Ingress: The Greatest Support Group I Know

For the past 5 years, I have been playing Ingress. Think of Ingress as a sci-fi version of Pokemon GO. To play the game you travel. I spend most of my time traveling locally or going downtown to Fremont St. or even to the local park. From time to time Niantic Labs sets aside a city for a big Ingress battle called anomalies. I like to go to anomalies often. Every anomaly I go to from my first in my backyard of Vegas to my most recent in just a short hop away in San Fransico is an opportunity to kick ass, take names, explore new places, and make new friends.

Something bothered me during most of my first anomalies. I was hiding my true self. I wasn’t being genuine. At best I was just another Ingress agent playing. I was hiding trying to fit in and it hurt me. The reason I was hiding was in my experience with other video games that communities won’t accept you for being “inexperienced” making “mistakes or just not being one of them. Those experiences had tainted my first few years of playing Ingress. Anomalies are addicting. I kept going back for more. After making many observations, I noticed a few things. Ingress has a more accepting and forgiving community. People of all skill levels are welcomed, most mistakes are forgiven and Ingress is played by a bunch of misfits. It was sometime before I realized that I just could be myself and nobody would make a big bigoted hoopla about who I was. The only thing frowned upon is being a jackass that cries and tries to ruin other peoples lives just because.

Agent to agent, I told the community about who I was and how I felt. In fact, the first Ingress I told was thestudette herself. My honesty with her is the reason I get to post to this very website, but I digress. With each experience of coming out to the various agents that I have befriended over the years, I gain more confidence. Every anomaly I am surrounded by the best teammates that I could ask for and the “enemy”, all of whom just want me to be happy.  Everyone has told me that I am welcome to be me. I have felt love and support wherever I go and whoever I turn to that is far greater than I have ever felt in my local community. I can tell by the smiles and hugs that go my way how proud the Ingress community is proud of me. I have no reason to hide. I have people I can turn to. I can just be myself in public. Ask any Ingress agent that knows me before and after I came out, and they can attest to the amount of confidence and happiness that I gained and they would concur that the Ingress community is probably the best group of friends that they have made too. So come join us in the world of Ingress and hopefully you’ll get to experience the loving community that I know.

Emmy goes to Las Vegas Pride Parade.

Emmy here.

Sorry for being absent from this blog. Between the Ren Fair, Pride Parade and Harvest Festival, I’m having a blast.

Pride Parade was fun and everyone had very expressive outfits. I didn’t really go all out. My outfit was relatively simple. I wore a pair of jeans and a tee shirt. I did do anything outrageous like wear sparkles or wear a flag. I didn’t do much makeup, just the basics. I’m not much of a fan for screaming to cheer on the parade either. I had this internal fear of not looking like I fit in. I didn’t. I arrived uncomfortable. Everywhere I looked, I just didn’t fit in.

It didn’t matter. Everywhere I looked, it was all smiles and love. It was a celebration of people being true to themselves. Everyone was smiling and accepting. It didn’t matter that I didn’t look the part. I was automatically accepted for who I was. I felt those warm fuzzy feelings inside. It was fantastic. Love made me smile and made me fit in. I was jumping up and down more towards the end. I got in the spirit. I found my home.

P.S. All that love drowned out and kept the radically religious. I got to fight them with their own scripture. I also fought a TERF with her own logic. It was fabulous. I’ll be back next year.

It’s National Coming Out Day

Today is the day we celebrate all the coming out stories.  I have my own.

First time out was kinda accidental. It was in a chat room full of PoGo players. That night the group talked about the LBGT community in chat. I pulled someone aside who I had the gut feeling of trusting and asked if there were resources in town without being specific. Without me knowing, I came out to a fellow trans woman that night.

Time past and I went out on the town with her and some friends. I built up more confidence to dress up and even personally use female pronouns out in public.

I think the biggest moment was in Ann Arbor when I traveled to visit friends. I knew that WAR, DR, and GCR were great trusting communities based on all the chatter before I came. I packed my clothes and makeup and went. I was free and realized that the ingress community has my back. I felt comfortable enough to tell the world of ingress.

Scratch that. My biggest moment was going to school and realizing that there were people who supported me in school. I didn’t have to hide my private life at school. I talked to my professors and they had my back. I made sure and made a statement by walking in class presenting as the confident girl that I am. It went well and my productivity shot up. I was on top of the world.

Only one obstacle is left. My own family doesn’t know. I asked my own parents to read this blog and they haven’t yet. I even asked to talk. They haven’t gotten back to me yet. I fear for the worst honestly. However, I have faith that if they loved me up to this point. They will still love me afterward. If not, I have faith that time will heal up the self-inflicted family wounds.

It’s tough, I have to admit that much. I did, however, learn things when coming out and I want to share them with you in celebration of mine and many others’ stories.

First off come out in your own time. It took years for me to admit who I am. For others, it may take a just a few moments. You have all the time in the world to figure out who you are. No need to rush. Just don’t lie and you’ll find your true self. Even if it is national coming out day, don’t feel pressured into doing so. Plenty of people come out on a daily basis. You make the day for yourself. Remember this is just a day for celebrating all the coming out stories as a whole.

Do so when you are comfortable with the person you are going to tell. My rule is if your gut doesn’t feel comfortable, don’t.

Questions will be asked. Just be honest.

Some people will leave and abandon you for being yourself. If you think about it, you didn’t change in that moment, they did. They probably weren’t your friends anyway.

Some people need time to accept it. Give them time. Time makes everything better. Time is good for sorting things out really.

Don’t be afraid.

To those who are on the receiving end of this.

Don’t ask “Are you sure?” Yes, they are sure. I can assure you that by that time they figured out who they are. That person is comfortable with telling you.

You might not fully understand and that’s okay. You can ask questions but listen to what they have to say. Don’t interject. You will have your turn to say something. It’s a dialogue.

If you think someone is coming out just to make your life difficult, remember that coming out is for them not you. This is someone you cared about up until this point. Why stop now? Don’t be the person that abandons your friend or family member. You may need them someday.

 

Dear Mom

Dear Mom

Thanks for raising me to be the incredible woman that I am. Your influence on me has been fantastic and every lesson I will take with me. Your encouragement has made me strive to be my very best self.

That’s right. I said woman.

The hints were there. You saw my interest in makeup and offered to buy it for me. You let me play dress up. I bought my own clothes, makeup, and shoes. You seen them around the house. You seen me at my most confident presenting as a woman. I even look more to the women in my life.

Mom, I just don’t know how to talk to you about this. You’ve been a brick wall since dad left and I have to tell you eventually. So maybe this letter to you will make you wake up. You have an amazing daughter and she wants to talk to you. I can’t wait for that day.

Love,

Emmy.

Observations from a Las Vegan

Sorry for being gone. If you have been living under a rock, a terrorist attack happened across here in Las Vegas. Ever since Sunday night, everyone in town needed a bit of time off. I honestly don’t blame anyone for doing that. I need a break from this blog too.

Now I’m not going to disguise the fact that many residents of Las Vegas, myself included, are transplants from somewhere else. We all came here to pursue a better life. We all live together in this hot hellhole where a city isn’t supposed to exist. We come together and support our neighbors for the simple reason we have to depend on one another or all our goods and services. If we don’t support each other the city dies.

This same level of service extends to every single guest that comes into town. The service industry is the very heart of our town. It is selfless and caring. We will treat you like a king or queen when you visit. We will have a smile on our faces and wave hello. We do all this even if you’re the most ungrateful person in the world. If we don’t make you feel welcome, this town would lose all its meaning and we would all pack up and move back to where we come from.

I know terrorism is making us fearful. I get it. I’m scared too. I see grown men who try to be strong crying. I see little kids lose their innocence. I see people trying to play the blame game out of fear. I see people try to profit and push agendas out of greed. (That’s for another blog post.) It hurts more seeing this act of terror in my home town.  This kind of fear is what terrorists want. They want disrupt the lives we love so much.

However, Las Vegas carries on as normal. No amount of time will make this baggage disappear, but we will make it small and carry it. In the midst of donating goods and blood, paying or respects, and comforting those in need we go to work, we serve visitors whether grateful or not, we complain about project neon. All this is part of a normal day in Las Vegas. In the face of tragedy we stand strong. In doing so we lead the fight and win against terrorism.

On the Catholic faith and being trans.

I was baptized in the Catholic Church. I grew up and still am a member of the Catholic Church. My faith is strong. I pray. I go to mass on Sunday. I even help kids prepare for first holy communion.

I do have to ask something.

Why did God make me this way? Why does He put me through this pain? I’m born a boy but I have the feeling of a girl inside. The cynical side of me says this is a cruel joke. Is there something bigger that God has for me by being trans? Is this all part of His big plan? He could’ve just made me female in the first place. Why didn’t He?

The more I tried to pray and embrace the boy I was born as the more it’s revealed the woman inside me. Crazy, right? My prayers get answered by female empowerment advertisements or powerful women in pop culture like Wonder Woman. It seems like every time I try to deny who I am I, there’s a sign pointing to who I really am like the pretty dress or the toys in the store.

I have to ask why?

After thinking about it and a bit of prayer. I think I have an answer.

If I was born a girl or God made someone like me without being trans, it wouldn’t be me. He created me, not someone else. Being around pleases him. I am a unique person in this world and nobody can be me.

Perhaps scripture has the answer.

The first takeaway is that He made me in his own image.

Genesis 1:27

God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Secondly, I am perfect and He makes no mistakes.

1 Timothy 4:4

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected when received with thanksgiving,

The next is that I am a child of God and he loves me.

1 John 3:1

]See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

The next is that even if I am marginalized for being trans, Jesus would still hang out with me. He hung out with all kinds of people that were marginalized and worked his ministry through them. From the tax collector to the prostitute, he would never reject anyone, because there is no us or them, only us. The us that was placed on this planet to live, learn and help each other. (Unless you are a hypocrite like the Pharisee who worship publicly and not live a Christ-like life outside of the church.) You can read all about it in the Gospels.

The final takeaway is that God made me this way to prepare me for the world and make me a better person.

John 9:1-7

1 [a]As he passed by he saw a man blind from birth. 2 [b]His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. 4 We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes,7 and said to him, “Go wash[c] in the Pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

I honestly believe that God has put me through this pain to help me understand other people and their pain and suffering. To know how pain and suffering work affects people is sometimes the best thing to have when helping others. I can have empathy, love, understanding, and compassion because God through his work has shown me all this. When people who are broken come to me I understand and help them with all my heart and soul. Each day passes when I continue to heal myself and I am better equipped to help others heal too. Perhaps, this is my answer. That these trials are there to prepare me to heal the world and make it a better place. And I am glad to take on this challenge.

 

I never listened.

Growing up a boy I had to adhere to certain standards of masculinity.

I never listened.

Don’t show weakness.

Looking back on my weakest moments has made me a better person.

Don’t show sadness or grief and get on with life.

I stopped and grieved and made sure my baggage got lighter.

Don’t show fear.

I showed fear and did awesome things. I gained courage.

Fight through the pain. Go beyond when your body tells you no.

I went up to my body saying no. I let my body heal. Unlike the other boys who listened I don’t have lifelong aches and pains.

Don’t accept defeat.

I accept defeat, cut my losses and move on.

As a child, I’m expected to take abuse from my elders because it’s not too bad they say.

I stayed away from abuse and walked away. I protested my abuse and insisted on the respect I deserve.

As an adult, I’m supposed to fight back.

I don’t fight battles not worth my time

Compete for everything, don’t cooperate.

Cooperation has led to my greatest moments and accomplishments.

Don’t ask for help.

I ask for help. Without help, I would not have found the paths that lead me to the accomplishments in my life.

Win all the time.

I don’t win all the time. I take solace that I did better than last time. It’s okay to be last in high-level competition, so long as you improve.

Go after all the women. Be a sex machine. Don’t go after a specific woman.

I value sex, yes, but I also value a meaningful and nurturing relationship. I value being intimate and sharing myself even if it is only one person.

Be ready for violence at any time. Punch first, ask questions later.

I resort to violence after diplomacy has failed. Nobody gets hurt and integrity is maintained if diplomacy comes first.

Be independent all the time.

Sometimes being dependent has made me get back on my feet and independent.

Don’t show love, care, and kindness.

I show love, care, and kindness and I receive it back.

Chase high standards at your own expense.

I do chase high standards, but step back when I see myself hurting emotionally, physically or financially. I go and mend my wounds.

Be strong. Look down on the weak. Women are weak. Despise weakness. Be aggressive when frustrated with weakness.

I have shown weakness and have been lifted back up by some of the strongest women in my life.

It’s okay to show emotion. It’s okay to show empathy. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to freely express yourself. It’s okay to show defeat. Just look at me. I’m one amazing human being all because I did all that.

 

 

 

Aviation and Women

Emmy here.

I admit that I am an aviation addict. I can tell you everything there is about the airspace around Las Vegas. I could identify a plane from a nautical mile away. I even got my pilot’s license before my drivers license. However there has something that has bothering me about the world of aviation, its masculinity.

From its inception, aviation has been a male dominated field. From men risking their lives on dangerous experimental aircraft, men working hard to get those flying machines to work while their wives did the housework, and fighter pilots fighting for their convictions and coming home to their fairytale princess. Sadly for all these masculine traits, women are seen as “tools and prizes” to be won. It’s okay to turn them into Pin Ups and treat them as second class citizens apparently. Sometimes women try to get in aviation get abused for being different. I even left for being abused.

Women at the airport are a surprise to some. We think if that a woman loves aviation, it’s because of a man in their life. If they fly, they are sexualised. If they are a mechanic, they are some sort of freak. My response is that there are men that are in aviation because of the women in their lives, men can be sexualised just as much, and men in “women’s work” is not considered freaky at all.

Now I’m not saying all of the aviation community does that, but some do. They have to be the loudest voice in the room about it too and they ruin aviation’s image for all of us. Those who do are secretly uncomfortable with a woman in the cockpit who has the same rights and has the same value as they do. It’s a hell of a privilege to have. Sadly many people don’t care because it doesn’t affect them so it’s not their problem or they “can’t relate.”

In a perfect world nobody would care about the gender or sexual orientation of the pilot, engineer, or mechanic as long as the job gets done right. For better or worse, it will. Growing up a boy I got the term “getting beaten by a girl” drilled into my head, because as a child, threats to masculinity were the social norm. Being “beaten by a girl” was seen as weak. In reality people do care.

We need to do better. We need to celebrate women and the LBGTQIA+ community in aviation more. We need to show children that their gender does not define what job they will have in the world of aviation. Someone has to try to bridge the gender divide. If I’m the only one so be it. Just know that I will fight with all my heart and soul until I die. I don’t want anyone to feel the pain I felt for being different. It won’t be easy but it’s worth a try. If I can change the world for even just one person, it would mean the world to me and I would know I won the battle.

The Rest of The Story

Emmy here.

I didn’t quite tell you the whole story on my last post.

My parents were quite curious about the gender of their child during my pregnancy. The OB/GYN told them to expect a baby boy. The life of being a jock, strong silent type, and a big shot is what my family had planned out for me. While I like things that are stereotypically male like sports, mechanical engineering, and eating like a total animal. Oddly enough I like and do all of these things.

Life never quite worked out being a boy for me. I looked more to the women in my family. When I stood face to face to them, it was like looking in the mirror. Even on TV with female pop stars like The Spice Girls, Britney Spears, and Madonna, I was still looking in the mirror. Every opportunity, I would go shopping with the women in my life. I would gaze in envy at the clothes and makeup in store. Mom even saw the look in my face at a young age and asked if she could buy me makeup on multiple occasions. Every time, I said no everytime out of fear of being seen as a weak effeminate boy. Since then I had to ask the question “Am I just an effeminate boy or a girl?”

Fast forward a few years to when I was 8. I saw this beautiful pair of heels that my mom owned. She saw the look in my face and said to try them on. I did and for some reason, I immediately knew how to walk in them like I have been walking in heels for years. It felt right. I tried on one of her dresses next. Everything felt in place. Mom told me not to do this in front of the rest of the family or dad. I could tell at the time she was a bit scared of what everyone would think of her for letting me do this. I was still scared of what people would think of me personally.

High school came. Once a year “gender bender day” was celebrated for whatever reason. It was a day the girls can pull out their fake mustaches and boys can crossdress without being laughed at. The girls at the school did my makeup and outfit. Looking in the mirror was a moment for me. I strutted my style around the school. I had all the confidence in the world too. When mom picked me up that day, I was very happy.

College came and I started to realize the world is getting more tolerant and accepting. I was still so far back in the closet back then. The world showed me that it was more and more okay to be yourself. I felt like a girl. I told my closest friends about how I felt and identified. They were immediately accepting. I went out and gained the confidence to buy my own makeup and clothes. I practiced and practiced my basic look until I had the confidence to go out on the town. I went out with friends for my first few adventures. Eventually, I went on my own as the confident girl that I am alone. I even took a trip across the country to Michigan and showed off who I was inside to the world. Since then, I have come to the realization that I was a girl the whole time and that I just needed to admit it. It was at that point I told everyone else in my life.

To this day, I’m trying to figure out who I am. Each day I take a small step in self-discovery whether it be through fashion, a new makeup look, talking to friends, learning something new, or enjoying hobbies. Every discovery builds upon the last and makes me a better version of myself. There’s a lot that I have yet to discover about myself. I look forward to what each discovery has in store for me. However, in a world of being uncertain of who I am, there is one thing certain in this world. I am a strong, confident, self-reliant and smart woman. People can try to take away those qualities from me, but I won’t let them.

Now you know the rest of the story.

Hi, My name is Emmy.

It’s totally rude not to introduce and not tell someone about yourself when arriving at an event or function. So, without further delay let me tell you about myself.

The beginning is probably the best place to start. I was born on May 23, 1996, in Evanston, Illinois.  For the first 4 years of my life, I called the northern suburbs of Chicago my home. In those early years, I gained an appreciation for great pizza and a love for the green landscape of suburbia. That all changed in August of 2000 when my family and I moved here to Las Vegas in search for a better life. Both my parents got a better paying job. My world was suddenly traded for the pale and lifeless desert and shitty corporate chain food. To this day the weather gets to me and with a few exceptions, the local cuisine bores me to death.

One thing that did change me and made me who I am today was my first flight to Las Vegas. Up until then, I was terrified of aircraft. I did everything I could to not get on the plane sitting at O’Hare. However, I was impressed by my first few minutes of flying. I was fascinated by how something so big can fly. I was in love. I told my mom that I wanted to be a pilot when I grow up. I even signed up for a lottery to be selected into a high school program with the aim of having all selected graduate with their Pilot Certification. I got in and out of everyone accepted only 4 successfully completed the program. I worked hard enough to be one of the lucky few. To this day I stop for any talk about aviation and always look up to the sky. My love for aviation knows no bounds.

During high school, I discovered a game called Ingress. Ingress has sparked my curiosity and love for adventure. I have been to 13 states across the country and have made many great friends because of Ingress. Every adventure has given me countless experiences. If I were to write them now I would make this post way too long. Those stories will have their own posts.

Currently, college is taking up my time and effort. My primary focus of study is education. I got into education because it called out to me. Volunteering with local educational institutions has made me realize that I like to help people. Words can’t describe how much joy you can get from influencing a person’s life for the better. Go try it for yourself.

I’ll be here writing about everything. From my own life experience of being a studette to the occasional impassioned pizza review. I will be open and won’t hold back. I’m excited about this roller coaster ride of self-discovery. I hope you have your seatbelt fastened because it’s going to be a wild ride. I’m excited to share everything with you.