Using a Game to Counter the Prejudice, Biases, Phobias and Discrimination Against the Trans Community


David Seelow, PhD©

This is the first of three articles on games and media and the transgender community. The next article will address in “disclosure” of trans people in games and film in terms of the dynamic of phobias and hatred and how to transcend such negative responses. The final article will focus on transgender participation in sports.

Lady Gaga’s album Born This Way will soon reach its 10th anniversary (May 23). The album’s like named single has now passed the 10 year mark (February 11, 2011). Lady  The next article will address the Gaga’s anthem to inclusiveness and tolerance with its accompanying music video and Grammy performance showing the imaginary birth of a future, more equitable world appeared to foreshadow a growing, and more positive presence of transgender people in American culture (Lou Reed’s pioneering representations of the transgender many decades ago occurred just as minority groups were becoming a presence, see below note). Caitlyn Jenner’s acceptance speech for the Arthur Ashe Award For Courage on July 16, 2015 at the ESPY Awards had what appeared to be a transformative effect on how many people would begin to see the transgender community as a genuine, fully human, and, finally welcome, in mainstream America.

Streaming and Reality TV media had also helped bring some weight and long needed attention to the transgender community. “I am Cait,” (2015-2016) following the transition of superstar athlete Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner, and the ongoing reality TV autobiography of Jazz Jennings in “I am Jazz,” (2015-), both displayed the daily reality of trans women. Chaz Bono appeared on Season 13 of “Dancing with the Stars,” (2011) dancing with professional Lacey Schwimmer, and despite plenty of backlash from some viewers, the trans man celebrity brought a humane perspective go the audience to an often scorned group of people. Fictional portrayals of trans woman Sophia Burset by Laverne Cox, herself an outspoken transwoman, in “Orange is the New Black,” (2013-2019) and two time Emmy winner and Golden Globe winner Jeffrey Tambor as trans woman Maura Pfefferman in “Transparent” (2014-2019), represented a nuanced portrait of these marginalized citizens. However even this progressive change in media portraits of the transgender population had a dark current. Mr. Tambor left the show in 2017 after accusations of sexual harassment including sexual harassment of trans women, thus undermining his character’s portrayal. He was fired from the show in February 2018.

The counter narrative to the slowly emerging progressive representation of transgender people has been the fear mongering, trans phobia and out right discrimination brought to the surface by the election of Donald J. Trump in 2016. For example, President Trump’s tweets (2017) denying the transgender people the right to serve in the military exemplifies his reactionary, extremist beliefs. The series of tweets ends by saying, “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.” The tweets define potential transgender soldiers who are qualified and willing to serve the country a burden. Such a statement strips transgender people of their humanity. Thus, a group of people marginalized, criminalized, and stigmatized; victims of a disproportionate number of suicides, homelessness, and poverty find themselves in the crosshairs of public bigotry.

The two narratives about the transgender population and how the country should treat them has wide implication for all minorities. The affirmative, inclusive narrative  signaled by Lady Gaga’s song, the shows mentioned above, the Supreme Court’s recent decision (Bostock v. Clayton County Georgia, June 15, 2020) protecting the rights of transgender people from discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, President Biden’s proclamation on the Transgender Day of Visibility (March 31, 20201) and Dr. Rachel Levine’s confirmation  as Assistant Secretary to Health and Human Services by a vote of 52-48 all urge equality. However, the affirmative response for transgender equality is currently confronted by the Republican party and far right conservative groups who have launched a veritable legal assault on trans people to restore a purely binary understanding of difference (ACLU, 2021). This assault includes forbidding trans girls and trans women from participating in high school or college sports, barriers to the use of gender affirmative bathrooms and other facilities, roadblocks to obtaining proper identity documentation, and even the criminalization of health services (prohibiting doctors from giving youth necessary medical care). In states with republican controlled legislatures, even those cities that do allow for gender difference will be prevented for enacting municipal laws or regulations that do not align with state law and policy. The Trump engendered reactionary, anti-democratic movement threatens the transgender community’s civil rights in multiple ways. Already, this year has seen the murder or violent deaths of 17 trans people, and last year 44 violent fatalities were recorded (HRC, 2021).

Shocking as this reactionary anti-transgender trend is, these bills asserting the government’s ability to define one’s gender are being proposed and enacted by a party that claims to base its philosophy on minimal government interference in the lives of citizens. What could be more intrusive on an individual’s privacy than the state telling a person what gender they can live in while moving about in certain public spaces? The Republican Party’s shift away from its traditional core values embodied by former Presidents Reagan, George H. Bush, and George W. Bush threatens to turn the party into a cult of personality under an authoritarian leader which would subvert the foundation of a two party system upon which a healthy democracy depends. In other words, the stakes are extremely high in needing to protect minority groups.

This young century has already witnessed the rise of the MeToo# and Black Lives Matter movements in response to sexual abuse/sexism/misogyny with respect to the former and racism with respect to the latter. More such organized movements that protect the right of citizens deemed “other” or marginal are needed. In the meanwhile, small and significant changes in promoting better understanding and empathy for the transgender community can be made through works of artistic expression.

 Let me return for a moment to Caitlyn Jenner’s ESPY speech. She promoted, “the simple idea: accepting people for who they are. Accepting people’s differences.” Caitlyn goes on explain how respect generates compassion generates empathy and how empathy creates positive change in people’s attitudes and actions, “They [trans people] deserve your respect. And for that respect comes a more compassionate community, a more empathetic society and a better world for all of us.”

More recently, the Canadian actor Elliott Page voiced similar sentiments when coming out (December 1, 2020) on Instagram and through interviews with Time Magazine (March 2021) and Opray Winfrey (April 30, 2021). Such celebrities have an international platform, and considerable national and international influence, but reaching people and encouraging empathy requires continual education and understanding. Games, movies, and literature can all help promote empathy and understanding for marginalized groups of people. In the rest of this essay, I will discuss an exceptional game from Ireland, If Found (Dreamfeel,2020), that can help players in both high school and college, as well as adults connect with the lived experience of a trans woman. This connection between those who are different or “other” and those deemed mainstream or acceptable, i.e., the standard, helps build bridges necessary for genuine equality and the better world referred to by Caitlyn Jenner. Such equality is fundamental to democracy, and art that supports such an inclusive vision should be recognized, encouraged, and promoted.

Kasio Says: Teaching the Journey of Discovery and Acceptance through the game “If Found”

If Found  is an Irish game that explores transgender identity. It is interactive fiction, but one where the interaction does not change the course of the story. There is no branching narrative. Rather, players touch their smart phone’s screen (the platform I used to play the game). The mechanic of erasure- slowly moves the story from screen to screen, in a very nuanced, emotionally rich fashion.

You play the game as the transgender protagonist Kasio. Her diaries are the game’s material and you read her diary, both its words, and the words visualization- by erasing the screen- dissolving one screen, part by part- to reveal the ongoing story underneath. This sole game mechanic- erasing the screen, resonates with players. Memories vanquish as you explore Kasio’s world in a genuinely intimate way. On a smart phone, your touch- erasing images and scenes by moving your finger back and forth on the screen has a powerful effect on your experience of the story. It is like reading a print comic book, where you turn the pages and see the story unfold. In If Found, the next scene seems like a new panel of a comic book as you move over the gutter from panel to panel which the image of the previous panel/scene still lingering I your mind and peripheral vision.

Actually, the game interweaves two stories. The secondary narrative tells the story of a space explorer Dr. Cassiopeia investigating a black hole, but as the astronaut’s name suggests, the protagonists are symbolically identified- both on missions of discovery. Cassiopeia has happened upon a black hole that appears about to consume the earth; however, she learns through contact with a person on earth called “control”, that she can travel through worm holes opened by the black hole to Ireland where she can prevent the apocalypse (sort of like the character 5 in The Umbrella Academy).

Kasio’s story takes place on the island of Achill- just off the west coast of Ireland’s County Mayo.  Achill is a beautiful, rugged, very rural island. Kasio has returned from Dublin and her university studies, but the homecoming presents many tribulations. She is more or less disowned by her widowed mother and brother Fergus despite her educational achievements and sincere need for acceptance. Kasio becomes an outsider shamed by her family, full of self-doubt, homeless and nomadic. She finds temporary residence as a squatter (more common in Ireland and England than the U.S., a squatter occupies an abandoned building, house, or apartment) with friend Colum, his boyfriend Jack and a friend Shans. The trio live in an abandoned Big House and form a punk band called the Bandshees. The story represents the day to day struggles of a trans woman trying to find a sense of self and security during the month of December 1993.

Screen Shot of Kasio Questioning Authenticity Used with Permission of Dreamfeel

Both a universal and a very Irish game, the story retains the Irish dialect, rhythms and vernacular- an English many Americans will need to access the game’s wonderful glossary to understand. Having lived in Ireland, the language gave the story great texture for me. Understanding the Irish context does also help magnify the story’s literary depth. First, Achill is a very rural, isolated place which suggesting deep conservatism and an exceedingly difficult place for a transgender person to belong. Being transgender in Dublin or New York City is challenging enough but being transgender in say rural North Dakota or Achill Island amplifies the transgender person’s isolation.1 Also, like much of the Republic of Ireland, Kasio’s family is Catholic, and Catholicism plays a critical role in citizens’ daily lives. As the story builds toward a family gathering at Christmas, religion and the message of hope grows stronger, but also more tense. Will Kasio find acceptance? Can a trans woman feel at home when home?

As a not unimportant aside, The Big House in Irish history is not just a big house.2 It is a mansion, but the Big Houses were Anglo-Irish, built and occupied by the wealthy, propertied class- Protestants. As these houses were built the catholic Irish- peasants- were very much second class citizens in their own country. The Protestant landowners benefited from the largesse of the British Crown. Irish resentment at the British exploded in County Mayo, where the story of If Found is set, in 1798, when peasants and the Society of United Irishmen, with some late French assistance, rebelled against the occupying British forces. They did not win, and thousands lost their lives. Yet, the spirit of nationalism and the fight for autonomy, to define the Irish as free people living in a free land owes much to this historical moment.

The Former House of Charles Boycott on Achill Island, Co. Mayo, Republic of Ireland https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Charles_Boycotts_former_house_(renovated).jpgNight of the Big Wind, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en, via Wikimedia Commons

Players need not know anything about this Irish history or Ireland to play, enjoy and learn from the game, but the texture I add above provides some additional symbolic meaning for understanding Kasio’s transgender situation. If you think of the Big House as dispossessing the Irish from their own home and Kasio and her nomadic ‘friends’ as a dispossessed or homeless gender- homeless in the sense of belonging to a larger, inclusive community than you have the marginal group among the marginalized people- double outsiders. Hence Kasio’s search for a home- a community and a full sense of identity-has deep historical as well as psychological roots.

As mentioned above, If Found’s transformative power derives from its slow, intricate detailed depiction of Kasio’s quotidian existence. Like a great comic book, the story unfolds through diary pages broken into segments much like a comic page divided into panels. The panel/scene itself dissolves like an aspect to aspect transition in comics where each section you erase displays something else, another angle or perspective on the scene. The transitions between scenes feature moment to moment transitions, a slow motion observation of Kasio’s inner life reflected through words, sketches, occasional dialogue, and color. Again, like a comic book colorist, the artist’s use of color sets both the tone of scenes and evokes the characters’ emotions. It is a very tactile or material story. Touching the screen is like turning a comic book page, the digital becoming almost like print. Even character dialogue takes place by touching each character and watching the “speech bubble” appear. The game takes on this physical characteristic in a way that genuinely brings the story out of the digital ether into an authentic, fully realized series of moments in a young trans woman’s life.

In terms of the narrative itself, Kasio struggles with very her tenuous family situation. Her relationship to the Bandshees also has a tenuous, transient quality. Colum and Jack are paired off and Shans ultimately rejects her. A particularly raw scene occurs when Kasio and Shans break into her family’s house to steal some necessary survival items and are discovered in the act by Kasio’s brother. He stresses the pain Kasio has caused their ma. Kasio ends up alone in the abandoned house burning her diary to survive the cold, and on the brink of suicide.

Screen Shot of Kasio’s Brother Condemning Her Identity and a Trans Woman

Used with Permission of Dreamfeel

The “straight” world perceives the transgender person as a “freak”. It is a tragic, dehumanizing, and annihilating prejudice. Yet, Kasio moves on. Ultimately, Kasio’s relationship to her mother determines the story’s falling action. What remains clear to the player is how much Kasio’s mother cares for her. She is a traditional catholic mother, probably devout, living in a very rural, conservative community. Yet, she genuinely struggles to understand her daughter’s difference and her struggle, her love moves the story toward reconciliation, and acceptance.

Screen Shot of Kasio and Her Ma Hugging Used with Permission of Dreamfeel

Irish writing most often has an affirmative trajectory, like the Irish wake, grief mixes with joy, the end always a beginning (like James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, 1939). Think of how Joyce’s great novel Ulysses (1922) ends with Molly’s affirmation; however much ambiguous, nonetheless an affirmation. That story also the story of a double outsider, Leopold Bloom, the wandering Irish Jew. If Bloom is the anti-epic, anti-hero, the everyman, whose triumph is simply returning home, being home, in Dublin, then Kasio-the trans woman, also embodies that quest for home, where the outsider, the marginal can be at peace with herself. This wonderful game- a profound, interactive story about the player’s interaction with the transgender community’s reality humanizes the transgender experience for players for whom such an existence seems remote, and incomprehensible. Students need this humanizing experience, this “encounter” with gender difference before they graduate into a world where difference too often becomes deadly, a real war of the sexes, and the outsider- the one who is perceived as different from the arbitrary norm, the fatal victim of ignorance and hatred.

Notes

1. In the great Lou Reed lyric, “Walk on the Wild Side,” from his album Transformer (RCA Records, 1972), Reed tells the story of five marginalized people, two of whom were trans women, Holly Woodlawn (1946-2015) and Candy Darling, (1944-1974). All five journey toward New York City, where, along with San Francisco those who are different were welcome (at least in certain neighborhoods and sections). These marginalized people ended up embraced and promoted by Andy Warhol, who was among other things, a kind of Patron Saint for the outcast. Warhol encouraged the “outsiders,” creative people discriminated against and scorned by society, to express their unique creativities at his studio, The Factory.

My subtitle for the section on the game If Found, “Kasio Says” plays on another Lou Reed song, “Candy Says” about trans woman Candy Darling from The Velvet Underground (MGM, 1969). Darling’s tragic life ended at the young age of 29, a victim of lymphoma.

2. In correspondence with the game’s designer Llaura McGee she mentioned the Big House in the game had some of its design suggested by the famous big house of British land agent Charles Boycott. Boycott, yes, the very the man from whose name we get the word and term boycott moved to Achill Island in 1854 and but the hose on 2,000 acres near the village of Doogh. Prior to moving to Achill, Boycott lived on the mainland in Lough Mask, Co. where the local Irish National Land League helped ostracize him by refused to do business with him. It is a long and complicated history, but the point being the Irish were fighting back for the land taken, occupied, and exploited by the British. This association of the game with Irish history resonates even more with this background. Kasio being a dispossessed transient occupant wit traces of Irish history inscribed on her soul sort if speak.

Resources

General

Human Rights Campaignhttps://www.hrc.org/resources

This organization devotes itself to fighting for equality on behalf of the LBGTQ community. The website has numerous resources and support for the community and people working to help the community. Support and advice for coming out, and college life are two valuable sections of the website.

The organization’s report, “Dismantling a Culture of Violence: Understanding Anti-Transgender Violence and Ending the Crisis,” Updated December 2020 and available as a free PDF download should be a must read for students as well as all faculty, counselors, and parents.

https://assets2.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/2018AntiTransViolenceReportSHORTENED.pdf

National Center for Transgender Equality

https://transequality.org/

An invaluable resource for the promotion of progressive policy change, understanding and equality of transgender people. They advocate for the transgender community on all issue that impact their lives.

Artistic Resources

Games

If Found– Dreamfeel, published by Annapurna Interactive, 2020. Discussed above. If Found was co-written by Llaura McGee and Eve Golden-Woods. Founded by game designer Llaura McGee Dreamfeel’s team includes in addition to Llaura, Eve Gordon Woods, Liadh Young, Tim Sabo, and Brianna Chew. The studio is based in Dublin, Ireland.

Tell Me Why– Dontnod Entertainment, published by Xbox Studios, 2020. An excellent narrative game feature twins Tyler and Alyson Ronan and their reunion in remote Alaska to investigate the death of their mother. This story based game has three episodes or chapters. One of the twins, Tyler is a trans man voiced by a trans man. The game does an admirable and sensitive job of exploring the perspective of a trans man in addition to allowing students/players a portrait of Tlingit culture. The Tlingit are indigenous to the Northwest (Alaska and far northwest Canada).

Dys4ia– Anna Anthropy, originally published by Newgrounds, 2007. This abstract game can be played in class. It will give students/players some concrete, but metaphoric experience of living the realities of dysphoria and the process of transitioning. There are four levels, each an abstract mini game. As an example, the first three levels are all called “Bullshit”: Gender, Medical, and Hormonal, showing the designer’s willingness to call out discrimination in all areas. Moving through the game the player encounters abstract representations of obstacles a transgender person faces. For instance, in Gender Bullshit, the player must move a shape through a jagged opening in a yellow brick wall. Inevitably, the player hits the wall. This activity shows how hard “fitting in” is for a transgender person. They are always hitting walls or barriers. However, the wall is yellow brick and ironically, echoes Dorothy’s Yellow Brick Road to Oz, but no utopia here. This mini game enacts discrimination in vivid fashion. The female protangonist is always called a sir. When the player simulates shaving, the rapidly moving razor cuts the image’s face thus representing the wound of gender transformation.

Film

Becoming Chaz– Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, 2011. Documentary.

An excellent, close-up, and honest documentary about celebrity Chaz Bono’s (born Chastity Bono) experiences. Most media attention focuses on trans women, possibly a reflection on our culture’s obsession with the female body, this film gives much needed attention to trans men and their experience.

Television

Transparent Creator Joey Solowoy, 2014-2019, 5 Seasons, Amazon Studios

A fine-tuned dramatic comedy with many transgender contributors. The show’s creator identifies as non-binary, gender non-conforming and his parent transitioned to transgender. The show focuses on the Pfefferman family and their discovery that the patriarch/father Mort is trans woman, Maura. The show also has a strong religious component, and many episodes deal with the family and their Jewish faith.

Orange is the New Black– 2013-2019, 7 Seasons, Netflix

A nuanced dramatic comedy about a women’s prison in upstate New York. Trans actor Laverne Cox plays a major character Sophia Burset, who is also a trans woman. Season 1 Episode 3 “Lesbian Request Denied” July 11, 2013, tells the story of Sophia’s background and how she ended up an inmate. This would be the best episode to use in a class about gender diversity. The episode is directed by Jodie Foster.

I am Cait– Banim/Murray Productions, E! Network, 2015-2016, 2 seasons.

A Reality TV account of former Olympic Gold Medalist, and celebrity Bruce’s Jenner’s transition to Caitlyn Jenner. It is a close look at how a famous and wealthy person cope with transitioning in the public spotlight.

I am JazzTLC/The Learning Channel, 2015-.

A Reality TV show, autobiography of sorts about teenager Jazz Jennings transition to a trans girl. Because Jazz is from an ordinary American family and at an age many students can identify with this show has many talking; points for helping students understand a transgender person’s thought and feelings in an everyday context.

Book

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More– Janet Mock (Atria Books, 2014). A transgender activist and writer/reporter/editor Janet Mock’s memoir describe her transition process, which began in her freshman year in college. It is only appropriate for college age students but has tremendous benefits for college students and educators. She talks about many experiences including her surgery in Thailand and her experience as a sex worker, something many transgender people turn to out of desperation.

Music with Extension Activities

Lou Reed, “Walk on the Wild Side,” from Transformer (RCA Records, 1972), 4 minutes 12 seconds. Ask students why the five people Reed catalogues are travelling to New York City. What makes New York City a desired destination for people ostracized in their home communities? What was New York City and American culture like in the late 1960s and 1970s and what has changed with respect to these marginalized figures.

“Candy Says,” the first song from Velvet Underground (MGM, 1969), 4 minutes and 4 seconds. See lesson idea above for how to use this brilliant melancholic song in class.

Lady Gaga, “Born this Way,” from Born This Way (Innerscope, 2011), 4 minutes and 20 seconds. There are 3 powerful ways to use this song effectively in class.

1. Listen to the song in class and ask students to define an anthem. Mention the National Anthem, what that song means and why we most often stand and sing as it plays or if one does not stand what that means. How does Lady’s Gaga’s song change or expand the meaning of the National Anthem? What is the difference between dancing to a song and singing along with a song?

2. List the minority groups mentioned in the song and ask students to identify how   each of these groups have been marginalized or excluded at different times from the American mainstream society. This would be an opportunity o talk about the anti-Asian hate that arose in American during the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. In the lyrics, Gaga draws a distinction between a “finite birth” and an infinite birth”. Explore this difference with the class. The finite birth refers to our birthdate over which we have no control. Ask students how they think the circumstances of their birth might have impacted who they are today, e.g., place or birth, race and ethnicity, anatomical ex, parents, economic standing, historical time. Next explain how an “infinite birth” is both symbolic and literal referring to a person’s statement or feeling of being reborn. This birth is under one’s control. For example, a gay person who comes out as gay has been reborn in terms of their identity and relationship to society. A religious conversion is another kind of birth. In your experience even a change of major can be life altering. Maybe your parents or social expectations ‘determined” your choice of major and in your sophomore year you realized that this choice did not fit you or make you happy and you made a radical change on your own terms. I distinctly remember a female engineering major at a major university where I taught changing her major to journalism and transferring to another college. That would be an example of infinite birth. For trans people the moment of transition could also be thought of as a new birth, but a birth into what they consider to be their true self.

Lesson Idea

“Swimsuits, Society and Self- Discovery: Living with Mirrors”

If Found can be played in two hours and should be assigned as homework between classes. Before assigning such a game or any other potentially controversial work of art the instructor needs to frame the game with a discussion of what transgender means in historical, cultural, and psychological terms. You need to elicit students own thinking about gender. How do they define gender? How is gender different from one’s sex? How does one learn about their gender and does this change over time?

In terms of a concrete lesson, an extraordinarily rich theme would be exploring body image. All students will relate to the topic, often in very personal ways. I would start by playing Lou Reed’s “Candy Says,” and ask students to interpret the lyric they way they would read a poem. The poem told from Candy Darling’s perspective includes the line, “Candy says I’ve come to hate my body…”. What a powerful line. What does the world require of one’s body and how does that requirement place a particular burden on a transgender person?

Watch the very first episode of “I am Jazz,” July 15, 2015 “All About Jazz” where she goes shopping for a bathing suit. Ask students how they feel about watching Jazz thinking about her image and how choosing a swimsuit can be such a major decision. Giving students the opportunity to draw responses to the show, or game, can be powerful.

The final episode of Transparency, Season 1, “Why Do We Cover Mirrors,” Sept. 26, 2014 can provide a tie into the theme of how we see ourselves through reflections and differentiate the outside from the inside of a person. The episode features a funeral and the family members’ response to death and mourning. In the Jewish faith you cover mirrors to prevent feelings of vanity from emerging and detracting one from focusing all one’s attention on the person being mourned.

Play short excerpts from Elliot page’s interview with Opray. He talks about an incident when he was ten and attending event at a swimming pool, but he did not have a swimsuit. Consequently, he had to wear male swim trunks. To Him, that moment that we of think of as embarrassing was a moment of joy because he finally could dress as the gender, he felt he was. Jump ahead ten more years, and Elliot talks about his Oscar nomination for the film Juno (2007). The many events he was required to attend culminating in Oscar night when he was expected to wear a designer evening gown and hills. What we would most likely assume to be a moment of tremendous joy was for him a moment of terror and despair because he was dressed opposite to how he was and forced into an international media spotlight. He could not even look at a mirror during this time because he did not want to see himself dressed as a woman.

This brings me to a final exercise for this multi-class lesson.

“Candy Says,” ends with a powerful refrain (stanzas 2 and 4) where she channeled by Reed talks about being older and looking at herself as someone from outside herself and speculating on what she would see from a distance.

Ask students to write a short 5 minute in-class paper or illustrate what they will look like in twenty years. You now have material for an immensely powerful class discussion about identity, body image, and culture.

for using educational technology in the classroom.

*** If you want consultation, or professional development help with online learning, course design, game-based learning, games in the classroom, comics in the classroom, film, or Language Arts/Literature contact me at: davidseelow@gmail.com.

Keep an eye out for the release of my new book Teaching in the Game-Based Classroom: Practical Strategies for Grades 6-12, to be published by Routledge’s Eye on Education series. You can pre-order here: https://www.routledge.com/Teaching-in-the-Game-Based-Classroom-Practical-Strategies-for-Grades-6-12/Seelow/p/book/9780367487492

Purchase or recommend to your library our book Lessons Drawn: Essays on the Pedagogy of Comics and Graphic Novels (McFarland, 2019), a practical guide to classroom teaching with new literary forms.

Works Cited

ACLU. “LEGISLATION AFFECTING LGBT RIGHTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.” https://www.aclu.org/legislation-affecting-lgbt-rights-across-country, 4/30/2021.

“Elliott Page,” The Oprah Conversation. Season 1, Episode 14, April 30, 2021. apple tv+.

Human Rights Campaign. “Fatal Violence Against the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community in 2020.” Web site. Retrieved from https://www.hrc.org/resources/violence-against-the-trans-and-gender-non-conforming-community-in-2020, 5/4/2021.

Lady Gaga. “Born this Way.” (Live from The GRAMMYs on CBS). Feb. 18, 2011,

________. “Born This Way” (Official Music Video). Feb 27, 2011.

_________Born This Way. Innerscope May 2011. Record Album.

President Donald J. Trump. “Three Tweets” (@realDonaldTrump). July 26, 2017.

President Joe Biden. “A Proclamation on Transgender Day Of Visibility,” The White House, Presidential Actions, Briefing Room, 31 March 2021, online version retrieved from  https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/03/31/a-proclamation-on-transgender-day-of-visibility-2021/ 5/2/21.

Ronan, Wyatt. “BREAKING: 2021 Becomes Record Year For Anti-Transgender Legislation.” Human Rights Campaign. https://www.hrc.org/press-releases/breaking-2021-becomes-record-year-for-anti-transgender-legislation. March 13, 2021

Steinmetz, Katy. “Elliot Page Is Ready for This Moment.” Time Magazine. March 16, 2021, print version March/April double issue, online version, https://time.com/5947032/elliot-page/, retrieved 4/26/2021.

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