Gamers With Lives - Amanda Knowlton

Gamers With Lives Episode 7 - Amanda Knowlton

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Sean McKenna hosts a series of interviews starting with the GWJ Conference Call podcasters and guests. This month Sean talks to Amanda Knowlton about her life, gender identity, jobs and much more!

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Show credits


Produced by Sean McKenna


There are so many things in this episode that were awesome. Thank you Amoebic about all of the wonderful things you talked about, especially code-switching, genders, etc. You're an excellent human.

Just an awesome episode. Thanks for sharing your story Amanda!

I love these Gamers With Lives shows, and I hope Sean keeps going, even if at some point it ends up just being picking random forum members out of a hat. We all have something we can learn from each other, and it is such a great forum for it.

There were a lot of things I loved about this episode (hi, it's me, ur firey twin) but my absolute favorite comment was when you let a little ire into your voice to bemoan our "weird radio dad" for being 100% disinterested in podcasts.

For a dude who is practically 70 and never fell behind the tech curve, it's such a confounding blind spot.


I loved this episode, thank you Sean and Amanda. It was wonderfully honest, and heart warming, and sad and happy all at the same time. So moving, and honest. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

Wonderful. Not much more to say.

I will now refer to myself as a "random squash" and be proud of it.

Sean you are a master once again. If you wanted to make a career of interviewing people you absolutely could. Interviewing is so tough because it's a balance between asking the questions you want, yet actively listening to the interviewee and carrying an organic conversation forward by actually listening to the other person. Your capacity for empathy, compassion, and love rings so loud and true through all your interviews and you are a beautiful human. I can't wait for the next one and also can't wait for the time when you are the interviewee.

Amanda's discussion of rejection was very important to me. In addition to the "random squash", touching on identity, and telling people we love and care for them, it made me realize there's something I haven't done in my life and that is talk with my younger sister. I've known for a couple years she's queer but I grew up in a part of the country where the only "truth" was boy, girl, and you marry the opposite gender, so talking about gender and sexual fluidity is something that doesn't come naturally to me. Being in this GWJ community has opened my eyes and heart to so much more, and this interview with Amanada broke me wide open and the first thing I did this morning when I woke up was text my sister and ask her if we could talk.

This isn't a story about me, it's about Amanda's superpower to place thoughts into other's mind's and it was a loud and clear "Go talk to your sister, tell her you love her". I was so apprehensive about the conversation, we talked about all kinds of random small talk for as long as I could which was me trying to stall as long as I could. I was worried our conversation would be awkward, that I wouldn't be able to get out of my own big dumb-ass cis hetero white male way and would frankly f*ck up the conversation. But, we're all weird, beautiful squash and it was one of the most wonderful, honest, and open conversations I've ever had with my sister. I don't think we've ever had a chat that was this honest, just chatting as adult equals. I was bawling my eyes out telling her I loved her no matter who she was, and there she was, 3000 km away on FaceTime, being the bad-ass young woman I've always known she was, explaining calmly and confidently that she identifies as a bi-romantic, asexual woman and I've never loved her more than I did in that moment. We had a long, awesome chat about what that means to her, what it means in her relationships, and how I can support her and be a good brother. I know this will pave the way for many more conversations in our future where we can chat openly about our lives.

So thank you, with all of my heart, for opening my heart. Amanda and Sean.
This community is beautiful. You are beautiful.

Okay so first off, I finish the podcast and wait until the years clear up so I can see what I’m typing and then I read Staygold’s post and to wait all over again. That was awesome, Staygold.
I’m totally not crying now.

Sean, I’ve been listening since day one and I think I’ve never posted in the threads to congratulate you on how great an interviewer you are. You make all these conversation feel natural, organic and you always seem to have the perfect reply or question for that particular moment in time. Suffice it to say I’ve been enjoying Gamers with Lives immensely.

This chat with Amoebic took things to a whole other level and I’m so glad you two got a chance to sit down and record this for our benefit. So much of it resonated with me: being brought up as a “people pleaser” despite it being at odds with my own nature in particular. I loved your turn of phrase at one point “not to get on my feminist soapbox but I’m totally gonna”: I WAS SO HERE FOR THAT!!! And I have a sister, though we’re not twins (only 15 months apart), people would mistake us for twins and we were so different and we also grew up playing games together, King’s Quest and yes, Leisure Suit Larry. That last one really had me cracking me because our experience was so different. Once we’d figured out, through trial and error, the questions at the beginning (which were supposed to filter out kids under 18), my dad kinda let us play. Maybe it’s a cultural thing, I think. Anyhow, we had a lot of fun with it, despite its skeeziness, and it served as a basic sex ed course: don’t have unprotected sex or you will die!

Also, I’ll try to take that advice about not being afraid of failure.

Anyhow, thank you so much, and wherever life takes you, A, I’m here for you. <3
Thanks Sean for immortalizing this talk!
Perhaps next time we can have Lara Crigger or Karla Andrich? (a girl can dream!)

Hey folks, just wanted to say thanks so much for the wonderful messages above. All these interviews are 100% driven by the fantastic GWJ crew and Amanda was such a joy to speak with in this episode. I'm really pleased that the conversation has made an impression and I'm genuinely touched by the response.

Also Eleima, you can trust that I'm working on your request!

That's awesome to hear. I eagerly await every episode, and apologize for not voicing my enthusiasm earlier.

I knew there was something I couldn't trust about Ameb and 3or4. Damn Napervillians!!

I concur that Sean and Amanda did an amazing job.

Amanda, for whatever it's worth, I'm a cishet male WASP, and since that first time you came on years ago, I'm always slightly disappointed whenever you're NOT on the podcast. That'll go at least double after this interview. Thanks for your vulnerability and candor.

Also, this is random, but you might want to follow Brie Beau Sheldon (@Brie_Beau) on Twitter if you aren't already. They're a trans/nb game designer with lots of interesting things to say about TTRPGs and life as someone outside the "assumed normal" of gender and also just a really nice, warm person besides. I followed them as a result of one of those "answer a question about roleplaying games from this predetermined list for every like" threads went around and I really liked their answers.

I think based on the conversation you had with Sean that you'd really get a lot out of their twitter feed, ESPECIALLY since you're also into TTRPGs.

I don't get over the forums much, but I just had to speak up. Amanda, I loved this conversation. Thank you for your vulnerability. And thanks to Sean for facilitating it so darn effectively.

Along with all the other fantastic things Amanda shared, I was especially appreciative to hear their take on what it's been like to be a woman with opinions about video games on the internet. Just to be on the safe side, I often don't reveal I'm a woman, and I am very cautious about real names and the like. Mostly I just keep a low profile. I'm so glad you spoke up, and, having heard from you, maybe at some point I'll find the courage to start sharing more of my own thoughts. Can't wait to hear more from you, Amoebic!

Thank you to Sean and Amanda for making this and sharing it with all of us. It was beautiful, resonant, and fun.

Best episode so far! Congrats on putting yourself out there (more than just small comments on Twitter and the forums) and props to Sean on creating a welcoming space in the interview.

Fantastic episode. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Amanda!

Amanda you are so awesome! I have always found the sound of your voice so comforting. The squash thing is such a beautiful perspective, that is really going to stick with me. "It is all normal" was a brilliant insight as well. Gamers With Lives has been really amazing and are always my favorite episodes, thank you both.

I’m thankful once again that the RSS feed update has brought me back into the podcast! Fantastic job both of you!

Very interesting and riveting interview. I learned a lot about you Amanda and its awesome. You are an amazing individual. These interveiws are so good.

I see you as a person....not a woman or man, not white or other, short or tall, religious or not. I could care less about any of that regarding any person. Its too bad we live in sucvh a toxic time where we have to identify somehow in every category (by the way...Im identifying as a great white shark today. Tomorrow will probably be Godzilla). It is sad that we just cant be people and not caring about another person in any other way but that person being human also. And this is coming from a member of the most hated demographic on the planet...oh yes..Im that guy...gasps and horrific looks abound.

You rock Amanda!!

syquest1 wrote:

And this is coming from a member of the most hated demographic on the planet...oh yes..Im that guy...gasps and horrific looks abound.

Furries? Atheists?



I have so many things for which to thank you. Foremost on my mind is this episode of Gamers with Lives.

In hopes of cancelling out the negative karma you've received here or elsewhere, please know that your presence on the GWJ podcast is and always has been a delight. Your tone, vocalization, and insight is invaluable. It was great to hear the backstory of how you became an integral component of the podcast. I love the imagery of you moving from group to group at PAX Con working to integrate them.

Even better was your description of Shawn's approach. I imagine, that if told from his perspective, he'd say, "I walked to this table and Amanda was shrouded in this inexpclibable shimmer. I *had* to introduce myself. I just knew they were exactly where they were meant to be and I was SO excited to find out why." Or something like that. Just imagining, though - I can't presume to speak for another.

I was lucky enough to participate in a session of Fiasco you lead and I had a great time. You organized it and shepherded us to a conclusion that will be one of my cherished RPG memories. I'm SO glad that Fiasco sessions are rolling again. I'll do my darnedest to re-engage, although summer months lead me toward outdoor activities more often than not.

I think, but am not certain, that it was your recommendation of "Tales from the Borderlands" lead me to buying that game, even though I played (and enjoyed) the original Borderlands for only a dozen hours, or so. It might be my favorite "Tales" series of all.

Sean McKenna - thank YOU for stepping up and making an interesting and engaging series of podcasts that gives us so much insight into the lives of people we've had in our hearts and ears for years and years. Well done!

I'm glad I found this thread! Gamers with Lives has been such a delighted surprise and I've come to look forward to the next one. That said, I cannot say enough how much I appreciated this particular one.

Amanda/Amoebic, I am going to be honest and admit that when you first joined the podcast as a regular I was leery because of my natural tendency to resist change (and I was very comfortable with the regular rotation up until then), but boy was my [completely irrational] concerns unfounded. I can undeniably say that your presence has made the podcast better! Please continue to be you and do whatever it is that you do because you are totally awesome the way you are!

This is my favorite Gamers with Lives episode yet. Thank you for sharing parts of your life with us. <3

Just listening to this. I'm about 35 minutes in, and I understand that Amanda is going through gender related things, but I feel like it's very vague - I keep hearing about surgery, but I don' t know what that is talking about. Maybe this will get less vague as the cast goes on.....

The two are unrelated.

Thanks for clarifying.

Amanda. Hero. I listen to this sometimes just to feel and smile. Thank you for being real and vulnerable and honest. I subscribed to Gamers With Jobs after I heard you on the podcast and now its September 2019 and Shawn is in Nepal and you are hosting the podcast and I want you to know your fans (me), people who are inspired by you (me), can hear the confidence in your voice! I love this podcast and I can’t wait to go on this journey with you and the whole crew! Gamers with jobs, Gamers with lives and Gamers with friends.
Thank you.
buddhist gaymer

Super late to this party, but I heard about this on the most recent episode of the Conference Call and made my way back to listen to it. This episode is amazing! Thank you so much, both of you. What an absolutely lovely conversation. ❤