Saturday, February 1, 2014

About Me

"I'm a weird lady making weird games in Wisconsin; creator
of @suteF, working on The #Bulletromancer."

You could say this is the profile that I've always wanted; I've made at least one game that an insane amount of people have greatly enjoyed, I'm still working on my dream projects, and I am ... oh yeah.

I'm born male, but I've always felt I've truly been female. Beneath years of denial, fear, and incredible self-loathing, I've come to terms with the fact that I have to be who I need to be.

After starting my transition about 10 months ago, I've not only started becoming myself, but I've also been doing the best work of I've ever done as a game developer. I'm happy to wake up every day and see my coworkers who continue to respect me both as a person and a colleague. I go home at night and work on Bulletromancer, my friends and family still supporting me when I'm feeling vulnerable or ecstatic.

As someone who usually expects the worst things to happen, I was incredibly scared to even suggest that I am Transgender. I never thought people could be so supportive, kind, and understanding. Even if people don't quite understand the reasoning or even what I mean, I usually tell them this: "I'll look a little different, but I'm still going to be the same person you know, if not just a lot happier."

Your mileage may vary; if you feel this way, you may not be as fortunate as I have been and it may seem to be the most daunting thing in the world to overcome. At risk of sounding cliché (or maybe even just plain naïve), no matter how much you can or cannot contribute to your transition or even just growing personally, if you can accept yourself and be who you really are, everyone around you might not be able to help but feel the same.

Thank you to everyone for all of the kind words; the future is looking really bright, and I can't wait to continue making new, interesting games!


P.S: If you're curious, I'm still going to go by "Ted" as I don't see my name being too tied to my previously male identity. I'm starting to use feminine pronouns, though, but if you forget, I won't get angry. :)

11 comments:

  1. F***ing good on you! It's considered "brave" to do this but I look forward to a world in which everything like this is considered normal.

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  2. Played suteF and was blown away, you're a fantastic designer. Started reading your blog and love your approach to game development. Honestly I think you're a damn good role model for indie developers. I just started getting serious about my designs and I can't tell you how awesome it feels to have a developer whose work you enjoy also turn out to be such a rad person.

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  3. You were easily one of my favourite devs as I started making games. You still are. Keep on trekking.

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  4. Hello, Ted.
    I don't think I've ever been more shocked in my life. This bit of news for me has caused my thoughts of late to be rather troubled. I was not planning on saying anything about this... but I feel like it's my duty to. My duty, regardless of whatever attacks and insults I will receive later for having an opinion that differs from the opinion of the internet and/or the general public.

    I see that there has been a large outpouring of support from the indie community. They have given you their approval of your decision... unfortunately, I cannot do the same. I cannot approve, because your decision and the things that have happened to you frighten me.
    When I look at this picture of you, Ted Lauterbach: http://i.imgur.com/lBna8kT.jpg
    ...I feel as though you're no longer with us. The image you've shown us in your blog post looks nothing like the guy named Ted who was a game developer that I admired and looked up to.

    I would like to accept you for who you are, Ted. But I will not accept you as someone else. You are a man, and you were born male. I believe that people should be content with the way God creates them.

    I hope that you do not take this as a message of anger or hatred, because that's not what it is. It's a message containing my concerns and my distress over what you have chosen to do.

    Sincerely,
    -orange08

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    1. That's great and everything, but who the fuck are you to "disapprove" of someone else's decision? In fact, who do you think WE are to "approve" of her decision? Because we haven't. There's been no approval from the indie community - only acceptance.

      For us to "approve" would imply we have some kind of authority over her decision to live her life the way she feels is best for herself. We don't. All we can do is continue to support her and her games in the way we always have, because we're not horrible fucking people. And also because she, despite what you say, is not a different person. She's the same as always, just with the added freedom of feeling comfortable in her own skin, and the autonomy to make the choices she needs to achieve complete happiness.

      How would you feel if you woke up tomorrow morning in the opposite sex's body? And it didn't go away? And then people started referring to you by the associated pronouns, and not the ones that you feel suit you? Instead of "he," everyone is calling you "she." This happens every day, for the rest of your life. You only dream about having your old body back, but in the morning, it's the weird one you don't like. I want you to contemplate, honestly, how that would make you feel, and then rethink your opinion of transgender people.

      You say people should be "content with the way God creates them." What about people who are born with horrible defects that have a negative impact on their physical capabilities? Blindness, or a missing limb. Should they not be allowed to seek the appropriate medical care, where available, to cure them? To make them whole despite being born with impairments? Should they not be accepted WITH their disability, as able-bodied people are, and then accepted WITHOUT their disability, as able-bodied people, if their ailment is cured? Then why does this not apply to transgender people who choose to live their lives as best they can, as either gender or somewhere inbetween? What is the big fucking deal?

      I hope you know that most people (not just people on the internet) are starting to accept others not because it's the "trendy" thing to do, but because it's the right thing to do. People shouldn't have to fight to be accepted for who they are. Their very existence should not be a crime.

      It's people like you who make other people's lives miserable and difficult. You're the kind of person that people worry about judging them when they go outside, or putting them down when they make a deeply personal post on their blog. Think about that. Especially if you're a religious person. Rethink what you know about loving, accepting, and NOT JUDGING your fellow humans. If you don't want to, then I hope you enjoy being the bane of so many people's existence.

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    2. Approval and acceptance are basically the same thing... in fact, if you look up "acceptance" in a thesaurus, the third result will be "approval".

      I get the impression you've taken my post as a mean condescending message whose author is trying to take control and order someone around about what to do with their life... but that's not entirely true. I would do the same thing if someone had made a blog post about deciding to become an assassin... or even start smoking. I'm not trying to control anyone's life... I'm trying to help someone realize the error of their decision... because I believe transgender-izing(or whatever you call it) is not right.

      Your quote is correct, I did say that people should be "content with the way God creates them." I think your analogy is very poor, though. You seem to be saying that people who are male are the same as people who have severe defects... this is not true in the least... and I have no qualms with people who seek medical care over problems they are having with their physical body. Being born male is not a problem, though... and neither is being born female.

      You are wrong when you say that it is people like me who make people's lives miserable and difficult. I'm not trying to hurt anyone at all, what I'm trying to do is steer Ted in the right direction. This is not a matter of mere opinion, this is a matter of right and wrong. I'm not trying to stop Ted from buying a car, or from eating some kind of food, or from doing anything that has no moral consequence. I'm trying to stop Ted from doing something that I believe is wrong and immoral.

      You talk about "NOT JUDGING your fellow humans"... as far as I'm concerned, that's like telling me not to judge someone who is a murderer or pedophile... if possible, one should always try to help a fellow human who partakes in such wrong-doing.

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    3. I'm sorry that you feel this way about the situation. If it's helpful, please know that I *didn't* make this decision on a whim. While it may seem like my transition is coming out of nowhere, I've spent more than the last year and a half working on trying to find a reason why I shouldn't transition, if not my entire life. That includes trying to "...be content with the way God create[d me]."


      I went out of my way to try; overtly doing hyper-masculine things—playing football through high school, keeping my hair short and growing a baddass beard, drinking too much beer, and nearly joining the military — *just* to prove the point that the way I felt about my gender was just a "phase" or some sort of twisted mental-illness. I may have never made a single game had I gone far enough to purge myself of my "wrong and immoral" feelings. I would much rather have died at one point than admit that I was truly created to be female.


      I didn't have to come out; most people on the internet that read my blog or play my games will likely never see me in person. I've been changing the way I look and dress in public for the last 11 months without a soul on the net even knowing, every one of them continuing to believe that I was presenting myself as male. But, because I feel my fans deserve my respect, I can't lie about it any more. I'm not asking that anyone understand or actually accept my decision, and I do respect your view of my decision.


      And to answer your concern, I'm still here. I'm more here now than I have ever been in my life. The person who created suteF and all of my previous games is still here, still me* As I mentioned in the blog post: I'm very much the same person, just appearing a little different and being a lot happier.

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  5. I always admired you and will still admire you :) even if you want to be a zombie :) kidding :) Continue the good work :)

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  6. Holy crap! I swung by to see how you were doing, I certainly wasn't expecting this! Major props to you, dude. (dude is a genderless term imo, I even call my gf dude all the time lol)

    I was thinking to myself that I miss hanging out with you. Some of my best memories from my freshman year where hanging out with you and playing Brawl in my dorm room. Does that the fact that you've changed your identity make me feel any differently about that? I don't know, maybe a little...probably just because this is a situation I have never encountered before in my life and it comes off as foreign and odd. And when I think about it, I would still love to hang out and catch up all the same!

    Side note: I still know and think of you as Tom and not Ted, do you still associate with that name at all? XD

    P.S. This is Andrew Von Haden if that wasn't clear

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    1. Haha, thanks man. I don't really associate with 'Tom' at all anymore, but it's much the same situation I guess; folks know me as one thing and it takes a while (just like I did in realizing my situation myself) to adjust to a "new" idea.

      We totally need to hang out though! I have great memories of the same stuff from WW :)

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    2. Not sure where you are now (Madison?) but I am currently in Delafield.

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