tindall's recent activity

  1. Comment on Tell me about your RPG campaign in ~games.tabletop

    tindall
    Link
    I just recently got done with a short campaign in The Sprawl, which is a wonderful game system for running cyberpunk heists. We had a very interesting crew consisting of an Infiltrator, a Driver,...

    I just recently got done with a short campaign in The Sprawl, which is a wonderful game system for running cyberpunk heists. We had a very interesting crew consisting of an Infiltrator, a Driver, a Reporter, and a Killer, which is... interesting, to say the least.

    The world we were playing in is one I've written some fiction in and run several games in, in which the Earth is in a deep climate collapse and the major city areas (including the eponymous urban entity which stretches from New York to Atlanta) have atmospheric compositions and weather systems regulated by massive machines and fleets of UAVs. Most manufacturing occurs on orbit, using minerals mined on the Moon and in the asteroid belt, and the wealthy live in beautiful O'Neill cylinder habitats orbiting the Earth/Moon Lagrange points. A communist government has formed in the burgeoning colony on Mars, which engages in a lot of state-capitalist activities to fund their terraforming project.

    The group's first run involved breaking into a hardware startup in an industrial park. This startup was supposedly manufacturing non-implant augmented reality devices - basically very advanced Google Glass - which the team was supposed to steal and give to a competitor, and optionally destroy the research facility and all the company's data. The optical machining equipment and testing facilities were really being used to build and test laser weapons under a secret contract from the Martian government - but the players weren't told that. The same employer had sent in a team only a few days earlier, of whom all but on were killed during the job. The players weren't told that either.

    They didn't do a ton of research beforehand, either. The Infiltrator tried finding a contact within the facility, but it didn't work; she did, however, catch the attention of the facility's security team, who moved from "triumphant and self-assured" to "confident in their abilities, but wary". The Driver scouted the area on his hoverbike. He managed to find a back entrance to the facility, but was almost spotted, resulting in a short cat-and-mouse chase with a surveillance drone which, he eventually escaped without being identified by driving up the side of a curved building and magnetizing his bike to the ceiling. The Killer hit the street to see if she could get some help from her underground contacts, and succeeded in getting a few people to spot her on some gear (which is a fungible resource in The Sprawl; any time during the game, you can spend a "gear point" to say, "oh yeah, I had a {suction cup, grappling hook, plasma cutter, etc} the whole time!").

    Having identified an entrance, the players decided to go ahead with the run. The Reporter and the Driver went in the front as a distraction, posing as a legitimate documentary filmmaker and her audio engineer. They scheduled an interview with the CTO for later in the day, took photos of the ground floor (including charting an entry route from the back entrance) and retired to a nearby hotel, where they set up a remotely triggered rocket propelled grenade (one gear point) pointed at the top floor of the startup's lab building.

    Once it was time for the Reporter to meet with the CTO, the Killer gave them a boom mic with a flashbang grenade concealed inside it (a second gear point), and went to the back of the building with the Infiltrator, who got them into the back service hallway. The Reporter and Driver were taken up to the second (of four) floors with the CTO, who began showing them around the legit-looking labs. All the video being taken by the reporter was streamed in real time to the Infiltrator, who eventually decided she'd seen enough to be comfortable moving up the elevator shaft while the Reporter stalled the CTO, security staff, and engineers. She eventually (after a close call with the elevator counterweight) made it to the top and shut down the alarms and cameras in the fire escape so the Killer could join her.

    Just as the Killer got to the top, the CTO finally ended the interview and asked the Reporter and Driver to leave. They walked out the door just as the Killer burst into the upstairs storeroom and the Infiltrator began placing explosives in the server room.

    Now, at this point, they've totally bypassed the third and fourth floor labs, where all the shady shit is happening. The storeroom has a bunch of laser guns in boxes in it, but they're, you know, in boxes, and they're not exactly labelled "laser guns". So the Killer makes a roll to identify the boxes full of pre-release AR tech, and succeeds, so she picks up and armful and goes out to join the Infiltrator - just as the security team shows up.

    These two security guys are basically just rent-a-cops, so when they see the explosives on the walls, they rabbit and sprint down the stairs. The Killer, realizing that they're about to be swarmed, grabs the Infiltrator, jumps out the window, and fires her grappling hook (her third gear point!) at the roof, rappelling down to safety. The Killer fires the RPG just as the Reporter and Driver scream around the corner in the driver's car, and the entire building explodes in flames.

    That's right - the players managed to infiltrate a lab and steal some pre-release consumer tech without realizing that it was actually a covert arms manufacturing operation.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    tindall
    Link
    I spent a dozen or so hours last week playing SHENZHEN I/O from Zachtronics. It's a really good game, but more importantly it's just close enough to real assembly programming to be interesting and...

    I spent a dozen or so hours last week playing SHENZHEN I/O from Zachtronics. It's a really good game, but more importantly it's just close enough to real assembly programming to be interesting and just far enough from it to not just be actual work.

    It does give a good intuition for some of the optimization techniques and tradeoffs in firmware, though of course in a somewhat simplified way. The datasheets are clearly made by someone just as annoyed with real world manufacturer datasheets as I am, which is enjoyable.

    3 votes
  3. Comment on What's something you have always wanted to know about being LGBT (but were maybe afraid to ask)? in ~talk

    tindall
    Link Parent
    I absolutely agree. Almost nowhere else on the 'net have I ever felt safe enough to engage seriously and continuously with TERF rhetoric as I did here, and it's never been a conversation with as...

    I absolutely agree. Almost nowhere else on the 'net have I ever felt safe enough to engage seriously and continuously with TERF rhetoric as I did here, and it's never been a conversation with as much mutual respect and understanding obvious in it as happened here. Thank you to you, kfwyre, and to everyone on and off the panel for making it that way!

    8 votes
  4. Comment on What's something you have always wanted to know about being LGBT (but were maybe afraid to ask)? in ~talk

    tindall
    Link Parent
    I'm not asexual myself, but I have two asexual friends in particular, neither of whom are "out" to their families in any kind of formal way, who have found themselves at the center of some pretty...

    You are right, nobody is stopping people from not having sex

    I'm not asexual myself, but I have two asexual friends in particular, neither of whom are "out" to their families in any kind of formal way, who have found themselves at the center of some pretty brutal verbal and emotional abuse from their devoutly Catholic families who feel that it is their duty as women to marry and have children.

    It's true that nobody is technically forcing them to have sex, as (thankfully) nobody is forcing me to present as a man or, as a woman, to have sex with men; but there is a pretty strong social stigma around not doing that, especially when that means (as it does for many) not building a family that heterosexual society recognizes as real or valid.

    This is where my dislike of the kind of rhetoric @Algernon_Asimov mentions comes from. This treatment of asexual and especially aromantic is similar - not the same, but similar - to the kind of harassment and abuse I got when people thought I was a gay man, and in a similar vein to the kind of crap I get from my family for going through treatment that ended up sterilizing me (though, thankfully, to a lesser extent for me). Most importantly, it comes from the same source - heteronormativity.

    Both of the ace friends I'm referring to benefit greatly from LGBT support programmes and social groups, and (just as important, to me) share a lot of the humor, culture (see my comment about reverse diasporization), and political alignments (away from the fetishization of the nuclear family, towards a society with reduced gender roles, etc) as other LGBT people, including myself.

    Of course there are asexual people who don't feel the force of society's heteronormativity and compulsory heterosexuality, but there are many who do. I don't see the advantage to telling them that this culture we've been building for the last eighty years, which is so aligned with their goals and needs, isn't for them.

    6 votes
  5. Comment on What's something you have always wanted to know about being LGBT (but were maybe afraid to ask)? in ~talk

    tindall
    Link Parent
    It's funny, because this seems to be becoming my shtick, but I think it's important to be historical about this. Some third-wave feminist and early nonbinary (mostly agender) movements converged...

    It's funny, because this seems to be becoming my shtick, but I think it's important to be historical about this. Some third-wave feminist and early nonbinary (mostly agender) movements converged on what we now call Spivak pronouns in the 90s and early 2000s, only to have them soundly rejected pretty much everywhere, which is a major reason contemporary nonbinary movements tend to center on they/them pronouns.

    5 votes
  6. Comment on What's something you have always wanted to know about being LGBT (but were maybe afraid to ask)? in ~talk

    tindall
    Link Parent
    How is that? I've heard it's better on the kidneys to do injections.

    How is that? I've heard it's better on the kidneys to do injections.

    4 votes
  7. Comment on What's something you have always wanted to know about being LGBT (but were maybe afraid to ask)? in ~talk

    tindall
    Link Parent
    That's pretty normal! It happens to me too, sometimes. Usually a sign my mouth was too wet to start with.

    That's pretty normal! It happens to me too, sometimes. Usually a sign my mouth was too wet to start with.

    5 votes
  8. Comment on What's something you have always wanted to know about being LGBT (but were maybe afraid to ask)? in ~talk

    tindall
    Link Parent
    I take it sublingually, always have. It's important to keep your mouth moist but not too wet, and wait until you don't feel anything gritty under your tongue. Several people I know have tried...

    I take it sublingually, always have. It's important to keep your mouth moist but not too wet, and wait until you don't feel anything gritty under your tongue.

    Several people I know have tried taking their estrogen pills anally; preliminary research shows that is more effective. I haven't tried it and it sounds gross.

    6 votes
  9. Comment on What's something you have always wanted to know about being LGBT (but were maybe afraid to ask)? in ~talk

    tindall
    Link Parent
    Do you think that it does? If so, what's the mechanism? If the mechanism is going through a testosterone-rich puberty, well, are you going to ban cis women with PCOS? How about trans women who...

    Do you think that it does? If so, what's the mechanism? If the mechanism is going through a testosterone-rich puberty, well, are you going to ban cis women with PCOS? How about trans women who never went through such a puberty (got blockers, or started spiro before their bones finished fusing)?

    I don't mean to be hostile, but I think it's important to think through the implications of suggestions like this in full.

    13 votes
  10. Comment on What's something you have always wanted to know about being LGBT (but were maybe afraid to ask)? in ~talk

    tindall
    Link Parent
    I'm really glad to have been helpful! I love educating people about weird and interesting things that don't often come up. Knowledge and understanding are the most important things in this world,...

    I'm really glad to have been helpful! I love educating people about weird and interesting things that don't often come up. Knowledge and understanding are the most important things in this world, in my opinion.

    7 votes
  11. Comment on What's something you have always wanted to know about being LGBT (but were maybe afraid to ask)? in ~talk

    tindall
    Link Parent
    Actually, yeah, come to think of it most people take testosterone as an injection. But yes, other than the placement of the urethra, testosterone basically causes the clitoris to grow into a...

    Actually, yeah, come to think of it most people take testosterone as an injection. But yes, other than the placement of the urethra, testosterone basically causes the clitoris to grow into a penis, usually on the small end of things. Surgery is used just to tidy up and make it bigger, and maybe put the urethra in place.

    Regarding MtF transition, I don't feel comfortable being too graphic about my own genitals, but suffice it to say that a few pills a day has caused significant changes, and my serum estradiol is still well below normal female levels. It's a balancing act, because like any medicine, you generally want to take as little as possible.

    EDIT: also, it's worth noting that testosterone will naturally suppress estrogen, so people talking T just take T, while people talking E need to have a T suppressor, which is usually a bit more serious in terms of side effects. In my case it makes me pee a lot and it sucks.

    12 votes
  12. Comment on What's something you have always wanted to know about being LGBT (but were maybe afraid to ask)? in ~talk

    tindall
    Link Parent
    I agree that this is the point of friction, but I certainly don't believe this is true - rather, I think some feminists think it's what we think, if you see what I mean. If gender identity can...

    Gender as a spectrum makes less sense, as it seems to rely on the assumption that the ideas of traits being assigned as masculine or feminine will persist indefinitely.

    I agree that this is the point of friction, but I certainly don't believe this is true - rather, I think some feminists think it's what we think, if you see what I mean.

    If gender identity can change, and gender is a social construction, then presumably people's idea of their own gender identity would change as society slowly dismantles gender roles, right? That's certainly been the case so far, in my experience with older trans people.

    I don't think there's much of an inherit disagreement in our vision for moving forward as a society, just that I'm an outsider who doesn't understand the new language or have the knowledge of the 'insider' group.

    Yes, and unfortunately the agenda and language around this has been set by TERFs and conservative pundits, especially recently :(

    Regarding gender roles vs gender stereotypes, I do tend to use them relatively interchangeably. I think I could make a case that although different, they are deeply intertwined with each other, thus referring to one often results in the other in at least some capacity.

    This is something I'm not really qualified to explain, but there's great work on it from a lot of feminist and anthropological scholars. A I understand it, gender stereotypes are much broader and more homogenous than gender roles; gender roles depend on a specific context and social stratum. The stereotype that women can't drive is present throughout society via media, etc; the role women take on in e.g. Orthodox Jewish communities is very specific and different from the role women take on in, say, a liberal arts campus.

    In any case, I'm glad I was able to be helpful, and please let me know if you have other questions!

    5 votes
  13. Comment on What's something you have always wanted to know about being LGBT (but were maybe afraid to ask)? in ~talk

    tindall
    Link Parent
    Yes, that's right! However, hormone therapy causes significant genital changes over time, including the growth of the clitoris with T and the shrinking of the penis with E. Surgery is used to...

    Yes, that's right! However, hormone therapy causes significant genital changes over time, including the growth of the clitoris with T and the shrinking of the penis with E. Surgery is used to augment these changes.

    As I've mentioned elsewhere, it's interesting to consider that oyr so-called sexual dimorphism is really more like a spectrum than a binary: as many as one in a hundred people is born with a "non-standard" configuration of genitals and secondary sex characteristics, and probably more than that (though it's never been studied) have non-standard sex hormone levels and sex-related genetics.

    Even leaving that aside, the fact that just taking a few pills can cause someone to grow a penis is, at least in my view, a pretty good indicator that sex, as a category, is much more complex than we often think.

    13 votes
  14. Comment on What's something you have always wanted to know about being LGBT (but were maybe afraid to ask)? in ~talk

    tindall
    Link Parent
    That makes a lot of sense, I think, in the context of this conversation. This is a fundamental disconnection between a lot of people and the trans discourse; the basic assumption a lot of people...

    To me personally, gender is male and female, biological.

    That makes a lot of sense, I think, in the context of this conversation. This is a fundamental disconnection between a lot of people and the trans discourse; the basic assumption a lot of people make nowadays, and the way transness is understood, is that gender (or gender identity, the two terms being interchangeable) and sex are not the same thing. "Cisgender" people have gender and sex that match, while "transgender" (fmr. "transsexual") people have gender that does not match their sex.

    For example when someone describes 'toxic masculinity' to me, I hear a ton of traits and actions that are not exclusive to men. It's just that these traits have come to be associated with mascuilinity because society has disproportionately allowed men to exhibit them.

    This is a pretty accurate analysis, as far as it goes; certainly "toxic masculinity" describes a set of traits that is not exclusive to men. However, it specifically describes it in the context of the way Western society treats, constrains, and enables men. Anger, need for control, and obsession with strength are not toxic masculinity; those traits in pursuit of a societal ideal of masculinity is.

    So, then, we have a separation between sex and gender ,and a second distinction between gender and "gender stereotypes", or more commonly called gender roles (stereotypes also being a thing, but slightly different, at least in a lot of feminist theory), gender roles ranging from "women are natural caretakers"/"men are natural warriors" to subtler forms of distinction that are entirely societal (why do men not wear dresses? I don't know, but society doesn't treat them well when they do.)

    But I frequently wonder: would trans (or any other non-binary gender) have even entered our collective vocabulary if society didn't continue to perpetuate notions of 'for women' and 'for men.'

    I also wonder this, a lot. I mentioned it in one of my comments in this thread, there are two components here:

    1. I experience gender dysphoria without being able to explain its origin, and

    2. There is no experiment we can reasonably perform to determine whether I would still experience gender dysphoria if we lived in a society without gender roles.

    However, it's interesting to think about how all of these categories embody false binaries. While it's true that humans, like many species, exhibit sexual dimorphism, that does not mean that there are only two sexes; as many as one in a hundred people exhibits phenotypical intersex traits (that is, genitals or secondary sexual characteristics that are not "male" or "female") and probably (though we don't know) a higher rate of non-expressing genotypical intersex traits.

    Furthermore, whether or not we would have gender identity separate from sex in a world without gender roles is kind of a moot point; we don't know of any societies with absolutely no gender roles, and we do know of trans people going back about as far as you want to look.

    I appreciate all of you having nearly impeccable patience trying to get through my thick skull. I promise I'm doing my damnedest to review everything and be as introspective as I can muster.

    I appreciate you being willing to listen. The point we've arrived at is extremely far from the comfortable warmth of a number of hegemonic systems with a serious monetary and power interest in perpetuating relatively strict gender separations, a long history of strict gender roles, and a long and no less violent history of people and organizations, including the Nazis, repressing any expression of non-conforming gender identity.

    In my opinion, a rich understanding of gender identity as separate from sex, and of the inherently incomplete nature of the binarist interpretation of sexual variation in humans, can only be an empowering, enriching, and progress-oriented outcome for modern feminism.

    8 votes
  15. Comment on What's something you have always wanted to know about being LGBT (but were maybe afraid to ask)? in ~talk

    tindall
    Link
    Something I'd like to ask my fellow panelists: what are your favourite queer books? Academic books, historical books, fiction, anything! My personal favourite - or at least my most impactful read...

    Something I'd like to ask my fellow panelists: what are your favourite queer books? Academic books, historical books, fiction, anything!

    My personal favourite - or at least my most impactful read in a long time - is David France's How To Survive a Plague. It's critical, in my view, for anyone who wishes to understand modern queer history to understand the AIDS epidemic and the Reagan genocide.

    9 votes
  16. Comment on What's something you have always wanted to know about being LGBT (but were maybe afraid to ask)? in ~talk

    tindall
    Link Parent
    The Nonbinary Wiki is a great place to start! As with most 'pedia style wikis, I suggest reading the article for summary and the references for details.

    The Nonbinary Wiki is a great place to start! As with most 'pedia style wikis, I suggest reading the article for summary and the references for details.

    6 votes
  17. Comment on What's something you have always wanted to know about being LGBT (but were maybe afraid to ask)? in ~talk

    tindall
    Link Parent
    This is really fair! I think, in general, skepticism towards such meds is warranted, until they are studied. Fortunately there's some great research on this - by and large they are very safe, and...

    As I am not a doctor, the concept of a pubery blocker also sounds alarming.

    This is really fair! I think, in general, skepticism towards such meds is warranted, until they are studied. Fortunately there's some great research on this - by and large they are very safe, and have quite good outcomes for trans kids. Mayo Clinic has a great summary.

    Our bodies natural hormones already wreak havoc on our mental state in pubery... doesn't introducing more potentially make the problem worse?

    Generally, HRT is indeed hormone replacement therapy - blocking some hormones and replacing them with others. Starting HRT when one would normally be going through natural puberty often means having a more controlled amount of hormones in one's body! And hey - if a trans kid doesn't get their right hormones during their first puberty, we have to go through puberty twice, which I can attest is definitely a wild ride.

    10 votes
  18. Comment on What's something you have always wanted to know about being LGBT (but were maybe afraid to ask)? in ~talk

    tindall
    Link Parent
    I'm really glad it's been helpful. It definitely didn't come across as an attack, to me; the concepts and concerns you're expressing are really prevalent, primarily because self-identified TERFs...

    I'm really glad it's been helpful. It definitely didn't come across as an attack, to me; the concepts and concerns you're expressing are really prevalent, primarily because self-identified TERFs have been spreading them around. It's similar to the "bathroom predator" argument - terrifying if you think it's a real problem, not really based in logic, but quite hard to disprove or argue against.

    7 votes
  19. Comment on What's something you have always wanted to know about being LGBT (but were maybe afraid to ask)? in ~talk

    tindall
    Link Parent
    Thanks a ton for clarifying what you meant here! I didn't understand your tone the first time you mentioned this.

    Thanks a ton for clarifying what you meant here! I didn't understand your tone the first time you mentioned this.

    4 votes
  20. Comment on What's something you have always wanted to know about being LGBT (but were maybe afraid to ask)? in ~talk

    tindall
    Link Parent
    Wow. That sounds... Well. I could have had a much better life if I'd had access to that as a child, let's just say that. Three doctors in a row told me that "get fit" was the right solution to...

    Wow. That sounds... Well. I could have had a much better life if I'd had access to that as a child, let's just say that.

    Three doctors in a row told me that "get fit" was the right solution to what was pretty clearly gender dysphoria, though of course 10-year-old me didn't know that.

    7 votes