Cis Gaze

by Caelyn Sandel profile

Slice of life
2014

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Number of Reviews: 2
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
A Hyperlink Diary About Being Transgender In Public, February 16, 2022
by Cody Gaisser (Florence, Alabama, United States of America, North America, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way, Known Universe, ???)

Cis Gaze is a short diary-like hyperlink story told from the perspective of a trans woman who experiences rude glares and misgendering while trying to carry out the otherwise mundane act of buying soda from a pharmacy. The story focuses on the way even seemingly small or unimportant acts of aggression and ignorance can linger in the mind of someone who is already made to feel marginal or freakish at every turn. It hints at some of the little problems (like a stubbly face or stocky physique) that can cause big insecurities in a person who is trying to be themselves and fit in but cannot. The protagonist turns to an uplifting Twitter hashtag for reassurance, but it is subsequently taken over and corrupted by bigoted trolls. The narrator laments the mental energy wasted paying attention to such offenses, likening it to picking at scabs (you know doing it will only hurt you, but sometimes you can't seem to stop yourself).

It's not fair to rate this as an adventure game (no puzzles) or interactive fiction (no choice) or even static fiction (the author doesn't seem concerned with literary aspirations here). Cis Gaze reads most like a non-fiction essay or public diary, aimed at promoting empathy for the oppressed and marginalized. While those hellbent on hate (or stuck firmly in old habits) likely won't have their minds changed by a Twine game, there's some chance that it could teach a little bit of sensitivity to someone who is simply ignorant or inexperienced. I've personally been on the wrong side of so many issues in my life that I've lost count; but I've learned a lot since my youth, so I know that learning is possible for those who are willing to do so. I hope Cis Gaze is played by people like that, and that society continues to shift more towards tolerance and acceptance, and that people who share the author's experiences find the peace and security they are looking for.