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7 Binary Options – Social Trader
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Updated projectile VFX to better represent its hitbox, especially when it is traveling towards your POV
We’re keeping an eye on the overall power level of Paranoia, but as a first step wanted to resolve visual issues where players hit with Paranoia appear outside of its impact on their screen.
Blade Storm (Burst Fire)
The time between consecutive Burst Fire use has increased from 0.33 seconds >>> 0.45 seconds
Daggers thrown in Burst now have a damage falloff that begins at 12 meters and drops steadily (to 35 damage) at max falloff
Headshot multiplier on Burst Fire reduced from 3x >>> 2x
While we continue to investigate some of her outsized strengths, we think the burst fire on her Blade Storm has been over-performing at long ranges. The burst fire is intended to be a close range attack, but we found it frequently getting frags at over 20 meters away. These changes aim to rein in its effective range while retaining its close range potency.
Viper now starts the round at 100 fuel (previously 50)
Now that Viper can place her wall pre-round, we want her to be able to act with her team right at barrier drop without the tension of also trying to maximize her fuel for an initial move.
Vulnerable debuff applied from Snake Bite now lingers for 2 seconds after leaving Viper’s acid
Immediately dropping the vulnerable debuff upon exit wasn’t creating the threat we’ve hoped for when we added it. This change should make the Viper (and team) advantage window more realistic, as well as project a unique threat on opponents playing around it.
Move speed doubled while casting
Viper now fast equips her weapon after casting, re-equip times vary per gun—but on average will reduce her weapon down time by .4 seconds
The combination of a slow placement and re-equip time was resulting in Viper players getting too hurt or killed while casting ults in a situation we felt should be pretty safe. This change should increase the positional options available while casting, and get your weapon up sooner.
Fire rate bonus decreased from 25% >>> 15%
At its previous fire rate, we felt Empress was too effective when using heavies/smgs, AND too fast to master the change in spray pattern on rifles. We hope this change allows us to address both issues at once, while also giving us a chance to have a unified fire rate increase (matching Brimstone’s stim below) that players can learn and master.
Fire rate bonus increased from 10% >>> 15%
Paired with Reyna’s change (above), we felt Brimstone’s stim could use a little more punch. This also unifies our two fire rate increase buffs, making them easier to learn.
Increased price from 4500 >>> 5000
Decreased scoped movement speed from 76% >>> 72%
Adjusted weapon deadzone from becoming inaccurate at 30% movement speed >>> 15% (become inaccurate sooner, become accurate later when stopping)
Firing rate reduced from .75 >>> .6
Instant equip time adjusted from 0.3 >>> 0.5 (instant equip plays after tapping orb, bomb defuse/plant tap, Jett Cloud Burst, and Phoenix Curveball)
Leg shot damage decreased from 127 >>> 120
Jump land inaccuracy state changed from gradual >>> binary
Jump land inaccuracy duration increased from .2 >>> .225
Jump land inaccuracy value increased from 5.0 >>> 7.0 (more inaccurate for .225s after a land)
During this patch, the chances of being in an hour+ queue should be notably reduced
This is already a very rare occurrence, but it can happen more often for high rank players—especially in premade groups. We are also doing some tuning behind the scenes to keep high rank matches found after long queue times reasonably balanced and fair.
Riot ID Reviews
Players that have been reported for inappropriate Riot IDs will now be reviewed automatically after the match has ended. If their name is flagged as inappropriate, they will be forced to change their Riot ID the next time they log in to the Riot Client.
Removed Multi-line Breaks in Chat
Some sneaky people were impersonating system messages to troll others into quitting a match. Enough!
Changes to party push to talk settings will now take effect immediately
The chat window can now be pinned to stay open across menus
Social Panel Sorting Logic
Sorting algorithm for the social panel has been updated to make it more intuitive for players as they interact with it.
Fixed issue where Sova’s hitbox was incorrect while using his Owl Drone
Fixed bug where Omen’s glowing eyes weren’t properly removed when he cancelled his ult
Fixed a bug where Custom Game preferences would be wiped after navigating away from the Custom Game lobby
Jeph's attempts to represent every major marginalized group in the United States have absolutely wrecked this comic, and ended up accurately representing nobody.
Jeph...is not a great writer. I know we all have fond memories of QC in its "glory days," but participating in the reread I've started to realize something. Jeph's ability to write a good story is limited to what he himself experienced in his formative days and while he was writing the early strips: life as a mid-twenties-something guy, pining after attractive girls that came and went from his little indie music scene.And he does it well, because he's drawing on what he knows. The dialogue is realistic! Comics don't all end with a shitty-punch-line delivered by a sp0rk-holding-rando...because Jeph probably didn't interact with people like that. The main characters come off as real people because most of them are probably based, consciously or not, off of people Jeph really knew and interacted with. It's also real. There's plenty of dialogue that reads as entitled, or would now be considered entirely unacceptable in Jeph's writing. See Sarah's "rape/hump" dialogue. This is how Jeph and his friends *probably* spoke. I know that I threw around the word 'rape' much more casually when I was young and immature than I do now. (It also bothers me that Jeph tries to hide the fact that he's grown out of this mindset, but that's a different post altogether.) Or look at Faye's alcoholism storyline - probably the best writing the comic has seen. It's compelling and readable because it's something Jeph himself has dealt with - he knows those feelings of helplessness and addiction. It's true to life, and as a consequence the writing is almost naturally well done. And it makes sense! Because things proceed like a person's life often does, for Marten. People come, people leave. You fall in love with one girl, she leaves and you meet another. It's realistic because it's based in reality. It's fun because it has goofy situations, interesting characters, and a "very-pretty-if-you-don't-look-too-hard-at-it" sci-fi angle. Then we come to today. Look at how the cast has changed. Aside from having no protagonist, there is not a single main character that Jeph can really relate to on any real-world-experience level. As far as I know, he does not identify as a woman, as a person of color, as someone who is queer, or as someone who is transgendered. There's nothing wrong with that or writing about it, but it's definitely going to make writing characters who *are* living those lives a little harder to write. You don't have the dialogue to draw on. You don't have those interactions with other characters as lived-experiences to draw on. So you've got two choices. You either write what you *imagine* them to be and sound like, or you do your research. Let's talk about the first, and more problematic of the two options, first. I would encourage everyone to go check out /menwritingwomen for some good examples of why it can be this way. Even if you're doing your best to write it realistically, it's probably going to come off as often-times awkward sounding dialogue. Effectively every female character in the comic has been reduced to this. When they're not serving Jeph's purpose to represent their marginality (May opining the life of a convict, Roko having a dissociative episode, Brun acting emotionlessly and/or discussing clocks, the list goes on) they're acting like Jeph probably *imagines* women act around other women. Because Jeph has never *been* a woman alone with another woman, and he doesn't know the intricacies of homogenous gender conversations of the opposite sex more than a cis-gendered woman could explain had by men alone. It invariably turns to stereotypes - boobs, appearances, relationships. It also gives you characters, even if you represent them well, who are defined by the one characteristic you created them for. Brun is my favorite example for this. Do we know *anything* about this girl? We know she's an out-of-work bartender, enjoys clocks , and has autism. We know *so* much about her autism and almost nothing else about her because that's probably what Jeph has to draw on. I don't know that he's ever met someone with autism, let alone spoken with them about their life and experiences. We also know that everyone wants to fuck her, but that's its own weird can of worms that I don't really want to address right now. So what's the alternative, if you want to write about a person who is different from you? I don't think that artists should be constrained and I also think representation is really important. I think that Jeph's *intentions,* to write a comic that accurately represents the lives of members of marginalized groups, *especially* considering everything that's been going on in the United States is an admirable thing. And he actually does hit some elements quite well, actually. I know this sub likes to bash on the realism of Clinton's perceived sexual revelations, but queerness doesn't require foreshadowing to appear in someone's life and Jeph understands this. But, if you're going to do it, do your research. Be forewarned that from this point onwards, I'm speaking *solely* on theory. I don't get the sense that Jeph has ever researched the communities and issues he's trying to write about, save for the woketwitter threads he reads. Everything he writes now reads like it came out of a 15-post-long twitter thread explaining the virtues or disvirtues of this and/or that. I do not get the sense that he's ever strived to understand anything more than the broad-strokes of an issue, know the key-phrases and topic catchphrases, and sets off to write about it. For starters, *talk* to these communities. Reach out, past Twitter and Deviantart, and get a real understanding of what you're writing about. Meet transgendered people. Work with children with autism. Work with convicted felons. That's what good writers *do* when they want to understand the subjects they're writing about. Yes, that's hard when you're trying to represent *everyone,* so maybe it's time to scale back and focus in a little harder on one issue that's important to you, Jeph. Here's how I want to conclude this: Jeph wants to represent the marginalized in his comic, and he wants to offer sincere political commentary. I do not believe he does it just for the woke points (although, yes, his Patreon is the specter that will always loom over him). But if it's going to be at all quality, Jeph needs to narrow things down tremendously. Choose your target, do your research, and continuously write about that character, giving them the chance to develop naturally. Otherwise, it's going to be more of this herky-jerky bullshit forever. Edit: Read comments, decided to add a bit more. A lot of this comes from Jeph's mixed attempt at what he's doing. On one hand, he's admitted he's trying to make this comic a safe space for trans and other non-binary folk, which I think is great. On the other hand, he's simultaneously telling the stories of the lives of marginalized folks and write social commentary about the world as he perceives it. And there's nothing wrong with that...except for that you end up with, frankly, shitty storytelling and messages that don't come across very clearly. He has these intense lead-ups, like Faye coming out to her mother, or Roko's dissociative episodes, or Elliott confessing his attraction to someone who (as far as he knows) is a straight man. And then it just...gets resolved. No difficulties, no problems, just smooth sailing. And hey, if Jeph just wants to tell a friendly story there's nothing wrong with that, but it isn't really telling the stories of the marginalized. Because the truth is that those stories usually don't have happy endings. They don't usually end with accepting parents, or a problem that can be resolved with a snap of the fingers. They're oftentimes painful and they're intense, and if Jeph as an author is going to tell these stories then it is his responsibility to tell the truth. I think doing anything else is irresponsible, frankly. He's giving his readers, many of whom are younger and impressionable, a false sense of how these stories usually go. And I don't agree with the, "It's just supposed to be lighthearted," angle either. Plenty of shows have managed to maintain a tone while handling serious issues. Adventure Time is a great example of this.
OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – ESCAPE FROM STALAG SULTANATE, Part 1
That reminds me of a story. “HELLFIRE AND DALMATIANS!” I shouted to no one in particular. “What’s the problem, dear?” Esme asks in that way she has of telling me to calm down without having to say it directly. “This bloody fucking country. A day late and several dollars short.” I fume. “Can’t get a new liquor license because of the bloody COVID. Can’t go to a hotel bar and have a snort because of the bloody COVID. Can’t even slip across the border to Dubai and soak up some room service and buckets of complimentary cocktails because of the bloody COVID.” Yes, the Sultanate of Oman, in its infinitesimal wisdom, has traditionally followed other GCC countries by at least three months in making any sort of proclamations regarding this latest bugaboo: the hideous, deadly, itchy, loathsome, and possibly serially bent, noxious, pandemical COVID-19; aka, this pandemic’s entry for flu. Their response is one of immense knee-jerk without first having thought of the consequences. “Bloody lockdown, 2100 to 0700. What is this, the whole fucking country’s been bad and now being sent to bed without any supper?” I wondered aloud. “Idiot benchodes.” Even Esme couldn’t come up with a rejoinder to that. “Plus they close all the bars. And all the hotels. And the fucking bottle shops. It’s not enough that these fucking Muppets jack the ‘sin tax’ on booze and cigars by 100%, now they’re not even legally available.” I swore. Of course, once you’ve spent even a small portion of the time that I have in the Middle East, you have your connections. Your system. Your access to the seedy underbelly of any society; the venerable Black Market. Jesus Q. Christ on toast with baked beans, fried tomatoes, black pudding, and mushrooms, I could get most anything in the Middle East, be it legal, shady, or just plain illegal. However, before you all recoil in horror that the venerable Dr. Rocknocker dabbles in the prohibited, just remember: the ends always dojustify the means. “I'm telling you, Esme dear; this Gulf story is getting too complicated. The weasels have started closing in.” I complain to Es as she hands me a fresh drink. “Do you think…?” Esme asks expectantly. Esme is more than ready to go. I’ve used this place as a base of operations for years whilst I wear out the Omani legal system suing those asswipes that think just because they’re local and I’m a kafir, they’re immune to the law. I’ve spent a long, profitable and time-consuming period of the last few years proving them wrong. But, time was marching onwards. I agreed with Esme, we’ve milked this particular cash cow dry. It was time to hitch up our bootstraps, call it a day, and get the hell out of Dodge. But not before I took care of a few loose ends. Now, the country had recently lost its venerable Sultan, who croaked back in January of this year. Sultan Qaboos was a good egg, friend to expat and local alike. Did a shitload of good for this benighted Middle East sandpit. Dragged it kicking and screaming out of the 12th century into, well, not exactly the 21st, but a whole hell of a lot closer. He realized that he needed revolutionary, not evolutionary change in the country. By revolutionary, he needed American, British, Canadian, and the like Western Expats here to do the heavy thinking and lifting and Eastern Expats like Indians, Bangladeshis and Nepalese to do all the scut work. Yeah, I know. That sounds racist as fuck, but sometimes that’s the way the ball bounced. Simple evolution of society where Omanis graduated the local equivalent of grade school, through high school, into University, and finally into Entry level jobs in the oil and gas industry wasn’t going to cut it. Took too long and the country needed a serious cash flow now. So, that’s what he did. And it worked a treat. Then he died. And his chosen took over. Except his chosen was pretty much antithetical to everything the previous and very revered and successful, Sultan wanted. Soon, there are 100% ‘sin taxes’ aimed directly at the western expats. Tourists included. Then there’s quotas and ‘Letters of No Objection’, which are impossible to get so that the Eastern Expats can’t switch jobs. Then, there are Sultanic proclamations of new taxes on tourists, new taxes on fast food, new taxes on this, that and the other. Then there’s, in his own words, “Oman is for Omanis”, blatantly ridiculous and xenophobic Omanization, and the general swipe at all expats. “GET OUT.” This was the clear message of the new sultan. He wanted to take over and possibly nationalize all the oil workings in the country. Ask Venezuela, Iran, and Myanmar how well that worked out for them. Then he wants all expats out on their asses. He wants Omanis to take over all the jobs, even though they’re nowhere near educated nor experienced enough for the positions. Then take up the massive GDP slack in lower oil production and oil prices with tourism. Given everything else, that last line should be enough to get him off the throne. He’s fucking nuts if he thinks people are going to want to cruise or overland anywhere near a place where foreigners are seen only as a cash supply, are despised, and would welcome these all new 100% tax levies. Be that as it may, Esme and I decided that we have had enough of 135O F summer temperatures, virtual house arrest under the guise of a COVID lockdown, and idiots who were the only ones stupid or twisted enough not to vamoose when the great, big bloody letters were clearly written on the wall. But, there was the physical act of getting out of the country. Now, I had plenty of strings which I could pull, but I decided I’d start low and save those until we really needed them. So low, in fact, we went to the US Embassy in Muscat. “How low can you go?” reverberated through my head. What a haven of sad-sacks, flubadubs, and third rate hobbyists. Was either Esme or I surprised that when we finally secured an invitation to the embassy, that required a bit of string-pulling with the ex-Ambassador to Oman, now in Kabul; that besides the peach-fuzz faced Marine guarding the place, we were the only Americans in the joint? “This is American soil!” I laughed, as I pulled out a huge Cuban cigar and was immediately told to extinguish it. “We’re as American as apple pie and napalm! We file our fucking 1040s every April; I pay my fucking long-distance taxes and demand US assistance to vacate this gloomy place of sandy, sweaty, sultry Sturm und Drang!” “Shut up, Rock”, Esme chided me, “They don’t understand English. Much less, the florid English the way you trowel it on.” “Fuckbuckets”, I remonstrated. “Here I had memorized the whole Patrick Henry speech he made to the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775, at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia. Troglodytes. No admiration for the classics.” “Rock, dear?” Esme noted, “It’s almost 1100 hours. Best to get to our appointment.” True, our appointment was slated for 1100 hours. But around here, anything starting within three hours of the stated time was considered close enough. We dragged ourselves, none too cheerfully, to the waiting room. Once we pried open the door, there was the usual “If you hear a high pitched wail, hit the deck” signs, and other things one could do while kissing one’s ass goodbye if there was a terrorist attack, we had a whole new slew of bullshit with which to deal. “Social distancing. 6 feet. Or if you’re from Baja Canada, 1 cow’s length.” “Must wear a mask. Bandanna, bandoliers, and large-caliber weapons or sombrero optional.” “No sitting. Faux Naugahyde seats are too difficult to sterilize. You must stand at attention, do not talk amongst yourselves, and remain patient until your number is called.” “Well, fuck!”, I snorted quietly, as I raised my first secret flask in rapt attention to our old glory of red, white, and blue. “Good thing they didn’t say nothin’ about getting a load on. If I’m going to be treated like cattle, I’m going to at least have something to chew on in the process.” “Oh, lord”, Esme grumbled, “You didn’t bring that Japanese Rye Whiskey with you, did you?” “ルハイム”, I said, which is Japanese for “L’chaim”! “Oh, hell”, Esme grinned as she borrowed my flask, “This is going to be a long day.” I began to protest but remembered that I was wearing my Agency-issued field vest. I must have had at least 5 or 6 more flasks lurking around in those pockets somewhere. Funny aside: they don’t bother with my going through an X-ray machine nor do they confiscate my phone, radio, knives, nor other field equipment when I go to the US Embassy. It took them almost two solid hours last time, and by the time they got to my Brunton Compass, emergency flasks, a few spare blasting cap boosters, and saw the label sewn into the back of my vest, they decided they’d just send Rack and Ruin some evil Emails and let me pass unmolested. “I’ll drink to that”, I say as I raise a flask as the locals raise an eyebrow. “Courtesy of Atheists International. We’re here for your children…” The collective gasps and growls indicate they weren’t happy with me or my betrothed. “Don’t care, Buckwheat”, I smiled, “Never did, never will. We’re out of here for good. You can curse my name all you want then. But, then again, why you standing in the American Embassy trying to get a visa to visit the land of the great evil empire?” All the locals and most of the Eastern Expats crowded into a corner as far away from us as they physically could. “BOO!” I snickered over a shot of Wild Turkey 101 Rye. “Now serving number 58! Number 58!” came the call over the tannoy. “Look at that”, I remarked to Es as I stashed both our flasks, “It’s only 12:35. Record time.” We both shimmy into the glass-fronted and presumably bullet- but not C-4 resistant- glass. We pick up the telephones there and acknowledge that we are who we said we were. The East Indian fella, one Harsh Talavalakar, behind the multiple layers of glass asked us why we were here. “Didn’t you read the appointment card?” I asked, “We’re here to have Uncle Sam get us passage out of this sordid and sultry place.” “You are American citizens?” he asked, vacantly. “That’s what it says on appointment cards and these here blue passports,” I replied. “Well, how was I to know?” he scoffed, returning to his half-consumed powdered sugar doughnut. “Maybe read the appointment card and see that we are US Citizens here on the behest of Ambassador Bethesda Orun?” I replied. “Like I have time to read everything that comes across my desk”, he scoffed again. I tapped on the glass to make certain I had his full attention. “Look here, Herr Harsh. I’m not sure how you got this job at the American Consulate but want to be very clear with you. My wife and I are residents of this place for the last 20 years. We’re American citizens of very high standing and have more high powered connections than an Arduino in a nuclear power station. We have direct connections with Langley, Virginia and if you want to retain your cushy job, you’ll put down that fucking doughnut and pay very rapt attention to the two Americans standing here who are getting more and more irritated with some Indian benchode that doesn’t think he has to really do his job. You savvy? You diggin’ me, Beaumont” I guess the benchode got his attention. The two scowls he received from Esme and myself sort of cemented the idea that we’re not too pleased and not with to be trifled. “Yes, sir?” he said, “And ma’am”, as Harsh quickly corrected himself as the doughnut disappeared. “We want out. Gone. Vamoose. Outta here. AMF. You got me?” he nods behind the shatterprone glass. “Now I know the borders are sealed and the airport’s closed, but fuck that. We want out and we want gone for good. I can’t make that much simpler or clearer. Get after it, son.” I said, as seriously as I could. “Well, sir”, he began, “ The airport’s closed…” “Are you deaf or born stupid and been losing ground ever since?” I asked, rhetorically. “I know that. We all know that. My HAT knows that. So, what devious little plan does the US Embassy have in store in just such an unsavory situation?” “Well”, he chokes a bit, “There’s this unofficial lottery where America citizens are issued random numbers and if their number comes up, there are seats made available on special clandestine charter flights.” Considering that Es and I are some of the last American citizens left in the country, I thought our chances might be pretty good. “OK”, I said, “Let us have two of your finest numbers.” “Yes, sir”, he said, “That will be US$500 total.” “Excuse me?” I said. “Oh, yes”, he smirked, “US$250 per number. Chances are you’ll never be called, but with these numbers, at least you stand a chance.” “OK”, I said, “Forget the numbers. I want your name and operating number. I’ve got a report to file that’s due in Virginia before breakfast.” “Oh, sir”, he smirked more, “I cannot release that information. Thanking you. Now be having a good day.” And he slammed the supposedly bulletproof shield between himself and Es and me. “Bulletproof? Maybe. Nitro proof? No fucking way.” I groused as I fished out a couple of blasting cap superfast boosters. “Calm down, dear”, Esme smiled to me as we walked out, “When he wasn’t looking, I took his picture, got his operating number, and full name. In fact, I think I got some information on where he lives…” In the cab on the way back to our villa, I reviewed and confirmed Es’s subterfuge. Flasks number 6 and 8 needed serious replenishment by the time we arrived home. “That’s fucking right, Ruin.” I yelled over the phone, “We need extraction. And now. Along with our personal effects and a few hundredweight of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ boxes of stuff we need to be transported.” “Well, Rock”, Agent Ruin replied, “That’s a tall order. Usually, extraction is for one person and the stuff they’re wearing. Tell you what. Let Rack and I work on it for a week or so. We’ll arrange transport of your personal effects, then we’ll see about getting you and Esme to Dubai. At least there, you can order a plane. Hell, knowing you, you’ll get Tony Stark to fly in and provide door to door service. Sit tight. We’ll be back in touch.” “Good!” I say as I slam the phone down. With these newfangled cellphone telephone instruments, they lack the same sort of satisfying “KER FUCKING CLANG” the old landlines used to have. “Es!”, I yelled, “Start packing. We’re due out of here within a week.” That meant we needed to do some packing triage: • Things going home with us. • Things being shipped. • Things being sold. • Things being left behind. • Things no one was about to get their furry little mitts on. “Oh, fuck!”, I startled. I had just remembered the John Wick-ian stash of various explosives, and adjunct materials I had buried in the basement. Obviously, I couldn’t take it home with me, I couldn’t sell it, and I sure as festering frothing fuck wasn’t going to leave it here. I needed to call one of my more shifty and swarthy friends and arrange for passage out to the deep, dark desert. Around the area where the new sultan had opened a couple of brand new landfills. Looks like I was going to expand them a few meters once we disposed of the few hundred kilos of accumulation I attained over the last few years. See, I’m a packrat. I never leave nor toss anything that might be convenient. Might have a benefit. Might prove to be useful sometime down the line. So, I’ve accumulated a bit of kit. Like…well…a few hundred sticks of Du Pont 60% Extra Fast Dynamite. A couple dozen spools of Z-4 Primacord, in various degrees of fullness. A shitload of C-4; enough bricks for a Floydian wall. A couple, well, a dozen, well, two dozen cases of binary liquid explosives. Hey, this stuff is hard to come by… Continuing, several thousand blasting caps and superfast flash blasting cap boosters. Some mercury fulminate. Some nitrogen triiodide. A couple tens of pounds of PETN. An equal amount of RDX. A few Erlenmeyer flasks full of shit even I’m not certain of what it is… Oh. And a few kilos of freshly decanted, raw nitroglycerin; packed in sturdy wooden boxes lined with new fuzzy lamb’s wool. Not that much. Just 10 or 12 kilos. Yeah. I can’t leave that here. Even a small accident with this stuff would lay waste to not only our villa; but my landlord’s villa with whom we share a common wall. Besides, as Omanis go, my landlord was the only dishdasha dressed denizen for which I had any respect or admiration. He was a good guy. I needed to return his villa at least in some semblance of what I received when we first rented from him. So, I had to dispose of many, many billions of kilojoules of potential energy. I needed to do this out in a distant and far away from prying ears and eyes regions and I needed a truck to haul this stuff out to the range. To be continued…
My wife’s brother and his wife are visiting from out of state and we were hanging out drinking and my brother in law told the story of how he got an earring and his dad blew his top. My wife and his wife both said how it was a terrible example of toxic masculinity. I objected to the term, and they both immediately started talking over me and explaining it to me. I get there are toxic elements of gender roles. That expectations of what it is to be a ‘man’ can be harmful and pointless. Thats not the issue. The issue is that, if I identify as masculine, and I dont want you to use the phrase ‘toxic masculinity’, then you have two options: respect it, or say my feelings just dont matter. Trying to tell me something along the lines of ‘toxic masculinity doesnt mean masculinity is toxic, quit being so offended’ just doesnt wash for me. Replace ‘masculinity’ with any other gender, race, or ableness and youd never use that term in front of someone and have the audacity to explain to them that its only a ‘certain type’ of who they are that’s wrong. Not in a million years. Because its just gross, tbh. Now if you tell me ‘masculinity has screwed it up. Men are in power and its not right and theyve abdicated the right to be respected and honored and theyre kicked out of the equation. We’re moving on without you and we’ll just push you out of the way’, ok. I get that. But telling me toxic masculinity is not insulting masculinity and a gender identification, sorry. Just cant buy it. Anyway i f’d up and said that and it was dead silence and now somehow my relationships with these two women is altered forever. Tldr; I objected to the term ‘toxic masculinity’ as a gender slur and now my wife and sister in law despise and deride me. edit: a couple missed words, bad language Further edit: thanks this helped me realize ‘toxic masculinity’ is clear hate speech. There were some valiant attempts to gaslight me into hating myself for needing to defend my gender identity, and some attempts at rationalizing away the obvious, which didn’t hold up under scrutiny and were abandoned by all but the most dogmatic. I think we’ll look back at this term in 10 years with embarrassment. Edit 3: I think I’m going to propose the term “identity issue constellation” (bringing it back to Jung).. there are constellations of issues around identities. Can we tackle the issues while preserving the identities? Can we agree that one’s self identification is sacred, whether it be gender, sexuality, race or religion? And when issues are identified constellated around those identities can we talk about them without tearing down the identity itself? I think this is a framework for rich debate, growth and collaboration. So I suppose in the case of defining an issue as ‘toxic masculinity’, the more evolved term would be ‘a problem within the constellation of masculinity’. Then we could talk about whether its a problem of society or culture or privilege or oppression or language or an individual, and preserve the dignity and respect of a self-chosen identity. Because, of course, there are indeed problems at all those levels for literally every identity. In the end we have to decide whether people get to keep them while we talk about those problems, or whether they have to be torn down as integral to the debate. JP’s assertion that various non-binary pronouns be rejected would be an example of the latter, and I think its wrong and what has gotten people in the social justice community so hurt and angry. I think a much more useful approach would be to say ‘there are problems in the constellation of non-binary gender identification’, like, we have to update the survey questions to include 1,000 pronouns. That is a separate problem from ‘ridiculous non-binaryism’, which is just a sad and hurtful reduction.
Since 1983, I have lived, worked and raised a family in a progressive, egalitarian, income-sharing intentional community (or commune) of 100 people in rural Virginia. AMA.
Hello Reddit! My name is Keenan Dakota, I have lived at Twin Oaks, an income-sharing, intentional community in rural Virginia for 36 years, since 1983. I grew up in northern Virginia, my parents worked in government. I went to George Mason University where I studied business management. I joined Twin Oaks when I was 23 because I lost faith in the underpinnings of capitalism and looking for a better model. I have stayed because over time capitalism hasn't looked any better, and its a great place to raise children. While at Twin Oaks, I raised two boys to adulthood, constructed several buildings, managed the building maintenance program, have managed some of the business lines at different times. Proof this is me. A younger photo of me at Twin Oaks.Here is a video interview of me about living at Twin Oaks.Photo of Twin Oaks members at the 50th anniversary. Some things that make life here different from the mainstream:
The labor system - all work is considered equal, whether you are earning income for the community or not. Cooking/cleaning counts the same as planning the annual budget. Also, you don't have to do the same job all week - your day can be a mix of indoor and outdoor work, you have freedom to arrange your day, and you can gain skills in a wide array of tasks and trades.
Non-gender binary, queer and trans people are very welcome at Twin Oaks. People introduce themselves with their pronouns and a significant number of our members go by they/them.
Verbal consent culture is very important here. It is not okay to touch anyone without asking.
Nudity and partial nudity is allowed in some parts of the farm, such as in the sauna, swimming hole, on the hiking trails, etc.
Our social norms prohibit using phones in common areas when other members are present, with the exception of a few cafe-style spaces.
Every day we provide a home-cooked, plant-based lunch and dinner with options for special diets including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and no onions & garlic.
Raising kids here is easier. Some of the time that parents spend raising their children counts towards their labor quota. Many of the kids are home-schooled or "unschooled", and they spend more time outside than in front of a screen. The kids have no problem passing the state's annual standardized test to move onto the next grade level.
We have a shared clothing resource called Commie Clothes, which is like a free thrift store. Borrow something and then return it dirty, and it gets washed and re-hung up.
More about Twin Oaks: Twin Oaks is an intentional community in rural central Virginia, made up of around 90 adult members and 15 children. Since the community's beginning in 1967, our way of life has reflected our values of cooperation, sharing, nonviolence, equality, and ecology. We do not have a group religion; our beliefs are diverse. We do not have a central leader; we govern ourselves by a form of democracy with responsibility shared among various managers, planners, and committees. We are self-supporting economically, and partly self-sufficient. We are income-sharing. Each member works 42 hours a week in the community's business and domestic areas. Each member receives housing, food, healthcare, and personal spending money from the community. We have open-slots and are accepting applications for new members. All prospective new members must participate in a three-week visitor program. Applicants to join must leave for 30 days after their visit while the community decides on their application. We offer a $5 tour on Saturdays of the property, starting in March. More info here. Ask me anything! TL;DR: Opted out of the rat-race and retired at 23 to live in the woods with a bunch of hippies. EDIT: Thanks for all the questions! If you want some photos of the farm, you can check out our instagram. EDIT2: I'm answering new, original questions again today. Sort by new and scroll through the trolls to see more of my responses. EDIT3: We DO have food with onion & garlic! At meals, there is the regular food, PLUS alternative options for vegan/vegetarian/no gluten/no onions & garlic. EDIT4: Some of you have been asking if we are a cult. No, we are not. We don't have a central leader or common religion. Here are characteristics of cults, FYI. Edit: Yikes! Did I mention that I am 60? Reddit is not my native land. I don't understand the hostile, angry and seemingly deliberately obtuse comments on here. And Soooo many people! Anyway, to the angry crowd: Twin Oaks poses no threat to anyone, we are 100 people out of a country of 330 million? Twin Oaks reached its current maximum population about 25 years ago, so not growing fast, or at all. Members come and go from Twin Oaks. There are, my guess is, 800 ex-members of Twin Oaks, so we aren't holding on to everyone who joins—certainly, no one is held against their will. Twin Oaks is in rural Virginia, but we really aren't insular, isolated, gated or scared of the mainstream culture. We have scheduled tours of the whole property. Local government officials, like building inspectors, come to Twin Oaks with some frequency. People at Twin Oaks like to travel and manage to do so. I personally, know lots of people in the area, I am also a runner, so I leave the property probably every day. There are lots of news stories about Twin Oaks over the years. If you are worried about Twin Oaks, maybe you could go read what the mainstream (and alternative) media have to say. Except about equality Twin Oaks is not particularly dogmatic about anything. (I know some people at Twin Oaks will disagree with that statement.) Twin Oaks isn't really hypocritical about Capitalism, Socialism, or Communism, we just don't identify those concepts as something that we are trying to do. Twin Oaks is not trying to DO Communism, we are trying to live a good life with equally empowered citizens—which has led us to try to maintain economic parity among members. Communists also do that. In making decisions in the community I don't remember anyone trying to support or oppose an idea due to excess or insufficient Communism, Socialism, or Capitalism. In most practical senses those words aren't useful and don't mean anything. So, no need to hammer Twin Oaks for being insufficiently pure, or hypocritical. Twin Oaks is very similar to the Kibbutz in Israel. If anyone has concerns or questions about what would happen if places like Twin Oaks suddenly became much larger and more common, read about the history of the Kibbutz, which may have grown to possibly 1% of the population at their largest? There was and is no fight with Capitalism from the kibbutz—or with the State. My point is—not a threat. To the other people who think that the ideas of Twin Oaks are interesting, I want you to know it is possible to live at Twin Oaks (or places like Twin Oaks) and happily live ones entire life. There is no central, critical failing that makes the idea not work. And plenty of upside. But do lots of research first. Twin Oaks maintains a massive web site. (Anyway, it takes a long time to read.) But what I would like to see is more people starting more egalitarian, income-sharing communities. I think that there is a need for a community that is designed and built by families, and who also share income, and provide mutual support with labor and money. If you love this concept, maybe consider gathering together other people and starting your own. Ideologically speaking: -Ecology: the best response to ecological problems is for humans to use fewer resources. The easiest way to use fewer resources is to share resources. Living communally vastly cuts down on resource use without reducing quality of life. -Equality: ideologically speaking, most people accept the idea that all humans have equal rights, but most social structures operate in ways that are fundamentally unequal. If we truly believe in equality then we ought to be willing to put our bodies where our ideology is. In a truly equal world, the issues of sexism and racism and all other forms of discrimination would, essentially, not exist. -Democracy: Twin Oaks uses all manner of decision-making models and tools to try to include everyone and to keep people equally empowered. There is no useful word for this. We do use a majority vote sometimes, as a fallback. But sometimes we use consensus. We sometimes use sociocracy (dynamic governance). The word "Isocracy" (decision-making among equals), would be useful to describe Twin Oaks' decision-making model, but Lev in Australia has written an incomprehensible "definition" on Wikipedia, that he keeps changing back when someone corrects it. -Happiness: The overarching goal of all ideologies is to make people happy, right? I mean, isn't it? Capitalism is based upon the belief that motivation is crucial to human aspiration and success (and therefore more happiness). Under Capitalism, equality is a detriment because it hinders motivation (less fear of failure, or striving for success). Twin Oaks believes that humans are happier when they are equal, and equally empowered. So the place to start up the ladder of happiness is to first make everyone equal. Well, Twin Oaks is mainly still working on that first step. EDIT5: Some have asked about videos - here are links to documentaries about Twin Oaks by BBC, VICE and RT.
I absolutely hate it when people ask for my pronouns.
Bit of background: I'm transmasculine and most likely starting T end of this year. I live in a very progressive city. I know that's nothing to complain about; plenty of people are in far scarier, more dangerous circumstances, but I need to get this off my chest. On the off chance there are any cis people reading this, there's a note for you at the bottom of this post. In light of the two morons who caused a natural disaster in California when they tried to tell the world about their baby's genitals, there has been a lot of well-meaning rhetoric surrounding the gender binary. Some of this is concentrated on cis people's responsibility to display their pronouns online as well as encouraging people to ask each other's pronouns. Always. Without exception. I'm all for cis people displaying their pronouns online, but now that they've made a huge song and dance about it, EVERYONE in my social circle knows that if you're one of the good cis, you put your pronouns in your profile, at the end of emails, and never assume anyone else's. I am not exagerating when I say I am dreading the uptick in people asking for my pronouns this will cause. Normally, I circumvent the 'pronoun circle' conversation by getting up to get a drink, pretending I don't hear, etc. But if every new social interaction I have is going to start like this from now on, I'll stay home, because I'm left with three options:
Tell a lie that I will have to undo in the future.
Make things incredibly awkward with a stranger by snubbing their well-meaning (but invasive) question.
At the moment, I'm just happy to be starting T at the end of the year. Most of the people I've known for years call me she/her, and very close circle of friends uses he/him. Coming out to these select few people involved an intimate, one-on-one conversation with each of them to ensure they understood my position. I don't care to be out at work before at least my voice drops, nor to strangers. I'd much rather suffer being called she/her and get on with things than open myself up to the whole 'She—oh, uh, I mean he, sorry, it's just hard to get used to', the questions, and friends-of-friends outside the community who take my mismatched body and pronouns as an opportunity to ask questions. I feel like cis allies are doing their best to be inclusive, but in the process are totally forgetting to just fucking ask actual trans people what they want. Not one of the people I'm out to thought to check and see how I felt about the circulation of pronoun-shaming memes. I feel completely ignored and unheard. I have clinical social phobia which I normally manage quite well and this has cranked it up to 100. I'm supposed to go to an interview tomorrow with someone in the greater woke circle, and if he asks my pronouns when I get there, I will scream. Now, on the incredibly off chance that there are cis progressives lurking who do want to help normalize asking for pronouns and combat gender assumptions, I have two suggestions for you:
Privately engage your cis friends (both male and female) in conversation about displaying their pronouns. If you want to, display your own as well, AND BE QUIETLY SMUG ABOUT IT.
Consider offering your pronouns when meeting a new person to show them that you're open to hearing theirs, but don't ask them directly for theirs. Sure, there's a risk someone might get offended that you didn't ask, but any sensible person will see you offering yours as an invitation to offer theirs. If they don't say anything and you're in doubt, just use their name.
VR is not what a lot of people think it is. It's not comparable to racing wheels, Kinect, or 3DTVs. It offers a shift that the game industry hasn't had before; a first of it's kind. I'm going to outline what VR is like today in despite of the many misconceptions around it and what it will be like as it grows. What people find to be insurmountable problems are often solvable. What is VR in 2020? Something far more versatile and far-reaching than people comprehend. All game genres and camera perspectives work, so you're still able to access the types of games you've always enjoyed. It is often thought that VR is a 1st person medium and that's all it can do, but 3rd person and top-down VR games are a thing and in various cases are highly praised. Astro Bot, a 3rd person platformer, was the highest rated VR game before Half-Life: Alyx. Lets crush some misconceptions of 2020 VR:
The buy-in is $400 on average, not $1000 as that is Valve Index pricing.
Motion sickness is easily avoidable for most people by sticking to games that have 1:1 fully synced or mostly synced body movement like Beat Saber or even Alyx with teleportation.
Most VR games offer locomotion options so teleporting is certainly not a required norm.
You don't need a PC or console; Oculus Quest is the start of the new norm where headsets are self-contained.
You are not required to stand or move about. VR has always allowed you to relax in the same way as traditional gaming by sitting on the couch with a gamepad.
VR isn't anti-social. It's actually the pinnacle of social communication devices. What it is (currently) is potentially isolating depending on how you use it.
People will disabilities often think VR is not for them, when in all likelihood it probably is, because most disabilities work fine with VR and even have a lot to gain from the use of it.
The setup of VR is much faster and quicker than it was just a few years ago thanks to inside-out tracking and standalones. A Quest user can get going within 10 seconds.
So what are the problems with VR in 2020?
Low resolution and low FoV.
Wireless isn't standard.
Only a few released AAA exclusive games.
Potential for eye strain and headaches.
Some headsets feel really outdated. (PSVR)
Full body avatars don't align correctly.
Despite these downsides, VR still offers something truly special. What it enables is not just a more immersive way to game, but new ways to feel, to experience stories, to cooperate or fight against other players, and a plethora of new ways to interact which is the beating heart of gaming as a medium. To give some examples, Boneworks is a game that has experimental full body physics and the amount of extra agency it provides is staggering. When you can actually manipulate physics on a level this intimately where you are able to directly control and manipulate things in a way that traditional gaming simply can't allow, it opens up a whole new avenue of gameplay and game design. Things aren't based on a series of state machines anymore. "Is the player pressing the action button to climb this ladder or not?" "Is the player pressing the aim button to aim down the sights or not?" These aren't binary choices in VR. Everything is freeform and you can basically be in any number of states at a given time. Instead of climbing a ladder with an animation lock, you can grab on with one hand while aiming with the other, or if it's physically modelled, you could find a way to pick it up and plant it on a pipe sticking out of the ground to make your own makeshift trap where you spin it around as it pivots on top of the pipe, knocking anything away that comes close by. That's the power of physics in VR. You do things you think of in the same vain as reality instead of thinking inside the set limitations of the designers. Even MGSV has it's limitations with the freedom it provides, but that expands exponentially with 6DoF VR input and physics. I talked about how VR could make you feel things. A character or person that gets close to you in VR is going to invade your literal personal space. Heights are possibly going to start feeling like you are biologically in danger. The idea of tight spaces in say, a horror game, can cause claustrophobia. The way you move or interact with things can give off subtle almost phantom-limb like feelings because of the overwhelming visual and audio stimulation that enables you to do things that you haven't experienced with your real body; an example being floating around in zero gravity in Lone Echo. So it's not without it's share of problems, but it's an incredibly versatile gaming technology in 2020. It's also worth noting just how important it is as a non-gaming device as well, because there simply isn't a more suitably combative device against a world-wide pandemic than VR. Simply put, it's one of the most important devices you can get right now for that reason alone as you can socially connect with no distancing with face to face communication, travel and attend all sorts of events, and simply manage your mental and physical health in ways that the average person wishes so badly for right now. Where VR is (probably) going to be in 5 years You can expect a lot. A seismic shift that will make the VR of today feel like something very different. This is because the underlying technology is being reinvented with entirely custom tech that no longer relies on cell phone panels and lenses that have existed for decades.
The resolution will be around the equivalent of 1080p monitors, so you'd probably be looking at 4K x 4K per eye or higher.
The field of view will be 30-40% higher.
Eye strain and headaches will be solved via varifocal displays and VR will become even more comfortable visually than 2D displays, as they still have these issues which can be only be solved in stereoscopic displays.
Isolation will be solved with mixed reality reconstruction enabling the real world to bleed into VR on a per object basis in real time. VR headsets are now in all senses MR headsets. (VR+AR in one device)
There will be plenty of non-gaming apps gaining bigger traction like some sort of social space or event-based app.
PlayStation and Xbox will both support VR and a PSVR2 headset will have launched.
That's enough to solve almost all the issues of the technology and make it a buy-in for the average gamer. In 5 years, we should really start to see the blending of reality and virtual reality and how close the two can feel Where VR is (probably) going to be in 10 years
VR is now effectively photorealistic in the visual and audio department and it's extremely hard if not impossible at times to tell the difference between the real world and the virtual world.
Quite a number of people start to live big chunks of their lives in VR.
Light-field 6DoF video will be common allowing you to move inside live videos or a playback of a video that are in every way indistinguishable from reality, at least visually/audibly.
Streaming becomes mainstream as an option to consume games and it is now starting to become feasible to stream VR games as well.
VAR start to replace traditional displays and devices with monitors, phones and handhelds especially on their way out, but TVs very likely still hold a strong presence due to their communal nature.
If consoles still exist, their new features are now focused mostly on VR and how to integrate as seamlessly as possible into the VAR experience. Traditional gaming is still likely the most popular way to play, but consoles must find ways to market towards the new.
VAR are the new norm for work, education, communication, entertainment and a lot of aspects of daily life.
AAA VRMMORPGs start to get popular and become the new standard for the genre, revitalizing it.
The metaverse starts to form in some small way, not yet reaching the magnitude of something like the OASIS, but still a very large and versatile world or web of worlds where the phrase "Do anything, go anywhere, become anyone, be with anyone" is the truest it's ever been.
In short, as good as if not better than the base technology of Ready Player One which consists of a visor and gloves. Interestingly, RPO missed out on the merging of VR and AR which will play an important part of the future of HMDs as they will become more versatile, easier to multi-task with, and more engrained into daily life where physical isolation is only a user choice. Useful treadmills and/or treadmill shoes as well as haptic suits will likely become (and stay) enthusiast items that are incredible in their own right but due to the commitment, aren't applicable to the average person - in a way, just like RPO. At this stage, VR is mainstream with loads of AAA content coming out yearly and providing gaming experiences that are incomprehensible to most people today. Overall, the future of VR couldn't be brighter. It's absolutely here to stay, it's more incredible than people realize today, and it's only going to get exponentially better and more convenient in ways that people can't imagine.
Many people who get interested in guns and start shooting soon find out that there are a number of shooting sports out there. A lot of those shooters wonder whether that kind of shooting is for them. Maybe they’re not good enough? Maybe it’s only for the really hard core shooters? Maybe it’s super expensive? Maybe you have to be invited, or know a member of the club, or be former military? Do you have to be a really competitive person to enjoy it? Should you delay getting into the game until you are “good enough”? This post is intended to answer some of those questions. The short answer is that if you’ve been shooting long enough to safely handle a gun around others, know how to generally operate your firearm(s), and can hit where you are aiming at least some of the time, you can start playing shooting sports. At least in the United States, that is – the barriers can be higher in some other countries. But there are robust competitive shooting communities in a lot of countries around the world, including most of western Europe and other places you might not expect. Let’s run down some of the reasons people delay or avoid trying their hand at a gun game.
• I’m worried I’m not good enough.” Good enough to WHAT? To win? You’re NOT. Not good enough to WIN against people who have been playing these games for years. But that’s OK. Nobody would expect a new guy or gal to show up and win. What competitive shooters care about in terms of the new participant is: safety; attitude; safety; willingness to learn and help; and safety. OK, you get it. By and large, when a new shooter shows up to a match/game/field/whatever, the existing players don’t wonder “how good is he going to be?” They wonder “how safe is he going to be?” If you are a safe gun handler, you’re about 85% of the way home. If you’re interested in learning about the game, generally pleasant to be around, and, if needed, willing to lend a hand to keep the match going, chances are really, really good you will be welcome REGARDLESS of how you shoot. • “I just want to wait until I’m a little better.” Guess what? No matter how long you wait (or practice on your own), you’re probably not going to get good enough to show up and dominate out of the gate. Do you think you’ll get better faster by practicing alone, in isolation, with no learning sources except youtube and a subreddit? Or by meeting lots of really experienced shooters, getting to watch what they do up close, getting to ask questions of them, getting objective feedback on how you’re doing, etc.? Right, the latter. Wherever your shooting skill is right now, if you start competing tomorrow, you’ll be a better shooter this time next year than if you wait and start competing in a year. • “I’m not really a competitive person, and I don’t like super competitive people, trash talking, people trying to wager, etc.” Don’t worry. A lot of people who shoot the gun games do it because they LOVE TO SHOOT and gun games offer the most interesting shooting challenges… not because they feel the need to dominate others. There are actually relatively few intensely competitive people in many of the gun games – and they’re not going to be trying to flex on the new guy or gal. Sometimes you’ll overhear some good natured ribbing among friends, but shooting sports people are overwhelmingly encouraging to others while being very hard on THEMSELVES. There are lots of people who have shot for years and never won a darn thing. But they’ve made a lot of friends, learned a lot, had a lot of good times, etc. Competitive outcomes are secondary for a LOT of people. • “I’m worried it’s too expensive.” OK, this one does have a tiny kernel of truth, depending on the game. There are a small number of gun games where even the entry level gear is pretty expensive, but in most gun games the gear is either not that impactful on outcomes or there are equipment divisions that keep things under control and create some relatively inexpensive options. If you’ve got a service-grade/field-grade gun, chances are good there’s some game you can use it in where you’re not just taking a tricycle to a motocross rally. The more significant aspect is that people who get into gun games tend to shoot a lot. You will find shooting in games is more fun than static range work, so you’ll want to shoot matches. You’ll also want to improve (and you’ll have good ideas and information about how to do it), so you’ll want to practice more. It varies by game, but if you fall down the rabbit hole on, for example, USPSA, you might end up shooting 10,000 rounds in a year and be far from the highest-volume shooter in your immediate circle! But that’s self-directed/driven. If you can afford to shoot 500 rounds a month for the pistol games or the shotgun games, or half or a quarter of that for the accuracy-oriented rifle games, you can play and make progress. But you will end up spending more on ammo. That’s one reason so many competitive shooters take up reloading! • “I’m worried my gear isn’t legal.” Possibly. But it’s probably legal for some game, or can be traded for other gear that is legal. Although plenty of people get into competitive shooting and end up buying specialized competition gear (guns and other stuff), most gun games don’t have a whole lot of crazy rules designed to keep people OUT. Most of the gear rules are to control stuff that would be a competitive advantage, not set some minimum floor of baller-ness. In my preferred game (USPSA), you can rock a Hi-Point if you want… but not a binary trigger. • “Do I have to be invited?” In the United States, generally the answer is no. Most of the more popular games are open to anyone who pays the appropriate match or other fees, agrees to abide by the rules, is legally allowed to possess firearms, etc. That goes even for a lot of matches that are held at otherwise-private, member’s-only facilities. The national governing organization for most of the sports will help you find local matches/events and contact information for the people who run them. You can then easily email, call, or message those local folks, and they’ll be happy to tell you if the match is open to the general public – chances are very, very good it is, and that they will want you to come! • “I’m worried I won’t like anyone, and they won’t like me.” There are no guarantees, but the minute you show up, you’ve got a big plus in your column – you’re also someone interested in guns and maybe the game everyone else there already loves. In most of the gun games, there is quite a bit of standing around and talking, and you’ll get to know people quickly – but because there is a game going on, there’s no painful small talk. You can just talk about the sport! It’s super easy social interaction, even for introverts. “I’m worried it will just make going to the square/lane range kind of boring by comparison.” That one’s true, just like scuba diving the great barrier reef makes swimming laps in the pool kinda boring. So if those are the big reasons for people not to try shooting sports, what are the reasons to try it? • It will make you a better shooter. • It will make you a safer shooter. • You will almost surely make new friends. • It will launch you on a new hobby and journey of discovery. “Eh, I’m still on the fence.” OK. Go watch one of the gun games. Most of the sports are perfectly happy to have people watch a match and talk to participants. These aren’t really big spectator sports, but most of us will gladly explain what’s going on, what gear you need, the basics of the rules, etc., to someone who shows up and is just curious. “OK, that sounds kind of interesting in the abstract… how do I know which game to try?” That’s another post. If people want it, I’ll be happy to post that, too, in a few days.
Introducing myself and my relationship to this sub
Hello everyone, I am really happy we have this sub back, and am even more excited to be one of the moderators. This subreddit has been hugely influential in my self discovery, since it is one of the first places I found relative late-bloomers with experiences I could relate to. To kickstart this process for others, and to give the sub some extra content I am going to write my (long) story. I am Erik, I am 30 years old (I cheated when I first came here), and I came out at 28. I am still pre medical transition as I am from the Netherlands and we have really gatekeepery system with huge waiting lists here, and no private options to get around it. Corona made it even worse. But after waiting 21 (about 4 extra because of the covid situation) months I finally have an intake appointment next week. I was always "a tomboy" and never filled any expectation society would place on a girl, and from a really early age I resisted my parents trying to put me in dresses. When in school someone would split the class in boys and girls I would panic. I remember how horrible I felt when the measuring lady at the bra store told me I now had a C cup. I could never shopping for clothes longer than half an hour or so before I would get this really weird brain fog disassociation feeling, which I now identify as dysphoria. I did never connect with girls, and the rare school friend I had was always a boy. Trough all of this it never occurred to me that I might not be a girl. I have been diagnosed with Aspergers at a really young age, and this was used as the excuse for all these issues. I was also at special schools where I was bullied a lot, almost exclusively by boys, which I think now made me less likely to associate myself with them. After high-school I managed to get to university where the environment was completely foreign to me, since I had barely interacted with people without some kind of diagnosis since I was completely overwhelmed and had a hard time really socializing with people. Academically it went well until I had to write a masters theses about my research that didn't go that well, but in the end I managed to get a masters degree in physics. Looking back at that time I see that I never really lived, or even allowed myself to do anything else than (a lot of) unproductive procrastination and study, because of that frist habit everything took a lot of time and I never really had any time of. During the end of my master thesis part of the procrastination started to contain mostly nb trans stuff, but also details about ftm medical transition. I figured out I was (sex repulsed) asexual at around 20 (and not just "not ready for sex yet" with a guy I had been in a relationship for 5 years, and still am now), and now I identified as agender, because I realized I clearly wasn't a girl, but I felt like I didn't have any body dysphoria and I also didn't have this huge desire to be a man, or had the idea that I was a man. But slowly more and more things began to creep on me, mostly I dismissed them as things I had to deal with because I was born female, I did see it as some sort of disability. And because I never had deep conversations with girls about these topics I had the idea that everybody experiences it like that and that I was just bad at putting op the show everybody else seemed to like. At this point there seemed to me more and more representation of trans guys mostly in media, and I looked up more online. I envied them, they experienced this real distress with their body, and that meant that they had the ability to do something about it. I didn't have that, and thus I had to life with this disability for the rest of my live. By now I also started to realize how bad my posture was, and how standing straight felt horrible, that I had 3 old bras and didn't buy new ones since my mother stopped dragging me to a store, that I could not stand wearing tight shirts. That I could barely buy new clothes, and that almost every piece of clothing I owned made me uncomfortable, but if I wore the same thing over and over I could be desensitized to that specific piece of clothing. I felt horrible when somebody addressed me as a woman, but I always assumed that was because I didn't like aging, now I actively started to consider the other option. I stopped trying look for the only object in the women's section that I could tolerate and tried to shop in the mens section. This switched out one issue for another, since I am now confronted with the shape of my body because nothing will fit me. At this point I ordered a binder, it did feel like some forbidden drug. The moment I put it on I knew I would be dependent on it some day, so I did put it in the closet and ignored it for about another 4 months. I dit cut my hair from the half long mess it had been my whole live to a shorter mens cut, and again I recognized myself in the mirror. Slowly I realized that the more masculine I was presenting the better I felt. I have near perfect vision, but I think the best analogy for this process I can think of is the stories I hear about kids getting glasses for the frist time and suddenly realizing the trees have leaves. I only find out how bad the previous situation was when I change it for the better. Now I am about 27 and I have a stable job, I can close the door at 5 and this gives me lots of time and headspace to work this out. At first I thought transition wouldn't be an option for me because I basically already did the social part without changing my pronoun and name, so social transition would mean doing what I already did and getting angry at people for getting my name and pronouns wrong. But over time I did try to go by a new name and he/him and although this isn't the revelation that changing my appearance is, I still like it. I still identify as non binary in some form, I like to describe myself as somewhere on the spectrum between agender and male. My presentation is male, my interests are, but I feel like my inner world is too deprived of gender to be binary male. I have realized that I and need T and top surgery to truly make my mind match my body. Part of my sex repulsion is probably bottom dysphoria, since I am not even able to use a tampon. I don't feel the need to figure that out at this point. During the last 2 years of the process I describe here this subreddit has been a huge help to me. This is the only place I found people I could relate to, older people that didn't always know. People that talked openly about having a slow discovery process like mine, and people that actively related to me. On my birthday at the end of april I was trying to put a post here where I explained my struggles with turning 30 and feeling like I wasted my 20's not knowing who I was, knowing there would be people here that could relate to me. But the sub was restricted and I had no place to go, I did put in on /ftm, but it wasn't the same. I hope we can make this the place that helped me learn there are others like me again, and I am really happy to actively be part of that. Feel free to reach out to me if you have suggestions, problems, ideas, or for any other reason. P.S. I probably need to write some life story for these genderteam psychologists at some point, I realized that the only thing I still have to do is translate this to Dutch.
Starting HRT in a marriage. Tw: doubts about transition, mention of dysphoria, sex
Hello, a pre-HRT mtf demigirl here. I have my first appointment to talk about HRT and im super nervous and conflicted. I came out as non-binary about 3 years ago mostly just to my partner and a few close friends but was very much still in the closet. I one day broke down, felt I had to come out a lot stronger than that and decided to come out over social media. Since then I've started presenting way more fem, changed my name and pronoun, and within the last 2 weeks made an appointment with my primary Healthcare provider about HRT. The day before I made the call I was so certain that this was it, that I wanted more than anything else to become a woman in body mind and spirit. My partner was totally supportive of the name change, the new pronoun, the change of clothes and makeup; but when it came to changing my body through hormones, a few things don't sit well with her. She worries that mood swings could cause us to fight more, that physical changes could strain our already troubled sex life, and worst of all the stubble from shaving my body hair is triggering for her. When we first met she told me she was gay, and I told her I was trans. It all seemed so perfect until I started presenting fem. We used to dress exactly the same and it wasn't until our second year of marriage that I started playing around with fem characteristics. I feel like I'm at a crossroads between non-binary and trans woman. I enjoy being androgenous but I'm tired of being perceived as a crossdresser. I love my wife but I'm missing intimacy and feeling my sexual needs fluctuate. In many ways I want to stay non-bianary but I'm almost 30 and the idea of my body starting to look like a middle aged man's feels like a death sentence. A voice inside me screams "you're so close! You can get one year as a woman in your 20's!" The idea of losing my opportunity for this is I'm not sure if this post is appropriate for this sub, if not please take it down. Ive long pondered weather or not to ask this question over reddit due to the extremely personal nature of it but with Covid preventing me from meeting other people going through these issues in person social media and couciling seem to be my only options to find clarity. Here goes, how did you know you needed horomones? How did you cope with the difficulty of maintaining a relationship through that transition? Or when did you realize you couldn't have both? I know these questions are heavy, im admittedly very new to this world and been trying my best to educate myself but I'm feeling extremely isolated from any aspect of community. My apologies if I've triggered or offended anyone. At the very least thank you for reading this novel I anxiously have been putting together for the last 6 hours. 💝 -Matilda
EDIT: I figured it out already. Thanks for letting me post, it genuinely helped. I want to leave this up in case anyone else can relate to it. /edit Hi, everyone. I've been having an identity crisis over the past week or two and it's been affecting my health. Talking out my thoughts with others seems to be helping, so I would like to share my thoughts and am hoping some of you with more experience could offer some advice, or just help me talk through this. For context, I'm 35, came out 6 years ago at age 29, first identified as FTM and soon afterwards non-binary trans-masculine. I socially transitioned with pushback/little support and changed my name. I've felt like I'm not a girl and questioned whether I was a boy since I was 4 or 5 years old. I live in the US. When I first came out as FTM, I was blissful. Everything clicked into place, but I felt more alive and more grounded than I'd ever felt in my life. It shook me that I'd never felt this joyful until I was about 30. I wanted it to last forever. I felt another definite "click" when I read up on butch lesbians a few weeks ago. So I've been thinking I could be a late-blooming lesbian with some serious repression and internalized homophobia to work through. I've been bi this whole time but recently realized I was still very afraid of seriously dating a woman. I grew up in a homophobic, very conservative, and traumatizing household. I'm not sure why I'm now so distressed that I can't eat or sleep. I think I know myself better than I used to, and that should be a good thing. I might not need surgery or T after all, which is a relief from the seesaw I've been on. Sometimes, I'm still pretty freaked out by how squeaky my voice is and how round my face is, so the option to temporarily go on T until my voice breaks is enticing. Non-binary people have done that. But I'm worried about the other effects it will have on my body. My hormones are already getting out of whack due to age. I'm also a singer and am playing roulette with the future of my music. I've also been extremely pissed off at, not the entire trans community because it has some genuinely good and helpful people, but some part of it. Maybe this is where most of the distress is coming from. I called it a "cult" before I knew other people did. I know it's not really a cult, but I feel like I've been duped by people with ulterior motives. I thought I was smarter than that; I prided myself on being skeptical. I'm pissed that I was led on but also embarrassed for being so stupid...everyone keeps going on about how they're converting "the kids" and I'm far from a kid. "You don't know if you have internalized transphobia stopping you from transitioning. You could have it and not know. You should just transition." This taught me not to trust myself, because I can't know myself. "We all doubted ourselves in the beginning, too, but transitioning worked for us. So you should just transition." This taught me not to trust my intuition. Doubt was unreliable, and possibly transphobic. "Anyone who disagrees with us is transphobic or old-fashioned, don't listen to them!" This taught me that during my research, anything that didn't match what the "good people" said was from the "bad people" or simply outdated, and not to be trusted. Of course nobody wants to cause harm to others or play for the wrong team, so I listened. "In the past, we had to memorize scripts and lie to get the hormones and surgery we needed because the medical community is so transphobic that they want to oppress us!" I learned that I was hated and feared by an oppressive majority, and anybody who spoke contrary to what I told by the right and proper side was not to be trusted. "Cis people don't question their gender. Cis women like being women, even if they don't like gender stereotypes associated with it." Fucking allies supported this statement. Because I have always questioned my gender, the only logical outcome of this was that I must be trans. When J.K. Rowling shared her essay and that she more or less hated being a woman but was still a woman, my whole foundation broke apart. Before Rowling, the seed of doubt was planted when I got censored and reprimanded on a forum for sharing a link to a detransition site even though it was exactly what the asker had requested. How dare I share information from terfs! Didn't I know they were the enemy? Didn't I know detransition made us look bad to the conservatives who were taking our rights away? So now that I'm here, I feel awful, like the people I once related to think I'm evil and don't deserve to live. I always felt that pressure to not wind up being "actually cis" too, or I'd be viewed as an oppressive traitor. You know, how they say "it's ok if you decide you're actually just cis" but it didn't really feel like it was ok. And I don't think I'm "cis." As I've slowly unpacked all this BS and shed the distress that came with it, I've just gotten so angry. I've questioned whether I really am trans in the end, because I don't know who or what to trust anymore. I legit shortened this as much as I could and it's still a novel. Thanks for reading, and please let me know your thoughts if you have any.
Sympathy for the Drow - De-Vilifying the Dark Elves
The "Evil" races in DnD have always rubbed me kinda the wrong way. Partly once I learned that a lot of them come from racist stereotypes (Orcs, Drow, and Goblins in particular) and also just because it doesn't make sense to me. Even Nazi Germany had variation and dissenters and it only lasted for 12 years. Why would a clearly evil society never change over hundreds of years? In my opinion, a story is only as good as it's villains. So, I've set out to try and make the traditionally evil races slightly more believable and even sympathetic in places. Now, I've not been a DM very long, only like three years. But the first campaign I ever ran was through Curse of Strahd which paints the Vistani (an itinerant society heavily based on the real world Romani) as a conniving group of thieves, murders, and vampire-worshipers. Thankfully, I found through reddit and other sites how to steer away from the racists depictions of the Vistani and making them seem like, at worst, opportunists. So, I hope to be able to do that with some other of the classic DnD antagonist races. I've read some other phenomenal post on here about evil races that totally inspired me as well. There's a great twopart post about Decolonizing D&D which I adore. The post about alignment is easily my favorite. There's a couple great ones on Orcs and Yuan-Ti too so if some of my ideas are lifted from them, I hope y'all consider it flattery instead of theft. So, here are some primer notes before I get into it. For creating the Dark Elves, I tried to keep as much as I could from the books. Obviously some stuff has to get thrown out the window though. I also tried to standardize calling them Dark Elves instead of Drow partly because I feel like Drow has a much nastier sound to it and calling them Dark Elves follows the naming convention with the High and Wood Elves. I tried to model them after real-life matriarchal societies like the Mosuo people of China and their pantheon after real deities like the Greeks, Romans, and Norse. I also quickly realized that building a society is inseparable from geography. Where a people are from effects their language, values, mythology, history, and family structure. I've tried to outline details I think are necessary to making this society realistic while leaving it open ended enough to be place-able in different worlds with relative ease. All that aside, lets get into the meat of it.
The Dark Elves: Elven Outcasts
The Elves are a varied and magical people that come from many planes and many environments within them. But none are met with more distrust and fear than the Dark Elves. Easily set apart from their cousins by their charcoal or pitch-black skin, pink-red eyes, hair of grays and whites, and shorter stature, these people have earned a reputation as killers, thieves, demon worshipers, and liars. But history is a cruel mistress, something the Dark Elves know better than most.
The Divine Divide
As the legends go, when the world was still young, Corellon Larethian lived on the Plane of Arvandor with his fellow Primal Elves. They were wild and mutable, emotional and free in all things. They changed shapes at will, gave and took freely to and from the world, and never stayed in any location too long. They wandered to and fro, scattering their peoples across almost every plane. However, this unbridled freedom was not without a price. Arguments, feuds, and small scale wars were incredibly common between them. Some elves would find themselves stranded on far off planes after most of their companions impulsively decided to leave. Their self serving impulses drove them to often completely disregard the needs or wants of others if they went against their own desires. And their reckless revelry was wreaking havoc on the natural world with Elven parties decimating whole planes of edible plants, wild game, and drinkable water. One such Primal Elf began to see the destruction of their ways and talked to other elves about their actions. Slowly, this Elf by the name of Lolth amassed a small following of devotees that saw the negative ramifications of their inconsiderate freedom. Lolth and her followers agreed to take on fixed forms to show recognition of the dangers that impulsivity could bring. Lolth led this small group of devotees to Corellon to ask for his support. Now, Corellon did not lead these Primal Elves: he was just as wild as the best of them and did not take kindly to others telling him what to do. But he was the First Elf ever born and was universally respected amongst the Primal Elves and if Lolth could convince him, others would surely follow. Corellon listened to her proposition and agreed that they should change to prevent more destruction and conflict, but refused to order his kinsfolk into any action. He was an Elf, same as all of them, and he wouldn’t dare order around his family. He balked when Lolth asked him to take a concrete form as a show of solidarity and brushed her off as a killjoy. Lolth was unsatisfied with this outcome and her following set out to convince each Elf to change their ways to preserve the beauty of the worlds. However, without the support of Corellon, many elves refused her offer. Her anger grew with each failure and her opinion of Corellon turned sour, something she made no attempt to hide from her Elven siblings. Now, Corellon is a proud god and once he caught wind that Lolth was bad mouthing him in an attempt to win over others, he became enraged. He railed against Lolth calling her a snake-tongued thief and Lolth called him incompetent and cruel. Their tempers flared and all the elves chose sides between Corellon’s freedom and Lolth’s stability. During this great debate, the Primal Elves turned to violence. The Dark Elves maintain that Corellon’s side threw the first blow, while the High Elves claim that it came from Lolth’s side. No matter the source, this violent outburst soured relations between Lolth and Corellon forever after. He cast her and her followers out of Arvandor and barred her from ever returning. He also cast all but his most trusted kin from Arvandor, forcing them all to live lives on other worlds out of fear of another perceived insurrection. Thus, the Seldarine remain in Arvandor to judge the souls of Corellon’s faithful when they die and Lolth takes refuge in Arcadia with her pantheon where she minds the souls of the Drow. Corellon’s faithful call her pantheon the Dark Seldarine, while her faithful call it the Myrkalfar.
Myrkalfar: The Spider Mother’s House
Lolth the Spider Queen is the unquestioned head of the Myrkalfar, with all other deities seen as her divine family. Lolth is considered at times to be fickle or even cruel, but her ire is never gained without good reason. A very involved deity, her followers constantly search for signs of her favor or scorn in everyday life. When a Dark Elf contemplates a risky or controversial decision, they consult priestesses or perform their own rites which often gives them direct and succinct answers. She serves as an example to matriarchs of Drow families as demanding yet understanding, punishing yet guiding. She asks for a lot of her priestesses, demanding they be an unflinching example of everything a strong leader should be. The Myrkalfar is often presented as a divine household, with Lolth as the matron. Keptolo is the consort of Lolth and considered to be the ideal of what a male should be. Beautiful and kind, strong and hard working, he helps Lolth in everything she does. Sometimes he serves as a messenger, other times as an agent of redemption, sometimes as a divine healer. When a Dark Elf is tasked with a divine charge, he is usually the one to deliver the message and guide them through their charge. He serves also as a fertility deity and is often worshiped by women or men seeking a child. Outsiders see him as a weak and subservient husband to Lolth, but his faithfulness to his matron is considered a virtue and his status as a “husband” is relatively alien to the Dark Elves as they have no binding marriage in their society. If Keptolo is the agent of Lolth’s mercy, Kiaransalee is the agent of her vengeance. She is the eldest daughter of Lolth and Keptolo and one that Dark Elves pray to when they feel wronged. Only the most binding and serious contracts are signed under her name. To break an oath made under her name is sure to bring destruction. She is also the governor of the dead, judging the souls of those passed in the afterlife. She opposes the mindless undead created by mortals, but spirits and revenants that return to finish unresolved business amongst the living are considered under her protection. Should a Dark Elf encounter a returned spirit that is seeking vengeance, it’s their duty to leave them on their way and pray that the spirit isn’t there for them. This reverence of certain undead is something many outsiders consider downright evil. Selvetarm is the Dark Elven warrior goddess and youngest daughter of Lolth. Often depicted with eight arms, she represents the pinnacle of hand to hand martial prowess, but often is without restraint. She serves as both an inspiration for warriors, and a warning. Vhaeraun is the eldest son of Lolth and governs ambition and stealth. Both of these traits are not necessarily vilified, but worship of him is highly scrutinized. Haughty and rash, tales of him often include deceiving his fellow gods for good and ill and more often than not are cautionary ones. He’s depicted as wearing a mask, either as some punishment for endangering Lolth and her family or to hide his identity for various schemes, possibly both. Malyk is Lolth’s youngest son and a youthful deity of change and growth. He’s often seen as a bouncing young boy that Lolth and her family have to reign in from wild misadventures. His freedom and curiosity is often seen as a double edged sword, both gaining him great riches but also putting him in tremendous peril. He has strong ties to sorcerers and when a child is born with innate magical talent, he is often the one thanked for it. He serves as an outlet for a Dark Elves youthful chaotic nature, but also warns them of the ramifications of their actions. Ghaunadur is a strange figure in the pantheon. Their place in the family is a bit of a mystery, sometimes called the sibling of Lolth, or her child, or even as Lolth’s parent. What makes them truly unique is that they are a formless deity, something that Lolth once warred with Corellon over. The legends go that when Ghaunadur joined Lolth, they refused to give up their changeable nature. When questioned, Ghaunadur pointed to the slimes, oozes, and formless creatures of the world and said that they wished to protect them from the Elves and the Elves from them. Lolth agreed, cementing their position as the deity of the changing forms of nature. Their favored creature is the ooze, but they govern all natural creatures. Dark Elves often pray to Ghaunadur to protect them from the creatures that lurk in the depths of the forest. Zinzerena is Lolth’s sister and is the goddess of poisons, illusions, and magic. Viewed as an elderly and patient figure, she often serves as council to Lolth in desperate times. She’s said to be the mother of all poisons and venoms and her teachings are all about finding the wisest solution to a problem. Zinzerena teaches that even though the spider is small, it’s bite can still fell a panther. Despite her perceived age, she’s considered the younger sister of Lolth and is thought to be incredibly quick and nimble: a reminder that not everything is as it seems. Eilistraee is Lolth’s niece and daughter of Zinzerena. Considered the black sheep of the pantheon, she serves as a goddess of redemption and moonlight. Dark Elves that turn their back on their family or scorn traditions will sometimes find themselves turned to Driders, half-spider half-Dark Elf creatures shunned by all. Eilistraee is said to watch over these creatures and if they are repentant, offer them challenges that they could complete to redeem themselves. Lolth often views her with contempt or mistrust, but never hates her and maintains her place in the pantheon. Dark Elven faithful rarely worship her as the others. She’s also one of the only deities of the Myrkalfar to claim no animosity toward the Seldarine and their faithful. Spiders are the sacred animal of Lolth and are often used as an example of social order and the importance of family bonds. Each strand of silk serves the web as whole. More literally, the giant spiders of the Underdark are multifaceted and incredibly useful creatures. Serving as beasts of burden, war steeds, meat producers, household guardians, and silk producers, they are present in almost every facet of society. Their silks are used in everything from wound dressings to armor to architecture. To kill or steal another family's spider is considered akin to stealing a member of the family. Smaller and more poisonous spiders are often kept in temples and their webs are used as divining tools for priestesses.
The recorded history of the Dark Elves is full of contradictions from High Elf and Dark Elf sources. What historians can agree on is when the Elves of the Prime Material arrived, the followers of Lolth secluded from their Wood and High cousins and retreated into the Azelarien, also known as the Green Sea in Common. A massive forest, nearly 1 million square miles of dense and vibrant trees, that grows denser and darker the farther in one ventures. For countless eons, the High, Wood, and Dark Elves lived in relative harmony in their own corner of the world. High Elves lived near the forests in towns and villages, the Wood Elves lived in the lightly forested outlands of the Green Sea, and the Dark Elves lived deep in the central forests which was so dense that very little light reached the forest floor. As time passed and their villages turned to cities, the High Elves began expanding into the forest, chopping some down to build homes and heat their furnaces. This began pushing into the territory of the Wood Elves and eventually the Dark Elves as well. These two peoples formed a shaky alliance to push back the expansive tide of the far larger High Elven armies. This alliance proved successful however and the High Elven forces began losing ground. What happened next is a matter of some debate. High Elven historians attest that the Dark Elven armies used Wood Elven soldiers as unwitting bait to lure the High Elven armies into a trap, thus causing a schism between them. Dark Elven historians state that the Wood Elven armies turned on them after the Wood Elves met in secret with High Elven leaders and bargained for their independence. Some Wood Elven historians claim that after a brutal defeat on the field, they were met by High Elven dignitaries that offered them clemency if they turned on their allies. They initially refused, but after the dignitaries threatened to make the same offer to the Dark Elves, they had no choice but to accept. No matter the cause, the histories agree that the Wood Elves turned on their erstwhile allies and helped push the Dark Elves into a rapid loss of ground. Facing the might of the two armies with their own relatively small one, the Dark Elves were beaten into a hasty retreat into their own territory. Losing every open encounter, the Dark Elf matrons developed a new strategy of combat. The armies switched from training as many as quickly as they could, to training only a select few in multiple different forms of combat and magic. As the High and Wood Elves advanced into their territory, they quickly found their supply lines cut out from under them, their soldiers ambushed while sleeping, their scouts captured, and their leaders assassinated. And even if they would make it to a Dark Elf settlement, they would find it abandoned and booby-trapped, warned by their fast and silent scouts. If the Dark Elves couldn’t face their enemies head-on, they would weaken them with quick and decisive strikes. Eventually, the war ground to a stalemate. The High Elves couldn’t push into the Dark Elf territory far enough to capture any cities of note without taking severe casualties and the Dark Elves were only managing to hold the invading armies back and couldn’t muster a force strong enough to push back to the enemy capital. Thus, the war cooled into a tense peace. The leaders came together to draw borders, but neither side fully forgave nor forgot one another’s actions. High and Wood Elves viewed the change in tactics by the Dark Elves as an unethical violation of the standards of war. The Dark Elves felt a particular animosity toward the Wood Elves, considering them backstabbers in their darkest hour.
Dark Elf Families: Matrons of Order
The Dark Elf society, to an outsider, looks like an oppressive and cruel society of slave traders and backstabbers. But the truth is more subtle. The Dark Elves value tradition and filial piety above almost all else. To a Dark Elven citizen, their family name is their most valuable possession and they are taught from a very young age that to look after their parents and their younger siblings is the highest virtue. Ancestors that have achieved great things often have shrines in a household alongside the gods themselves. A Dark Elf going against the will of their family is considered one of the highest taboos and often causes them to be outcast from Dark Elven society as a whole. Dark Elf society is matrilineal meaning that the eldest woman in each family is revered as the household leader and receives great respect from her family and society. This also means that the males of the society don’t inherit wealth as frequently as the females. Dark Elven families are quite large, often with multiple generations along with aunts, uncles, and cousins living in the same household. New children almost always reside with their mother. Males of the society are expected to care not for their own biological children, but for the children born to their sisters, aunts, or nieces. This results in a striking amount of sexual freedom for both men and women, but is often viewed from the outside as promiscuity. The Dark Elves do not marry in the traditional sense, instead favoring long term partners with one another that can end at any time with no concerns to material wealth or ownership. However, to become a member of a Dark Elf family is not entirely a matter of heritage. When a family that cannot support another child has one, they are often adopted by more well to do families and raised as one of their own. These adopted children are considered just as legitimate as if they were born into the family. Also, should a family lose all their heirs or become destitute, they often ask to become assimilated into other families for their own safety. The latter is considered a morose ceremony as the members of the smaller family forsake their surnames. To take in such a family is both an extreme honor and grim burden, as it means ending another family's line. The borders of Dark Elven civilization only goes so far as there are trees so many newer up and coming families have expanded underground, a difficult and slow endeavor. This has put multiple houses at odds with one another for territory. However, Dark Elves do not tolerate open hostility between families as they have a very strong sense of collective identity. Dark Elves do not war against fellow Dark Elves, same as a spider does not fight its own web. This leads to many tensions and conflicts needing to be resolved in other ways. Most families will attempt a diplomatic solution, but when that isn’t an option, sabotage and coercion is the favored outlet. Murder is considered a bridge too far by most houses, but subterfuge in almost every other facet is, while not accepted, tolerated. Legends of Lolth’s rebellion and the tension of their enclosed territory have imbued the Dark Elves with a strong sense of symbiosis with nature and conservancy. Sustainable living is the cornerstone of Dark Elf society. In the wild, no creature is killed or plant destroyed unless it’s a matter of self defense or necessary to survival.
Dark Elven Sex and Gender
As with many Elven peoples, sexuality is seen as a fluid and non-binary matter. Same sex relationships are usually seen as just as acceptable as male-female relationships. Since Dark Elves have no marriage structure, same sex life partners are common and widely accepted. Inheritance is passed along by the family as a whole, not linearly, meaning some houses may have matrons with no direct biological descendants while still serving at the elder matron. Power dynamics in relationships are still a factor, with the elder female in a gay relationship considered slightly above their partner socially and is seen as the inheritor in cases of property or genealogy. Male same sex relationships are accepted with little controversy. Since children are passed down their mothers line, the males have no social obligation to sire an heir as with other societies. Transgender and transexual Dark Elves are met with slightly more controversy. Lolth’s rejection of the Primal Elves mutable forms is sometimes cited against transgender and transexual Dark Elves. Ghaunadur, however, is considered the patron god of these people and teaches that just as they are part of nature, they can change their forms. Many of these people join the religious order of Ghaunadur, serving in various roles both in religious ceremonies and as forest guides. Some even consider them to be blessed by Ghaunadur and are highly sought after in forays into the forests for protection. Children born to transgender Dark Elves are still expected to be a part of their eldest mother’s family or eldest father if no woman is part of the union.
Slavery Amongst the Dark Elves
While the Dark Elves do take slaves, their slavery doesn’t look the same as many other societies. When a family becomes indebted to another and they cannot pay off the debt, a member of their family, usually male, will be sent to work for the owed family. They give him room and board and are expected to care for him as if he were one of their own. He’ll work for them for an agreed upon amount of time before returning to his native family. Injury or misuse of this person is often grounds for them to leave and the debt to be nullified. Children born to servant fathers needn’t worry about inheriting their father’s status since they’re considered to be their mother’s child. On the rare occasion that a female servant has a child while in servitude, the child is returned to the mother’s family to be raised by her family while she works off the remaining debt. Some trade of servants does occur between houses, with indentured servants being traded for goods or services or even other servants of special skills, but the family of the servant reserves the right to veto such a trade for any reason. During their frequent clashes with external armies, the Dark Elves do sometimes take prisoners of war, though very rarely are they used for slave labor. They never bring them back to major settlements, often keeping them on the outskirts of their territory to prevent them from learning critical knowledge of their territory. Most prisoners are held as bargaining chips to be traded for passage, supplies, or captured Dark Elves. Captured military leaders are sometimes brought to Dark Elven cities to be tried for their crimes against their people.
Dark Elven Government: Independent Houses
Unlike many other cultures, the Dark Elves lack a centralized government. Societal etiquette govern the standard for how certain crimes and disagreements should be handled, but each family unit acts as its own governing body. Disagreements within families are thus resolved internally. Inter-family disputes are resolved in multiple different ways. Most often, the two matrons of the family will meet and agree on terms to fairly compensate both sides. In cases when these talks deteriorate, the High Priestess of Lolth is often called to serve as the mediator and serves as the ruling body between disputes. Her rulings are final and indisputable, as she is considered the mouthpiece of Lolth’s will. In times of crisis, historically the many houses of the Dark Elves have convened to discuss threats to all of Dark Elven society. This is uncommon as it’s difficult logistically to gather all the matrons in the same place at the same time, so often houses are represented by either the second eldest woman of the family or the eldest daughter of the matron. The High Priestess of Lolth often resides over these meetings as an arbiter in the event of split decisions or in delivering guidance from Lolth herself. There's my take on the Dark Elves. Any comments, suggestions, questions, outrages, and critiques are welcomed. This is my first comprehensive look at a whole race so if I've missed things, I'll try and patch them up. I'd like to do similar things for Orcs, Goblinoids, Kobolds, and others so those might be seen soon. Thanks!
Experiencing different RPGs makes you better at D&D
5e is considered a very homebrew-friendly RPG, and so 5e subreddits tend to be full of homebrew and DMs spreading their game design ideas. And that's great! The fact that every DM is also a game designer is a big part of what makes D&D so much fun. But... A lot of y'all have never played another TTRPG and it shows. Hey, it can be hard to get a table together for D&D, playing something more niche is even harder. But in the same way that you can't be a great writer if you don't read anything, it's really hard to be a good game designer and homebrewer without running other game systems. And I do mean running them. DM a one shot, or a couple of sessions, or at least play in a game. Reading the system won't do it; systems reveal their value through use. I have never played a new TTRPG and not picked up something that makes me a better DM and homebrewer. Playing with homebrew in 5e can help you learn, but those rules always have to be built on top of 5e's assumptions and play style. Playing other games gives you a chance to see mechanics without those assumptions, and what they can bring to the table. A lot of these won't translate back, and that's fine. Sometimes the value of this is to show you why not to homebrew something. Playing The One Ring will show you how building a game from the ground up around concepts of encumbrance, fatigue, and attrition can lead to really engaging and mechanically interesting travel. That might also show you how much you would have to change and remove in 5e to reach that same point and not to bother. Some mechanics can easily be borrowed, though. I'll never run a D&D heist again without borrowing the flashback system from Blades in the Dark. Often times I'll hear people make the argument that since D&D has a universal skill resolution mechanic, it can handle everything. This is somewhat true, but systems matter. We don't resolve combat by saying, "roll a fighting check" and having the players win on a success vs the DC. Players will plan around and engage with the mechanics that exist, and character abilities provide hooks into the mechanics that exist. I'd love to hear from DMs who have played other systems what they think is worth learning from them, but in short here are some recommendations to other DMs. If you want travel to be interesting, try playing The One Ring. If you want dungeon crawling to be tense and mechanical, try out Torchbearer. Also, for something that does this while also borrowing 5e mechanics, try 5 Torches Deep. If you're a big believer in the Rule of Cool, try out Feng Shui 2, which is built entirely around combat looking as cool as possible. If you think combat is first and foremost about narrative, try playing Masks where getting hit in combat is primarily mechanically about how that makes your character feel. If you're a big advocate of "not all encounters are combat encounters", look to try a system that provides the same ease of creation, robustness, and variety of options for non-combat challenges that the Monster Manual provides for combat. Recently Pathfinder 2e's complex hazards are a decent starting point, but hopefully other DMs can recommend something even better. If you like running mysteries, try playing a Gumshoe-based system that does investigation based on the assumption the players always find clues, the game comes from interpreting them. If you're of the belief that D&D is first and foremost about collaborative storytelling, try playing a game that expresses that in gameplay, like Burning Wheel. If you love big character backstories, play a game where those backstories have more mechanical weight like 13th Age. If you like degrees of success, or hate binary saving throws, check out Pathfinder 2e to see what D&D is like when that's built into everything. If you care a lot about failing forward, try a game with "success with complications" built centrally into the rules. Anything PbtA is a good start. If you want to try out what roleplay looks like with social mechanics, try out Burning Wheel or L5R. It'll change how you look at high stakes conversations. Obviously you don't have to play all of these. You don't have to play any of them! But if you want to make sweeping statements about design and you've only played D&D, maybe approach the subject with a bit of humility. I see a lot of people make broad declarations about things that just aren't fun or never work or that they say 5e already does well, who clearly haven't ever played a game designed to do that thing. Or disparaging DMs who struggle with engaging players in places where 5e doesn't provide any system. Or acting like 5e can do everything because you can graft rules onto it, without any appreciation for the difference between something strapped on to an existing game and something that a game is built to do. RPG systems reflect the work of a lot of clever game designers and (in some cases, at least) testing effort. Playing different games can help you work past assumptions about how RPGs work and experience the ways game systems can really capture a feeling or experience. And even if you don't make that your next campaign, you'll come back to D&D a better DM for the new perspective.
TW: Transphobia, head reeling after date with transphobic enby
(Xposted) TW: Transphobia. My head is reeling after a date with a very transphobic nb person. Help? I don’t even know what I need at this point, maybe some viewpoints or validation that the statements made by this person are, in fact, very problematic and transphobic. I’m used to the cis community questioning my existence but haven’t had someone in the lgbtq+ community literally challenge me directly to my face if I am trans or not. Umm.... you don’t get to tell me I’m not trans because you don’t consider yourself trans... that’s not how this works....? I’m floored. Let me back up. I am Enby, and genderqueer, femboi leaning. I use he/she pronouns. I don’t like “they” it makes me feels further othered. I’m femme presenting for the most part and there’s really nothing I can do about it- I will always look femme, even if styled as masc as possible. I’m not doing hormones and surgery isn’t an option for me. I’m open about all of this upfront when meeting anyone. I met a lovely nb OLD. After weeks of extensive chatting and zoom dates, we got together for a social distance in person date. It was like I met a completely different person- I could not have anticipated what came out of their mouth. Comments seemed very rooted in still seeing people based on what is in their underwear, and very fear biased against anything associated with cis men (I.e. pronouns, testosterone, a penis (flesh or prosthetic)) TW: dysphoria, transphobia Problematic things said: -There’s no such thing as Non binary lesbians (they themselves are enby, and labeled themself lesbian in their profile so I truly don’t how they could say this)
that they would have a hard time using “he” to people who don’t know me because they feel like they still need to prove they are a real lesbian, so would have to call me “she” to their friends but don’t want to be guilty of misgendering me.
-Couldn’t be in relationship with trans male because it would look like a hereto relationship, you know like walking down the street and such.
couldn’t be in a relationship with trans man because of the testosterone
-would be in a relationship with a trans woman, but you know, only after bottom surgery (I.e. no penis) -Could be fine dating anyone really, who was afab, as long as they still were pre surgery.. and if they were intersex, that’s fine because they could just think about it as an extended clitoris, not a penis. -Why do you consider yourself trans? You’re non-binary. I’m non-binary and I don’t consider my self trans. Also, they DEADNAMED their ex-girlfriend to me in our first conversation. That should have been my first red flag, why are they telling me their ex’s deadname? So....... looking for some support or cheering up or something here... I guess. I’m so very tired of being a femme enby, there’s no space for me even within my own trans community. 😔 Help. I’m swimming in shock
Robin DiAngelo’s ‘White Fragility’ is Harmful Towards Constructive Conversations about Race in Schools
In the spirit of social justice during these divisive times, my building sent out an optional reading list for the staff. DiAngelo’s book was one of the titles listed. Because of its rising popularity and presence in plenty of racial dialogue, I considered it to be a potentially helpful read to shed light on some of the reasoning behind the political conflict we see erupting across the US. I was incorrect. Not only does this book gloss over essential issues of race relations in American history, it also seeks to generalize human history into some insidious binary that points the finger at white people to explain racism entirely. It’s absurd, counterproductive, and frightening. It’s appalling to realize DiAngelo traces her roots to Education, for her book could not possibly pass any test of rigor as a unified body of academic work. Her argument obnoxiously relies on anecdotal evidence and baseless assertions, constructed so that the mere disagreement with any portion of her thesis further proves her claim that white people are the sole force driving racism. I feel like it’s necessary that I clarify I am not a white person, DiAngelo’s supposed audience. I am in fact biracial, an identity that is essentially (and conveniently) ignored in this book overall. The overwhelming praise of this book makes me think that I’m going against the grain by saying this. DiAngelo suggests that “whites” are to look to people of color to verify the tenacity of their fight against racism, so if I at all qualify at a POC under her standards, is it valid for me to say that I don’t live a life oppressed by white people? Can I acknowledge ongoing issues with racial injustice while maintaining that we do not live underneath the umbrella of nation-wide white supremacy? There is an incredible amount of work to do to understand race within the setting of our society, let alone our schools. I simply suggest reading this book and calling out its damaging hypocrisy land somewhere on our to-do list.
Report to appropriate authorities - Report the case to the appropriate authorities, for them to be able to have it looked into.
Change your login details - If you are still able to login to your account then follow the normal procedure to reset your password and other security information. Enable two-factor authentication. This should lock the criminal out of the account.
Notify the exchange/provider - If you have purchased or are storing your currency with a service provider then let them know about the breach and the fraudulent transactions. They may be able to retain some information about the transaction that could come in useful in an investigation.
Will I Recover my Stolen Bitcoin? Once your virtual currency has been stolen it is incredibly unlikely that you will be able to recover it. In theory, it’s possible to track your stolen bitcoin by monitoring the blockchain – in practice, however, this is made difficult by both the anonymous nature of the currency and the fact that the thief will most likely use a bitcoin exchange to trade the currency for normal cash straight away. However, money does leave a trail and you may be able to follow it to the identity of the criminal. How to Recover Stolen Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency
Check your devices for malware - It is worth considering that a malicious software infection may have led to the hacker accessing your currency. Scan the devices you use to handle your currency and make sure they are clean. You can follow our guide on checking for and removing malware here.
Call your bank - If the transaction had related costs that hit your bank accounts - such as transaction fees or deposits - then contact your bank immediately and let them know it is an unauthorized/fraudulent transaction.
Follow the money - You can follow the transactions of the wallet address that your funds were scammed into. If you notice the scammer attempt to transfer funds from the wallet to cryptocurrency exchanges to sell for fiat currency, report to the relevant exchanges immediately. An opportunity to catch the scammer is to follow the money trail through blockchain explorers and trace your lost funds. You can use browser-based blockchain exploring software such as https://blockexplorer.com to ‘follow’ the payment through to an end bitcoin address. Once you have this address you can check whether the owners of the end address(es) appear on http://bitcoinwhoswho.com/. In order to trade crypto to regular money on most popular exchanges, the thief would need to submit KYC (Know Your Customer) information, such as names, addresses, and ID information. Contacting the exchanges can potentially help you to track down the scammer’s identity. This is another reason why it is important for you to file a police report as soon as the incident has taken place.
Hire a Verified Recovery Expert - If you are willing to pay a decent amount for the return of your funds there are websites where you can post a bounty. Experienced blockchain searchers will investigate the theft and see if they can recover the funds for a price. Check out the list of verified recovery experts.
How to Avoid your Cryptocurrency Being Stolen in Future
Don’t talk publicly about owning virtual currency - If it is easy to work out that you own a cryptocurrency from your social media activity then you are much more likely to be a target.
Use multi-factor authentication - Ensure that you have multi-factor authentication enabled. Use an authenticator app rather than the SMS option. If the option to disable SMS authentication exists then do it.
Use a new email address and complex password to set up the account - A new, clean email address that you will only use for the virtual currency account is best. This reduces the chance of you being targeted via your email account.
Usea ‘cold-wallet’ - Keep your cryptocurrency off the internet, in a "cold wallet." "Cold wallet" is not a brand, it's a concept of storing bitcoins offline (not connected to the internet) so that it reduces the opportunities for hackers to steal via online techniques.
Spread your investments across exchanges - A number of exchanges have been breached. Spread your investments across exchanges to minimize the impact.
Get secure - Take time to improve your general online security. Use sites like getting Safe Online and Cyber Aware to understand what good security looks like and make changes. I was personally able to recover my lost bitcoin with the help of Express Recovery Pro – [email protected]
I decided to completely rewrite the long form piece on my transition and detransition. I kind of feel like it barely scratches the surface, but it's almost 2,500 characters long, so I can't add to it without taking anything out. Feedback much appreciated.
I was born in 1983, and as I sit writing this, I am 36 years old. I am female. I have always been female, but for nearly a decade, starting in my mid-teens, I was in denial of this fact, and I took drastic measures to conceal it, including testosterone injections commencing shortly after my 18th birthday, a double mastectomy shortly after my 20th birthday, and cumulating in a second surgery on my chest, which was supposed to correct the poor aesthetic outcome of the first surgery, but instead was so badly botched that it threw me into a crisis which fortunately led to my detransitioning, although this word did not exist at that time, and I was, for all intents and purposes, in uncharted territory. In retrospect, I am glad that I experienced this wake up call when I did, and did not remain on testosterone any longer, because, unbeknownst to me at the time, the testosterone had caused me to develop vaginal and uterine atrophy, which led to a pelvic organ prolapse, which I will be dealing with for the rest of my life. If I had remained on testosterone longer, and my pelvic organ prolapse had been diagnosed while I was still under the care of gender doctors, I think it is very likely that I would have ended up having a hysterectomy. Today, as the mother of a toddler age son, I am very grateful that I did not lose my fertility. At the time though, it was impossible for me to imagine any kind of future for myself, all I knew was that I could not follow the transgender path any longer. I had been indoctrinated by the nascent transgender ideology into believing that transition was the only effective treatment for gender dysphoria, and that those who could not transition, or who "failed" at transition, inevitably committed suicide. Simultaneously I had been made to understand that it was unacceptable for trans people who had been harmed by botched surgeries or the side effects of hormone treatments to talk openly about their experiences, or to express regret, because this would supposedly result in other trans people being denied these "lifesaving treatments". I, who had once loudly advocated for "trans rights", and against "gatekeeping", and the requirement to wait until turning 18 to begin medical transition, now found myself voiceless. It seemed that my only option was to disappear. In the aftermath of my botched second chest surgery, I became addicted, first to prescription painkillers, and then to heroin. Eventually I came to two realizations, firstly, that I needed to stop harming my body, whether through transition, through drugs, or whatever, because I would probably be alive a long time, wether I liked it or not, and the unhealthier I made myself, seeking to avoid suffering, the more I would actually have to suffer. Secondly, that I needed to take accountability for my actions, because my self-destructive behavior was not merely self destructive, but rather the direct and indirect cause of harm to others, often through the glamorization of self-destructive behavior, which seemed to come naturally to me. When I got clean, I was fortunate to get support from other recovering addicts who shared their experience, strength and hope with me, and showed me by example that another way of life was possible, even for those, like myself, who had plumbed the depths of depravity. The first step was getting honest with myself, and I did. I became aware of the myriad ways in which my unwillingness to accept reality, and my struggle to manipulate reality, which I had once regarded as necessary, and even as heroic, had resulted in my descent to ever increasing levels of hopelessness and despair. For me it became clear that my unwillingness to accept reality, my attempt to escape into fantasy, and my willingness to harm myself and others to maintain an illusion of control, had begun in childhood, and that my identification as male, my involvement in extremist antifa and anarchist groups, and my drug use had all been different ways of acting out this same dysfunctional approach. This awareness, and the belief that another way of life was possible, restored me to sanity. I had been relieved of a colossal burden, the belief that I had to control everyone and everything in order to survive, but life for me as a detransitioned woman was not always easy. Not only did I have ongoing health problems as a result of the harm that medical transition had done to my body, but my deep voice and lack of breasts caused me to stick out from other females, resulting in me sometimes being mistaken for a transwoman. The difference was that, unlike when I was attempting to "live as male", I did not inflate these experiences and allow them to occupy every waking moment of my life. I found that it was possible to practice self acceptance, even while still experiencing regret. Despite my desire to find a man, fall in love, and start a family of my own, I discovered that the changes I had made to my body had rendered me unattractive to most men, and that those few men who were attracted to me often had pedophile tendencies or other paraphilias, such as an amputation fetish. For this reason, I remained single, and largely celibate. I was also still struggling with some of the problems which had perhaps contributed to my belief that transition would help me, such as my undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder. It is possible that even if I had not transitioned, that I would have been unable to find a husband, because of my poor social skills, but I will never know. One thing I have come to understand is that I have no control over the past, and that it is pointless to speculate over "alternative timelines" which do not exist. Freed from the self obsession which had dominated my life in my trans days, I was able to pursue things outside myself which were infinitely more interesting, such as teaching myself German, reading lots of books, including medieval literature, and especially Icelandic sagas, developing an appreciation of obscure baroque era composers, and learning to identify all of the flowering plants native to the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area while photographing them in their natural habitats. Several years ago, I noticed that the transgender ideology was no longer a fringe phenomenon, as it had been when I first encountered it, and in retrospect still was when I escaped it. Not only was it becoming omnipresent in the mainstream media, but many people who I had previously told of my traumatic experience with transition, who had reacted sympathetically at the time, were now being reeducated to think that it was bigoted to bring the "triumphal narrative" of transition into question, the way I did by simply talking about my own experiences. Some tried to pressure me into identifying as "non-binary", others suggested that I attend a "transgender support group" when the subject of my chronic health problems came up. I felt support being quietly withdrawn. I was on the defensive. I felt put on the spot when people would ask for my pronouns, or otherwise go out of their way to imply that they assumed I must somehow be transgender. I did not know how to deal with this. I thought that I had more or less successfully managed to leave this chapter of my life in the past, but now it seemed to have caught up with me. It was for this reason, in part, that I made the decision to leave the US, where I had been born, raised, and had all my experiences with transition and detransition, behind, and to remain here in Austria, after visiting in the summer of 2015, because I believed the transgender ideology to be a uniquely American phenomenon, and I naively assumed that things here were different. Unfortunately, I was wrong. The transgender ideology may be largely a US invention, but it has been exported and adopted worldwide. Over the past few years symbols of the transgender ideology began to appear on the streets of Vienna, first as graffiti, then as signs in store windows. When I was pregnant with my son and attempting to find breast milk donors for him online, I discovered that many women active in the "alternative" mother scene online in Germany and Austria were raising their toddler age children as transgender, and that any other mothers who dared to question the wisdom of this were swept away in a flood of politically correct criticism. I was appalled. At the same time, I learned that many people who prided themselves on being supportive of "trans rights", including the insistence that young children should be allowed to determine their own "gender" and then be placed on a medical pathway before puberty if their chosen "gender" happened to clash with their "assigned sex", were in reality so ignorant of the primitive state of transgender medicine that they actually believed the doctors would be able to change the children´s sexes. They did not understand that "sex change" is a trans medical industry propagated myth, and that the children would actually be subjected to cosmetic procedures, which could go very wrong, and even best-case scenario would be left infertile and dependent on lifelong medication. Multiple people who I interacted with while pregnant, including some who worked in social services or in doctors’ offices, believed that I was a transwoman, despite the fact that they knew I was pregnant. How could this be? I realized that the apparent adoption of science and reason as guiding principles by current societies was extremely fragile and superficial. Under the surface teemed a bottomless sea of medieval superstition. Most people were not engaging in scientific thinking, but merely passively accepting as truth whatever claims were made by credible seeming authorities, and these messages were rapidly being corrupted by ideology. Last winter I stumbled upon a word that I had never seen before online, and that word was "detransitioner". For the first time, I saw other women, younger than myself, who had been through something like what I had been through, and were talking about it publicly, at a panel in Great Britain. I reached out to some of them online, and soon after I made a twitter account and posted a few videos on YouTube, talking about my story. After all of those years, I was thrilled to no longer be alone with my experience, but quickly I realized that these people, who had found the courage to speak about their experiences, were only the tip of the iceberg. Over the past couple of years, while I had been preoccupied with trying to get pregnant, being pregnant, crying over not being able to breastfeed, and caring for a baby, the number of young people, particularly girls, who were medically transitioning had skyrocketed, resulting in a building tsunami of regret, which trans activists were doing their best to suppress, terrified that thousands of voices sharing stories which called the triumphal narrative of transition into question would result in the rollback of institutional changes which had been rapidly enacted by night and fog. I became familiar with the concept of "Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria", and although it seemed to be a useful way of explaining how perhaps the majority of teenage girls who are currently transitioning were caught up in the transgender drag net, I was dismayed to see "ROGD teens" contrasted with young children whose gender non-conformity began before puberty, with the implication that this later cohort was "truly trans" and should be put on a medical pathway. When I declared myself to be a "gay male" at the age of 16, changed my name, and socially transitioned, around the turn of the millennium, I did not know any other young people who were on this path. For this reason, which excludes social contagion as a trigger of my trans identification, as well as the fact that I was gender non-conforming as a child, and already experienced persistent thoughts, sometimes expressed verbally, which would easily fall into the category of "gender dysphoria", prior to puberty, I don´t think my experience could be accurately described as "Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria", despite some superficial biographical similarities with many apparent "ROGD cases", such as having been sexually harassed starting at puberty. I think it´s very likely that if I had been born 20 years later, that I would have been diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria as a child and placed on puberty blockers, which would have prevented my reproductive organs and brain from ever maturing, and would have never had the opportunity for a "rethink" that I, and many ROGD cases, who also, like myself, never took puberty blockers and did not start cross sex hormones until our puberties were largely completed, have had. I also wonder to what extent the apparent onset of "ROGD" in adolescence could be explained by the fact that most detransitioners who were apparent "ROGD cases", although significantly younger than myself, are old enough to have first come in contact with transgender ideology as teenagers. I think it is entirely possible that many, if not most, of them would have also become "trans" in childhood, if they had been exposed to the trans ideology at that point. With the ongoing trend to introduce this ideology to children at younger and younger ages, I wonder if the average age at which minors identify as trans will sink drastically to reflect this. Even if my hypothesis proves to be incorrect, I do not see professionals who speak out against medical transition for dysphoric teens, but seek to burnish their "moderate" credentials by simultaneously supporting medical transition for dysphoric children, as allies. I am neither a radical feminist, nor a "traditionalist", nor do I believe that anyone is "truly trans". My opponent is not trans identified people, but the trans medical industry, and all of it´s enablers, most of whom are not themselves "trans". I object to the medicalization of "gender identity" on ethical grounds. It has been suggested to me that I stick to talking about my own direct experiences, and while I acknowledge the utility of this approach in the context of a support group, I did not decide to start talking openly about my experience with transition and detransition primarily as an aid to processing, but rather to effect change. I reserve the right to form my own opinions, and express them as I see fit, speculating and making generalizations when necessary. This uncompromising approach has unfortunately already resulted in my voice being censored on reddit and other platforms, but after everything I have been through, I can not stand to be dishonest.
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