Paizo Pride 2023

Friday, June 9, 2023

Hi gay happy Pride!

Pride month is a time to celebrate queer joy, a time to be out and proud about our existence. Pride is a protest and always has been. For every victory, like the Respect for Marriage Act or the removal of the ban against gay men donating blood, there are just as many setbacks to equality. States like Florida and Texas pass law after law banning discussion of queer issues in schools and gender-affirming medical care, which whips the outrage machine into a frenzy and leads to Target employees being attacked over the yearly Pride collection. The LGBTQ+ community wonders every day what new attacks on our freedom, our right to simply exist, await us in the news.

The theme of this year’s Pride is “Rage and Resilience.” In recognition and celebration of our wonderful community of LGBTQ+ staffers and freelance contributors, we asked them to submit something about what gives them strength. We hope you enjoy hearing from them and encourage our community members to share their own responses in the comments!

Happy Pride, everyone! May you all get a new set of rainbow dice that rolls as well as mine does.

Alex Speidel (he/him)
Organized Play Coordinator, known bisexual

A blonde woman in a wedding dress sword fighting a dapper dressed man on a city roof

The story proceeds dramatically, as it usually does

Solatra (credited as Sasha Laranoa Harving; nov/nov)

Age 15. I came out as pansexual. My community was fairly progressive, but I still encountered people who thought I should just pick an easier label.

Age 16. I came out as aromantic. Anyone who had met me knew I was a hopeless romantic, in love with love, and told me it was a phase.

Age 17. I came out as a trans lesbian. I was met with anger, derision, mourning someone who did not die.

As time went on I debated if any of those things were accurate at all. I felt anger at myself for not figuring it out earlier, at my community for not letting me express myself.

Fast forward. Age 27. I'm out and proud as a xenogender aromantic pansexual lesbian. It is the multiplicity of my existence, the fact that I can be all of these things at once and love with all my heart that makes me strong.

Find what makes you strong and let it lift you up, and when people tell you your identity is wrong, know that they are simply too weak to accept your truth. In adversity there is community. In love there is life. Be strong. Together.

James Jacobs (he/him)
Pathfinder Narrative Creative Director

I find strength from friends and family, but thinking it over, I’ve got a potentially unexpected answer to the question “What gives me strength?” Horror gives me strength. I understand that the genre isn’t for everyone, but it defines who I am. From a kid watching horror movies with my dad, or while reading horror comic books and novels given to me by my grandparents, or while writing horror stories for school, the genre of fear has always given me strength. Whenever I finished a story (be it a movie, novel, game session, campfire tale, or whatever), I felt stronger, especially while growing up amid horrors both small (those endless school bullies) and enormous (the threat of nuclear apocalypse). There’s a reason horror sees its greatest growth during times of despair—and when times are good, the genre falters. It’d be nice to live in a world where I didn’t need horror to feel strong, but in the meantime, horror helps me continue my journey toward that world. Especially when I get to share my love of horror with friends or family, so… huh. I guess friends and family ARE at the core of it all!

Carlos Cabrera (he/they)

It gives me strength/I am jealous that my World of Darkness character is doing multi-gender polyamory better than me right now.

Mios, the iconic thaumaturge. Mios is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns.
Mios, the iconic thaumaturge. Dressed is a large jacket covered in charms and talismans, holding a lantern.

Marlowe Miller (they/he)

As a genderfluid Caddo person who has had my gender questioned by strangers since I started middle school, I know that I'm able to make a change just by existing as a visibly queer person. My mere presence challenges the public's preconceived notions of trans people. It's scary sometimes, I won't lie—but it's unavoidable and a responsibility I must bear. I couldn't do it without the help of my chosen family, both here at home in Alabama and in other states.

People question why I stay here when the law is becoming more hostile by the day. I stay in Alabama because I love the queer communities that flourish here, and because I know that if there weren't so many trans and gender-nonconforming people down here in the South, our lawmakers wouldn't be trying to legislate us out of existence. I stay in Alabama because there are people down here who can't leave and we need to stand together to survive. I stay in Alabama because it's my home, and I'm determined to keep it and my communities safe from people who would see it all destroyed. What gives me strength and keeps me going? Community.

Rue Dickey (they/he/xe)
Marketing & Media Specialist

Hey, I’m Rue (they/he/xe), and I’m a mixed race, nonbinary, disabled creator, as well as Paizo’s Marketing & Media Specialist! I’ve been doing freelance writing with Paizo for about a year—my first writing credit is in our newly announced Pathfinder Howl of the Wild, and I’m new here on the marketing team! Above all else, my friends and family give me strength. I have the joy of living with my two wonderful spouses, Rina and Jalen, and I know that they’ll always be there for me just like I’m here for them. My parents are proud of me even if they don’t necessarily understand what I do. It’s wonderful to know that I’m surrounded by people who I love and who love me back. Another thing I find strength in is the goodness of people—and how our community is quick to come together to support those in need. Running two very successful fundraisers for trans rights didn’t just help monetarily; it also showed folx in Florida and Texas that we care about them worldwide. And we won’t let them be erased. We’re here, we’re queer, and we won’t be erased.

Eren Ahn (they/them primarily)

If I'd been asked this prompt last year, I would have written a lot of flowery prose about the importance of family and friendships. I still draw strength from my community; I love and appreciate all of the people I've been fortunate enough to build relationships with, both being born to them and forging them through time and long conversations at 1:47am.

That being said, this year I've reached a level of self-confidence and inner strength I never had before. For the first time, I feel focused and at ease enough to fight for myself in both my professional and personal life. I draw strength in being able to live my life in appreciation of myself, and I hope that's a sentiment many others can agree with. I find a lot of peace in knowing that I always have myself in my corner. I don't know if I would be as happy as I am now without them.

You'll see my work in both Pathfinder Lost Omens Tian Xia books, and as of this being published, I'll have announced the first creature-focused module a friend and I are collaborating on! You can learn more about that on my Twitter @chromathesia.

Daiwin: a blue skinned humanoid with white hair, tattoos, and black wings

Amber Stewart (she/her)

I’m Amber Stewart (she/her) and what gives me strength is seeing how my work and that of my peers serves as an idealized mirror for players to see themselves represented in-game, or as a playground to explore their identity in fantasy. Coming to recognize and accept where you fit on the spectrum of orientation and gender identity is a unique thing for each of us, and TTRPGs can be part of that process—it absolutely was for me. You might not immediately recognize that something in-game reflects part of who you are, and play can help unlock some of that identity and provide an avenue for you to explore it: I know that playing female PCs (at an ever-increasing frequency over time) was for me part of my journey to accepting myself as being trans, and then as an outlet to explore that identity well before anyone in my family but my partner was aware.

Now, I might play to my own experiences more than not in my content, but with a broad freelance community, we get a LOT of voices represented. It’s cool, inspiring, and wholesome to see and I’m ever prouder of this community with each passing year.

Kendra Leigh Speedling (she/her)

Hello! I'm Kendra Leigh Speedling, bisexual (and demisexual) disaster and frequent freelancer for Paizo. You may have spotted my name on several books recently, including Pathfinder Treasure Vault and To Defy the Dragon, a Starfinder standalone mech adventure that might help tide you over until Mechageddon!.

It’s a tough time to be queer, especially for our trans and nonbinary friends and family. I’m not as recognizably queer as many others, which has advantages and disadvantages. I could stop talking about certain aspects of myself and pass as straight, but I don’t want to. My pithy answer to what gives me strength is spite. My more heartfelt answer is community, both among LGBTQ+ folks and allies in the Paizosphere and among my other queer friends. The bigots are vocal, but acceptance is increasing overall, particularly in younger generations. I think the recent backlash against us is driven by their fear that they're losing.

Sometimes I come across historical photos online, grainy black-and-white images of queer couples, of people proudly wearing clothes associated with a different gender, and I feel a sense of community across time. We have always been here. We will always be here. And we are worth celebrating.

Brent Bowser (he/they)

Growing up in a small farm town, I used to think there was something wrong with me because I was the only one. Gaming helped me find myself and others like me. I've volunteered with the Organized Play campaign for over ten years, and the caring, generous, accepting friends I've made saved my life. And if bigots and jerks don't feel welcome in Organized Play, then I've done my job.

Arhan: a hark haired human, with arms tattoos down their arms

Jessie "Aki” Lo (she/her)

My name is Jessie Lo, better known as Aki/Akino, and I’m a Bisexual Asian-Canadian freelance artist, writer, and community content creator.

Tons of things bar me from opportunities to create within this space, but what I find that gives me strength is spite. Spite is my biggest motivator, it empowers me to persevere when I feel like I can’t. As a queer woman of colour, I already live in a world where I have to work harder to get by. As an Asian woman, I am constantly fighting the stereotype of being obedient and quiet. However, I genuinely could care less of what others think, so as long as I succeed and continue to uplift marginalized voices with my work, like co-producing my multi-award winning Pathfinder Second Edition podcast Goblets and Gays. It's incredibly surprising what a healthy amount of spite can do for your motivation. Truthfully, I’m just a loud little hater who can find ways to empower and support myself and my community.

If you’d like to see more queer, spite-fueled projects, please continue to support me.

Caryn DiMarco (she/they)

I'm Caryn DiMarco (she/they), and my freelance work from Paizo ranges from Pathfinder Society adventures to contributions to the Lost Omens and rulebook lines. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to work with a team of freelancers, developers, editors, and more that represents the richness and complexity of the LGBTQ+ community.

Those spaces we make for ourselves and each other are a key part of what keeps me resilient. I find it easy to get overwhelmed by bad news (especially when it's so widespread). When I do, I'm able to remind myself that the small actions we take to make people feel welcome and safe make a difference. Whether that's making sure our settings represent the diversity of our world, taking steps to keep the games we play inclusive, or simply sharing the bits of LGBTQ+ culture that sustain us, all of our individual efforts become something bigger and more powerful when combined.

Grady Wang (he/him)

Growing up, the pervasive message about strength was that it comes from within—the action hero who goes it alone, the player character who levels up after each struggle, the message that boys need to suck it up. As I grow older, I’ve learned that personal strength only carries you so far. True strength comes from opening yourself up to others, even if it also makes you vulnerable. For me, strength comes from community.

I am so lucky to have found an amazing community in tabletop. From the inclusivity at cons to the thoughtful and empathetic team at Paizo to the generosity of my fellow freelancers, I have learned and grown so much. My goal is to give back and encourage the same behaviors that inspire me to stand up for my beliefs and live my truths. One such way is through the Queerfinder zine series on Pathfinder Infinite, which aims to introduce queer-identifying aspiring designers and artists to veterans in the industry. Another is working with the Storytelling Collective to provide resources for designers of all backgrounds. If your dream is to work in tabletop, please feel free to reach out. We are all stronger together.

Lovely Ria is a Pact Worlds pop icon chosen by Desna. Ria is nonbinary and uses xe/xem/xer pronouns (pronounced “zee,” “zem,” and “zer”) to represent xer genderfluidity and connection to the queerness of the alien cosmos. Ria’s wild travels took xem all the way to Cynosure, home of goddess Desna
headshot of Lovely Ria, with long blonde hair pulled up into two buns, bright silver jewelry, and pink clothes

Jenny Jarzabski (she/her/xe)
Starfinder Senior Developer

Hi, I’m Jenny Jarzabski. Working with the Starfinder team is one of the things that fills me with pride and fuels my hope every day that a better world is possible.

When encountering a Starfinder NPC (nonplayer character), you can assume that character is queer unless explicitly stated otherwise. This is only partly a joke considering the myriad weird and wonderful celebrations of queer identities in the setting.

Examining society’s gender constructs and ultimately turning them upside down is a long and proud tradition for sci-fi creators. As we create infinite fictional worlds, we imagine humanity’s own infinite possibilities. Here on Earth many people recognize multiple genders in humans, though the truth is more complex and subtle even than “male,” “female,” and “nonbinary.” In the fictional worlds of Starfinder, understanding has progressed even further. Add aliens to the mix and it gets super interesting!

For example: maraquoi, a fur-covered simian species, have seven genders that each play a different role in reproduction. Shirrens—an insectoid, choice-obsessed people who broke away from the destructive Swarm—present three genders: female, host, and male. Astrazoans are shapeshifting echinoderms with no inherent concept of gender, and synthetic lifeforms like anacites and androids can choose to adopt humanoid gender roles and pronouns or create their own.

I’m proud of my personal contributions to our queer cosmos, not to mention the fantastic additions to the Starfinder setting made by dozens of queer creators. To those creators: I’m honored to help amplify your voices and develop your work. Because of you, the Starfinder multiverse is a more beautiful, diverse reality.

Starfinder is set far in Pathfinder’s future, in an era when many alien cultures have already achieved peace and prosperity, and social progression has advanced beyond the norm here on Earth. This vibrant reality is imperiled by threats from both beyond the stars and in their own backyards, but even in the face of these dangers, a Starfinder character can proudly be who they are. And that’s why Starfinder’s worlds are worth fighting for, just like ours.

Dustin Knight (he/him)
Starfinder Developer

After years of contemplating the definition of love, I find an endless source of strength in the seemingly endless journey to completely learn what it means to love oneself. It might seem a little intense to bring this up in a blog post for a tabletop RPG company, but I couldn’t have made it this far on my continuing journey toward self-acceptance and self-respect without these games, this community, and these annual blog posts. The commitment to love expressed and confirmed time and time again by this community has helped me learn who I am and accept that with pride instead of guilt or shame. There is an unparalleled cathartic magic to roleplaying and storytelling, and I draw endless strength from the idea that my contributions to our hobby may help others down their path of self-acceptance and self-love.

Katrina Hennessy (she/they)

I hesitated to write this, not only because life is at its chaotic best, but because I feel I don’t belong. I’m not really a part of the LGBTQ+ community, yet I’m not not part of it. For most of my life I knew I didn’t fit, but I played my part anyway. I am a happily married woman with adult offspring, but I still don’t fit in The Box where most of society automatically places me.

The Paizo community provided strength and support to learn by allowing me to witness others on their own path, providing hints and a direction to look. I think I now know which labels apply, but it doesn’t really matter. All of this has helped me better accept myself and feel less different. I won’t say normal, as I’m not sure that is a word that should ever be applied to any human being. Everything about humans (and probably most living creatures) exists on a spectrum.

So, if you aren’t sure where you belong on the spectrum, that’s OK. If you want to poke around and try to work it out, this is a great community to be in while you do so. No obligations to make announcements, fly flags, or anything else. Nothing wrong with doing so and please accept and respect those who do. Being quietly personal about your status also deserves respect.

A femme-presenting android. They have glowing eyes, glowing circuitry along their arms, and clothing that is decorated with pieces of technology

Andrew Mullen (he/him)

I’m Andrew, and a few months ago I realized I’m bi! That was sort of a weird thing to have happen, seeing as I’m a dude in his late 30s with a wife and a toddler. I guess when society assumes you’re heterosexual, and your attractions mostly match up with that, then you assume you’re straight, too.

I draw a lot of strength from my family. When I told my wife, Melissa, about the realization, she was just glad I’d discovered something about myself. As we talked more, she projected a very uncomplicated and sincere sense of affirmation. What better than that, when you’re open and vulnerable in unfamiliar territory? My parents and close friends were similarly supportive!

You know how the right acts like it owns the “traditional” family? Well, queer folks of all stripes are out here having families that look like a 1950s all-American ad. It’s very satisfying to disprove and reject bigotry by being myself.

Alexi J. Greer (they/them)

I remember living in Orlando in 2021, with my polycule and gathering of queer and trans friends. I didn’t know what would happen in the next two years, but there was something in the air that made me pause that summer. “I think we should seriously consider moving up near your family in New England,” I told my fiancé. I worked through illness and sleepless nights to make the move work, but it did. Then it wasn't even three months before I was messaging my friends down in FL. "Stay strong and keep going. We're going to make a plan to bring you up here."

What gives me strength are the people I care about and my determination to see them happy. And my confidence that we can fight for happiness; not just our own, but others' too. Happiness should be chased, not negotiated for as if it were a commodity to be rationed out. Evil pretends to represent the majority, but it's a boldfaced lie. There's a wider world that wants you here, with us, and shining as your full self. And if you're in need, I know I'm not alone when I vow to support you too.

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Authors Community Paizo Paizo Staff Pathfinder Pride Starfinder

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

Thank you all for being here. Thank you for all the wonder you create.

7 people marked this as a favorite.

As always, thank you to all those who contribute. It feels good to read these.

Grand Lodge

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Our community is richer for having each of you a part of it!

Second Seekers (Jadnura)

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Such a great group of creators who contribute in so many ways to make our community better!

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Thank you so much, everyone. It fills my heart to see all of us creating something!

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Thanks everybody for sharing their stories, June always holds so many heavy feelings and emotions. Everybody is deserving of love and respect!

Grand Archive

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

Huzzah! I love all the magnificent people here. And no, we won't let ourself be erased! O_O

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

happy pride to everyone!

5 people marked this as a favorite.

So glad all of you are willing to enrich the stories being told.

And pleased to support a company that encourages you to do so.

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Happy Pride, to all my fellow Queers

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Happy pride <3 <3

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Thank you all for sharing and contributing with us! Happy Pride!

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.


RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

6 people marked this as a favorite.

I was very much looking forward to this blog entry. I'm happy that something along these lines has become tradition over the past few years.

12 people marked this as a favorite.

From one trans lesbian to everyone in this blog - thank you for what you do!

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Hi Gay!

Thank you all for this blog.

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I was wondering if my post would be the only mention of Pride lol. Great blog, as always. I figured out I was bi a few months ago and this community was really helpful for that time. Thanks everyone.

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

Happy Pride everyone! Thank you Paizo for all your inclusivity!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

11 people marked this as a favorite.

Thanks Paizo! Happy Pride, this month and always. As a queer person I have always felt this was a safe place to be (and work for as a freelance editor)--not because it was devoid of people who could be hurtful, because you can't escape humans being jerks, but because Paizo has always made clear that kind of behavior is unacceptable here on the boards. I know Paizo historically has also had its struggles to do better but I have always been glad to see it is willing to examine itself and improve and keep growing. I am happy to be reminded its inclusivity internally and externally has grown exponentially over the decades.

Second Seekers (Jadnura)

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Happy Pride, everyone! Love seeing all of these messages <3

Paizo Employee Organized Play Coordinator

8 people marked this as a favorite.

Can't believe Maryssa someone removed the hyperlink on the first line, making my nonsense even less comprehensible than usual.

The opening line is a reference to this very good Tweet, please watch and enjoy. Happy Pride!

Sovereign Court

Hi gay happy Pride!

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Happy Pride! Thanks to all the creators at Paizo doing their best to make this community a safe and welcoming place. Y'all rule <3

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Love this community! Happy Pride!

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Happy Pride!

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Specialist

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Happy Pride! Participating in this blog for the first time as both a freelancer and employee of Paizo makes me so happy. I'm so proud to work in a place where we can showcase such amazing people!

Wayfinders Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Thank you all for being who you are, and for being such beautiful creatives. We love you!

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Happy Pride fellow beloved Paizoians!

I've been away for a while (nothing to do with negative treatment or any such nonsense as that) finances and struggling with what I can and cannot afford to do.

But gaming and Paizo are such a big part of my life, and I've missed it, missed this wonderful community, and missed receiving boxes or sturdy media-mail envelopes every month. :)

So, I'm happy to say I'm back, and very soon I'll be back subscribing and back running Pathfinder and even my first Starfinder game! (Very exciting for this soon to be 54 year old gamer).

Dean; The_Minstrel_Wyrm

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Happy Pride! And thanks to everyone for sharing.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
aobst128 wrote:
I figured out I was bi a few months ago and this community was really helpful for that time. Thanks everyone.

eyyy, same!

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Having to cancel con attendance plans because the state the con is in is not a safe place is a horrible feeling.

Mad props to the Paizo team and content creators for being a beacon during this dark time for folks who don't fit neatly into a hate-filled and intellectually dishonest paradigm.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Happy Pride Month!!! Thank all of you for sharing your stories. My hope is that sharing your stories will help others on their journeys.

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