Paizo Pride 2021

Thursday, 24 June, 2021

Merisel, a female elven rogue, and Kyra, a female human cleric, join hands in a temple to Sarenrae, the Dawnflower, goddess of healing and the sun.”]]

Heartbond (APG), artist Valeriya Lutfullina

June is Pride Month, a time for the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate their lives, their struggles, and their identities. It’s also a time to remind ourselves and those around us that the fight for equality is not over. The first Pride celebrations were inspired by the Stonewall riots, a six-day riot against police brutality, led by community leaders including Marsha P. Johnson, a Black trans woman.

Pride is important because LGBTQ+ individuals do not have equality in any country. The Human Rights Watch reports that 69 countries have national laws criminalizing same-sex relations between consenting adults. At least nine countries have laws criminalizing “forms of gender expression that target transgender and gender nonconforming people,” and many more countries don’t need to pass laws to ensure their police forces and militaries do the work of suppressing LGBTQ+ lives. Worldwide, gay, trans and non-conforming individuals face legal and illegal discrimination, abuse, and hatred. There are places in this world I will not travel with my fiancé because I am worried we will face physical and verbal abuse, and some of those places are within driving distance of where I live. Here in America, my rights are debated on a daily basis in local, state and federal court.

My fellow contributors to this blog and I are lucky that many of us live in a country that will not arrest us, directly, in most places, for our sexuality or gender. We are lucky that Paizo is a company that does not discourage us from expressing ourselves in our personal lives, and that permits us to create beautiful and diverse worlds that represent the world as we would like to see it. But we are lucky, and every gamer knows that sometimes the dice run hot, and sometimes you roll a 1. None of that is guaranteed to us, and it could be taken away in moments - or slowly, over four years.


I started with the depressing stuff not because I wanted to, but because I didn’t want it to get lost. But that’s not all of what Pride is. Pride is also about joy in who we are, and in our community. It’s about gathering and celebrating our lives, the freedoms we have fought to achieve, and to remind ourselves that it is all worth it.

For this year’s Pride blog, I asked our staffers and contributors to tell us about something they’re proud of from the past year. I told them that it didn’t have to be gaming related; that, in fact, this was a chance to use the platform we’re lucky to have to shout out the things that don’t get attention. I’d like to thank them all for sharing themselves with me and with the Paizo community.

Alex Speidel
Organized Play Associate


Alexander Augunas, Paizo Freelancer

I'm Alexander Augunas! I'm the Know Direction Network's Everyman Gamer, publisher of Everybody Games, and a freelancer for Paizo Inc. This past year has been a crazy year for us all, but I like to think that I did some good work during the chaos and confusion of the global shutdown. In Lost Omens: Legends, I presented Golarion's most powerful sorceress, Hao Jin (set to appear in the upcoming Fists of the Ruby Phoenix Adventure Path) as an asexual woman whose experiences with asexuality I personally identify with, a prospect that I felt was one of the most deeply empowering and important RPG articles I have ever written. Second only, perhaps, to The Rot in RPGs, a blog article I did for the Know Direction Network where I analyzed how systemic racism has impacted tabletop RPGs and offered some suggestions on what we as a community should do to combat it. It's a deeply researched piece that I wrote in response to the murder of George Floyd, and it's an article I hope inspires gamers to keep doing better as a community for those who are marginalized. Because I truly believe that if we try, we can change. Games have that kind of power, and I firmly believe that as creators we have the responsibility to use our power to better the world we've inherited.


Sonja Morris (she/her), Managing Art Director

On June 15th, my wife and I celebrated 19 years of marriage (21 years of being together), of which I am very proud.


Carlos Cabrera, Paizo Freelancer

The thing I am most proud of this year is somehow finding a better work and life balance over the course of it. I know this time has been hard for so many of us, but what I discovered about myself getting through it is where my healthier boundaries are and how to lay them down more confidently. When my pandemic fatigue set in, I signed up for the Moderna trial. When I had to make big, life-altering changes at home, I found a place where I can still be a part of my incredible 4 year old's life.

I am proud I was able to do all of that on my own terms. Creatively, this has led me down new paths of freelancing. I have a coming project I can't wait to tell people more about—my first ever built and pitched privately with the help of a new friend. I am also planning a return to voice acting. There is a lot to look forward to, but you know what also helped a great deal? My partners of more than one gender who made it a point (in a pandemic!) to be in my company.

Tall human female with long flowing red hair wearing a kimono, their left hand casting a spell on the miniature building held in their right hand.

Hao Jin, artist Gabriela Marchioro


Shay Snow (they/them), Paizo Freelancer

I’m super proud that I’ve pushed myself this year to accept projects that I would normally shy away from. I’ve spent a long time turning things down because of a deep fear of being under qualified or just the belief that I wouldn’t be good enough when compared to other people who came before me. This year has been a rollercoaster ride, but I can look back at it and actively point out my victories and places where I’ve excelled and grown as a person. My partner, my friends, and I have watched me break out of my comfort zone and restore my self-confidence in not just my writing and editing skills, but also in myself and my ability to handle large projects. I look forward to another year of accepting things and showing not just other people, but showing myself that I can handle anything thrown my way.


James Jacobs, Pathfinder Creative Director

Writing adventures about ghosts and cultists and things that go bump in the night has long been something I’ve enjoyed, but with Malevolence, an adventure I ran for several folks here at the office last year before writing it up as a standalone adventure for Pathfinder, I finally got to create that haunted house adventure I’ve been eager to write. Several of the spooky, creepy events and encounters that I inflicted on my players made it into the adventure, along with a few that I had planned but they never reached and a few more that I made up specifically for the adventure. The in-depth mechanics for how players can unravel the manor’s mystery by researching, investigating, and interpreting haunted dreams is one of my favorite parts of the adventure, and I can’t mention the other favorite part without spoiling something big. Still, it’s exciting to get Malevolence out into the world after it spent a few extra months in shipping delay hell, and I hope it does as good a job providing your group with a bit of escape from the horrors of the past year as it did for me to write it.


Amber Stewart (she/her), Paizo Freelancer

It has been a really awesome year for me, and I’m super proud of not only having my first AP entry released with Ruins of the Radiant Siege (in which I’m thrilled to have included an explicitly trans NPC Il’setsya Wyrmtouched) but for also finally, FINALLY finishing with school and receiving my doctorate (Doctor of Pharmacy). I hope that this next year can be just as great and even more productive!

A female verthani wearing glasses with her brown hair pulled into a bun and adorned with cybernetic augmentations. She resembles other verthani, with eyes of pure black orbs and pale skin covered in silver patterns

Dr Monsylkis artist Graey Erb


Kendra Leigh Speedling (she/her), Paizo Freelancer

Hey, all! I'm bi and demisexual, and I've been freelancing for Paizo for a few years. It's been a tough year, globally speaking, but I hit a few personal milestones that I'm proud of, the release of my first AP volume (The White Glove Affair) being one of them. What I'm focusing on here, though, is a little more mundane: I've been talking to people.

I'm not a very outgoing person, which has always made networking intimidating to me. I'd talked to people off and on at PaizoCon, but until recently, I hadn't really gotten to know anyone in the freelancing community too well. With the con's shift to being online, though, I was more comfortable casually chatting. After that, staying in touch with other freelancers seemed to flow naturally, and before I knew it, I was in a community of talented writers and fun people, some of whom I now count as friends as well as colleagues. I look forward to meeting them once in-person cons are safe again! And...well, maybe you'll see me hanging out at the hotel bar next PaizoCon. I promise not to flee if you come say hi. :-)


Dana Ebert (she/her), Paizo Freelancer

Hi there, I’m a Paizo freelancer and am proudly BIPOC, queer, and transgender! I do other things as well, including professional GMing and voice acting. Without a doubt, my proudest accomplishment this past year was nailing my first freelancing assignment with Paizo. It’s no secret that the book in question is Pathfinder Lost Omens: The Grand Bazaar, and while I can’t spoil any of its content, I think I can share that in the end I was able to write something deeply personal that I hope will resonate just as powerfully with other people who share similar experiences. In fact, I’m definitely going to be talking about it on Twitter once the book is released, so if that sounds interesting then you can follow me there at @MistressDanaRPG. Until next time, endless love and support for each and every one of you who help to make our community a more inclusive, diverse, and welcoming place!


Dustin Knight (he/him), Paizo Freelancer

The word I've used to describe this last year has been surreal. I'd repeat again and again: survive, not thrive. And yet, I struggled every day to do something I could be proud of, even if it meant fighting to convince myself that I deserved to rest. But even as I write this, I find myself pondering what it means to feel pride. It's tempting to drop names and links in some hackneyed attempt to avoid today's undertaking, but it's one I've avoided for too many years. Today I'm proud to publicly identify as asexual.

And yet, I can't help but feel like I'm still avoiding the prompt. So I've got to admit what I'm most proud of this surreal year has been my career. I've passed so many milestones it's hard to believe any of this is real. Most surreal of all was having aced the Paizo design test last fall. Proving myself in that capacity and then getting my first hardcover book assignment has been a validating experience unlike any other. So many friends have helped me on this journey, and this year I hope I've made them proud. Thank you, my dear friends. And thank you, Paizo.

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Community Paizo Paizo Pride Paizo Staff Pride
Sovereign Court

19 people marked this as a favorite.

Knowing who you are and feeling safe to express your love is so important and I'm overjoyed that Paizo not only recognizes but celebrates its diverse staff and freelancers all year long.

I'm so proud to have the opportunity to write in this post, as Alexander Augunas' post from the Paizo Pride 2019 and our subsequent talks for the past two years were instrumental in helping me understand myself and build up the courage to come out. My only regret is not having met you a decade sooner.

Paizo has fostered an anti-toxic community that makes me feel safe and accepted being who I am, and I can't thank our community leaders enough for giving us this space.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Thank you all for sharing! I love how welcoming the whole Paizo community feels.

Contributor

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Hey, you even used a picture from my Hao Jin assignment for the blog! Thanks, Alex! :D

Contributor

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Dustin Knight wrote:

Knowing who you are and feeling safe to express your love is so important and I'm overjoyed that Paizo not only recognizes but celebrates its diverse staff and freelancers all year long.

I'm so proud to have the opportunity to write in this post, as Alexander Augunas' post from the Paizo Pride 2019 and our subsequent talks for the past two years were instrumental in helping me understand myself and build up the courage to come out. My only regret is not having met you a decade sooner.

Paizo has fostered an anti-toxic community that makes me feel safe and accepted being who I am, and I can't thank our community leaders enough for giving us this space.

D'aw, silly foxtato. You didn't have to thank me publicly like this. Being friends with you is more than enough.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Alexander Augunas wrote:
D'aw, silly foxtato. You didn't have to thank me publicly like this. Being friends with you is more than enough.

I want to thank you as well! That Hao Jin article explicitly speaking about an asexual experience really hit home. I started identifying as aroace in the beginning of 2020 after years of calling myself bi cause I never knew it was "an option", and seeing something in print - a legendary sorceress no less - was huge for me.

Dustin Knight wrote:
Most surreal of all was having aced the Paizo design test last fall.

Ha! Love that you snuck that in not but 50 words after coming out. Congratulations on your success and getting to know yourself better!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Proud of being part of Paizo's larger community!


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Alexander Augunas wrote:
Dustin Knight wrote:

Knowing who you are and feeling safe to express your love is so important and I'm overjoyed that Paizo not only recognizes but celebrates its diverse staff and freelancers all year long.

I'm so proud to have the opportunity to write in this post, as Alexander Augunas' post from the Paizo Pride 2019 and our subsequent talks for the past two years were instrumental in helping me understand myself and build up the courage to come out. My only regret is not having met you a decade sooner.

Paizo has fostered an anti-toxic community that makes me feel safe and accepted being who I am, and I can't thank our community leaders enough for giving us this space.

D'aw, silly foxtato. You didn't have to thank me publicly like this. Being friends with you is more than enough.

This content is W H O L E S O M E. Love to see folks being genuine friends and helping each other become their more authentic selves. Happy Pride!


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Yay! :)

Second Seekers (Jadnura)

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Great having all these awesome people working on our game!

Liberty's Edge

4 people marked this as a favorite.

It is great to see how welcoming this community is. We must remember that what we have in common unities us despite our differences. Let us remember to give others the respect that we ask for ourselves. May the day come when this is not a dream but a reality.

Wayfinders

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I absolutely love this. Makes me very happy to see all of this wonderful acceptance and pride. Also, it's just awesome having Legendary ace representation like Hao Jin. I aspire to look that elegant in flowers.

Grand Archive

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I really loved that Hao Jin was Asexual, but not necessarily aromantic as she's said to be looking for a partner... My partner is exactly like that (except she wasn't looking, our relationship was a big surprise for both of us, and her family). So thanks a lot Alexander Augunas for that part. It really helped me understand parts of my relationship.

My own story is that I'm non-binary, and for a long time still used He/His pronouns because it was "simpler"... But Mark Seifter memorized it and started always referring to me as They/Them anyway... And that gave me the courage to actually affirm my preferred pronoun.
So thank the Paizo community, and thank all the Paizo people that are wonderful allies.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I want to take a moment to just say thank you.
As a Transgender Woman I don't have many safe places in my life. This is one of the few (sadly) where I can go to and recieve acceptance and love...and hugs and be myself.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

As a trans lesbian, I love y’all and the work you do - thank you!

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