The fundraiser is over and the tragedy has passed. You’ve collected money and made a fantastic donation. It’s sent off and you feel good for your contribution. You will hopefully help someone who never even plays this game.
But at home, are you mindful? Do you practice good allyship on the grid?
Do you listen to those who look like the victims you just raised money for? Or do you tell them their reactions to racism on the grid are too strong? Do you yield the floor for them to express their frustrations, or do you block them and tell your friends to block them too?
Do you listen to how they feel trapped and don’t have good options for finding places that are welcoming? Have you ever searched for a hangout that has the words “trans” and “genderfluid”, that isn’t an inflation dickgirl fetish sim? Do you know how few places welcome people who are actually nonbinary and don’t view them as a sexual adventure?
Do you ask yourself what someone feels when they combine the anger and fear of Black Lives Matter with the anger and fear of people on the grid laughing at Caitlin Jenner around you? Have you ever spotted an avatar in a club wearing a penis attachment under a skirt and their profile says they’re a “t-girl”, and it made you, the person who is nonbinary irl, feel like an imposter?
Do you know what trans racism is? Did you know it exists on the grid too?
The grid is not an escape for some of us. It’s a place where we can figure out who we are both as people of color and as members of the queer and nonbinary community. We can figure out what style is best for our desired appearance. We can come to understand how we wish to present. We don’t run from real world problems and when we see them here, we call them out.
Not to make waves, not to make people upset, but because if we don’t, we will suffer a shrinking space where we feel welcome and free to be ourselves–our true selves, where we know we can go to a place where the folks there will accept us for everything. Not part of us, not make slight slurs about race or gender or queerness when you think we aren’t listening, but 100 percent of our being. If we aren’t allowed to do so, then the grid is no good to us at all. The grid becomes a place that is welcoming to straight white people only.
And I cannot abide in a place like that. I won’t make paintings to hang in rl galleries of a grid that doesn’t value me as a person. I just won’t.
Practice mindfulness. Wherever you raise money, ask yourself on the grid if there’s someone suffering in a similar way. Ask if you’ve crossed paths with them before. Then ask how you can behave differently next time.
Skybox – The Cyberpunk Apartment by Djehan Kidd