Okay… I’ve spent a good three weeks trying to figure out how to say this. I’ve chewed my nails down to nothing, and I’ve rewritten this a few dozen times over… so I’m just going to go on ahead and do it.
Hi everybody! My name’s Samantha. I’m a gawky, geeky trans girl who loves video games and anime, and secretly I’m a little bit of a metalhead. I’m 33 years old, and I spend my days working as a software engineer.
I had a different name up until a few days ago, but it’s dead now. Please be kind and don’t bring that up, ‘kay? I’m just Samantha now. Thank you!
On top of my software engineering work, I also serve as the editor-in-chief at Anime Herald. I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing people at the Herald over the past eight years, and they’ve become like a dear family to me.
It’s with their encouragement, as well as the support of so many amazing friends (including the incredible people at Anime Feminist), that I’m able to talk to you so openly today.
I’d like to get serious for a moment. Writing this piece, just trying to find the words, has been almost impossible. And I’m a little scared, to be honest; but at the same time, I’m so happy that I can be out and open with every single one of you. I mean… I’m here, I’m crying. I’m actually crying as I write this. I’ve been in the closet for fifteen long years, and I’m just finally coming out to every one of you lovelies. I’m nervous, I’m excited, I’m just kind of freaking out as my mind searches for the words to explain everything.
Like… this isn’t something that I chose to do lightly. I didn’t wake up last week and say “Hey, I’m a girl!” I’m finally, finally coming out, finally able to accept who I am. I mean, shit, we live in a world where trans individuals are looked down upon, reviled, and discriminated against in matters as trivial as where we can go to the fucking bathroom.
It’s a world of stress and self-judgment. Dysphoria, depression, fear, anxiety… these become as normal as breathing as we stress endlessly over trying to fit into this world we live in today. And, really this terrifies me! But I’m so happy to be here to do it.
Like… I can’t begin to explain everything. Repression sucks. I mean it. It fucking sucks! You start to hate the world, you hate everyone around you, and this weird, poisonous jealousy starts to bubble beneath as you try to grapple with your identity day after day, trying to shoehorn yourself into a universe that just… isn’t yours.
And sometimes, it just takes a wake-up call to snap you out of that.
I finally realized that I had to do something early this year. Funny enough, I was going through the Anime Dream archives for classic content for our Patreon lovelies (love you folks! ❤). I started seeing some patterns in the old work. At first it didn’t seem too vile – just the stupid scribblings of an awkward kid.
But then I got to 2009. The first article, just titled “Shouting Out,” was… angry, to say lightly. The phrasing, the tone… it was frustrated, upset… there was fear behind these words.
Then I got to the end-of-year stuff. Within, I found, of all things, a listicle that I had written for the turn of the decade. Thinking it might be good for a chuckle, I gave it a look. Within, I found raw, hateful words spit out under the guise of humor. Some could take it as a joke in bad taste, but… yeah. Those were the cries of a girl who was being suffocated, being drowned out by world that she hadn’t even seen yet.
It scared me.
Seeing what I had become, after six years of repression… those now-daily morning mutterings of “I hate people” another nine years later started to make sense.
This wasn’t me. I couldn’t do it anymore.
I started coming out to people. First to Lydia (Rivers), then to L.B. (Bryant), then to Lauren (Orsini), and… well, you get the picture.
Today, I’m happy to come out to all of you.
AnimEigo CEO Robert Woodhead once stated, “I would trust an anime fan with my children’s lives much more readily than I would trust a random person off the street.”
And to be honest, he’s totally right.
I’m proud to be coming out as an anime fan. I’m happy to be coming out to you right now. I mean… over the years, I’ve had the privilege of meeting the most amazing people from so many walks of life. Journalists, artists, cosplayers, and just everyday fans, all united in their love of anime, manga, and heck, Japanese pop culture in general. We’re bound by what we love, and we always do what we can to perform amazing feats.
- We’ve raised thousands of dollars for the relief efforts in Japan after the 2013 Tohoku disaster.
- We’ve helped pillars of the anime community find relief when financial times got tough.
- We’ve seen more than 300 fans come together to Re-Animate Sailor Moon because we love it so darn much! TWICE, even!
All of you lovelies… the people I’ve met, and the ones I haven’t, we’re all part of this big, dysfunctional family. We’ll bicker and we’ll squabble… but when push comes to shove, we band together to help one another.
I’m proud to be a part of this loving, giving community. I’m happy to be able to say “I’m a girl, I’m an anime fan… I’m one of you.”
Thank you, for so many years of great memories, and for being such an amazing part of my life. I hope that I’ll be able to continue making you proud, going forward.
Thanks in advance. Let’s keep talking nerdy together.
Header Art by CrowzPerch.