Transgender PCs


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thejeff wrote:
TheJayde wrote:
I feel that the gender change issue would likely be based on the world that you're playing in and the GM you're playing with. With magic being able to do... whatever... I find that the gender changing stuff would be more commonplace and maybe even more accepted. Heck - it may not even be something people consider an issue at all because its so easy to attain. I mean... who would even know in a world where people rarelly even leave thier village thier entire life?

Equally it could be something that the decadent nobility plays around with and the common people never even consider.

In a world where people rarely even leave their village, the girl who's really a boy may wind up married off with 3 kids before even considering the possibility of transition - unless he runs away to be an adventurer.

Now I'm just thinking of combining the "Noble uses girdle to 'set things right'" with the "quiet, overly-friendly creepy village" trope.

Maybe an off-their-rocker divination caster is convinced that failures of the "Divination" Spell asking about ideal arrangements for a newborn is a sign that the newborn is the 'wrong' gender, and then out comes the belt.

With spell failure rates ranging from 70-90%, that can mean a lot of people with dysphoria in a village of a few hundred people.


TheJayde wrote:
DominusMegadeus wrote:

You need to open your eyes, sheeple. Gender, Race, Sexuality; these are all meaningless in Pathfinder.

I would take this more to heart, if you didn't start off calling everyone sheeple. Sheeple being a term that pretentious jerks like to use to think that they know more than other people, and have a more open or enlightened mind. If that isn't the case, then instead you're saying that everyone else is stupid and extremely closed minded, which is just an insult to us all. Either way, there is no winning by using the term.

Just a joke post, friend. Sorry if you felt looked down upon.


thejeff wrote:
TheJayde wrote:
I feel that the gender change issue would likely be based on the world that you're playing in and the GM you're playing with. With magic being able to do... whatever... I find that the gender changing stuff would be more commonplace and maybe even more accepted. Heck - it may not even be something people consider an issue at all because its so easy to attain. I mean... who would even know in a world where people rarelly even leave thier village thier entire life?

Equally it could be something that the decadent nobility plays around with and the common people never even consider.

In a world where people rarely even leave their village, the girl who's really a boy may wind up married off with 3 kids before even considering the possibility of transition - unless he runs away to be an adventurer.

Go look up Aleister Crowley. He is a prime example of a Noble who might use this sort of thing for his own uh... benefits...?

DominusMegadeus wrote:
TheJayde wrote:
DominusMegadeus wrote:

You need to open your eyes, sheeple. Gender, Race, Sexuality; these are all meaningless in Pathfinder.

I would take this more to heart, if you didn't start off calling everyone sheeple. Sheeple being a term that pretentious jerks like to use to think that they know more than other people, and have a more open or enlightened mind. If that isn't the case, then instead you're saying that everyone else is stupid and extremely closed minded, which is just an insult to us all. Either way, there is no winning by using the term.
Just a joke post, friend. Sorry if you felt looked down upon.

Hey! No sweat really. I didnt see it as a joke... some people use it seriously so I can never tell in text.

The term I find bothersome mostly because... well you know. Its used a lot with politics as well which makes it even more bothersome to me.

S'all good man.


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Snorter wrote:

Traumatic? Or liberating?

There's no drama potential in a character having a happy, uneventful and publicly-supported transition. If you're going to do that, they may as well just begin as the right gender.

I'm not sure I'd agree with that. I agree that something like that can be a source of drama, but it doesn't have to be. Giving a character a happy, publicly supported transition doesn't mean the backstory needs to be boring, or the character needs to be boring, or that such a character might as well be created as non-transgender. Nor does it mean that their transition or their pre-adventuring life needs to be uneventful. As I've said before, look at Shardra's backstory for an example of this. It really is quite exemplary.

Snorter wrote:
Happy people are boring.

I definitely disagree with that. See Nick and Nora Charles in the Thin Man movies, for example. Very happy, very happily married people, and not at all boring. Or to bring it closer to Pathfinder, Cayden Cailean seems like a pretty happy dude. I'd bet that stories about his exploits would not be boring.

Snorter wrote:
You want the option that gives most fuel for shaking a fist at the uncaring gods, and bellowing a monologue of scenery-chewing wangst.

Not necessarily. Actually, if every character was like that, that would be boring, in my opinion.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

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I have an Inquisitor of Arshea ready to go for PFS, but we don't play PFS very often and I've never had the chance to run her. She was born and raised a nobleman, and fled a loveless arranged marriage to Magnimar, where she fell in with the Arshea cult and began questioning her identity. While not completely certain she's a woman (and hence, isn't investing any money in a one-use magic item), she's comfortable being a woman for now, likes the alchemical treatments she's using, and hopes to explore the concepts of basic identity while helping others tackle barriers to their own personal growth and happiness.

So, there's one way you can run a transgender character in a world with instant transformation magic.

There's also several other considerations:


  • Different cultures on Golarion have more or less sexism. Cosmopolitan Absalom may not discriminate much based on sex, but the Linnorm Kings do, the witches of Irrisen do, the drow do, ect.
  • Different culture on Golarion have looser and stricter gender roles, and while they don't necessarily descriminate, the different sexes may be raised very differently and be expected to fill specific roles (even if they're allowed to select others). In Katapesh, women are expected to be the landowners. Among dwarves, women are expected to be brewers and organize the home.
  • 2,000+ gold is a lot of money for most people when you assume the common human on Golarion makes one to five silvers a day, or 3 to 15 gold a month. Two-thousand gold is more than you pay for a house. It's as much as buying a farm or a small apartment building. I would argue that magical potion transition is LESS accessible in Golarion than genital correcting surgery is for trans folk on Earth. Adventuring trans folk my be able to gulp down that kind of money, but the common transitioner could never dream of it (and is probably a big impetus for trans people to disproportionately become adventurers)
  • A physical transition (no matter how complete) does not mean a persons tops being transgender. Being transgender isn't simply a physical condition; it's as much a mental and social state, involving personal examination and coming to certain relaizations on your own (sometimes ins pite of the whole world telling you you're wrong). It's a personal quest and test of character. A knight doesn't stop being a knight after she's slain the dragon.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Crystal Frasier wrote:
A knight doesn't stop being a knight after she's slain the dragon.

I'm frankly appalled that you think a knights personal quest must be to slay a dragon.

but i jest.


KSF wrote:


This is getting off-topic, so I'll make one comment here. You're misunderstanding genderfluid. The idea isn't that a genderfluid person's identity is shaped by society. It's that it remains fluid in spite of the binary system of gender that society as a whole enforces. So it's kind of the opposite of the way you're describing it.

Also, you're conflating sexual orientation (gay, straight, bi, asexual, etc) with gender identity (trans, cis, genderfluid, etc.) Two different things.

Fluid takes the shape of its container. Maybe another word would be better. It sounds like you're describing the gender version of bisexual.

Was thinking about the view you express here and it would seem that it would technically allow for lesbians to get each other pregnant, if one partner were heterosexual but trans and the other were cisgender but willing to look past the physical. That's... Interesting.


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Werebat wrote:
KSF wrote:


This is getting off-topic, so I'll make one comment here. You're misunderstanding genderfluid. The idea isn't that a genderfluid person's identity is shaped by society. It's that it remains fluid in spite of the binary system of gender that society as a whole enforces. So it's kind of the opposite of the way you're describing it.

Also, you're conflating sexual orientation (gay, straight, bi, asexual, etc) with gender identity (trans, cis, genderfluid, etc.) Two different things.

Fluid takes the shape of its container. Maybe another word would be better. It sounds like you're describing the gender version of bisexual.

That is one characteristic of "fluid". Another is "Changeable".

Quote:


Fluid adjective
2.
pertaining to a substance that easily changes its shape; capable of flowing.
3.
consisting of or pertaining to fluids.
4.
changing readily; shifting; not fixed, stable, or rigid:
fluid movements.

2 and particularly 4.


Werebat wrote:
KSF wrote:

This is getting off-topic, so I'll make one comment here. You're misunderstanding genderfluid. The idea isn't that a genderfluid person's identity is shaped by society. It's that it remains fluid in spite of the binary system of gender that society as a whole enforces. So it's kind of the opposite of the way you're describing it.

Also, you're conflating sexual orientation (gay, straight, bi, asexual, etc) with gender identity (trans, cis, genderfluid, etc.) Two different things.

Fluid takes the shape of its container. Maybe another word would be better. It sounds like you're describing the gender version of bisexual.

You're trying to impose one potential metaphorical aspect of a word over another. Fluid is not being used in the sense you're talking about. It's being used in another fashion, similar to the phrase "meaning is fluid."

Werebat wrote:
Was thinking about the view you express here and it would seem that it would technically allow for lesbians to get each other pregnant, if one partner were heterosexual but trans and the other were cisgender but willing to look past the physical. That's... Interesting

There are a lot of different ways for different couples to have kids. I'm not sure any of those need a "That's... Interesting" applied to them. That's all I'll say about that, since again, this is getting off-topic.

Let's maybe move on?

Unless we want to talk about genderfluid PCs. That'd be cool too.


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KSF wrote:

I guess this is primarily a roleplaying question, about character backstories and how they're incorporated into your at-table play.

Getting somewhat back on topic, I'm working on a homebrew world that has a race in it that would be... Eh, not actually transgender now that I think of it, but... Well, you decide:

They're amphibians with a three-stage life cycle. They hatch from eggs in swamp pools, swim around as mostly animalistic pollywog things for a time, and then come out of the water when they grow limbs and dry-ish, warty skin (like a toad or eft).

They live for a time in this state, as intelligent beings in villages and other communities that have cultures, language, etc.

Eventually they undergo another transformation, this time returning to the water and degenerating into mindless floating sacs anchored to the bottoms of their pools by tough stalks. At this stage they are sexually mature, and pretty much don't do anything else other than breed and filter feed (ejecting sperm or eggs into the water around them).

It is in their second stage of life that they might interact with other intelligent races, and take up the adventuring life (although most wouldn't dream of doing this, as they are quite culturally tied to their breeding pools, which they naturally consider sacred, or at least very important).

As intelligent beings in their second life stage, these guys would either be considered asexual or maybe presexual. I suppose they might have gender identifications similar to those of human children, but then there are no sexually mature adults in their communities to model much in the way of gender roles for them.

So, not trans, but -- possessed of an alien sexuality, which may not even be a sexuality at all.


Crystal Frasier wrote:
Much good stuff

Thanks, Crystal! Those are exactly the sorts of things I was thinking about. I especially like your Arshean Inquisitor.

Crystal Frasier wrote:
Different cultures on Golarion have more or less sexism. Cosmopolitan Absalom may not discriminate much based on sex, but the Linnorm Kings do, the witches of Irrisen do, the drow do, ect.

I was actually thinking of rolling up a trans character from the Land of the Linnorm Kings. Want to do a bit more reading on the setting first, though.

Crystal Frasier wrote:
A physical transition (no matter how complete) does not mean a persons tops being transgender. Being transgender isn't simply a physical condition; it's as much a mental and social state, involving personal examination and coming to certain relaizations on your own (sometimes ins pite of the whole world telling you you're wrong). It's a personal quest and test of character. A knight doesn't stop being a knight after she's slain the dragon.

Exactly. Well put.


Werebat wrote:
KSF wrote:

I guess this is primarily a roleplaying question, about character backstories and how they're incorporated into your at-table play.

Getting somewhat back on topic, I'm working on a homebrew world that has a race in it that would be... Eh, not actually transgender now that I think of it, but... Well, you decide.

Definitely not trans, as you say.

Thanks for hewing back on topic.


KSF wrote:


There are a lot of different ways for different couples to have kids. I'm not sure any of those need a "That's... Interesting" applied to them. That's all I'll say about that, since again, this is getting off-topic.

You misunderstand, I think. I'm talking terminology. Would my example be terminologically correct? If so, that's interesting. Not necessarily the people themselves -- well, they'd be interesting too, maybe, but that's not what I'm talking about.

I'm really not familiar with these terms you're throwing around -- if I'm right about their meanings, that leads to some interesting conclusions (for example, in this lingo, lesbians can get each other pregnant). It sounds like you're thinking I'm being derogatory, when that's not really my intent.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

fluid, also suggests the ability to flow, as in flow from one gender to another... which to me at least, is it's undoubted meaning.


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Werebat wrote:
KSF wrote:


There are a lot of different ways for different couples to have kids. I'm not sure any of those need a "That's... Interesting" applied to them. That's all I'll say about that, since again, this is getting off-topic.

You misunderstand, I think. I'm talking terminology. Would my example be terminologically correct? If so, that's interesting. Not necessarily the people themselves -- well, they'd be interesting too, maybe, but that's not what I'm talking about.

I'm really not familiar with these terms you're throwing around -- if I'm right about their meanings, that leads to some interesting conclusions (for example, in this lingo, lesbians can get each other pregnant). It sounds like you're thinking I'm being derogatory, when that's not really my intent.

Well, if you'd want to get into it. If you're talking about someone who is a a trans woman (Trans woman = male to female, if you're not familiar with the terminology) and also a lesbian (not uncommon - a lot of trans people also identify as lesbian, gay, bi, etc.), the couple would either have to get pregnant before the trans woman starts hormone therapy (assuming she plans to do so, not all trans people medically transition), or the trans woman would have to bank some sperm before starting hormone therapy, since hormone therapy makes you sterile. I'd guess that using sperm banked ahead of time would be more common. So, yes, you are correct.

(And the "Interesting" line did kind of rub me the wrong way, yes. It sounded like you were trying to exoticize the couple.)


DominusMegadeus wrote:
TheJayde wrote:
DominusMegadeus wrote:

You need to open your eyes, sheeple. Gender, Race, Sexuality; these are all meaningless in Pathfinder.

I would take this more to heart, if you didn't start off calling everyone sheeple. Sheeple being a term that pretentious jerks like to use to think that they know more than other people, and have a more open or enlightened mind. If that isn't the case, then instead you're saying that everyone else is stupid and extremely closed minded, which is just an insult to us all. Either way, there is no winning by using the term.
Just a joke post, friend. Sorry if you felt looked down upon.

I get the joke, but you should be careful about using the term in general. You don't want to wake up the sheeple!


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I am also, ignorant of the Jargon that the LGBT crowd uses. if i come off as rude, it is simply my lack of good nomenclature on this showing, and I mean no offense.

however, i do still attest that much of the "that's not exactly right" is an applied "no true scotsman" fallacy, which is the counter argument against a proposition that it isn't really X, because it doesn't line up perfectly.

I'm more interested in discussing all forms of TG (wanting to be the opposite sex, regardless of motivation) and not just ones that follow the motivations of RL TGs, as various circumstances simply do not show up in RL, but could in pathfinder.


Bandw2 wrote:

I am also, ignorant of the Jargon that the LGBT crowd uses. if i come off as rude, it is simply my lack of good nomenclature on this showing, and I mean no offense.

however, i do still attest that much of the "that's not exactly right" is an applied "no true scotsman" fallacy, which is the counter argument against a proposition that it isn't really X, because it doesn't line up perfectly.

I'm more interested in discussing all forms of TG (wanting to be the opposite sex, regardless of motivation) and not just ones that follow the motivations of RL TGs, as various circumstances simply do not show up in RL, but could in pathfinder.

Well, I don't think it is an example of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy, given that the meaning of "transgender" is relatively specific. It's less a matter of it not lining up perfectly and more a matter of it not lining up at all and instead being a separate thing.

You might want to use a different term for those other circumstances, like in your Drow scenario. It might help avoid confusion.

That would be my take on it.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

except the drow example specifically brings up that male and female mean LARGELY different things to them than humans. Females simply have a higher chance to be a drow noble for instance, and thus lead. it's a physical thing just as much a social one.

the male in question really does identify and feel as a female in their society and wants to be one.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

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Werebat wrote:
Was thinking about the view you express here and it would seem that it would technically allow for lesbians to get each other pregnant, if one partner were heterosexual but trans and the other were cisgender but willing to look past the physical. That's... Interesting.

Also, if you have a situation where a trans woman and a cis woman make a baby, the trans woman isn't heterosexual. That would be a bisexual or lesbian trans woman, with a bi or lesbian cis woman.


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Reading through this thread I'm not sure if the desire is for a character who is transgender, and how to play it, or how to bring the stigma and emotional feel of being transgender to a character.

Given the cost of the potion, or spell* a level 1 character probably won't have enough to have it, so it might be worth some to think about it if you're dedicated to the idea. There is a lot to be said about the personal implications, but 90% of the time Adventurer's wont be anywhere near their home or anyone from home without either GM or Player specifically invoking it. In most of Golaron your sex/gender won't matter because magic is a great equalizer ("I don't care if you're male, female, or sprout 3 of each genetalia once every 3 months, all I want to know is if you can kill the thing eating my sheep!") so unless you work with the GM to make it an issue, it probably won't come up.

*Mechanically Bestow Curse imposes a Permanent change to your character with some rather harsh maximum effects, but it can explicitly do lesser things. With GM approval one 3rd level spell and a willingly failed Will save and you've just changed Gender (sex? not sure which fits).

On the flip side of that, if you want the stigma of a real world transgender character in Pathfinder then perhaps someone who wants to be another RACE will fit the RP better. There's a few ways to change your gender in Pathfinder, but I don't know of any to permanently change your race without being reincarnated into another body. Sure your human could get surgery to have their ears pointed, or cheeks thinned, etc. but there's nothing that will permanently change them to BE an Elf.

So for the example human to elf might LOOK elven, but there are ways to divine if someone is an elf or not, and some powers or items may need you to actually be an elf to function right. (Which fits the feel of a transgender who may want to father/birth a child but lack the parts to do it). This also brings up the question of how said person is viewed by either race's xenophobic populace. Do human elitists view this person as a traitor, abandoning their native race? Do the elves view them as a poser and reject them from their community, or welcome them as a convert?

Liberty's Edge Contributor

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I completely disagree with your analysis.

Being trans isn't really any different than select any other story-oriented character traits, like "goblins burned my village" or "I grew up on the streets, and don't trust the rich" or "I worship Calistria." It can have external roleplay issues (people not accepting you, not always passing, romantic complications), and it can also have internal roleplay issues (self-doubt, a character motivation, a source of personal strength). It's not an issue of stigma or wanting your character to feel persecuted, it's a way of fleshing our your character, their motivations, the challenges they've overcome, and what might be important to them.

I also doubt bestow curse would be able to change someone's sex. It says nothing about being able to radically and permanently change someone's form in the spell, just bestow penalties and complications, and the next closest level spell that can cause a permanent physical change (baleful polymorph) is two levels higher, and even that imposes a small, helpless, nonsentient form. The only spell that causes permanent physical change you can control is polymorph any object or a complex and rare magic item.

If you want to discuss the possibilities of changing race or the social impact, that would be better off in its own thread.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Crystal Frasier wrote:

I completely disagree with your analysis.

Being trans isn't really any different than select any other story-oriented character traits, like "goblins burned my village" or "I grew up on the streets, and don't trust the rich" or "I worship Calistria." It can have external roleplay issues (people not accepting you, not always passing, romantic complications), and it can also have internal roleplay issues (self-doubt, a character motivation, a source of personal strength). It's not an issue of stigma or wanting your character to feel persecuted, it's a way of fleshing our your character, their motivations, the challenges they've overcome, and what might be important to them.

i think the clash with that as has been said, the relative ease with which you can gain the gold to get a potion. any npc can just take 10 on a profession skill and eventually make up the money. meaning for the most part, the background won't actually create any issue of transgender, as it's the distinction that they cannot easily change in RL, but it is a definitive easily attainable goal in pathfinder.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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Bandw2 wrote:
Crystal Frasier wrote:

I completely disagree with your analysis.

Being trans isn't really any different than select any other story-oriented character traits, like "goblins burned my village" or "I grew up on the streets, and don't trust the rich" or "I worship Calistria." It can have external roleplay issues (people not accepting you, not always passing, romantic complications), and it can also have internal roleplay issues (self-doubt, a character motivation, a source of personal strength). It's not an issue of stigma or wanting your character to feel persecuted, it's a way of fleshing our your character, their motivations, the challenges they've overcome, and what might be important to them.

i think the clash with that as has been said, the relative ease with which you can gain the gold to get a potion. any npc can just take 10 on a profession skill and eventually make up the money. meaning for the most part, the background won't actually create any issue of transgender, as it's the distinction that they cannot easily change in RL, but it is a definitive easily attainable goal in pathfinder.

Again, not every trans person on Golarion is even going to want that potion. You could save a lot of gold by using alchemical hormone replacement therapy (and if there's one thing that PCs love more than getting gold, it's finding ways to spend it efficiently). It's also possible that someone doesn't want to radically alter their body to the extent that the Elixir of Sex Shift does. The way that a given trans person relates to their body and gender can vary pretty widely, and, like all aspects of human identity, is too complex to definitively say "All X would do Y if they could."


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

i'm fine with everything you said, except hormone replacement therapy.

I think it would effectively be as expensive as an elixir of sex shift if not more, as it's significantly more complicated, and likely isn't even a thing in golarion.

@ the relation to their body thing, I was under the impression we were talking about people who wanted to be the opposite sex. if that is incorrect then we aren't arguing the same goal post.

also, while I understand not everyone would use it, i think it would be more favorable than any modern treatments as it doesn't carry the weight of surgery, nor does it carry the regimen requirement of hormone replacement. Also, it is 100% legit DNA to organ replacing accurate and functional. It is 100% successful and safe, and instant, and completely reversible, negating most reasons to not do modern equivalents. so basically, at least I am saying anyone who would do any modern medical remedies would likely have this as the statistical favorite option.

IDK, i understand this is delicate and bigger than just being the opposite sex, but i fail to understand the difference between being androgynous and identifying as TG but not wanting to be the other gender(and thus not really useful to the discussion at hand). perhaps clarity on this particular distinction will help me understand?


Crystal Frasier wrote:
Werebat wrote:
Was thinking about the view you express here and it would seem that it would technically allow for lesbians to get each other pregnant, if one partner were heterosexual but trans and the other were cisgender but willing to look past the physical. That's... Interesting.
Also, if you have a situation where a trans woman and a cis woman make a baby, the trans woman isn't heterosexual. That would be a bisexual or lesbian trans woman, with a bi or lesbian cis woman.

Thanks, Crystal. That's EXACTLY where I was going with that!

Edit: BUT! The cis woman could well be heterosexual if she were either unaware of the trans woman's gender identity, or didn't accept it.


Bandw2 wrote:

i'm fine with everything you said, except hormone replacement therapy.

I think it would effectively be as expensive as an elixir of sex shift if not more, as it's significantly more complicated, and likely isn't even a thing in golarion.

@ the relation to their body thing, I was under the impression we were talking about people who wanted to be the opposite sex. if that is incorrect then we aren't arguing the same goal post.

also, while I understand not everyone would use it, i think it would be more favorable than any modern treatments as it doesn't carry the weight of surgery, nor does it carry the regimen requirement of hormone replacement. Also, it is 100% legit DNA to organ replacing accurate and functional. It is 100% successful and safe, and instant, and completely reversible, negating most reasons to not do modern equivalents. so basically, at least I am saying anyone who would do any modern medical remedies would likely have this as the statistical favorite option.

IDK, i understand this is delicate and bigger than just being the opposite sex, but i fail to understand the difference between being androgynous and identifying as TG but not wanting to be the other gender(and thus not really useful to the discussion at hand). perhaps clarity on this particular distinction will help me understand?

A version of HRT figures in Shardra's backstory. I think the item was actually officially written up, but I'm not sure.

I do suspect you're right that more trans-people would opt for a magical transformation than for surgery, since it's a better and safer option, but I doubt it would be 100%. If nothing else the cost is at least significant for most people. There may be other reasons as well. People are complicated.

Silver Crusade

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To offer one answer to the questions in the opening post, this is a Pathfinder Society character I rolled up a while ago but haven’t done much with yet; there’s a bit of background in the profile.

Spoilered for length:
I’m trans myself, and in the middle of my transition, so the possible difficulties come a bit too close to home for me to want to explore them in a game, at the moment. I am interested in exploring what it might be like to be trans in a world like Golarion, though, so I thought up this character as having already completed her transition.

I opted, for the expedient of the elixir of sex shift for her backstory, deciding that Willow is a gentlewoman who was able to afford it, though it almost ruined her. At the same time, I imagined that she had explored other possibilities, such as alchemical treatments and just naming and exploring her experience before deciding the elixir was right for her. That seemed to suggest other possibilities. Part of why she’s adventuring, and specifically a neophyte Pathfinder in Absalom, is for training, since she could no longer afford a proper magical education in Kyonin. I had had the idea of a barbarian/wizard build for an arcane archer floating around in the back of my head, so that came up too. The urban barbarian archetype’s ability to choose where stat bonuses go in rages seemed like something I could imagine as a form of magical biofeedback that would be of interest to a transmutation specialist…

Thinking of what sort of background might be appropriate to a character with such an intimate experience of rage, I thought of how being trans might enter into it, and decided that Willow’s relocation to Absalom was a temporary, more or less voluntary exile (self-)imposed to wait out the scandal after an extreme outburst in response to some provocation (the nature of which I’ve not yet determined) after her transition. That said, in my conception, Willow didn’t lash out specifically because she’s trans – I don’t want to perpetuate the stereotype of trans people as volatile and unstable – it just so happened that she was provoked by some particularly outrageous remark about her history. Accordingly, I tend to imagine Willow as frequently experiencing a general flee-floating anger that shapes my imagination of how she’s feeling and what she’s doing outside of the exciting parts of an adventure.

That is, things just grew together more or less organically into her background as a whole. She has a temper, maybe that affected her experiences as a trans person. She’s studying to be a wizard, and she does have a good alignment, so maybe she’ll turn her magical talents to helping other people like her. It doesn’t normally come up directly in play, but it certainly affects how I imagine her thought processes, which, since I tend to opt for play-by-post games, are comparatively visible. The blurb in her profile is coy on the principle of “less is more” and allowing for development through the shared story of the game, but I don’t imagine her as not being open about things if asked directly and respectfully. Apart from reading between the lines, I have briefly mentioned this character on the messageboards, so there’s a chance someone could stumble across those posts, but otherwise I don’t expect GMs, or other players, or PCs to know.

I don’t think my approach ties into any canonical Golarion lore, but my choice of the elixir was partly based on how prevalent I imagine the view of magic as the ideal solution to a problem would be among Golarion elves. Furthermore, I think I saw someone suggest that being mostly good, and exhibiting less sexual dimorphism than humans, elves might be more sensitive to and less troubled by trans experiences, which is in the background of how I imagine Willow. Part of the scandal in her past is that it involves someone making malicious use of something that isn’t normally a huge problem in elven society as I imagine it.

Apparently I have thought about this a bit! :)


Marroar Gellantara wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
Marroar Gellantara wrote:
boring7 wrote:

It would generally be done shortly after birth, depending on what psychological/neurological theories you currently subscribe to (and what the magic actually does) the child would grow up with the same probability of dysphoria or a much greater probability.

Of course, a fantasy world where gender-shifts are affordable and society is still patriarchal runs into the problem of a culture producing nothing but men and thus having no viable breeding stock. See China and India's problem right now. And in most PF worlds women and men are theoretically treated equally so the only reason to force an heir to swap chromosomes is because you need to arrange a marriage and don't have the right ratio of dangly bits.

It would also be good to point out that not everyone is a fixed gender. Some people are more like liquid and fill the container given.

We don't have special names for people who have a fixed gender and were born into the associated sex. Nor do we have special names for people who adapt to their birth assigned gender. Neither would express noticeably different behavior that would let us know the nature of their gender.

It's also quite possible for there to exist people who eventually fix into a gender permanently. For such people a magical sex change wouldn't be an issue if done soon enough.

isn't the word, for someone who behaves or acts or is both male and female, called androgynous?
There are various...

Cigender, genderfluid, gender normative, and flexible seem like all the linguistic tools you need to assemble the necessary terminology.


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Bandw2 wrote:
IDK, i understand this is delicate and bigger than just being the opposite sex, but i fail to understand the difference between being androgynous and identifying as TG but not wanting to be the other gender(and thus not really useful to the discussion at hand). perhaps clarity on this particular distinction will help me understand?

I’m not sure what you mean here. Completely off the top of my head, being transgender is most often about identity, one’s gender identity and/or expression not matching one’s assigned sex or other prevailing gender norms. There’s no one single way for that to work out; a transgender person’s identity can be fluid, they can identify outside the male/female binary, they can be genderqueer, they can feel that their sense of who they are doesn’t have to conform to the most common expectations of their identified gender in their society…

Transgender is an umbrella term, so it does get a bit tricky, especially if one focuses on gender expression. An androgynous person could be transgender, but not necessarily, I don’t think. I mean, there are and have been groups and times in which a more or less androgynous presentation was popular and didn’t say much about people’s lived experience of gender – they might not feel or be read as any other than normative women or men despite their presentation being identified as androgynous. (What does it really mean, for example, if we say, “His style tends to be androgynous?”)

There are also cultures with more complex gender systems – one can think of the real-world concept of two-spirit folks, and, in a fantasy game, one can also certainly imagine cultures in which there are mechanisms in place for people to take on a gender identity other than that which it was assumed they would when they were born, without magic, even if suitable magic exists. The iconic Shardra is an example.

Lastly, do we really want to rank and police transgender identities, insisting that to be “really” transgender one must, without exception, be this or that way? In any case, this is rather off-topic, and would probably best be addressed in another thread.


Tasarë "Willow" Solaera wrote:

To offer one answer to the questions in the opening post, this is a Pathfinder Society character I rolled up a while ago but haven’t done much with yet; there’s a bit of background in the profile.

** spoiler omitted **...

Thanks! That was great! Just the sort of thing I was thinking of when I started the thread. Thanks for taking the time to type that up.


Qunnessaa wrote:
Lastly, do we really want to rank and police transgender identities, insisting that to be “really” transgender one must, without exception, be this or that way? In any case, this is rather off-topic, and would probably best be addressed in another thread.

Some of my comments re: the Drow example could have come off that way. Apologies if it did. (I'm generally a fan of the umbrella interpretation of "transgender.")


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
TheJayde wrote:
On the flip side though, if you're playing in a Drow society, the matriarchy is going to do anything and everything they can to keep that sort of magic out of the hands of men because it underminse their societal constructs.

In any sort of sexist society such as that of the drow, there would surely be a social stigma attached to changing your sex. That stigma would be strong enough to discourage a male from changing sex (since socially he would be male at best and a freak at worst) and is exactly the sort of rumor that one house might spread about the matriarch of another house to undermine her authority.

In such a society, the only "safe" time to administer an elixir of sex shifting would be as soon as the baby is born -- especially if they take the additional precaution of murdering the midwife and any other witnesses.


I wonder how prolific the Elixir of Sex Shifting is in the alchemically-inclined nation of Thuvia?

That'd be an interesting background if it's actually quite hard: growing up in a nation that can make one youthful, but hot damn if trying to get the potion your PC wants is hard to get in that country because everyone else is just so obsessed about age and youth.


David knott 242 wrote:
TheJayde wrote:
On the flip side though, if you're playing in a Drow society, the matriarchy is going to do anything and everything they can to keep that sort of magic out of the hands of men because it underminse their societal constructs.

In any sort of sexist society such as that of the drow, there would surely be a social stigma attached to changing your sex. That stigma would be strong enough to discourage a male from changing sex (since socially he would be male at best and a freak at worst) and is exactly the sort of rumor that one house might spread about the matriarch of another house to undermine her authority.

In such a society, the only "safe" time to administer an elixir of sex shifting would be as soon as the baby is born -- especially if they take the additional precaution of murdering the midwife and any other witnesses.

Yeah but with magical (a wizard did it), you could argue that they are indefaticably a female/male and therefore superior. Okay I wouldn't argue that, but other people who were part of the society would. The Drow could even argue. "Why not have all Drow Female? They are superior right? It would make us a better species as a whole."

Heh, imagine having an uprising in Drow Society. The Matriarchy trying to stop the rebels from administering Sex Change Potions to all the males of the Drow as to make a level ground for them to work with.

You could also take the potion after a self exile, and subsequent transfer from one major Drow Hub to another. Just change your name. You just become a new person, and leave the old world behind.


Bandw2 wrote:
this made me realize, not having a male heir shouldn't be a problem in pathfinder.

The interesting thing to consider is why, in a setting where (as seems to be implicitly the case in most D&D fantasy settings) there is total sexual equality, and where roles are not prescribed to individuals based on sex, does the issue of an heir's sex even matter?

In other words, in a world where no one blinks at the existence of a female warrior, why do we assume people would take issue with a female royal heir?

Liberty's Edge Contributor

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Bandw2 wrote:

i'm fine with everything you said, except hormone replacement therapy.

I think it would effectively be as expensive as an elixir of sex shift if not more, as it's significantly more complicated, and likely isn't even a thing in golarion.

It is absolutely a thing on Golarion. I know because I discussed it with Wes and James before writing up Shardra's backstory. It's based on real-world historical versions of hormone therapy used before the modern age, and I even wrote up the specific stats in that response thread:

Spoiler:

Mulibrous Tincture
Mulibrous tincture is an alchemical mixture of plants, fungi, and distilled reagents brewed primarily by dwarves, halflings, and humans. A single dose of the minty elixir is sufficient to relieve menstrual pains for 1d4 days, and grants the imbiber a +1 alchemical bonus to saves against pain for one hour. Many noblewomen believe the tincture also slows the aging process and extends their fertile years, though with mixed results.

Consuming two doses of mulibrous tincture a week for more than two weeks in a row causes stomach upset and food cravings; imbibers must make a DC 12 Fortitude save each day or be sickened for 24 hours. Once the imbiber has successfully saved against the tincture’s effects two days in a row, they may continue drinking it without further ill effects. Consuming mulibrous tincture twice a week for more than four weeks begins to dull masculine features, and causes a masculine-bodied being to take on increasingly feminine features. After two months, a masculine-bodied imbiber no longer suffers any penalty to Disguise checks to appear as the “opposite” sex. After four months, the imbiber instead takes a –2 penalty to Disguise checks to disguise themselves as a man.

The transformational effects of mulibrous tincture wear off at half the rate they developed, though sufficient long-term use makes the transformation effect permanent (GM discretion).

Alchemical Component Five doses of mulibrous tincture may be added as a material component for the alter self spell, extending its duration as per the Extend Spell feat

Cost 2gp/dose

Bandw2 wrote:
@ the relation to their body thing, I was under the impression we were talking about people who wanted to be the opposite sex. if that is incorrect then we aren't arguing the same goal post.

Actually, not all transgender people want to change their bodies. Transition is at least as much about social interaction and body chemistry as it is about genitals, and I know many trans women who like their penis and trans men who like their vaginas.

Bandw2 wrote:
also, while I understand not everyone would use it, i think it would be more favorable than any modern treatments as it doesn't carry the weight of surgery, nor does it carry the regimen requirement of hormone replacement. Also, it is 100% legit DNA to organ replacing accurate and functional. It is 100% successful and safe, and instant, and completely reversible, negating most reasons to not do modern equivalents. so basically, at least I am saying anyone who would do any modern medical remedies would likely have this as the statistical favorite option.

Again, it might be an issue of personal desires (if my being a woman doesn't require having a uterus, so why should I spend so much money on obtaining one?). Or it might be an issue of economics. Despite your claim that NPCs can just "take ten" on Profession checks and earn the money, let's keep in mind that 2,000gp is more than a house. If we assume your average NPC makes 7gp a week, or 28gp a month. 10gp goes towards basic cost of living just to have a home and food, leaving 18gp a month. Even if an NPC scrimps and saves, never goes out to eat, never has a medical emergency, and never splurges on new clothes or professional equipment, they'll be saving for over two years to pay for an elixir of sex shifting, even if one is available (remember, realistically, magic items aren't just available for catalog shopping, and you need at least a small city to find an item costing 2,250gp (possibly requiring travel expenses, too). You could probably custom-order the item (which I'm betting is how most of those elixirs come into existence), but that requires tracking down a spellcaster who isn't so busy with arcane research or battling orcs that they'll spare a few days to make you a custom order (and don't find people like you laughable). The end result after all that is: Now you can have children.

Alternatively, you can pay 16 gp a month (or a third that if you invest one rank into Craft (alchemy)) for alchemical treatments that more or less make you feel fine, and maybe throw 50gp at a surgeon or barber to lop off the bits you don't like, and (like most trans people throughout human history) make do. Is it a perfect imitation of being a cisgender woman? No, but then you don't need to be in order to feel good and love yourelf.


Erick Wilson wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
this made me realize, not having a male heir shouldn't be a problem in pathfinder.

The interesting thing to consider is why, in a setting where (as seems to be implicitly the case in most D&D fantasy settings) there is total sexual equality, and where roles are not prescribed to individuals based on sex, does the issue of an heir's sex even matter?

In other words, in a world where no one blinks at the existence of a female warrior, why do we assume people would take issue with a female royal heir?

It was mentioned upthread, but it's one of those hit-or-miss things like the fact that Golarion has had guns for several millenia but swords are still the go-to weapons across the world. Gender politics are determined by the plot, and adventurers can be any gender because nobody is going to tell a crazed barbarian woman who can LITERALLY punch a hole through steel with her bare hands what her assigned gender role is.

Also, even if the local plot has gay marriage and perfect gender equality, the queendom needs an heir and a diplomatic marriage, so chances are one of the two daughters of the two separate royal houses is going to be strongly encouraged to grow a penis.

But how much dirty, awkward sex you put in your clean, wholesome violence (predictable joke) is up to the GM and the players. Some people like erotically-charged sexventures that explore the limits of identity, desire, lust and love. Some people prefer completely-genderless suits of armor that hack equally-genderless monsters rather like a basic lego set. The plot and the amount of human(oid) sexuality that shows up in it will vary widely.

Though the idea of a young noble who ran away to avoid being forced to marry and gender-flip for a hateful, evil member of another house as part of byzantine Taldan politics is growing on me. As a party member or a VIP NPC (to be retrieved or spirited away) they make all sorts of fun ethical dilemmas and bounty-hunter bait.

Silver Crusade Assistant Software Developer

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boring7 wrote:
Though the idea of a young noble who ran away to avoid being forced to marry and gender-flip for a hateful, evil member of another house as part of byzantine Taldan politics is growing on me.

Well, I have enough nightmare fuel for the day.


What? It's just your standard "forced into marriage" plot with a gender-bender twist. :p

Admittedly, my scale of squick may be a bit broken in that regard since my biggest concerns if I were suddenly gender-flipped would be paperwork, having to deal with new wardrobe and medical concerns, and the fact that I'm just as ugly on either side of the gender fence in that order.

I'm just not as attached to or defined by my chromosomes as some, I suppose.


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Crystal Frasier wrote:
Alternatively, you can pay 16 gp a month (or a third that if you invest one rank into Craft (alchemy)) for alchemical treatments that more or less make you feel fine, and maybe throw 50gp at a surgeon or barber to lop off the bits you don't like, and (like most trans people throughout human history) make do. Is it a perfect imitation of being a cisgender woman? No, but then you don't need to be in order to feel good and love yourelf.

Need more Favorite buttons to hit for this.


Yeah, you're right, Taldor does seem the kind of place to have that stuff happen.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Qunnessaa wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
IDK, i understand this is delicate and bigger than just being the opposite sex, but i fail to understand the difference between being androgynous and identifying as TG but not wanting to be the other gender(and thus not really useful to the discussion at hand). perhaps clarity on this particular distinction will help me understand?

I’m not sure what you mean here. Completely off the top of my head, being transgender is most often about identity, one’s gender identity and/or expression not matching one’s assigned sex or other prevailing gender norms. There’s no one single way for that to work out; a transgender person’s identity can be fluid, they can identify outside the male/female binary, they can be genderqueer, they can feel that their sense of who they are doesn’t have to conform to the most common expectations of their identified gender in their society…

Transgender is an umbrella term, so it does get a bit tricky, especially if one focuses on gender expression. An androgynous person could be transgender, but not necessarily, I don’t think. I mean, there are and have been groups and times in which a more or less androgynous presentation was popular and didn’t say much about people’s lived experience of gender – they might not feel or be read as any other than normative women or men despite their presentation being identified as androgynous. (What does it really mean, for example, if we say, “His style tends to be androgynous?”)

There are also cultures with more complex gender systems – one can think of the real-world concept of two-spirit folks, and, in a fantasy game, one can also certainly imagine cultures in which there are mechanisms in place for people to take on a gender identity other than that which it was assumed they would when they were born, without magic, even if suitable magic exists. The iconic Shardra is an example.

Lastly, do we really want to rank and police transgender identities, insisting that to be “really” transgender one must, without exception, be this or that way? In any case, this is rather off-topic, and would probably best be addressed in another thread.

that's sort of my point though, i'm androgynous for instance, i do not strongly attribute myself to a gender or it's social norms unless I need to or if reacting to pronouns. But I am definitely not transgender.

so my point basically is, without an effective definition of transgender, i cannot properly answer the question to the OPs desired detail.

idk, it seems confusing to me, but I am an introvert, and so other people's opinions wouldn't matter to me(and thus i won't and do not care about what pronoun they use or whatever), and so if I was TG, how I dressed and was portrayed wouldn't matter to me. only that I acted how I wanted to act, and so I guess I entered the conversation assuming TGs had a goal of attaining the other gender, as simply acting as the other gender feels like something else to me. eh, the more you know.(though I do still fail to understand it :P)

Liberty's Edge Contributor

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boring7 wrote:

What? It's just your standard "forced into marriage" plot with a gender-bender twist. :p

Admittedly, my scale of squick may be a bit broken in that regard since my biggest concerns if I were suddenly gender-flipped would be paperwork, having to deal with new wardrobe and medical concerns, and the fact that I'm just as ugly on either side of the gender fence in that order.

I'm just not as attached to or defined by my chromosomes as some, I suppose.

Trust the people whose parents forced them to be the wrong sex: Having your parents force you to be the wrong sex is nightmarish.


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Bandw2 wrote:

so my point basically is, without an effective definition of transgender, i cannot properly answer the question to the OPs desired detail.

idk, it seems confusing to me, but I am an introvert, and so other people's opinions wouldn't matter to me(and thus i won't and do not care about what pronoun they use or whatever), and so if I was TG, how I dressed and was portrayed wouldn't matter to me. only that I acted how I wanted to act, and so I guess I entered the conversation assuming TGs had a goal of attaining the other gender, as simply acting as the other gender feels like something else to me. eh, the more you know.(though I do still fail to understand it :P)

I guess I should have been more clear in some of my responses to you. Sorry.

What I'd been concerned with in some of your Drow examples was not so much whether or not the character had a goal of attaining another gender, but more a matter of the reason for that goal.

When you talked about apparently Drow males wanting to transition to female primarily because it's more advantageous to be a female in Drow society, that's not the kind of place the goal of transition typically comes from for trans people. And it lines up, somewhat, with real world rhetoric that attacks trans men as inauthentic, so that gave me pause. When you talked about apparently female Drows wishing to transition to male, and suggested this wouldn't be likely due to the loss of status and power within the society, again, that was a bit problematic, given that many of us who do transition do so despite the loss of privilege, status, etc. Those are the kind of things I had in mind when I said what you'd described wasn't really an example of a trans character.

On the other hand, questions of what it would be like to be trans as a Drow, and how the inequities of Drow society would impact that, are questions I wouldn't mind discussing. It's certainly going to be a bit different in that culture than in, say, Dwarven culture.

Does that make more sense?

Also, with regards to what "transgender" means, I think the kind of trans people that some of us have talked about, those that don't wish to fully physically transition, wouldn't say that they're "simply acting as the other gender." They'd more likely say they're living as the other gender. (At least that's my understanding of what it's like for such people.) On the other hand, many real world trans people (self included) do have the goal to physically transition (and work toward that goal, and sometimes achieve that goal).

Again, transgender is an umbrella term, gender identity is a spectrum, and all the various points within that spectrum are worth exploring, including those characters that fit within the binary or more traditional (I guess) notions of what it means to be trans (such as myself) as well as those who fit within a more modern notion of what it means to be trans.

In my original post, I guess I was primarily thinking of those who would prefer to transition physically (being myopic and thinking primarily of my own experiences). But I'm also interested in hearing about those who don't wish to, and am glad that the conversation has expanded to include them. I should have had those sorts of characters in mind as well.

Tl;dr: In the real world, there are a variety of transgender experiences, some of which include physically transitioning, some of which do not. All of those sorts of experiences are worth exploring within the context of Golarion, and worth discussing in this thread.

Does that make things more clear?

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Removed a post and the replies to it. While it likely wasn't intended to be malicious, joking about fictional races in relation to issues and experiences that have grounds in the real world is incredibly hurtful. If you'd like to actually discuss race changing within the context of our campaign setting though, another thread in another forum is more appropriate.


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boring7 wrote:

What? It's just your standard "forced into marriage" plot with a gender-bender twist. :p

Admittedly, my scale of squick may be a bit broken in that regard since my biggest concerns if I were suddenly gender-flipped would be paperwork, having to deal with new wardrobe and medical concerns, and the fact that I'm just as ugly on either side of the gender fence in that order.

I'm just not as attached to or defined by my chromosomes as some, I suppose.

Awfully easy to say that as a hypothetical n considering you've never actually experienced it. Why dismiss the experiences of people who actually have gone through something analogous?

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