GOOD

These Game Developers are Honoring Leelah Alcorn Through the Medium She Loved

Inspired by Leelah Alcorn, #JamForLeelah is exploring trans identity in gaming (and they want your help!)

image via (cc) flickr user jDevaun.Photography

In late December, Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teenager from Ohio, ended her life. Before doing so, she scheduled a heartbreaking letter to be published online later that day. In her suicide note, Alcorn—whose conservative Christian parents had rejected her transgender identity—described the unbearable pain she felt, trapped between who she knew she was, and how she was treated by those around her. “The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren't treated the way I was, they're treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights” wrote Leelah, who later implored: “My death has to mean something.”


Following Alcorn’s death, a global network of activists and allies, friends, and strangers alike, have committed themselves to ensuring that Leelah’s final wish is honored. For some, that’s meant advocating for the passage of what has come to be known as “Leelah’s Law”—legislation which seeks to ban the harmful “conversion therapy” to which Alcorn was subjected. For others, it’s meant supporting resources like as the transgender-focused Camp Aranu’tiq. And for a group of indie game developers, it’s meant creating and participating in an online “game jam” dubbed #JamForLeelah.

In their story on the jam, The Daily Dot explains:

Game jams are popular ways for the game-developer community to brainstorm ideas for new projects, often focused on specific topics or themes. In the past, successful game jams have been based on locations, platforms, and concepts like evolution and the sound of a heartbeat.

As #JamForLeelah organizer Kara Jayne explains in her recorded introduction on the project’s website, Leelah was known online for having been an avid gamer, and had expressed interest in becoming a game developer in the future. In response to Leelah’s death, Jayne, along with co-organizer Matthew Boucher, created the jam as an opportunity to highlight and explore trans narratives in gaming. The jam itself consists of a month-long ideation session, ending on February 17th, in which anyone—developer, casual gaming fan, or even inspired first-timer—can submit game ideas and proposals for peer consideration. The jam also raises funds for several trans-specific charities (including the aforementioned Camp Aranu’tiq).

As project website states, game submissions must fit one or more of the following criteria:

  • Be primarily centered around trans issues, or other issues related to gender identity. This can be anything from having a trans protagonist to a game about growing up trans or navigating gender identity issues. Please be respectful, as anything that is purposefully disrespectful to the LGBTIQ community, or specifically the trans community, will be removed without hesitation.
  • Use inspiration from Leelah's art/music/ideas to primarily create a game, whilst still attempting to raise awareness about trans youth issues and trans representation in the execution of that idea. A small collection of Leelah's work can be found here.
  • Be inspired by Leelah's interests as expressed on her Tumblr e.g. sailor moon [sic], female empowerment, fashion, anime, gaming, etc whilst still attempting to raise awareness about trans youth issues and trans representation in the execution of that idea. Leelah's Tumblr can be accessed via a backup here.\n

The website also contains contact information for trans and GLBT-specific suicide hotlines, legal outlets, and even tools for those with minimal game design skills to get started on creating their own submission.

As such, #JamForLeelah shows itself to be something more than just a game jam, existing simply to churn out ideas for their own sake. #JamForLeelah is, instead, something more. It is a place where people from across any number of spectrums can, after a tragedy like the death of Leelah Alcorn, come together to share in something they all care about.

It is, in short, a community.

Articles
via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

Keep Reading
Business

Childbirth is the number one reason American women visit the hospital, and it ain't cheap. In fact, it's getting more and more expensive. A new study published in Health Affairs found that the cost of having a baby with employer-sponsored health insurance increased by almost 50% in the past seven years.

The study evaluated "trends in cost-sharing for maternity care for women with employer-based health insurance plans, before and after the Affordable Care Act," which was signed into law in 2010. The study looked at over 657,061 women enrolled in large employer-sponsored health insurance plans who delivered babies between 2008 and 2015, as these plans tend to cover more than plans purchased by small businesses or individuals.

Keep Reading
Health

A meteorite crashed into Earth nearly 800,000 years ago. The meteor was 1.2 miles wide, and the impact was so big, it covered 10% of the planet with debris. However, scientists haven't been able to find the impact site for over a century. That is, until now. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal believes the crash site has been located.

Tektites, which are essentially rocks that have been liquefied from the heat of the impact and then cooled to form glass, help scientists spot the original impact site of a meteor. Upon impact, melted material is thrown into the atmosphere, then falls back to the ground. Even if the original crater has disappeared due to erosion or is hidden by a shift in tectonic plates, tektites give the spot away. Tektites between 750,000 to 35.5 million years old have been found in every continent except Antarctica.

Keep Reading