Feel what it’s like to raise a trans child in Texas in this unique video game

A video game gives players insight into what it’s like to raise transgender children in Texas, according to LGBTQ+ advocacy group Equality Texas.

game, “Portrait of a Texas Family” is a visual novel style game that allows players to customize a character and then play as the parents of a transgender girl named Sophia. Customization options include race, bust, body type, and pronouns. This is the first game developed by New York City-based independent studio Lookout Drive Games.

It is available for free online.

According to the game’s Itch.io page, its development team is “almost entirely made up of gender non-conforming/trans people from various backgrounds and cities around the world, including Houston, Texas.”

Lookout driving game

As the game progresses, your character is tasked with grabbing the last three items for your “safe folder,” which can contain “letters from teachers, neighbors, and How awesome parents are to your trans kids…the pictures your kids make of themselves, positively affirming their gender…and pictures of all of you,” among other things , according to game director Robert Pigott.

“I want to make sure we’re telling a story that’s been sensitively processed…and that we’re not taking advantage of any real-life pain these families are going through…we’re telling an emotionally honest story. A human, but ultimately hopeful story,” they added.

The game was inspired by a tweet from Texas parent Amber Briggle, who advised parents to set up safe folders after February letter Released by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to the state’s health agency.The letter asks agencies Report any gender affirming treatment issues With transgender youth, he described it as “abuse”.

There is even a scene in the game that closely resembles Brig’s experience of inviting Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to her home dinner with her family In 2016, when the state tried to stop transgender youth from using the bathroom while using their gender identity.Five years later, Paxton released legal advice Transgender children’s sex change procedures and puberty blockers are called “child abuse” under Texas law. Soon after, Abbott’s letter arrived.

In the letter, Abbott cited procedures that Texas law considers “child abuse,” including “reassignment surgery that may result in sterilization, mastectomy, removal of other healthy body parts, and administration of puberty-blocking drugs or Supraphysiological doses of testosterone or estrogen.”

This feature of medical transition contrasts sharply with data that consistently shows that acquiring a gender transition positively impacts the quality of life of transgender people.Analysis of 56 peer-reviewed works Projects we know It was found that in 93% of studies, gender transition improved overall well-being among transgender respondents.

The game is designed to “tell a fictional story about a family raising trans children in Texas and humanize the family for people who have never actually had access to trans children or trans people,” Pigo said. Te said he said the community has been “very positive” about the game.

June, a Judge temporarily blocks Texas From a survey of families with transgender children. The temporary restraining order halted an investigation into three families suing the state and blocked any similar investigation of members of the state’s LGBTQ+ advocacy group PFLAG Inc., which has more than 600 members.

Friday, Texas Judge moves to protect more families from Abbott’s order, but Paxton immediately appealed, allowing child abuse investigation to continue, according to Washington post.

While the struggles of trans youth in Texas are palpable, Pigott hopes the game will capture not only the difficult realities facing trans children and their families, but also the joy.

“We want players to be immersed in the game and not just feel the anxiety and tension that sometimes occurs in the daily life of a family raising a trans child,” they said, “but also the love and all that a family like this has to offer. support and hope.”

“I think we did it.”

Lookout driving game

LGBTQ+ Media Advocacy Organization Glad found “zero transgender or nonbinary characters in any theatrical release from major studios in 2021” but “42 transgender regular and recurring characters across all broadcast, cable and streaming “. Report from non-profit organizations. GLAAD does not track LGBTQ+ performance in video games.

Pigott believes that representation of transgender people is as important in video games as it is in television and film—if not more.

“I think video games are going to be, if not already, a major art in the 21st century. For kids, especially kids who are going through their own…gender identity journey, seeing that you can live your truth, live your best A good life, living the life you want according to your gender identity and sexual orientation, and being accepted for it,” they said.

“If someone played ‘portrait of a Texas family,’ it might help them draw their own positive conclusions about their gender identity, and I mean, that’s what anyone on our team really wanted.”

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