I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Tanya DePass for many years, ever since the relevant days of LiveJournal. A 1973 Original (as stated on the title of her LJ) and a Chicago native, Tanya DePass has been on an epic quest to bring multiculturalism and progress to the video game industry. In 2014, she launched the #INeedDiverseGames initiative in the hopes of educating both gamers and creators on the importance of representation and diversity.
Upkins: Tanya, thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule for this interview. For the unfamiliar, why don’t you introduce yourself.
DePass: Hi, I’m Tanya DePass, accidental activist for diversity in games. Long time gamer, a bit of a grump at times but a full time advocate for diversity, Director of the non-profit I Need Diverse Games
Upkins: What first drew you to video games?
DePass: A chance to escape, to do things I normally couldn’t do.
Upkins: What is it about the medium that makes it such a passion for you?
DePass: I get to save the world, the universe if I want. It’s a medium with so much potential to bring people new worlds, stories, universes. I can just chill in Thedas, walk the Normandy or lose myself in a new world.
“It’s not birth control,” the nurse said to Imani, setting the clipboard down, pausing in her questioning.
“I know,” she responded, avoiding the woman’s eyes, pulling at her coat sleeves.
The woman sighed, there was still an edge to her voice but under that there was some care, some hope. “I see girls like you all the time. You say you know but you still end up here. Listen, you’re not going to keep this from happening until you learn to take care of yourself.””
She looked up at the woman, her squat body in pink scrubs, a stethoscope around her neck. Imani knew exactly what kind of girls the older woman meant. Girls like her, young, poor, and most of all black. Quick to lay down, quick to spread their legs. Too stupid to think of the consequences. She wanted to ask her how she should protect herself. She was on the pill the last time and it didn’t work. She was afraid of the kind you implant. That when the thing grew in her, because she knew it wouldn’t work, it would push the implant out of place and stab her before she could have the abortion. Swallowing her questioned she mumbled, “I know.”
Everyone stared at me like I lost my mind. In one hand, I clutched my purse. With the other, I smoothed down my favorite purple dress. The one that snatched my curves. I checked to make sure the purple rose I put in my kinky hair was still in place. I know folks were looking at my face in disbelief. I had applied layers of shimmery eyeshadow and stained my lips a luscious berry. I heard someone say “umph” as I stopped in front of Zora’s grave. I gave a slight shrug. Let these fools mourn Zora’s life wearing all black and moaning goodbye songs. They know Zora would’ve laughed at them. But folks get weird about funerals. They think they have to do everything “respectably.”
Unfortunately, there is no mistake,” she said, closing the file.”
Alberta Finch, the city coroner handed the file folder to Chief Detective Beasley Whitfield.
Whitfield looked at the folder. She ignored the myriad phone calls blaring in the squad room. Three of her officers had died horribly and inexplicably. Whitfield wanted to know how and why. So far, she didn’t like what she was learning.
Still, Finch was a thorough and serious woman. She rarely if ever made mistakes.
“None? Whitfield asked pleadingly.
Finch stared at her and said nothing.
Whitfield was getting flustered, something she seldom did. She looked out at the early morning traffic and silently prayed for answers.
“The killers must have been animals, and humans put bites there to throw us off..”
“What? Finch said obviously annoyed.
“Yeah, it’s easy to get human saliva.” Whitfield was reaching and both women knew it.
Finch wasn’t having it. She was an old soldier kind of coroner. She didn’t believe in guess work. She believed in science. The data was conclusive.
She straightened herself up to her full 5 foot height and said,
“There has been no trace of animal hair, dander or anything else. Listen, I’m a coroner not a fucking zoologist. The teeth marks were clearly human. People bit and sucked every ounce of blood out of three police officers.”
The Gift of Twilight allows one to circumvent the forces that make the world what it is. A power as great as this will not stay with me forever, eventually I will perish and this Gift will be passed down to my descendants. I wish for many grandchildren, I can sense that my children will have many and that they will have many… I digress, this journal serves as a tool for my grandchildren and descendants. I can only hope that you will accept this Gift when you are presented with your truth, and live in this new world of Earth in peace. Our power is not a curse, but it is great. Great power can draw attention to those on the other side.