Transgender PCs


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I can easily see a society where marriages between noble children are arranged without regard to biological sex, merely political connection. It's expected that whenever two people of the same sex get married they'll draw straws or flip a coin to decide which of them drinks the potion so that they can produce an heir.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

yeah, i can see why the Drow would come off that way. I originally brought them up because A, i recently got interested in playing a drow as a Drow and not the anti-Drow or something. so i dug into their society, and then you or others seemed we weren't keeping this pathfinder enough, so I thought it'd be perfectly unique to pathfinder.

Drow are Chaotic Evil, meaning their motivations are by and large different than humans. power and status or fulfilling your role are very important in drow society and thus i feel, most TGs would be doing for Evil or Chaotic motivations.

In fact, i just thought up a motivation. As a way to destabilize a family, as having a prominent male, scorned in some way try to show how free he is of his matron and thus plan to become female. This is both a chaotic action and a evil one. :P

also, i mostly want an interesting story to come out of a TG character, if someone is going to roleplay them. so, i argue that someone attempting to roleplay one, should pick a backstory with both Ties back to their homeland and a homeland that would try to stop it for some reason.


Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
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?

Y'all are reading a LOT more into what I was saying than I was actually saying.


I know historically there were several known women (and likely a few hundred more at least) that cross-dressed while living life as active pirates. It'd be interesting to see an interaction between women cross-dressing as men simply for the conveniences of not being hit on by every scurvy-ridden shipmate, and a transexual man (that is, biological/physiological female desiring acknowledgement/transition to male).

Possible setup for The Shackles.

And of course, there are the endless possibilities that come from the Fecund Fiend herself, Lamashtu.

(EDIT: Goodness, I feel like I'm the only one actually looking to possible ways of interweaving the subject matter at hand with Pathfinder's Campaign Setting.)

Scarab Sages

I would imagine Lamashtu would be very interested in procuring the means to reliably brew gender-changing elixirs, as that would further her goals of producing more monstrous offspring.

While the obvious use would be to create more female cultists, the reverse (female to male) change could also be advantageous, in allowing a priestess to bring shame and scandal to an inconvenient ruling family, by seducing the daughter of an interfering, anti-Lamashtu crusader Lord.

Hard to draft soldiers to your anti-mutant army, when your own family is birthing them. And it serves to send a very clear 'horses head in the bed' message, of 'We can get to you, any time we like.'.


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I'd be wary of that, Snorter. It would very easily reinforce the already-rampant view that trans people are monstrous or evil. Not saying it's impossible to do, but very very hard. And if you play with any trans people you really should talk with them about it beforehand.

Sex change being characterized as some monstrous transformation is still common. Using it for shock value or whatever can be really destructive.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

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I'm not really sure why Lamashtu would care about sex-changing magic items. Her priesthood isn't limited to a single sex, they don't really require you to be a member to instill you with a monstrous birth, the transformation isn't monstrous, and there comfortable male clerics, inquisitors, or other adherents can probably seduce a straight-female crusader more easily than someone who is awkwardly wearing a male identity for a little while. If they don't have enough female clerics to birth monstrous children, it seems massively easier to either recruit more women or use a ritual to just allow a man to become pregnant, rather than dump a couple of grand per baby-maker.

If any religion on Golarion (besides Arshea, because too easy) would care about easy access to sex-shifting magic, it would probably be Shelyn. Her entire schtick is loving yourself and others, and it's hard to love either when you can only think about how much you hate what you are.


Chaotic evil, while it can most definitely can have goals, need not adhere to the most straight-forward or obvious approaches to getting what they want.

Scarab Sages

I may have got the wrong impression of Lamashtans, I admit.

I believed that, as a cult which celebrates the miracle of birth, the female members would be the magical bearers of the Godddess' holy gift, and therefore most revered, the males being seen as disposable, easily-manipulated fools. Second class meat shields for the true members.

Thugs who'll kill and kidnap for you, in return for regular sex and whatever they can loot, they're a dime a dozen. Pick them up in every gin joint from Galt to the Shackles.


Snorter wrote:

the female members would be the magical bearers of the Godddess' holy gift, and therefore most revered, the males being seen as disposable, easily-manipulated fools. Second class meat shields for the true members.

Thugs who'll kill and kidnap for you, in return for regular sex and whatever they can loot, they're a dime a dozen. Pick them up in every gin joint from Galt to the Shackles.

Drow society in a nutshell.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

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Chaotic evil doesn't mean pointless, poorly thought out, or arbitrarily wasteful.

I can easily see Lamashtu exploiting transgender people: preying on their anger for their state of birth, discomfort with their bodies, or anger over their sterility. There's tons of potential for Lamashtu in a trans character's backstory: She makes a great temptation/easy road figure; "Worship me and I shall grant you exactly what you desire." Some cultures may claim she is the mythical source for the trans condition, and use that to justify discrimination or "corrective" measures. Lamashtu worshippers might prize menstrual blood or semen of transgender people--freely given--as a spell component, and treat them with uncharacteristic charity.

But arbitrarily sex-shifting a few dozen male clerics because you want more baby-makers? That's not villainous. That's laughable.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

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Snorter wrote:

I may have got the wrong impression of Lamashtans, I admit.

I believed that, as a cult which celebrates the miracle of birth, the female members would be the magical bearers of the Godddess' holy gift, and therefore most revered, the males being seen as disposable, easily-manipulated fools. Second class meat shields for the true members.

Thugs who'll kill and kidnap for you, in return for regular sex and whatever they can loot, they're a dime a dozen. Pick them up in every gin joint from Galt to the Shackles.

Just because a religion or social movement extolls one aspect commonly associated with women, that doesn't mean they consider men useless or disposable.

Lamashtu has plenty of male clerics and inquisitors. She's as much a goddess of nightmares, madness, and monstrous transformation as one of fertility or pregnancy. Even in regards to reproduction, she's less concerned with sex than she is with fertility. Inner Sea Gods even mentions that some of her cults have rituals to impregnate men.


Eh, "The Mother of Monsters" is another critter you don't want to over-analyze. I recall mention that her rites include "impregnating" males with chest-burster-style monster babies, murder-f*** orgies that end up killing more cult members than the survivors are likely to breed next season, and other "arbitrarily wasteful" methodologies. She's evil, they're cultists, it's insane, and you're an adventurer; you won't be doing much motivation analysis or diplomacy before getting on with Killing Things and Taking Their Stuff.

If you really plumb the depths of insane demon god gender and sexuality patterns, her "most beautiful of things" would probably be a half-monster hermaphrodite capable of knocking up or getting knocked up with mutant monster babies as opportunity allowed. Auto-fertilization would probably be frowned upon since it wouldn't be darwinian enough for her. Also forcibly converting captured slaves into breeders would fall under the "we're chaotic evil, we do horrible things to people" trope and Lamashtu's "we're rapey murder-f*** monster cultists" idiom.

Moving on...I presume part of the iconic shaman's thing was the often-ignored part of myth and legend where the first shaman or the wisest shaman or whatnot (traditions vary) spent time as a different gender and became wiser from having experienced more of humanity's many paradigms. Easy-access body-shaping magic would probably lead to any infiltration experts having to spend time "learning to girl/boy" by being shapeshifted into one for extended (week or more) periods.

Scarab Sages

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Gaberlunzie wrote:

I'd be wary of that, Snorter. It would very easily reinforce the already-rampant view that trans people are monstrous or evil. Not saying it's impossible to do, but very very hard. And if you play with any trans people you really should talk with them about it beforehand.

Sex change being characterized as some monstrous transformation is still common. Using it for shock value or whatever can be really destructive.

I think it's safe to say that you should discuss any kind of sexual content before introducing it. Even if you think your group is broadminded and accepting. And be prepared to dial back, even where you're given the green light, if someone looks like they're getting more content than they bargained for.

Also, consider that you may be playing with LGBT people, and not be aware of it, if they haven't chosen to share that information yet.

I did hesitate before posting the earlier post, and considered adding a disclaimer to it, but I'm posting at work, so suddenly had to look busy.
I'd hope it didn't need to be said, but I've certainly no intention of offending anyone in the thread, least of all Crystal, who's been nice enough to draw my characters.

I'm aware of the shortcut tropes that some lazy writers use; I think I first became aware how many of them there were, when Basic Instinct was criticised for being "yet another example of 'Bi Woman = psycho'.". It became difficult to ignore for a while, until more sympathetic portrayals started appearing.

I think balance is required, but I'm wary of the pendulum swinging too far the other way, and having a monoculture of equally unrealistic saintly characters.
As (mostly) a GM, I admit, I most often look for inspiration for villainous characters.
Villains drive plot. Flawed antiheroes drive plot.
Happy characters? I find it harder to drive plot with these people.

Project Manager

Crystal Frasier wrote:
Snorter wrote:

I may have got the wrong impression of Lamashtans, I admit.

I believed that, as a cult which celebrates the miracle of birth, the female members would be the magical bearers of the Godddess' holy gift, and therefore most revered, the males being seen as disposable, easily-manipulated fools. Second class meat shields for the true members.

Thugs who'll kill and kidnap for you, in return for regular sex and whatever they can loot, they're a dime a dozen. Pick them up in every gin joint from Galt to the Shackles.

Just because a religion or social movement extolls one aspect commonly associated with women, that doesn't mean they consider men useless or disposable.

Lamashtu has plenty of male clerics and inquisitors. She's as much a goddess of nightmares, madness, and monstrous transformation as one of fertility or pregnancy. Even in regards to reproduction, she's less concerned with sex than she is with fertility. Inner Sea Gods even mentions that some of her cults have rituals to impregnate men.

It's sadly telling that if you have a religion that celebrates something associated with women, the immediate conclusion people jump to is that it must be anti-male.

Lamashtu's cult also isn't particularly concerned with consent, as I recall, which could--on its face--be interpreted as being anti-female.

The cult's about fertility and madness and monsters, and is willing to use pretty much whatever means promote those characteristics.


play broken chains
understand that lamashtu is equal-opportunity about pregnancy


Lamontius wrote:

play broken chains

understand that lamashtu is equal-opportunity about pregnancy

Indubitably, Lamashtu is not one to care for methodology.

Crystal Frasier wrote:


But arbitrarily sex-shifting a few dozen male clerics because you want more baby-makers? That's not villainous. That's laughable.

To quote Voltaire: "I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it.'"

Part of the appeal of some villains (but by no means anywhere close to all) is just how much fun they have doing what they do, no matter what it is. Point is to make a story engaging and hold player interest, and dag nabbit by the four pages this thread is producing among the dozens than never break more than a page before fading into obscurity, I'd say we've got a plot-hook.

Lamashtu doesn't even have monopoly on this, Zon-Kuthon is probably even more closely aligned to that villainous trope. But we wander too far from the subject at hand.

boring7 wrote:


Moving on...I presume part of the iconic shaman's thing was the often-ignored part of myth and legend where the first shaman or the wisest shaman or whatnot (traditions vary) spent time as a different gender and became wiser from having experienced more of humanity's many paradigms. Easy-access body-shaping magic would probably lead to any infiltration experts having to spend time "learning to girl/boy" by being shapeshifted into one for extended (week or more) periods.

2000+ gold for a training experience (I.E. given to a level 1 character perhaps) seems a tad in excess, but given how much an assassin can be paid, it's possible for this to be an admittedly unorthodox training tool, and potential character background: "My time with Norgorber was very pleasant, for he revealed the secret of who I truly am."


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IMHO, I would think that if Lamashtu had any interest in reproductive alchemy/spells, She wouldn't be aiming for sex-shifting + conventional reproduction. 9 months (or longer for non-human core races) to gestate a baby, that assuming it even makes it to term, is still helpless and dependent for years? Vessel-wombs that are so fragile they often die while birthing, and at the very best, can rarely gestate not even a half-dozen offspring? Ain't no monster deity got time for that.

Lamashtu magical reproductive services would be more like giant crops of russet mold popping out legions of blight-touched vegepygmies...

...or spiking the food and drink at a town's harvest/winter solstice festival that leads to "Bacchanalia" carousing; after a mild "flu", all the participating townsfolk collapse and seize as dozens of twisted diminutive spawn erupts from each person's torso...

...or the creation and husbandry of creatures like those found in (John Carpenter's) The Thing, the Aliens series, or the deepspawn from 2ed Dwarves Deep/3e Monsters of Faerûn...

...or if mitochondria were really separate organisms that became symbiotically absorbed as part of the development of eukaryotic life, then a ritual that awakens them into a hybrid "mind"...

Magics that just continue the established boring old humanoid reproduction system are too slow, too weak, too constricting, and too dull for something like Lamashtu.


Westphalian_Musketeer wrote:
boring7 wrote:


Moving on...I presume part of the iconic shaman's thing was the often-ignored part of myth and legend where the first shaman or the wisest shaman or whatnot (traditions vary) spent time as a different gender and became wiser from having experienced more of humanity's many paradigms. Easy-access body-shaping magic would probably lead to any infiltration experts having to spend time "learning to girl/boy" by being shapeshifted into one for extended (week or more) periods.
2000+ gold for a training experience (I.E. given to a level 1 character perhaps) seems a tad in excess, but given how much an assassin can be paid, it's possible for this to be an admittedly unorthodox training tool, and potential character background: "My time with Norgorber was very pleasant, for he revealed the secret of who I truly am."

Well presumably they'd have/use a cheaper option, like casting polymorph or having a temporary potion. Maybe even a cursed belt and remove curse. Still assumes access to at least a 5th-level caster, but I could see it in a "mature audiences" (or IMmature audiences) setting with a metropolis-sized city's spying guild or the like. It is a plot device of variable value, and it draws roots from ancient legends of shamanism, so it's got that bit of gravitas going for it.

To be honest, my first run-in with Lamashtu was the little goblin-dude in the House of the Beast in Legacy of Fire. He may have been a chaotic evil follower of the demon-goddess of rape, murder-f***ery, and monsters but darned if the little bugger didn't have grit.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

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Okay, clearly this thread about transgender issues no longer has anything to do with transgender issues, so I'm just going away


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Getting back to the drow example, something’s been bothering me about it. I don’t mean to pick on Bandw2, but some of what they were thinking about gave me food for thought:

Bandw2 wrote:

yeah, i can see why the Drow would come off that way. I originally brought them up because A, i recently got interested in playing a drow as a Drow and not the anti-Drow or something. so i dug into their society, and then you or others seemed we weren't keeping this pathfinder enough, so I thought it'd be perfectly unique to pathfinder.

Drow are Chaotic Evil, meaning their motivations are by and large different than humans. power and status or fulfilling your role are very important in drow society and thus i feel, most TGs would be doing for Evil or Chaotic motivations.

In fact, i just thought up a motivation. As a way to destabilize a family, as having a prominent male, scorned in some way try to show how free he is of his matron and thus plan to become female. This is both a chaotic action and a evil one. :P

I don’t see why drow motivations would, at their root, be more evil and chaotic than any other mortals’: drow aren’t quite animate distillations of sin and viciousness in the way demons (or whatever) might be. Absolutely, how drow will act on their motivations will be shaped by their alignment, how extreme their social environment may be, and many of their concrete goals might be unambiguously evil, but the mushroom-farming or cave-lizard-hunting vassal probably also just wants their basic needs met, to impress the cute guy or girl next door, not feel like a freak compared to the others around them, and, finally, feel that they’ve made something of their life. How they might think those needs are best met might be horrific, but I don’t think they need an evil reason to do everything.

I can imagine that there might be some drow whose sense of themselves might permit them to transition purely out of self-interest or as part of some Machiavellian scheme, but I don’t think it would be the most common reason. To build off the idea, though, I can imagine some drow trying it, only to discover, either in short order, or more gradually, how horrific it is to have a body that doesn’t match one’s sense of self. (I’m thinking of the proverbial warning in some transgender communities about being too blasé about hormones, that, “If you’re not trans when you start hormone therapy, you will be by the end of it.”) Given the difficulties some people were outlining for transgender drow, what would it be like to have to do it twice?

Bandw2 wrote:
also, i mostly want an interesting story to come out of a TG character, if someone is going to roleplay them. so, i argue that someone attempting to roleplay one, should pick a backstory with both Ties back to their homeland and a homeland that would try to stop it for some reason.

If I’m not misunderstanding this last part, I think I must respectfully disagree with it completely. Why should gender necessarily be a plot point or a huge part of backstory for trans characters any more than cis? I can’t read this in a way that isn’t equivalent to forcing female PCs to be rebels against an expectation that women shouldn’t be adventurers, or forcing male PCs using magic to explain why they’re such sissies, or, in general, any PC to explain why they’re not doing an honest job looking after the family farm or what have you. Unless the agreement at the outset of the campaign is that such assumptions are in place, particularly in the region in which gameplay starts, a player should be able to come to the table with a transgender PC and not have it come up in game, just as much as cisgender PCs can just be women or men or whatever and no one bats an eye.


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Bandw2 wrote:
yeah, i can see why the Drow would come off that way. I originally brought them up because A, i recently got interested in playing a drow as a Drow and not the anti-Drow or something. so i dug into their society, and then you or others seemed we weren't keeping this pathfinder enough, so I thought it'd be perfectly unique to pathfinder.

I never said it wouldn't be Pathfinder enough. I don't think anyone else did either. I'm not sure where you're getting that from.

Bandw2 wrote:

Drow are Chaotic Evil, meaning their motivations are by and large different than humans. power and status or fulfilling your role are very important in drow society and thus i feel, most TGs would be doing for Evil or Chaotic motivations.

In fact, i just thought up a motivation. As a way to destabilize a family, as having a prominent male, scorned in some way try to show how free he is of his matron and thus plan to become female. This is both a chaotic action and a evil one. :P

Again, that doesn't sound like someone who is transgender in the usual sense of the word. It's still a gender shift, sure, but it's being done for opportunistic or political motives, when it actually doesn't work that way for trans people. We don't transition because it is opportunistic to do so. In fact, many transition despite the fact that it can be decidedly un-opportunistic to do so. And in the real world, trans men are sometimes accused of being opportunistic, after a fashion, when they transition (doing it to take on male privilege, doing it to avoid the issues women face, etc.) Those are my objections to the scenario, as I've stated previously.

If you want a backstory like that, have a backstory like that. But it's not the same thing as being transgender, and it's kind of problematic to refer to it as such.

Bandw2 wrote:
also, i mostly want an interesting story to come out of a TG character, if someone is going to roleplay them. so, i argue that someone attempting to roleplay one, should pick a backstory with both Ties back to their homeland and a homeland that would try to stop it for some reason.

That's fine if that's what you're going for, that sort of conflict. Some trans people in the real world do experience that, so it seems like it could be a legitimate thing to explore within an RPG.

I would argue strongly with the "should" part of your statement. It's one option among many.


KSF wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
yeah, i can see why the Drow would come off that way. I originally brought them up because A, i recently got interested in playing a drow as a Drow and not the anti-Drow or something. so i dug into their society, and then you or others seemed we weren't keeping this pathfinder enough, so I thought it'd be perfectly unique to pathfinder.

I never said it wouldn't be Pathfinder enough. I'm sure where you're getting that from.

Bandw2 wrote:

Drow are Chaotic Evil, meaning their motivations are by and large different than humans. power and status or fulfilling your role are very important in drow society and thus i feel, most TGs would be doing for Evil or Chaotic motivations.

In fact, i just thought up a motivation. As a way to destabilize a family, as having a prominent male, scorned in some way try to show how free he is of his matron and thus plan to become female. This is both a chaotic action and a evil one. :P

Again, that doesn't sound like someone who is transgender in the usual sense of the word. It's still a gender shift, sure, but it's being done for opportunistic or political motives, when it actually doesn't work that way for trans people. We don't transition because it is opportunistic to do so. In fact, many transition despite the fact that it can be decidedly un-opportunistic to do so. And in the real world, trans men are sometimes accused of being opportunistic, after a fashion, when they transition (doing it to take on male privilege, doing it to avoid the issues women face, etc.) Those are my objections to the scenario, as I've stated previously.

If you want a backstory like that, have a backstory like that. But it's not the same thing as being transgender, and it's kind of problematic to refer to it as such.

Though you could argue that someone who had changed gender for political reasons is now transgender - They are now living with gender dysphoria that they've inflicted on themselves and may not be able to safe to change back, especially if it was done secretly.

Almost a reversal of the common accusations, though it's true, the point is that it doesn't work, just leaves you worse off, despite getting the privileges.


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Crystal Frasier wrote:
Okay, clearly this thread about transgender issues no longer has anything to do with transgender issues, so I'm just going away

At this point, I'm tempted to join you.


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thejeff wrote:

Though you could argue that someone who had changed gender for political reasons is now transgender - They are now living with gender dysphoria that they've inflicted on themselves and may not be able to safe to change back, especially if it was done secretly.

Almost a reversal of the common accusations, though it's true, the point is that it doesn't work, just leaves you worse off, despite getting the privileges.

Yeah, that I agree with.

As Qunnessaa said:

Qunnessaa wrote:
I’m thinking of the proverbial warning in some transgender communities about being too blasé about hormones, that, “If you’re not trans when you start hormone therapy, you will be by the end of it.”

See also Lissa and Crystal's comments about the forced marriage scenario being nightmare fuel.

But this doesn't seem to be the approach Bandw2 is talking about.


KSF wrote:
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Okay, clearly this thread about transgender issues no longer has anything to do with transgender issues, so I'm just going away
At this point, I'm tempted to join you.

Looks like it. Nobody gave any thoughts to the Thuvian or Shackles ideas I threw out there.

Silver Crusade

Qunnessaa wrote:
I can’t read this in a way that isn’t equivalent to forcing female PCs to be rebels against an expectation that women shouldn’t be adventurers, or forcing male PCs using magic to explain why they’re such sissies, or, in general, any PC to explain why they’re not doing an honest job looking after the family farm or what have you.

I have played in campaigns set in a more closely "historical" or historically-based setting, where gender roles where largely in place in the in-game societies, and characters who broke out of those expected gender roles did face significant issues. It has been interesting and enlightening in many games, and unfortunately poorly handled in some others-- however, with a group that can handle dealing with such issues, they can still occur as part of a fun campaign. Other such issues also included characters of the "wrong social class" fighting to break out of restrictions and social disadvantages because they weren't born to the nobility. It happened in historical societies, and it is a part of some games.

Regarding the idea that a character may have to face familial and/or societal disapproval because he or she is not living up to his/her responsibilities and/or to the expectations others have (the family farm, business, etc. etc. ad nauseam)-- I've used that as character motivation many times myself.... and like the other potential pitfalls of society's attitudes, I've seen it as part of many campaigns and game worlds. Since adventuring in most worlds isn't exactly a responsible, respectable career (until you "make it big" anyway), it seems to me that the issue of shirking responsibilities and expectations to go off adventuring is a lot more common issue than some of the other problems brought up here.


TheJayde wrote:


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.

Or the Matriarchy quaffing Sex Change potions to become MALE, and then declaring that MALE drow are superior!

For added fun, they purchase said potions from the same gnome who sold them to the men.

"And when every last cent of their money was spent, the Fix-It-Up Chappie packed up -- and he went!"


Finn Kveldulfr wrote:
Qunnessaa wrote:
I can’t read this in a way that isn’t equivalent to forcing female PCs to be rebels against an expectation that women shouldn’t be adventurers, or forcing male PCs using magic to explain why they’re such sissies, or, in general, any PC to explain why they’re not doing an honest job looking after the family farm or what have you.

I have played in campaigns set in a more closely "historical" or historically-based setting, where gender roles where largely in place in the in-game societies, and characters who broke out of those expected gender roles did face significant issues. It has been interesting and enlightening in many games, and unfortunately poorly handled in some others-- however, with a group that can handle dealing with such issues, they can still occur as part of a fun campaign. Other such issues also included characters of the "wrong social class" fighting to break out of restrictions and social disadvantages because they weren't born to the nobility. It happened in historical societies, and it is a part of some games.

Regarding the idea that a character may have to face familial and/or societal disapproval because he or she is not living up to his/her responsibilities and/or to the expectations others have (the family farm, business, etc. etc. ad nauseam)-- I've used that as character motivation many times myself.... and like the other potential pitfalls of society's attitudes, I've seen it as part of many campaigns and game worlds. Since adventuring in most worlds isn't exactly a responsible, respectable career (until you "make it big" anyway), it seems to me that the issue of shirking responsibilities and expectations to go off adventuring is a lot more common issue than some of the other problems brought up here.

One of the nice things about fantasy is that you can set it up any way you want.

Want a game where men and women are equal with no gender roles and no one bats an eye at female adventurers or gay ones or transgender one or anything at all? You can do that it's great.
Want to game where you have to struggle to overcome the prejudice? You can do that to.
Somewhere in between? Different lands or races with different practices? All good.

Scarab Sages

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thejeff wrote:

Though you could argue that someone who had changed gender for political reasons is now transgender - They are now living with gender dysphoria that they've inflicted on themselves and may not be able to safe to change back, especially if it was done secretly.

Almost a reversal of the common accusations, though it's true, the point is that it doesn't work, just leaves you worse off, despite getting the privileges.

KSF wrote:
Yeah, that I agree with.

That was the angle I was aiming for, in my examples, but I acknowledge I may not have been as clear as I'd liked.

The earlier thread had been filled with posts stating that the easy access to infallible magic solutions, would mean that everyone with dysphoria would have transitioned as soon as they could afford.
Some people said that may not always be true, and we were asked to consider 'What kind of character would be living in a dysphoric state, have the opportunity, but be unwilling to change?'.

A person brought up in a culture (Drow), or cult (Lamashtan), whose birth gender is considered low-caste, or even worthless, who acquires the means to change, is going to grab that chance with both hands, probably without thinking too hard or too long.

And once it's done...now what?

"Okay, I'm a drow female, like I always wanted....
S*++. I don't know anything about how females are supposed to behave!
They never let me or the other drones join in their secret clubhouse!
I am so dead."


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Snorter wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Though you could argue that someone who had changed gender for political reasons is now transgender - They are now living with gender dysphoria that they've inflicted on themselves and may not be able to safe to change back, especially if it was done secretly.

Almost a reversal of the common accusations, though it's true, the point is that it doesn't work, just leaves you worse off, despite getting the privileges.

KSF wrote:
Yeah, that I agree with.

That was the angle I was aiming for, in my examples, but I acknowledge I may not have been as clear as I'd liked.

A person brought up in a culture (Drow), or cult (Lamashtan), whose birth gender is considered low-caste, or even worthless, who acquires the means to change, is going to grab that chance with both hands, probably without thinking too hard or too long.

And once it's done...now what?

"Okay, I'm a drow female, like I always wanted....
S#%!. I don't know anything about how females are supposed to behave!
They never let me or the other drones join in their secret clubhouse!
I am so dead."

Or even if they do: This isn't right. I don't feel like me anymore. I've got everything I ever wanted, but it's all wrong.

And I can't change back. They'll kill me.


Westphalian_Musketeer wrote:
KSF wrote:
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Okay, clearly this thread about transgender issues no longer has anything to do with transgender issues, so I'm just going away
At this point, I'm tempted to join you.
Looks like it. Nobody gave any thoughts to the Thuvian or Shackles ideas I threw out there.

Both ideas seemed okay to me.


KSF wrote:
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Okay, clearly this thread about transgender issues no longer has anything to do with transgender issues, so I'm just going away
At this point, I'm tempted to join you.

Sorry for contributing to the derail; I didn't consider the effects of possibly minimizing/drowning out both of your perspectives and pushing you out.

Scarab Sages

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"They've got a warrant out for my arrest.
But they're looking for a dude called Drizz't.
Not the new exchange student from Erelhi-Cinlu....Drizztina?"

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Removed some personally abusive posts. It's really inappropriate and baiting to dissect anyone else's post history on paizo.com in this way.

Contributor

Here's a question I haven't seen addressed, though I may not have been looking in the right places: Is "transgender" an in-character word?

That is, would a resident of Golarion say "I am trans" or is that too modern/anachronistic? Is there a word/expression that's more setting-appropriate?

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Gabrielle wrote:

Here's a question I haven't seen addressed, though I may not have been looking in the right places: Is "transgender" an in-character word?

That is, would a resident of Golarion say "I am trans" or is that too modern/anachronistic? Is there a word/expression that's more setting-appropriate?

I don't see why the inhabitants of Golarion wouldn't have a word for it, used in the same way, and/or having the same connotations. Other than having Latin roots, their word would mean the same thing. So you might as well use the one we use. Other earth cultures have acknowledged nonstandard genders, but cultural implication is something the GM will have to decide for each individual campaign. Worrying about the modernity of terms is just going to end up giving you a headache.


Gabrielle wrote:

Here's a question I haven't seen addressed, though I may not have been looking in the right places: Is "transgender" an in-character word?

That is, would a resident of Golarion say "I am trans" or is that too modern/anachronistic? Is there a word/expression that's more setting-appropriate?

I think it was Mikaze or AlgaeNymph or Crystal Frasier who came up with the in-setting term "Arshean."


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
thejeff wrote:

Many don't, but many still do.

You still have to deal with all the relationship issues with anyone who knew you before transitioning, including and especially family. 2,250 gp isn't exactly cheap for most, so you'll likely have to live at least some of your life without it, unless your parents will cover it when you're a child.

I always thought that one of the neatest things about Amber Scott's Wrath of the Righteous AP was that a mean, surly old-man character who hates a transgendered male-to-female rogue never insults her by calling her a man, despite knowing that it's something she isn't super forthcoming about. To me it was a point of respect in his favor, in that it sort of made it explicit that he even though he thinks of her as a guttersnipe, he still respects her choice.

I could see that very easily not being the case, for those people who want to explore the issue and/or are interested in playing with adversity that acknowledges their choice (i.e. insular/bigoted societies considering "magicked" gender changes to not be "real" gender changes). I would never do that unless it was with the clear understanding that it's done to simply reflect that it is a real-life experience that real people go through.


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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Gabrielle wrote:

Here's a question I haven't seen addressed, though I may not have been looking in the right places: Is "transgender" an in-character word?

That is, would a resident of Golarion say "I am trans" or is that too modern/anachronistic? Is there a word/expression that's more setting-appropriate?

I think it was Mikaze or AlgaeNymph or Crystal Frasier who came up with the in-setting term "Arshean."

My only issue with overly connecting trans people with Arshea is that Arshea has a large focus, if not the main, on being sexually active and outgoing and "physical beauty". This leaves little room for all trans people who don't particularly care for sex or put a heavy focus on physical beauty.

I get why many trans people would worship Arshea, but lines like this: "Arshea's most devout followers endeavor to achieve sexual release daily (either solo or with partners), praise the beauty of the partners and self, and pray to Arshea while naked."
seems like it would really shoe-horn a lot of trans people into conforming to a very sexually outgoing and explicit lifestyle, thus reproducing the view that trans people are "perverts"*.

Trans people are as varied as people in general, and since their only unifying experience is being trans (and of how the world reacts to that), tying them very strongly to a specific faith that includes a lot of other connotations seems off at best.

*(not that being sexually outgoing is being "perverted" and not that being "perverted" is necessarily bad, but there is a cultural connection)


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Gaberlunzie wrote:
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Gabrielle wrote:

Here's a question I haven't seen addressed, though I may not have been looking in the right places: Is "transgender" an in-character word?

That is, would a resident of Golarion say "I am trans" or is that too modern/anachronistic? Is there a word/expression that's more setting-appropriate?

I think it was Mikaze or AlgaeNymph or Crystal Frasier who came up with the in-setting term "Arshean."

My only issue with overly connecting trans people with Arshea is that Arshea has a large focus, if not the main, on being sexually active and outgoing and "physical beauty". This leaves little room for all trans people who don't particularly care for sex or put a heavy focus on physical beauty.

I get why many trans people would worship Arshea, but lines like this: "Arshea's most devout followers endeavor to achieve sexual release daily (either solo or with partners), praise the beauty of the partners and self, and pray to Arshea while naked."
seems like it would really shoe-horn a lot of trans people into conforming to a very sexually outgoing and explicit lifestyle, thus reproducing the view that trans people are "perverts"*.

Trans people are as varied as people in general, and since their only unifying experience is being trans (and of how the world reacts to that), tying them very strongly to a specific faith that includes a lot of other connotations seems off at best.

*(not that being sexually outgoing is being "perverted" and not that being "perverted" is necessarily bad, but there is a cultural connection)

Well, in Mikaze's/AlgaeNymph's/Crystal's defense, my memory is hazy and I was too preoccupied to go searching it up, so it's very likely I'm misremembering; my apologies.

It's possible that for most of Golarion's populace, they just might not be informed enough (or care) to know the differences between how trans* peeps self-identify and the relatively uncommon worshipers of Arshea. I did some searching, and came across this quote from Crystal in the Shardra iconic blog post comments (which would make it pretty solidly canon):

Crystal Frasier wrote:
Golarion doesn't have the term "transgender," just like it doesn't really have the term "homosexual." Instead, just like historical Earth, it has a vast variety of third and fourth genders varying between cultures. Dwarves have "rivethun," which is a catch-all for feminine trans women and intersex folk, but other cultures will have other words.

I've been tinkering on something completely different, and yesterday I came across the word "aurelia." Not only is it a synonym for chrysalis, but its Latin root, aureus, means "golden" which seems like a positive connotation. Maybe aurelia could work for trans* characters who have transitioned or who are on the path to transitioning?

1) Assuming that everyone doesn't mind Earth Latin mixed in with their Thassilonian, and 2) It really wouldn't fit for those who self-identify along the spectrum and aren't interested in transitioning, but one step/term at a time, I guess.

Silver Crusade

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
1) Assuming that everyone doesn't mind Earth Latin mixed in with their Thassilonian...

One minor thought: I considered (and have used) Earth Latin as a stand-in for Azlanti... other'n that-- I have no problem with borrowing words and phrases from Latin (and other earth languages) to indicate words and phrases from languages other than common...

Also, I think your suggestion of "aurelia" works even better if we consider it as drawn from Azlanti rather than Thassilonian.

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