Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Voices in the View

An Interview with Emily "Kara" Murphy

View Staff: So let's start off easy since not everyone knows everyone else even in our small community. Can you take a moment to introduce yourself? Where are you from? When did you get involved in Realms and how?

Emily: Sure! My name is Emily Murphy and I play Sir Kara Nithisdottir. I'm from Blackwood in game and Southern New Hampshire out of game and I've been playing since 2014, which would make this year my 6th year playing. My dad, James/Tao brought me to my first event and I've been playing ever since.

V: Could you please tell us how you identify and what pronouns you use? And if they are different for your character?

E: I primarily use she/her pronouns, same with Kara, though I occasionally use they/them for both myself and Kara but that tends to be rare.

V: Have you played any other LARPs other than Realms?

E: Yes! I do one other proper LARP named Shards and I run/ran short form/one-shot LARPs for both my high school's and and college's clubs.

V: The main character that you play in Realms, Sir Kara, how did you end up creating her?

E: In the car on the way there if I'm being completely honest. I had decided that I didn't want my character to be blood-related to Tao and my father being the man that he is looked at me and asked "Why is a 13 year old adventuring then?" And that's where I developed that she was running away from her home in search of something better.

V: That's a good background trope for a hero character for sure. If you don’t mind me asking, when you were knighted what went into your decision to use Sir as your honorific?

E: The more I had thought about it before hand, the more I was not comfortable using the title Dame or even the title ser. While I am a woman and use she/her and they/them pronouns, I am also, at my core, a very masculine person who feels more comfortable with masculine versions of titles.

V: Has LARPing or any kind of gaming been a part of you exploring any aspects of your identity?

E: Sort of? I knew I was into women before I started to do either LARPing or gaming seriously, but both helped normalize it to me. It's difficult to explain but I was in high school when being gay shifted from being considered weird to being normal in the public eye so being able to play as Kara and be open about being gay or pick up a game and play a woman who loved women helped me for the large part settle into my identity as a lesbian.

V: Did you decide to play Kara as openly gay close to the beginning or is that something that happened later on?

E: I started to play Kara as openly gay when I started being openly gay in my personal life, to be very blunt about it. I came out when I was about 14, so not from the beginning beginning, but it was fairly early in my Realms career.

V: Are there any difficulties you’ve encountered in your LARPing/gaming communities in regards to your identity that you are okay with talking about?

E: A handleful of times, I was assumed to be straight and while now I'm good at correcting people politely, in the beginning I super wasn't. There was this one plot that had sirens in it when I was just starting to be out and the plot marshal at the time assumed I was straight and played through an entire scene I was casting seer magic in under that assumption. So for a brief time, for that plot only, Kara was aromantic and asexual. It wasn't a big deal but it was very very strange to have to retcon a year later with Kara.

V: Do you find that the storylines and tropes you interact with in LARP often make heteronormative assumptions like that?

E: Somewhat, in full honesty. I don't often see tropes like this anymore, thankfully, but when I do see them used they do often have the "boys like girls and girls like boys" mentality. However, thankfully, many plots/scenes that do use attraction as a mechanic are often made to be responded to. For example, there was an event that featured succubuses and I was able to react on my own accordingly. Shifting the responsibility of reaction onto the players helped a lot in that scenario as it could've gone very wrong.

V: That leads to an important question actually. Are there things that Event Holders can do that would make the Realms more inclusive? Or things they should avoid?

E: Many EH's are already doing a good job at inclusion! My only suggestion is what I said in my last answer really. If you're going to include attraction as a mechanic, shift the responsibility of reaction onto the players. Yes, some players may cheese it, but it allows for people to react in a way that is both true to themselves and true to their characters.

V: Okay, the floor is yours. Is there anything you'd like to convey to the rest of the community or even a part of the community?

E: For the realms as a whole: good job! You've made this lesbian feel confident in her identity.
For those realmsies still in the closet: take your time, but still do come out when you're safe to do so. The whole realms community is more welcoming than you would anticipate