This Week's Guest: Tatianna Lee/Taylor
How far would you go to find your chosen family? Some of us are lucky enough to find our tribe in the town where we grew up. Others had to travel to the nearest big city. And my guest this week moved across an ocean.
By Day, Taylor's a mind-mannered english teacher from Eugene, but at night, he becomes Tatianna Lee, the leader of an international band of Tokyo gender rebels. It's a long way from where he grew up, and a long way from the outcast loner he was as a kid.
A quiet anime nerd, he used to dream of being part of an incredible family like the ones he saw on screen -- especially after suffering a series of academic failures and rejection from the gay community.
It was then that Taylor stopped dreaming of finding that family, and started making it real.
This Week's Recommendation: Bioware Needs More Gay
I don't know how many listeners I have in Japan -- hopefully a lot -- and if you happen to be in Tokyo, please check out the Tokyo Closet Ball and let me know what you think! From the sound of things, it's one of the most diverse drag-type performances in the world, pulling from all different kinds of performance.
When you have a show that's so international and so diverse, it's hard to know what to call it. But that's good problem to have -- being so unique there's no word to describe you.
For my recommendation this week, check out a YouTube video that involves two of my past Sewers of Paris guests, David Gaider and Jamie Mauer. You might know Jamie, aka Rantasmo, from his YouTube series Needs More Gay, where he talks about queer representation on screen. On a recent episode, he addressed two of the Bioware franchises that Taylor mentioned on this week's episode -- Dragon Age and Mass Effect, both of which feature writing from my past guest David Gaider.
Dragon Age and Mass Effect have been steadily improving their LGBT inclusion for years, starting with a few minor characters and blossoming into complex romance storylines. Jamie's video tackles the specific issue of tokenization -- the idea that we might be included, but only in the most perfunctory, superficial way.
Watching Jamie's video, you can see that Bioware's approach is basically a how-to manual of avoiding tokenization. It's kind of amazing to see just what lengths the company has gone to to include us -- and how that inclusion started well and got better with each new game over the years.
After all, these games are fundamentally about balancing a party, assembling a group with varied traits that all enhance and complement each other. And romance is built into the games as part of the mechanic. For years, we've had elves that can shoot lightning, seven-foot tall aliens with four testicles, and club-wielding gnomes.
In worlds like those, it's a little weird that two men kissing would ever have seemed far-fetched.