Ludum Dare 37 Update

So I’ve been thinking about porting my project for Ludum Dare 37 to JavaScript because I think it would work really well as a simple web game. To that end, I tried to fire it up.

Unfortunately, it had bit rot and didn’t work. It was written for Python 2 and didn’t work in Python 3. A few quick changes and it was good to go again.

You can find the updated version at (get the one with a 2023 date).


I’ve always said “More than three drinks isn’t any fun.”, but four is a special kind of place. Everything is hyper-focused and visceral. While it’s certainly an over-indulgence, it’s a place worth exploring from time to time.


Like so many other things, passing isn’t a binary. Sometimes I pass, and sometimes I don’t. I think I’ve finally tipped the fifty percent mark, but I still get read both ways. Today, I experienced both, but oddly, passing was terrible and failing to pass was lovely, all due to the character of the others involved.

In the first case, being read as female made me a target for sexual harassment. They kept their hands to themself, and I’m not going to say much more about it, other than that I wasn’t as prepared for this inevitability as I’d thought.

The second case was more involved. “Excuse me ma’am,” they say. I turn, “… Oh, I’m sorry, sir.” I correct them “It’s miss,” but they’re already onto their next thought and don’t catch it. “You look good. You really do. Good for you. I like that style and am surprised to see it up here.” Et cetera.

Having failed to pass, I was read as a femme presenting male. And they were so sweet about it that I wasn’t bothered at all. Attitude is everything.

God Doesn’t Make Mistakes

People of faith often use the phrase “God doesn’t make mistakes.” to justify transphobia. For the moment, we’ll set aside the offensive implication that there is something wrong with trans people, therefore, God having made them would somehow be “a mistake.” God, by definition, doesn’t make mistakes, but what does that actually mean in terms of human gender?

Consider intersex people. Depending on definitions and other factors, somewhere between one in a thousand to one in a hundred live human births are some degree of intersex. And since God doesn’t make mistakes, God made them this way for a purpose. The reason why is a mystery to us, but it clearly indicates that God’s plan for humanity isn’t as clearly divided into male and female as some would have us believe.

So, if one concedes that intersex people exist (no doubt at this point we lose some people; intersex erasure is so pervasive in western society that many don’t even know they exist), then that means that human gender is more complex than XX = female and XY = male. Those chromosome combinations aren’t the only viable ones, and chromosomes are just the tip of the iceberg. One gene on the Y chromosome triggers a cascade of changes, activating and deactivating genes across the entire genome. Genes (almost) all people carry, regardless of gender. Some of those genes regulate sex hormones, which are actually what drives the vast majority of developments that would be classically considered male or female. At any point in the chain, a mutation can alter the course of events. There a wide varieties of end results and efforts to push them into male or female boxes are decried as abusive by these people themselves.

So given that the physical attributes of gender (or sex if you prefer) are a lot more complicated and varied than a simple binary system, is it reasonable to assume that the neurological differences between genders isn’t? While this aspect of human development is less well understood (popular stories claiming scientists have found a genetic explanation for particular human behaviors generally overstate the actual research results), it is, in all likelihood, more complicated, not less than that of physical development. And so, variation is to be expected. And, not surprisingly, occurs at similar rates. While estimates of the number of trans people vary, they generally fall into the same one-in-a-thousand to one-in-a-hundred range that numbers of intersex individuals do. None of these people are “a mistake.”

So, in conclusion, God doesn’t make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean God endorses your transphobia. In fact, it says the opposite.

An Observation on Character Design

In the comic book universe I created in high school, all of the protagonists (except one enby guest character) are female. Even the male character explicitly added as an author avatar eventually became a female (and changed roles).

On the other tentacle, all the antagonists are male dominated organizations.

Words and Names

Of all the letters in the LGBT… acronym, of all the labels pushed together in our movement, I identify with queer the most. I like it because it’s so non-specific and flows better off the tounge than all the letters. It also has the advantage that it’s been taken back. Perhaps it is unfair that I use it when others might still be hurt by the term. In my circle, another word was and is the preferred slur, and so I’m not so personally stung by it. I haven’t the courage to attempt to redeem that one, and when I see others doing so it hurts somewhat, so perhaps it’s a bad choice.

But mostly I love the entymology. Literally, queer just means strange. I’m strange. I’ve known this for longer than I understood anything about gender or sexuality. I publicly identfied as weird for years, never, until recently, making the connection to queer. My social media bios describe me as atypical, which really just means strange and fond of big words. There’s a sign on my door that says Curiouser and Curiouser, as if it were a lawfirm or haberdashery or some such, but is really just an Alice reference that, once again, just means strange.

When I was born, I was given three names. All of which came, one way or another from my father. I never much had a problem with my name, rare enough to be interesting, not so weird as to cause me much trouble. But, as generally happens, I was given a few more: shortenings, elongations, pronunciations altered by another language and the facinating, haphazard, process that is childhood language aquisition. I added a few more of my own devising, finally settling on one that was globally unique (if a little lengthy) which can be a very handy thing in a digital age.

But then there are others. Ones I picked up here and there that I didn’t use. Couldn’t use. Girl names. The list is fairly long. By mixing and matching, the number of combination could be quite large, but most of them are already paired up in ways that I like. Eventually I settled on two. Which I got from my mother (and she from hers). She didn’t exactly give them to me, she was saving them for a girl. A girl that never was. My sister is quite glad she didn’t get them, and none of my other siblings have any fondness for them either. But I loved them and so I held onto them.

And so, when I finally came out, as I sifted through the names I’d aquired over the years, looking for something that fit better: two names rose to the top. Names that had never been selected for this use. But I loved them more, they sounded better, they had history, they were selected by the previous generation, they had connections.

But perhaps I’ve chosen wrong. Since then, those connections have, on more than one occasion, been weaponized against me. These names have been used to attempt to shame me for standing up. For being out. For being proud. So perhaps I’ve chosen wrong … the rest of the list is still there … if I need it …

But the children…

Since I’ve come out, a couple of people I once considered good freinds have expressed concerns about the effect my transition will have on thier children. Well, I’m hoping it does have an effect.

I’m hoping that with effort, outreach, representation, and compassion, the next generation will treat trans and other marginalized groups better than my and previous generations have done so. And if you intend to actively work against that, that’s indefensible.

Trans 101: Biology and Assumptions


Let’s start with  biology. In the sexual system of reproduction utilized by Humans (and many other species), there are basically two sexual traits: the ability to get pregnant, and the ability to impregnate. However, unlike conventional wisdom, this leads to four sexes, not two. The simple binary combinations are:

  • female: those that can get pregnant.
  • male: those that can impregnate.
  • hermaphrodite: those that can both get pregnant and impregnate.
  • neuter: those that can do neither.

To the best of my knowledge (please correct me if I’m mistaken), hermaphrodites are impossible in humans. This still leaves three “biological sexes,” one of which is consistently ignored (neuter) in western cultures. This selection of only two types is the binary.

Assumption: Genitalia = Sex

However, unless one has born children or had their reproductive system medically examined, it is unknown what one’s sex is. Therefore, an assumption in made based on the appearance of one’s external genitalia. Assigned to one of two types (vulva and penis) and ignoring inconvenient middle cases (ambiguous external genitalia), an assumption is made regarding reproductive abilities.

Or rather, potential reproductive abilities; this assignment is made at birth, and humans are not generally fertile at birth.

Assumption: Gender = Genitalia

In western society (due to nudity taboos), most people’s genitalia are not publicly visible. One has no concrete evidence as to what sort of “parts” most other people have. Furthermore, even if one has seen (or otherwise perceived) them, one only knows how they were at that time, not how they are now, or were previously.

So, in general, one makes an assumption about other’s genitalia based on social cues and sensory perceptions of what is readily observable. This is gender. Based on a host of factors, some with a biological basis, but most without, one is conditioned to to place nearly every aspect of human life into one of two categories: female or male. While these are the same terms as those used for sex, unless all assumptions hold, they’re not the same groupings.

Based on these cues, one makes an assumption regarding genitalia, which is then used to make an assumption regarding reproductive capacity.

Assumption: Expression = Identity

One is condition to think of oneself in the same categorical terms that one is conditioned to think of others in. Therefore, when one thinks of oneself as a gender archetype, that is one’s gender identity. One’s appearance and mannerisms may or may not reflect that identity. These are one’s gender expression.

The only way to know a person’s gender identity is to be told by them. One may be told by others, but that is hearsay. Even when explicitly told, one may be lied to for any number of reasons (often to do with safety); however, the only prudent course is to take the individual’s word at face value.

When a person’s gender identity doesn’t match that which it was assumed they’d have based on the appearance of their genitalia at birth (assigned gender), that person is transgender. If it does match, that person is cisgender.

An Ass of You and Me

In society’s defense, often these assumptions bear out. However, they also sometimes do not. When they do not, the reductionist approach is to ignore the evidence to the contrary; to insist that these aren’t assumptions at all; to double down on the flawed premise of binary categorization.

The simple, progressive, and humane approach is to acknowledge that each of these assumptions is flawed: a heuristic that only sometimes works. Realizing that the assumed categories are not absolutes, that there are more than two possibilities at each level, and that the correlations between each level are less than unity, one exercises caution and respect.

In this instance, the choice really is binary.

Appendix: Assumption: Gender = Sexuality

To be continued.

Appendix: Assumption: Phenotype = Genotype

To be continued.


If I was asked to pinpoint the moment my transition began, it was actually years before I even understood I was trans. I couldn’t tell you the time or place, but I remember the act.

I noticed that when I wrote things at a larger size (like my name on in Sharpie on a Solo cup), I’d do my tiddles (little dots like on lowercase I or J) as little circles. Some people do this at normal handwriting size, but I usually don’t. I thought to myself “That’s kinda girly.” (It’s actually amazing how thoroughly the binary influences our society: Even handwriting is gendered.) I kinda liked that and thought to myself, “You know what’s even more girly? When they’re little hearts.”

And so ever since, I’ve tended to make my tiddles little hearts when writing at larger letter heights. It was the first time I deliberately did something in an effeminate way specifically because it was effeminate. (Other things, like my hair styling and nail length were driven by æsthetic preference. Ultimately, the æsthetic I liked was femme, but I hadn’t quite figured that out yet.)