Saturday, September 27, 2008

Random Rant of the Day: If You Can Get a Gender Change, Why Can’t I Get an Ethnicity Change?

*Disclaimer!* This really has nothing to do with games, but I thought this rant would be interesting to some people. As well, these are my opinions and my opinion only. They in no way represent the opinion of anyone else living or dead, real or fictional.

So, working in the game industry, you sometimes run into people who have had their sex changed. Dani Berry, the creator of M.U.L.E., a cult favourite of many old school gamers, who unfortunately died before his (her?) time, had sex reassignment surgery. (Interestingly, she (he?) wrote a recommendation to people interested in getting a sex change to NOT do it.) Now, one might argue that sex is determined at birth. People with genetic problems aside, men and women come in all shapes and sizes, but the thing that separates them at the earliest level is whether he has an X and a Y chromosome or she has two X chromosomes. Sexual organs are formed based on the genetic makeup of the original cell. Regardless of your opinions on how to define someone’s sexuality, presently, there is no way for someone to change their genetic makeup although I think in the future it could be possible. (I only mention this so I can claim I’m a futurist. Apparently to be a futurist, all you have to do is speculate about the future.) Now, many people feel that sexuality is determined by what you feel like you are not by your genetic makeup or whether your sexual organs were something you were born with.

Now, I like the idea that you are free to change something about yourself that doesn’t really “fit” with your personality or identity or however you want to qualify it. My real question is why doesn’t this apply to other things? I want to get my ethnicity changed! Now, perhaps you think that’s silly, but I don’t think you’re in a position to judge because you’ve never been a British person trapped in an American body!

Now, I’m sure you are asking, “How does he know that he’s a British person trapped in an American person’s body?” or perhaps, “You’re stupid! That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!” Oh yeah, Mr. (or Mrs.) Smartypants? That second thing wasn’t even a question!!! So maybe you should stop judging and start listening to my tale of woe.

I haven’t always known that I’m a British person trapped in an American body. I had a fairly normal childhood. Some things that stood out were my fascination with knights, castles and the feudal period of England. Some of my favorite toys were Britains! (Britians are a line of toy soldiers) Coincidence? Perhaps. I did reports for school on castles and medieval weaponry. I can’t remember any other students doing that.

I’ve felt confused, misunderstood and depressed for a large portion of my life. Some of the things in which I’ve been able to find solace are the music of the Beatles and the Bee Gees as well as the comedy stylings of Monty Python. Now, you may argue that that everyone likes the Beatles, the Bee Gees and Monty Python. To that I respond, “Patience, mate!” (You see what I did there? British people say mate! Well, so do people in Australian, New Zealand and South Africa, but I’m totally British. There’s no doubt in my mind.)

My whole life was turned upside down when I returned for the first time to my motherland, England. Everything finally made sense! The feelings of confusion melted away in the cold London fog! I finally felt like I fit in! As well, I discovered the wonders of the BBC. I was hanging out in the lounge of the London Hotel, basking in the pleasantry of being in Great Britain when I noticed something on the television! It was quite possibly the greatest thing I had ever seen! I wasn’t sure what it was, but I knew it was fantastic. I was desperately trying to focus every ounce of my concentration to hear the magical words that came out of that small tinny speaker as loud obnoxious American tourists prattled on and on with their typical lack of courtesy. I later realized by the fact that the well dressed protagonist was riding in a flying police box that I was watching the legendary Doctor Who.

It was so amazing that I quickly became so addicted to it that I watched all four seasons with explosive rapidity back in the states after I finished crunching. I became so hard up for Doctor Who that I watched Torchwood, which is like the X-Files with more sex and even the Sarah Jane Chronicles, which is like the tween version of Doctor Who. (When I first heard tween, I had assumed that it was a portmanteau of twenty and teen, so I assumed it was meant people in their late teens and early twenties. Apparently, it’s a portmanteau of between and teen, so I was incorrect. Maybe British people don’t use that slang and that’s why I was unaware of it. Also, I’m totally British because I use big words like portmanteau) The Sarah Jane Chronicles is on CBBC for Pete’s sake! How embarrassing is it that I’m watching CBBC? (For those of you who aren’t British, CBBC is short for Children’s BBC and BBC is short for British Broadcasting Corporation)

Now, I SUPPOSE one might argue that I’m not British just because I’m so addicted to Doctor Who that I think heroin is going to be easier to give up. Well, if you were British, you’d know that Doctor Who is an important part of British Culture. He’s an ICON of England! He's quintessentially British! Besides, it doesn’t just end there! Right now, I almost exclusively listen to British IDM. I end up importing records from England quite frequently because the good stuff isn’t available here. I listen to the quality BBC Radio programs over the internet! I absolutely love fish and chips! (What you stupid Americans call french fries [or even stupider Americans call freedom fries] are actually chips) I played rugby in college! How many Americans do you know that play rugby? I don’t care at all for American Football. (Real football is what our friends across the pond call Soccer) I had terribly crooked teeth before I foolishly got braces! I own a red coat! Hell, red is my favourite colour! You can deny it all you want, but it’s obvious that I’m a British person trapped in an America body.

Anyway, it is my understanding that people who get their genders changed are legally recognized as the other gender (and someone can correct me if I’m wrong). So, why can’t I change my ethnicity? Now, someone daffy Americans might argue, “Why don’t you move to England and become a British citizen?” That wouldn’t make me ethnically British. That would just make my nationality British. I want to be of British descent, not some mixture of a bunch of boring races simmered in the melting pot of America for several generations! Wherever I go, I want to still be British regardless of my citizenship! It is my dream to be knighted! All of these require being born in the greatest of all nations, Great Britain.

So, my question is, if people can change their gender, how do I legally change my ethnicity? I’m not picky. I’m fine being a British person born in America, although it’d be ideal if I could get England to issue me a birth certificate showing that I was born to a long line of fine English folk. Perhaps I could be from Cornwall? It sounds like a nice place. Anyway, I think it’s an injustice that I have to continue being a British person trapped in an American body when women trapped in men’s bodies have no problems changing their gender! Hell, men trapped in women’s bodies can even keep their sex organs and still be recognized as a man! There should be no problem for me to become of British ancestry! I don’t even need any surgery or hormones! If anyone has any ideas on how I can change my ethnicity to match my identity, please leave a message.

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