should have and will in the future. Sat Jul 10 2010 5:40AM Report
Soulsemmer writes: I don't really know what I can add to this. I'm glad you put it together so well, and I think you touched home on a lot of good points. I also have had many transgendered friends over the years, and they go through enough without dealing with things like RealID. Sat Jul 10 2010 8:10AM Report
Hopscotch73 writes: Great read Teala, and a very good showing of a perspective some would likely not even have considered. Have known a few trans people IRL and I know at least one of them is a gamer. Ashamed to say that I never thought about her (as she is now) in the context of RealID, though she may well have been going through something very similar to Stephani. Warms my heart to see a lack of ignorant/kneejerk responses to the post too. Kudos all round people. Sat Jul 10 2010 1:47PM Report
kinido writes: Love this blog; your bringing in some extreme topics for some, but opening the eyes of others. Cheers! Sat Jul 10 2010 7:51PM Report
SteamRanger writes: It's perspectives like this that remind me why I'm an admirer of yours, Teala. Well done. Sun Jul 11 2010 8:41PM Report
Hvezdosvit writes: Maybe Stephanie is lacking sense for telling to other people (and especially to friends) truth. Things like that you have told us about are to be sorted at first occasion between two people aspiring to be friends. It is too late to cry now. But aggression between people meeting on the Internet is real - for whatever reason. And aggresion is not correct answer for only being decieved. Peoples anonymity should be protected as much as it is possible. I think these days Blizzard lost few percents of possible income. Mon Jul 12 2010 9:46AM Report
Yamota writes: Hm yea, the rights of trans-genders. I am sure this is a huge issue in the world of MMORPGs. I think people need to grow up and not turning something small into something huge... Mon Jul 12 2010 10:00AM Report
Shinami writes: I will say at the time of this post... There are many tech sites I wish to post at, that look clean and nice...but then when I go to post a "comment", I get a pop up saying "please log on with your facebook account".... I am a person who plays Opposite Gender character's in most games I play. I know how both genders treat each other, but becoming a "transgender" in real life is a Choice, that is met by therapy and other training methods. 40% of such which believe it or not, are supplied and paid for by your tax dollars. Sorry, but they choose to make themselves a minority, because biologically as far as the physical aspect goes....Trans means "In between" and logically + biologically, you can change gender, but you will no longer be your original gender and never can you be 100% the opposite gender (due to internals)... Life is about choice, being rewarded for them, but equally paying the consequences of your actions. The only thing I believe in this blog entry is all forms of Identification should be local. In short..I should not have to REGISTER at another site in order to JOIN A GUILD in a game. As for relationships... I learned years ago from being Online and dealing with people...If two people really care so much about each other and they start online...It will be a "simulation" of love until they start talking to each other on the phone. Its very important to get out of the online world if you want to trust someone beyond the internet. If a person says "I love you" to me online, I know if they aren't willing to take it offline at some level, they aren't serious...and their intention is kept at game-level. Skype doesn't work since, I've used skype for roleplaying and have enough computer programs to be able to speak into a MIC and any voice level (male or female) come out your end. This is actually more common about the transgenders that I know who try to create the perfect vision of themselves online, which they can't be offline.. ( I am part of a teamspeak server where everyone uses voice manipulation programs to roleplay their guild wars characters...its a lot of fun) Yes, Transgender's arent the only one using the internet to be what they can't be in the real world. ~Shinami ^^ Mon Jul 12 2010 1:33PM Report
zabTH writes:

Shiname, come visit Thailand and revisit your post. Thailand is a country that's relatively acceoting of LGBT, and transgenders or ladyboys as they like to be known over here are EVERYWHERE.  Many come out as early as 8 years old, and they're forced to be guys, or 'gays' until they get to pubesecence. 

Things are also a bit different because in Thailand, every transgender will identify as a ladyboy(mtf) or tomboy (ftm) first and as a female / male second. In the western world we've never been so accomodating of gender identity disorders because quite honestly, we're closed minded and if it's outside our circle of comfort, we don't want to accept things.

For 'Stephanie' WOW may be that only place where she's fully accepted 100% and not ridiculed, stared at, laughed at and abused. Is she a liar? is she making a choice about being a transgendered person? If i had to ask any one of the MILLIONS of thai ladyboys, they'd all stand up and say no.

Personally, RealID takes things one step too far. The Internet used to be a place of anonymity and where anything goes, today it's becoming something more akin to a george orwell book with mandatory identification, sensoring, people getting arrested and all sorts going on.

It's not just the TG issue, it's an asault against freedom.

Wed Jul 14 2010 1:27AM Report
Tarka writes:

An interesting viewpoint on the situation.  Personally, I think REALID is one of those ideas that sound good on paper but in reality certain issues arise that weren't considered before.  That's not to say that Blizzard are stupid, we are all human after all.  We can't think of every possible occurance or issue.  But nevertheless we have to try. 

In the end, I think Blizzard should drop the whole idea of using real names in the game.  And instead allow players to setup one single "ID Name" which is used in place of the real names.

For instance....if I have characters called AAA, BBB and CCC and my chosen "ID Name" is Tarka and I use REALID, then whenever I log in everyone on my REALID friends list should just see "Tarka" as online no matter which character I'm logged into.

This allows players to choose their own unique ID.  This gets round the whole issue.

Wed Jul 14 2010 7:18AM Report
SuperXero89 writes:

To the OP,

Don't write an article if you can't handle someone's opposing viewpoints.

Wed Jul 14 2010 7:10PM Report
Latella writes:

Stephani should ve never lied to Joe.
She deserves anything that may happen to her ( not in terms of violence but yes in terms of relationship breaking ) , i do not sympathize with her at all.

You may be a girl inside and i respect that, and i will say more,  back when i played PSO and FFXI, i had this transgender friend of mine, that fitted pretty much Stephani´s description, and know what? She would tell the truth to anyone who passed a certain line of closeness, because building a relationship on something that aint not quite true is not a good thing to do.

Even if you feel like a girl, the crude fact is that you are NOT , at least not physically and thus your boyfriend wanna be deserves the right to know the truth and to decide for himself wether it is ok for him or not and wether he can accept to be by the side of someone who did not use to be a girl

Specially taking into account that many transgenders do not have the resources to make such expensive operations and that most of them are, to all effects, guys for the rest of the world.

I have NOTHING against transgender players / people but i do have something against liers and people who hide the truth.

And no, it never happened to me personally to be lied at on such matters but if i was, i would be quite mad , just like i would be with any other major lie or omission.

Wed Jul 14 2010 8:59PM Report
Mysticshaman writes:

i don't usually comment on blogs here and very rarely post on the message boards, but this post really caught my eye.  Reason? I AM a transgendered woman who games a lot, and actually i belong to a lbgt guild in wow, so to them i don't fear anything.  BUT, I would prefer to keep my real identity to myself.  My friends online (in wow and otherwise) know me as my female identity (eventually I will tell them, but honestly NO tg person should ever be forced to tell anyone, I should have the right to tell who I want, when i want...heck my folks don't even know yet. 

As for it taking a long time to fully transition, indeed it is hard for some of us, as the average price in the states is around 20k.  Isurance does not cover it, as it is not seen as a nessasary surgey. 

One last thing, if you are my friend (on line) and I don't tell you, I am NOT lieing to you, as many of us take many years (in my case decades) to even come to grips with it myself.  Be mad all you want, but I don't have to tell anyone, and should never be forced.  People that think TG people are liers have NO idea what it's like to be TG, and face the possibily of violence, ridecule, or something else.

Alos, I am VERY interested in what website the OP goes to (that she mentions near the beginning)

Wed Jul 14 2010 9:41PM Report
Xersues writes:

Yeah I don't really sympathize with people that lie. Not to mention you can just lie about your RealID.

How real is a RealID that you can just lie on?

No issues with LBGT people, however there is a right way and a wrong way to go about things. Whats stopping some one from paying for some one elses account. I log in and my account says Angela Buttonkiss, who cares?

If you're only "friends through anomity" then are they really friends or not? Your close friends have a "right" to know about your history. If they judge you based on that, then that's there choice.

None of these issues have anything to do with RealID. They're societal and something you either deal with or confront in your life,

Wed Jul 14 2010 9:59PM Report
Nisaku writes:

I just cried. I'm a transgendered male turning into a female and I feel the exact same way. It's your choice to keep your past a secret or not., Xersues. They don't have the -right- to know. Not unless you get married or something. It hurts to know that you can't act like yourself anywhere now. I mean, really.. at least in a game we could feel like we were real and safe and comfortable with ourselves. Now, we have to show everyone our past and let them all see who we use to be... even if we were never real in that past anyway. I get a lot of hate when it comes to playing WoW. Right now, my guild accepts me for being transgendered and they all like me wether or not I am transgendered. They just want to play the game, and have fun while they do it. On the other hand, people who play the game tend to be immature, bigots, and/or even misunderstood by what a transgendered person is. It hurts to know someone dislikes or even hates you for no logical reason. I've been kicked, ignored, and even cursed at for being who -I- am. So sometimes, people tend to hide who they are to feel normal in society's eyes. I love everyone in this world, and I hope someone feels the same way as me...




Wed Jul 14 2010 10:48PM Report
trojan99 writes:

i was going to reply that this is a real concern for all three of you.... however b4 i made the joke i looked it up. apparently there are 245,000 transgender operation per year.

i also looked up stats for mmo's. approximately 21% of american households subscribe to a online gaming service. lets assume that means all mmo's even tho its not.

now lets use dirty inaccurate and possibly not related to mathmatics type statistics.....uh oh, wait a minute, if there are 245,000 operations per year that means ....current population 307mill, about 80mill growth every 30 years or so...well u get the picture, about 10% of the population growth will be TG.


so 307m, about 10% is 30m and 21% of 30m is 6million tg gamers. i dunno, seems like alot to me. and remember we assumed that those 21% were all mmo subscriptions.


however you want to do the math, its obvious that lisa the ranger elf princess was chuck the plumber at one point.


so having educated myself roughly on the numbers of ppl we are talking about i have concluded that it doesnt really matter if there were only 3, the bottom line is real life names have no place in virtual communities except by choice and consent.


but here is the thing, now that i have supported your argument for no only becomes an issue if you give the information to someone, by choice...a name is just a name after all.


so now lets ask ourselves, why on earth would giving out the information that you may be tg, or bi, or whatever demographic you choose to belong to, make someone react in a  hateful manner?


there is no need to spell out the possible scenarios, and lets make it clear i do not support hate in any form and especially hate for no other reason than being different (in general the only hate i support is for game devs making us play the same game with facelifts for the past several years ) , but i can understand a ...unkind reaction.


lets remember that many people play games for an escape, not to be bothered with real world concerns. so to bring your concerns to the gaming community......really, i could care less. worried about sum1 tracking you down because you cybered him under the pretense you were a real woman? heres a friggin clue, dont cyber anyone, its a god damned game not a friggin dating service. and for those of you from the hateful side of things, dont let yourself get cyber'd. lol if you dont know by now that its either age inapropriate thing considering if it is a real girl, shes probably nto af age yet, or thats its the 40 year old nerd in his moms basement pretending to b hot, then u truly deserve what you got.


bottom line, blizzard, and everyone else, keep your real life real and your virtual life seperate, mmmkay

Thu Jul 15 2010 2:47AM Report
Mysticshaman writes:

Trojan99 very well said.  Xersues-NOONE has the "right" to know my past..period.  I have Tg friends who are post-op and are trying to forget their life previously.  For all intense purposes she appears to be a GG (Genetic Girl), and she wants people to treat her as such.  I plan to go the same rout after my surgery... noone has the right to know anything i don't want them to know.  Don't tell me everyone you know, knows every detail of your life.  I realize being TG is a bit of a bigger secret/detail than say you used to wet the bed til you were 10. (Not insulting you, just making a embarassing thing up)... a lot of TG people "move on" and they should not be scrutinized for their past.

Thu Jul 15 2010 11:55AM Report
Tethered writes:

I can see the concern and the problems, I do not play anything blizzard right now so it does not affect me... but still sucks for all those who do.

My question is would it not be possible for Stephani to say something like Steve is a cousin/brother/ "name of obscure family person here"

Back when I played my brother-in-law used one of my accounts all the time, so the name would have been mine and certainly nothing like his. Same would apply to my cousins who are both women who ended up taking over my accounts when I retired from the game.

I mean to live a lie is painful and hurtful to all, and I understand the reasoning but would 1 more really blow over the house of cards?

Thu Jul 15 2010 1:04PM Report
lethys writes:

LOL at what point was Stephani planning on telling Joe that she's actually an ex-he?  Honestly, she probably shoulda told him by now if they knew each other five years.


I'd probably not speak to Stephani again if I were Joe because she didn't have the courtesy to tell him that she was a man.  If she told him about it before the Real ID told him about it then thats one thing but its ridiculous to get so close to somebody after that many years and not say anything.

Thu Jul 15 2010 10:19PM Report
Mysticshaman writes:

Noone i know at the moment will ever know i was a "he" (unless it's family-including my wife), Why does anyone NEED to know.  If everyone you meet assumes you are a GG, then so be it, noone need be any wiser. 

I am in the process of changing my name leagally (next week i go to the court house), and I have the papers to change my gender marker on my DL.  Blizz requires MORE paperwork than the dmv or my bank to prove who i am and who i am becoming.  I can't believe you'd be able to lie on your realid, but i suppose anything is possible. 

Here is a side note for knowledge for those that don't know what we have to go through.  When I do go to change my name, not only is is 400+ dollars (closer to 6 or 7 after all the fees, and all the changes to all the docs), but i also have to put an announcement in a local paper once a week for FOUR weeks!! at MY expense.  If I have to go through all that, a court hearing, a LONG day at the dmv, etc etc... why should I ever have to tell anyone anything after the fact?! 

I have known a few people on wow for nearly as long as the game came out (started playing the january after it came out and met my friend by summer), this person does not know about my past, only knows who i am to become.  And that's the way it will stay. 

This is my last post on the subject, but again... as I have stated numerous times... NOONE "deserves" the right to know about my past, If i want to tell them, I will... but in no way should anyone be "privledged" to know about it.

Fri Jul 16 2010 6:56PM Report
Xersues writes:

I like how most of you decided to just ignore the fact that I wrote right in quotations.

The word "right" is between you and the people around you. Like I said, whatever you keep secret, whether you deal drugs, help read to children in a hospital in the weekends, government spy, or are transgendered.

Regardless of what you want to keep secret, we live in a social world, and information is available. If you lie to those around you and they do not like that, and they decide they do not want to associate. That's just the way it is. Call them what you like "Sexist, genderist, intolerant" they'll be just as likely to call you a name back.

If you want something from some one. For instance, love, or friendship. Its on the terms between two people. If the terms are that they want to know about you, and they find that out. It's within their own personal space to exclude you. For any reason, transgendered or otherwise. If they don't care or never find out. Then good for everyone.

Again, you can lie on the RealID form. It's completely useless way to keep people accountable. I rarely use my real name on actual forms because they don't need to know except payment, and payment names can also be under anything as well depending on the accounts. Change the name of the realID. I mean seriously its not hard. Request it be changed. If you're Steve on the form and want to be Stephani. Get it changed.

Its already obvious that the amount of work for transgendered people is arduous, expensive, and time consuming. Of all the things to worry about the RealID in WoW makes even a lick of sense to be concerned about? You've already decided how you want to be happy, and chosen your appropriate facade until you've planned it out. Just change the name.

I play female toons in games and am a heterosexual male. I cannot say that makes me in tune with LBGT issues, however, I do have to assert myself depending on the communication issue in question. Or I don't. If the game made me have Steve@CuteseyGirl or whatever, whats stopping me from just changing that. Stephani@CuteseyGirl. Or even Xersues@Cuteseygirl. No one here does not know that my real name isn't Xersues, its just low probability.

I'm sorry your life choice is so hard on you to be happy, but the RealID system is not your enemy, or really affecting you. It's just a crappy idea that takes the fantasy out of gaming.

Sat Jul 17 2010 11:03AM Report
Mysticshaman writes:

OK so i lied about not posting here again...

My "life choice" is not hard on me, it is a neccesity, kinda like breathing (mouth of otherwise).  As for using a fake name on the Real ID thing, how come when i added my wife to it and when either of us log in it shows the name associated with that account?  I wrote to Blizz about changing my name, and it's not as easy as filling out a form on their site.  i have to send the court order paper work along with several other things as well as filling out a form on their site and faxing/mailing/emailing it all in.  

So, I'm not sure how to lie on the realid stuff... clue me in please. (or at least how i would have had to do it, since they realized what an idiotic idea it was). 

one final note... why is it that there's a loading screen on wow that says they will NEVER give out your personal info, and then they come out with real id which does JUST THAT!?

Sat Jul 17 2010 10:58PM Report
azmundai writes:

So Stephanie lies to a bunch of people and is upset when there are reprecussions? I'm not trying to be anti-trans-whatever you want to call it, but why would anyone change their sex if they are just going to hide/lie about it?

Besides, if she changes her name legally, I am sure she will need to change her name with her credit card company, and in turn change her name with Blizzard or create a new account with her new name.

As the 2nd poster said there are harsh realities to life. It's reasonable to expect 1 company to change the way they do business because certain people can't take the proper steps? There is no reason he/she can't get her name legally changed before this ID thing takes effect which would then force her to change it with her credit card company and in turn force her to change it with Blizzard.

Thu Jul 29 2010 1:27AM Report
ZoeMcCloskey writes:

Good article, glad to see nice responses to a subject that often breeds blind hatred.

In my view any personal information is your own to share, no one has a right to know as stated up above.  However as soon as you cross over any line to do with intimacy or love you give up that right.  If you are going down that road then both parties should be giving full disclosure to be sure they want to keep going.

As to cybering, people doing that are using their imaginations so who they are in reality does not matter unless they plan to meet in reality, no?

As to RealID I think it was a terrible idea.  I don't play WoW or anything Blizzard so no effect on me however.

Again good article.

Thu Jul 29 2010 5:01AM Report
Mysticshaman writes:

Azmundai I know people who as soon as they get their legal name change, they will never speak of thier past again. (I am in that grou as well).  As I stated numerous times in this thread, my history is MY history, and NOONE has the right to pry if i don't want them to. 

And yes, when I change my name I have to do so with all companies who have my name (credit cards, bank. DMV, etc), as for how blizz handles it? It's not a huge deal... juts copies of your court order, and a form they want me to fill out, and one other document i think-memory not working quite right.  I suppose it's a good thing they backed off with this realid thing.  Also, it take 4-6 weeks to change ones name (at least in Cali), and a month of announcments in a general circulation newspaper-just to make sure noone disagrees or has legal issue with it. 

Well said Zoe!  Although I STILL don't understand why someone has to tell anyone anything about who/what they used to be.  If one gets into a relationship with someone, and the fulfill any expectations the other person has (physical or otherwise) then fine.  I am sorry, but no matter what anyone says, you will NEVER convince me that my past is an open book, and that everyone deserves to know I wasn't born female.

Sun Aug 01 2010 1:48AM Report
Lair writes:

Too many posts to read, so i quit after Latella's but i have to say I agree wholeheartedly with Latella and Neonaka

Fri Aug 06 2010 8:24AM Report
Mysticshaman writes:

Obviously, people who are not Tg or know a TG person, you will NEVER understand the day to day ridecule we go through.  Blizzard LIIING to us is just another example of lack of sensitivity.  Doesn't matter anymore to me, I cancelled/uninstalled wow as i am just so sick and tired of it after 6 years.

Fri Aug 06 2010 10:01PM Report
ZoeMcCloskey writes:

Going thru life being judged on one aspect of who you are that you happen to wear on the outside is never easy. 

One thing that has always astounded me personally is how some people who have experienced extremes in racism, sexism, religious persecution or what have you.  Just how few of them are sympathetic in turn to their modern day equivalents like GLBT. 

Just goes to show humanity as a whole is prone to repeating the same mistakes over and over again.  We can never all quite grasp the basic truth that if you aren't harming anyone with how you live your life, then just live and let live.  No need to sit around passing moral or other judgements on the lives of others.

Sat Aug 07 2010 10:58PM Report
Mysticshaman writes:

Zoe, you are one smart, passionate person.



Sun Aug 08 2010 2:16AM Report
ZoeMcCloskey writes:

*blush* thank you and I would say the same of you :)

Sun Aug 08 2010 3:04PM Report
starbucks101 writes:

I have to disagree on the over thrown term polished game obviously they haven't compared all games/companies. guess they never looking into square enix witch is a more solid company that produces what ppl would call (insert over used term here) -polished games-. I could think of a few others but that one really comes to mind everytimes I hear that term over used.

Wed Feb 09 2011 2:29PM Report writes:
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