[Screenshot from my characters in GW1 (left) and GW2 (right)]

Everyone who is transgender has some kind of escape from reality to help soothe the soul before or during transitioning. Some people get straight to the cross dressing, some do cos-play of favorite characters, some would visualize themselves as someone else. For me and possibly many others I have known like myself we have a virtual identity.

When I had looked into my past I had always like being the female characters in games. Sometimes or most times actually; I would feel that I had to force myself to be a male character to avoid embarrassment. Not sure why but at the time my friends only used male characters so therefore I has to “fit in” with what they were doing. Deep inside I wanted to always be that female person I selected and to show strength and courage that those characters have  just as much as the male ones. Young boys are very rigid at who they play as in a game. It wasn’t until high school time that I finally had the courage to openly start using female characters.

When I had worked for Target, the electronics team members were trying to influence me to play World of Warcraft. At the time I only worked weekends so I could not afford a monthly subscription to a game. What was going through my mind was how you can make a custom character, dress them up, and roam around with other people around the world. I loved the idea but wasn’t sure how to find something like WoW but for free. Then I had came across Guild Wars. It said Free to Play and I didn’t hesitate to buy. The minute I started this game I was in love.

It took me a good hour just being wondered on how I can make a virtual person and that people would communicate/role play to me as that person. It was a dream come true to live as a female on the internet. In no way did I go around and lie to people who I was. If I made friends and they asked if I was male/female I would tell them the truth. What I had enjoyed was that random people would call me by the character name and use the pronouns when talking about me. I had more  joy out of that than playing the game itself.

Speaking of being called by the character name; my name change is rooted from this game. I had liked the name Jess and made a character named Jessie the Survivor and Jess Wonder. It had a nice feeling when being called that name so secretly I was visualizing and testing out how it would be to actually have that name. Therefore I decided that I would love the name Jessie because it sounds neutral like Jesse but has the female spelling to it.

The last name I had created when daydreaming at the character select screen. I was in the guild [mist], like the name krystal, and lynn. Not sure how but it popped into my head to make Mystalyn. Now you know someone who has remade their name from inspiration via a game. Sometimes I chuckle at myself on how I came up with it but I love the decision and I would never go back. Not only was this fantasy world embracing my gender identity it game me a new name for that identity.

A virtual identity is in a way a good thing for my mind to escape and to release stresses of having gender issues. The problem lies in that I became dependent of this virtual experience or it would re-fuel my deep depression. At one point in time it almost became like a drug. I logged in everyday, and these virtual characters would embrace my self identity via the virtual one. It is not easy how to explain how I can be “feminine” over the internet character but it was like the matrix to me. I plugged in and I gave that character life.

I gained some great friends while living the virtual fantasy who embrace who I am on the inside not what I biologically am. I am very thankful for meeting these key people who I am still friends with today. I had explained my situation and they said it doesn’t matter what I am they recognize me as Jessie, a female friend because of the character I gave life to. These same friends helped me in dark times when I didn’t know how to go about seeking help to start transitional work. They were the listening ear before I went to therapy. Again I am very thankful for those friends and the virtual escape Guild Wars has provided for me.