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As a trans person, I liken my ever-changing relationship with gender to playing a video game. It's enjoyable, but it also feels like I'm progressing forward towards an indistinguishable end goal, with levels, checkpoints, blockers, and even villains crossing my path. To me, this is an experience that makes perfect sense, but the full metaphor never crossed my mind until hearing KIRARA's "HRT," a nearly seven-minute electronic number.

The song immediately evokes the chiptune sensibility of early arcade soundtracks — it's bright and directly digital. While electronic music tends to look towards the future, KIRARA looks backwards, using sounds that evoke the childlike wonder of squaring up in a boss level against an unspecified bully. She plays with the concept of the aforementioned trans experience being a video game, straight down to the name of the song: "HRT," or for the unfamiliar, hormone replacement therapy. Loosely translated from her artist statement on the song, she states that "changing the mood to one extreme or another [through the genre] is also an expression of the mood swings experienced during hormone therapy." As the song jumps from bouncy arpeggios to half-time 8-bit guitar and back again, it's clear that for those of us who can relate, it's a perfect representation of what it means to navigate the game-like minefields of your lived experience.

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