Transgender PCs


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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."

'Twas Kittyburger. I thought it was an okay term, but Gaberlunzie's objections are worth thinking about.


Of course there probably doesn't have to be one common term for it shared over the whole world, it seems it would work fine by having local names for it when needed.

BTW, did anyone see this? Kinda cool, just too bad they had a woman as voice actor. Trans guys have a hard enough time to land a role as is. But still, that's progress!


Gaberlunzie wrote:
BTW, did anyone see this? Kinda cool, just too bad they had a woman as voice actor. Trans guys have a hard enough time to land a role as is. But still, that's progress!

Agreed. There's been a discussion of Krem, and the voice casting, over in the LGBT Gamer Community Thread.


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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."

Wow, I barely interact here and I'm already known enough to be cited! :) (Even if I didn't coin the term.)

Gaberlunzie wrote:

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."

...seem 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)

Whole post quoted for truth. Tying into this is some of my research on transfolk, focusing on their information needs. One of my primary sources, Targeting the Information Needs of Transgender Individuals, groups transfolk into two types, crossdressers and transsexuals. According to the data, crossdressers focus on appearance while transsexuals focus on transitioning. Also telling is that "Of the respondents having no additional transgender information needs [in the context of current rather than past needs], all were transsexuals. About 40% of all postoperative transsexuals had no continuing transgender information needs." (p.92, p.9 in pdf)

In short, I'd think that Arsheans are much more likely to be crossdressers than transsexuals.


KSF wrote:

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

I'm not sure if this is the best place for this post, or if it should be separate from the "Homosexuality in Golarion" thread (since that's kind of an all-purpose LGBT thread). Mods can feel free to move it if they think they should.

I was thinking about Shardra the other day, and I was wondering, for people who have played transgender PCs, how have you gone about it?

By which I mean things like: How is it incorporated into your character's backstory? Is it something that comes up in play? Does the GM know? Do the other players or PCs know? Did your character transition before they began adventuring? Did they come to the realization before or after they began adventuring? Is getting enough money together to get the necessary potion/elixir/girdle/ring/what-have-you part of a roleplaying arc you've created for your character? Is there any way you tie all of this into Golarion lore (e.g. Kittyburger's idea of referring to trans people in-setting as Arshean)? And so on.

I don't get to play as often as I GM. Do NPCs count?


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About the only time it's really come up as a significant plot item with my group, we had one player playing the trans-daughter of another player's character. The character went through the full process of discovering she's female, the full process of coming to accept it, all of the worries of how her mother would react... and then, finally, works up the nerve to tell her mother while camped out on their way to slaughter some orcs.. This is the conversation:

Player One: Mom, I have something important to say... it may be quite a shock?

Player Two: Uh oh... is this about the mission?

Player One: No! Um, Mom... I'm kinda... Well, I'm a girl.

Player Two: I know, dear. Eat your breakfast.

Player One: (jaw-dropped silence)

No one at the table even thought twice about it.


Ashiel wrote:
I don't get to play as often as I GM. Do NPCs count?

Sure. Whatcha got?


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AlgaeNymph wrote:

Whole post quoted for truth. Tying into this is some of my research on transfolk, focusing on their information needs. One of my primary sources, Targeting the Information Needs of Transgender Individuals, groups transfolk into two types, crossdressers and transsexuals. According to the data, crossdressers focus on appearance while transsexuals focus on transitioning. Also telling is that "Of the respondents having no additional transgender information needs [in the context of current rather than past needs], all were transsexuals. About 40% of all postoperative transsexuals had no continuing transgender information needs." (p.92, p.9 in pdf)

In short, I'd think that Arsheans are much more likely to be crossdressers than transsexuals.

Well, I haven't read the article in question, but from what I can see in its abstract, I'm not sure that it's applicable here.

(I also think dividing trans people into cross dressers and transsexuals is an oversimplification. Not the least of which because it suggests a focus on trans women to the exclusion of trans men. And because some cross dressers eventually realize they're transsexual. And a lot of transsexuals never have surgery, so they're never postoperative. And we (transsexuals) do sometimes have to think about appearance as well as transition, particularly if we want to pass, which can be a goal we take on for both gender expressionand for safety.)

But more to the point, and more on topic, I guess I don't see how that applies to whether or not transsexuals in Golarion would or would not worship Arshea. The suggested connection, as I understand it, is Arshea being a) gender fluid, and b) (as the Pathfinder wiki puts it), "a champion of the repressed and weary, providing mortals deliverance from their bonds." And the fact that "many of Arshea's worshipers... often choose to ignore conventional gender identities, eventually choosing one that fits them best."

All of those seem a good potential fit for trans followers, particularly those whose identities don't fit within the gender binary.

Gaberlunzie's objection is with another aspect of Arshea, a focus on sexual release and beauty. I can understand the objection on those grounds. Though the Pathfinder wiki says that's the most devout followers. And beauty can, I'd think, be interpreted in various ways, including non-superficial ways. (At least, that's my impression.)

Could you clarify what you meant when you said that article leads you to think that Arsheans are more likely to be cross dressers than transsexuals?


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KSF wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
I don't get to play as often as I GM. Do NPCs count?
Sure. Whatcha got?

In one of my recent campaigns was the vampire Victoria (previous "Victor") who was a sexy and seductive vampire lady that the party ran across a few times (and fought a few times) and later became buddies with.

Victoria is tough, seductive, and extremely skilled. She was her vampire lord's primary lover, assassin, and manager of the coven. She is seen as the "big sister" of one of the other PCs who was part of the coven (mind you, I use a drastically reduced version of the vampire template that's more PC-friendly) though they butted heads pretty frequently initially, though Victoria eventually refused to kill the PC which lead to her near demise (she got better).

Victoria was originally born male (and technically she is still physically male), Victoria has always been pretty feminine and identified as female early in her known history. It's likely that she first attracted the attention of the vampire lord that the party encountered when he didn't realize she was physically male, and likely didn't realize until after her turning. Despite this Victoria still ended up his favorite amongst his ladies.

Her life pre-vampirism was one of mixed experiences. She had to deal with the sorts of things you might expect for one in her situation. Her family did not approve of her femininity and she had a number of relationship problems and for a while had some pretty serious self-confidence issues as a result. Despite being strong willed she longed for acceptance. By her early twenties she was spending her time entirely as a woman which is when she was snatched up by the vampire lord. Over time, Victoria developed attachment towards the vampire lord despite his personality flaws because of his apparent affection towards her and his insistence that she be look, act, and be considered female (which was opposed to the reactions of those she knew in her mortal life, though in truth it was more due to the vampire's own prejudices and his not wanting to deal with his finding this "male" attractive).

She took to vampirism with surprising ease. She is a cunning and seductive huntress who prefers to tempt rather than overpower. Over time she learned how to harness her psychic abilities from her master and developed her abilities in physical combat to better serve him. Initially her idolization of her lord mixed with the loss of her mortal life (due to stigmas against the undead, even if her master would free her, she would have little welcome in her homeland) caused her to strive to become more worthy of his affection, though later as the years past it was less to prove herself worthy so much as it was an attempt to still be his favorite having realized that his affection was measured in your usefulness to him as a servant.

Later in the game, she was forced to take a hard look at her life and her master's wishes. Having been repeatedly defeated in battle by the party and having to report failure, she was reminded in each incident that her value to her lover was shallow indeed. She eventually was told that she was to execute one of the vampire PC's vampire sisters (a young vampire named Miranda) in front of her, then bring the PC back and kill the rest of the party, and if she didn't, she would forfeit her life as well. Having thought it all over, she fought the PCs halfheartedly hoping they would kill her in the process (so the PCs could escape essentially), but the party had other plans.

Later the PCs liberated Victoria and Miranda as well as several other vampire thralls and managed to slay the vampire lord. Victoria had a bit of a crisis of identity after that because after years and years she had no idea what to do now. However, she is currently taking care of the vampires in the vampire lord's former mansion which is now being governed with less tyranny and is under the party Paladin's protection (though his order is far from comfortable with vampires being allowed to exist in the city, even if they have submitted to the authority of the church and are willingly living highly restricted lives).

Victoria is a 6th level Human-Vampire Pychic Monk.
Miranda is a 2nd level Human-Vampire Adept with a bat familiar named Peggy.

Paizo Glitterati Robot

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Chris Lambertz wrote:
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.

Removed another post and reply to it for the same reason above. Please don't do this thing.


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Chris Lambertz wrote:
Chris Lambertz wrote:
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.
Removed another post and reply to it for the same reason above. Please don't do this thing.

Is it odd that I'm often saddened by not knowing which posts were removed because it leaves me uncertain as to what was the thing that is being cautioned against? :|

Paizo Glitterati Robot

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To clarify: conflating a topic like characters who want to change races in game with a topic concerning transgender characters is what the post is referring to. These are two entirely different topics, and posting about a character changing races as a joke here really isn't appropriate. I hope that helps, I understand that post removals can occasionally leave some confusion. If you have any other questions, you can ping us at community@paizo.com.


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Chris Lambertz wrote:
To clarify: conflating a topic like "transracial" (this is the quoted term from the various removed posts, not mine) characters with a topic concerning transgender characters is what the post is referring to. These are two entirely different topics, and posting about a character changing races as a joke here isn't appropriate. I hope that helps, I understand that post removals can occasionally leave some confusion. If you have any other questions, you can ping us at community@paizo.com.

Oh, gotcha. Yeah thanks Chris, that helps a ton. :)

Uh, before I discuss any of my other NPCs, is there anything I should intentionally steer clear of/not bring up in this thread in particular? I ask because I have a lot of NPCs that some might consider a bit unusual that I was thinking of talking about in addition to Victoria, but I don't want to step on anyone's toes. :o

Paizo Glitterati Robot

Ashiel wrote:
Chris Lambertz wrote:
To clarify: conflating a topic like "transracial" (this is the quoted term from the various removed posts, not mine) characters with a topic concerning transgender characters is what the post is referring to. These are two entirely different topics, and posting about a character changing races as a joke here isn't appropriate. I hope that helps, I understand that post removals can occasionally leave some confusion. If you have any other questions, you can ping us at community@paizo.com.

Oh, gotcha. Yeah thanks Chris, that helps a ton. :)

Uh, before I discuss any of my other NPCs, is there anything I should intentionally steer clear of/not bring up in this thread in particular? I ask because I have a lot of NPCs that some might consider a bit unusual that I was thinking of talking about in addition to Victoria, but I don't want to step on anyone's toes. :o

I don't think there's anything specific I can really outline. But, we did update our Community Guidelines earlier this year. If you've been inactive for any period of time, you may have missed it, so giving those a read over would be a good idea. And of course we're available at that email for any specific questions :)


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Thanks Chris. I'm pretty sure that none of my NPCs should be offensive, I don't think, but sometimes I'm still inclined to worry with some subjects. For example, I recently had a high-functioning autistic child NPC in a game I was running and was a bit nervous as to if I could portray it correctly, but one of my players has aspergers and said it felt pretty accurate so I was pretty happy with the result (and the party really seemed to like him), but with people being people, I'm not sure how such would be met on the forums. Anything from applause for inclusion or acknowledgement to deepest disdain for exploitation of a real thing for dramatic effect or something.

It's sometimes difficult to tell how deep the water is before you jump in. :|

Silver Crusade

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This seems like a good place to ask, so I figure now's as good a time as any.

My trans friend and I have been trying to think about how to introduce a trans NPC into one of my games, mostly to try and get the party used to the idea of it. I know my group isn't the most mature (they have a bisexual enemy at this point, and they already laughed about him having his arm around a big burly fellow as well as a traditionally attractive female), so right now I'm wondering the best way to go about it.

The character in question is wealthy enough to have changed themselves physically, so I was planning on having them just take it, and have one of the other NPCs who's related to them offhandedly mention how much different it is having a sister than a brother, but I'm not sure just how prominent I want this to be, since while my party isn't willfully transphobic, they have grown up in a society that breeds transphobia, which I know is going to lead to snickers and such.

I'm sure once I break them of the 'reflex' of laughing at something like this, it'll probably end better, but the issue of how to bring it up is still weighing on me. It's an issue oh how prominent I want to make this, although I'm wondering if I want to have the party grow to like this PC first and then have them be revealed as trans, or have them revealed as trans first, and then have the party start to learn more about them.

Any advice for people who've done this in the past would be appreciated, since I do want to open the gates for more content like this in my game, especially since I'd really like to enlighten my players.

Grand Lodge

Have the party grow to like the trans PC first; if the trans PC is calm and confident enough to adventure with the others without first having the total approval of a functional group of strangers, it reflects well on them.

Friendships forge finest when potential disagreements don't get in the way of killing kobolds.


@N. Jolly

I'm not sure if the goal of roleplaying games is "enlightenment". Are you certain you want to bring up something which could end in snickers?

I am not really transphobic (it doesn't really interest me which gender someone once were), but I wouldn't be interested in an educational trans NPC. As all my characters have to deal with really weird things (like demons or freaky aberrations), they would just shrug at something like a trans person. Mostly because I as player would shrug about that.


Jeremias wrote:

@N. Jolly

I'm not sure if the goal of roleplaying games is "enlightenment". Are you certain you want to bring up something which could end in snickers?

I am not really transphobic (it doesn't really interest me which gender someone once were), but I wouldn't be interested in an educational trans NPC. As all my characters have to deal with really weird things (like demons or freaky aberrations), they would just shrug at something like a trans person. Mostly because I as player would shrug about that.

Well, as long as their past the snickers or worse stage....

For the original question, another approach might be to start with something that's a little more "fantasy" than an actual trans person.

An enemy or ally that's comfortable switching genders as a spy or for other reasons? The more traditional girl in disguise as a boy (or reversed) for reasons of plot - possibly leading to the revelation that she (or he) is more comfortable in the disguise.
An Orlando figure maybe?

People tend to be more receptive of things strange to them when presented from a less openly modern political angle. I know being comfortable with such analogy stories helped me comes to grips with the concept when I started hearing about trans issues for real.

Silver Crusade

Jeremias wrote:

@N. Jolly

I'm not sure if the goal of roleplaying games is "enlightenment". Are you certain you want to bring up something which could end in snickers?

I am not really transphobic (it doesn't really interest me which gender someone once were), but I wouldn't be interested in an educational trans NPC. As all my characters have to deal with really weird things (like demons or freaky aberrations), they would just shrug at something like a trans person. Mostly because I as player would shrug about that.

Just a note here: telling someone that you're not (insert identity here)phobic rarely makes you seem less (insert identity here)phobic, since that's generally not something people need to specify unless there's a reason.

And I recognize I'm the only member of my friend group with any information on it, so normalizing trans people to them is kind of my responsibility. Neutrality isn't something I'd like to go with here, and while in your game it wouldn't be a big deal to you, making sure my players are more aware of the world around them is something that I'd like to do, since most of them have been pretty sheltered in that respect.

thejeff wrote:

For the original question, another approach might be to start with something that's a little more "fantasy" than an actual trans person.

An enemy or ally that's comfortable switching genders as a spy or for other reasons? The more traditional girl in disguise as a boy (or reversed) for reasons of plot - possibly leading to the revelation that she (or he) is more comfortable in the disguise.
An Orlando figure maybe?

People tend to be more receptive of things strange to them when presented from a less openly modern political angle. I know being comfortable with such analogy stories helped me comes to grips with the concept when I started hearing about trans issues for real.

I was thinking more fantasy might be the way to go for it, and hearing your advice, I might go with that since I want them to be aware they're dealing with a trans character, but not having them being beaten over the head with it. I'm just afraid of using too much of a light touch and having it go unnoticed. I suppose it'd be better to do that instead of having a visceral negative reaction.


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N. Jolly wrote:
My trans friend and I have been trying to think about how to introduce a trans NPC into one of my games, mostly to try and get the party used to the idea of it. I know my group isn't the most mature (they have a bisexual enemy at this point, and they already laughed about him having his arm around a big burly fellow as well as a traditionally attractive female), so right now I'm wondering the best way to go about it.

Well, there's certainly no one way for everything, but in the case of Victoria her transgenderedness (yes I made up a word) wasn't ever really a focus of the character or her interactions with the party. Once another NPC called her Victor and she got mad, but the party was completely clueless about that. It wasn't until much later that the players even realized it, because it wasn't what defined her, it was just another thing about her much like Miranda was a blacksmith's daughter.

In fact, I think the first time it came up was actually during an OOC chat about the weird way I detail NPCs in my games. It amused the transgendered player in our group, though she wasn't intended to. :o

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
N. Jolly wrote:
And I recognize I'm the only member of my friend group with any information on it, so normalizing trans people to them is kind of my responsibility. Neutrality isn't something I'd like to go with here, and while in your game it wouldn't be a big deal to you, making sure my players are more aware of the world around them is something that I'd like to do, since most of them have been pretty sheltered in that respect.ng your advice, I might go with that since I want them to be aware...

It really depends on your players. If they approach life and gaming with a locker room mentality, the only way they can (not neccessarily will!) be normalised to trans people is to meet real trans people. If they're not deep roleplayers, trying to preach to them via an RPG is a tall mountain to climb at best, and a mountain of pain at worse.

Sovereign Court

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I'd like to think the world is changing and more people have views where they ultimately just don't care about someone's gender identity or gender preference.

To quote a recent Bond movie ...

Silva: There's always a first time
Bond: What makes you think this is my first time?

And guess what? It didn't make James Bond any less cool. Not one iota.

However ... as people above have said ... YMMV. Some gaming groups are pretty zen about stuff that other gaming groups will act like a classroom of high school sophomores about.


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LazarX wrote:
N. Jolly wrote:
And I recognize I'm the only member of my friend group with any information on it, so normalizing trans people to them is kind of my responsibility. Neutrality isn't something I'd like to go with here, and while in your game it wouldn't be a big deal to you, making sure my players are more aware of the world around them is something that I'd like to do, since most of them have been pretty sheltered in that respect.ng your advice, I might go with that since I want them to be aware...
It really depends on your players. If they approach life and gaming with a locker room mentality, the only way they can (not neccessarily will!) be normalised to trans people is to meet real trans people. If they're not deep roleplayers, trying to preach to them via an RPG is a tall mountain to climb at best, and a mountain of pain at worse.

Not making a big deal about it is probably a good idea too. If you can't include transpeople in locker-room talk, then you're not really thinking of them as ordinary people which they are. You're acting like they have some sort of disability that must not be mentioned. Friends are often frank, lewd, and/or highly uncensored around people they trust, and to act differently because of someone else's gender is at best a nice sentiment, at worst dishonest, and in almost all cases will firmly let them know that they are not one of you but something different and alien.


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Eh, its a fantasy game. The guy next to you is a Drow, the girl across from you is a changeling, you're pretty sure the guy next to you is trying to play a MLP character but you don't want to give hint that you get the reference, and the GM just attacked your party with a tentacle beast.

And you're all murderhobos. Play as you will :)

Silver Crusade

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Ashiel wrote:
LazarX wrote:
N. Jolly wrote:
And I recognize I'm the only member of my friend group with any information on it, so normalizing trans people to them is kind of my responsibility. Neutrality isn't something I'd like to go with here, and while in your game it wouldn't be a big deal to you, making sure my players are more aware of the world around them is something that I'd like to do, since most of them have been pretty sheltered in that respect.ng your advice, I might go with that since I want them to be aware...
It really depends on your players. If they approach life and gaming with a locker room mentality, the only way they can (not neccessarily will!) be normalised to trans people is to meet real trans people. If they're not deep roleplayers, trying to preach to them via an RPG is a tall mountain to climb at best, and a mountain of pain at worse.
Not making a big deal about it is probably a good idea too. If you can't include transpeople in locker-room talk, then you're not really thinking of them as ordinary people which they are. You're acting like they have some sort of disability that must not be mentioned. Friends are often frank, lewd, and/or highly uncensored around people they trust, and to act differently because of someone else's gender is at best a nice sentiment, at worst dishonest, and in almost all cases will firmly let them know that they are not one of you but something different and alien.

Yeah, I didn't plan on making it an 'after school special' about people who are different than them. I know that my friends respect me and my opinions though, which is something I have on my side to try and help broaden their social awareness. It was going to be as much of a set piece as her being a water bender (Kineticist playtest, it's a bender) or being latina.

For me, it's more about including a broader spectrum of characters in games rather than making a large deal about things, to try to normalize them in the world setting just like Paizo's been trying to do, so I don't plan on making it a splash page moment. As long as I can portray a more open world that will help my friends realize there's not just a 'normal', I'm happy.

I do appreciate all the advice from everyone who's chipped in on this, it's helping me figure out how to best introduce these elements into my game.


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Inclusive representation should not be conflated with tokenism.

You don't have trans characters, you have characters that happen to be trans. If you want that facet of a character to be intelligible to your party, then you have to have other parts of your character that are more immediately intelligible. Failing that, you end up with a character that is a mysterious other, who's only defining aspect is the part people don't understand. The character's relatable qualities and motivations help put in context the rest of their person.

Now your biggest hurdle for introducing trans elements in your game, is that they are unlikely to be relevant. Unless the transition happens in a session, there is little reason for the party to know or care about whether or not a PC or NPC is trans.


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Marroar Gellantara wrote:

Inclusive representation should not be conflated with tokenism.

You don't have trans characters, you have characters that happen to be trans.

Amen sir. :D

Silver Crusade

Marroar Gellantara wrote:

Inclusive representation should not be conflated with tokenism.

You don't have trans characters, you have characters that happen to be trans. If you want that facet of a character to be intelligible to your party, then you have to have other parts of your character that are more immediately intelligible. Failing that, you end up with a character that is a mysterious other, who's only defining aspect is the part people don't understand. The character's relatable qualities and motivations help put in context the rest of their person.

Now your biggest hurdle for introducing trans elements in your game, is that they are unlikely to be relevant. Unless the transition happens in a session, there is little reason for the party to know or care about whether or not a PC or NPC is trans.

Well this is the point where I'm having problem, making it seem more like an organic inclusion rather than just random inclusion.

As I've said, it's not the keynote feature of the character, they already know more about her than that (that she's a pirate who beat them in a race, she's a water bender, she has a sweet brother who's an old PC of mine), but the issue is introducing them as a trans character as well. They're a fleshed out character aside from this, it's just introducing the facet to their character already.

I think what I'm shooting for is just for them to accept that there's elements like this in the world setting, rather than trying to make a huge deal of it, just like having other characters that they would normally be considered 'other' to them.

Although I'm still pretty new to doing things like this, so I know I'm gonna mess up trying to do things like this, which is why I do appreciate the advice.


KSF wrote:
I also think dividing trans people into crossdressers and transsexuals is an oversimplification.

I agree for the reasons you cited, and the study even admits to its own simplification (p.90, p.6 in pdf). I'd also like to apologize for getting the page number wrong in my last citation (it's p.8 in the pdf).

To clarify what I meant when I said that the article lead me to think that Arsheans are more likely to be crossdressers than transsexuals, crossdressers like to be the other gender while transsexuals have to be the other gender. Regarding transfolk in Golarion, the point I was trying to make is that I suspect a lot of people involved in sex transition just want to get on with their lives without being sexualized. Of course, this is assuming that 1) the meme of Sexualization = Objectification is an issue in Golarion like it is in Earth, and 2) that Arsheans will hard-sell the sexy to transfolk.


Being a cross-dresser does not necessarily mean you want to be sexualized, though.

(and yeah, it's a pretty bad generalization of dividing into cross-dressing people and transsexual people, seems to completely ignore transgender people that have a need to be recognized as their gender(s) but don't feel a need to alter their bodies)


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@N. Jolly
Really? You asked about what potentially transphobic people would do with your enlightenment idea. And I said, answering that, that as a non-transphobic person I don't care for this enlightenment idea. And you concentrate only on this first statement about how I described me?

I find the idea of a trans person interesting, but what I don't care for is forced enlightenment during a fun game. And thats something you should keep in your mind: Do your players want just a nice game of dungeondelving or a deep roleplaying experience? If it is the latter, have fun with your idea. If it is the former, I wouldn't recommend it.

But your role as a GM certainly is not that of a teacher in social tolerance. Keep that in mind, please.

Scarab Sages

So lost. Is this a thread regarding players that want to role play genders opposite of their own, or PCs (player characters) which have undergone a sex change?

For the former, never thought twice about it. I'm 6'6" in real life and I often play dwarves. It's a role playing thing. Players have their preferences. It's only an issue when players use aspects of their character to say hurtful things towards the group they are roleplaying - and even this is tolerable if it doesn't offend anyone playing.

For the ladder, I suppose it depends if the PC voluntarily underwent the sex change or if it was forced upon them (either by fate, the DM or PCs). If voluntary, then no real issues, just role play the gender trying to be the other gender. If forced, roleplaying is more regarding enjoyment or un-enjoyment of their present situation. Both can be fun to role play.


Murdock: It is about PCs (or potentially NPCs) which are transgender (or have transgender experiences).
That is, characters who's gender does not match the gender that society saw them as when they were born.
An example would be Shardra Geltl, who her family and society considered to be a boy when she was born, but that was a girl and has since transformed her body into a more typically female body.

Silver Crusade

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Jeremias wrote:

@N. Jolly

Really? You asked about what potentially transphobic people would do with your enlightenment idea. And I said, answering that, that as a non-transphobic person I don't care for this enlightenment idea. And you concentrate only on this first statement about how I described me?

I find the idea of a trans person interesting, but what I don't care for is forced enlightenment during a fun game. And thats something you should keep in your mind: Do your players want just a nice game of dungeondelving or a deep roleplaying experience? If it is the latter, have fun with your idea. If it is the former, I wouldn't recommend it.

But your role as a GM certainly is not that of a teacher in social tolerance. Keep that in mind, please.

You did read past that first statement of mine in my reply, right? I was just stating how uncomforting that sounds. I did actually reply to the rest of your statement afterwards.

And I've also stated that it's more to provide more normalization to the idea of people who identify differently. My role as a GM isn't that of a teacher in social tolerance, but that doesn't mean I can't use the position for it. Nothing's saying a fun game of roleplaying or dungeon delving can't also include some issues that I want to touch on. I have garnered a few ideas of how to do it better though, which has been helpful.


Well, if it counts, my character for a Jade Regent campaign was a hermaphroditic Tian Mosaic Mage (Rogue Genius Games archetype) who had a personality about as ice cold as the cold magic and necromancy that 'she' utilized. The campaign was very anime-style, so I found it interesting to explore a rarely-utilized trope. The experience was intriguing, to say the least!

Scarab Sages

Gaberlunzie wrote:

Murdock: It is about PCs (or potentially NPCs) which are transgender (or have transgender experiences).

That is, characters who's gender does not match the gender that society saw them as when they were born.
An example would be Shardra Geltl, who her family and society considered to be a boy when she was born, but that was a girl and has since transformed her body into a more typically female body.

Huh...interesting. Not sure I see it as a problem for roleplaying games. Everyone has their own backstory.

My PCs are very often non-sexual, often due to disfiguring scars or wounds in places best left unmentioned...

Had a DM for a while which would make a point to have any alcoholic experiences result in children, which would further result in additional obligation for the PC. His campaigns were always about getting out of debt, rather than making money. Non-sexual, non-drug using PCs are my default as a result.


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Gaberlunzie wrote:

Being a cross-dresser does not necessarily mean you want to be sexualized, though.

(and yeah, it's a pretty bad generalization of dividing into cross-dressing people and transsexual people, seems to completely ignore transgender people that have a need to be recognized as their gender(s) but don't feel a need to alter their bodies)

I agree, and thank you for pointing this out. While simplifications (such as those I presented) can ease understanding, they can also distort perceptions.


thejeff wrote:

An enemy or ally that's comfortable switching genders as a spy or for other reasons? The more traditional girl in disguise as a boy (or reversed) for reasons of plot - possibly leading to the revelation that she (or he) is more comfortable in the disguise.

An Orlando figure maybe?

How about another PC? I've played a few characters that were comfortable switching genders, and sometimes did it for no other reason than personal taste in clothing or simply because they felt like being the other gender that day.

Admittedly, that's a bit of my own gender identity slipping in.


Gaberlunzie wrote:

Being a cross-dresser does not necessarily mean you want to be sexualized, though.

(and yeah, it's a pretty bad generalization of dividing into cross-dressing people and transsexual people, seems to completely ignore transgender people that have a need to be recognized as their gender(s) but don't feel a need to alter their bodies)

Reconciling the third wave feminist notion of non-essential gender differences with the reality of the transgender experience is non-trivial.

The way I see it, gender is an artistic expression of the self. There are infinite genders and it is entirely possible to have more than one (actually I feel that that is the common reality for most people). Judith Butler describes gender as a performative(which she made up the sense she is using the word for). Gender is then an action that constitutes itself. The reason you behave a gender is to behave as that gender and behaving as that gender is what makes the gender. Her conclusion then is that genders (feminine/masculine) are not essentially different and therefore non-essential and should not be a basis for action. This is where I disagree. I do not think genders (feminine/masculine) are essentially different, but I do think gender is essential (in a different sense) to a person.

See I view self-defining actions to be the core aspects of a person. They are the basis for all actions since they are ends in of themselves. A salient example of this quality in most people is the self-defining act of living. Why do we live? You don't really need a logical reason to want to live. Living is it's own justification. Now as far as self-defining actions go "living" is a basic one that even most animals share with people. People sometimes forget this performative or have it take a lower priority than ones they acquired in their life. I am also implying that such performatives can be learned or forgotten, but I consider doing so to be very difficult and exact matter one goes about that depends on cosmology.

The way I see the transgender experience is that such people have a gender that requires a different physical expression than the intelligible gender sphere our western thought wants to place them in at birth. This way gender is still something core about a person that we should allow them to express, but it does not depend on genders being essentially different. It would also explain why not all transgender individuals require genital surgery or even hormones. The extent one needs to alter their body depends on the physical manifestation tied to their gender (of which their can be infinite possibilities).


N. Jolly wrote:

You did read past that first statement of mine in my reply, right? I was just stating how uncomforting that sounds. I did actually reply to the rest of your statement afterwards.

And I've also stated that it's more to provide more normalization to the idea of people who identify differently. My role as a GM isn't that of a teacher in social tolerance, but that doesn't mean I can't use the position for it. Nothing's saying a fun game of roleplaying or dungeon delving can't also include some issues that I want to touch on. I have garnered a few ideas of how to do it better though, which has been helpful.

I'd recommend being careful and going slowly. It would be very easy for something like this to be received as preachy or judgmental, even though that's not at all your aim. (A lot depends on the individual personalities and attitudes of your players, of course.)


@N. Jolly
No, I admit I was a little bit offended.

I'm still not sure it is a great idea. But you seem to have put a lot of thought in it, so good luck. Just go slowly as JoeJ advised to not alienate your players.
And one advice: If they are immature about the topic, drop it like a hot potato. Nothing ruins friendship then forcing a talk about things like this (or religion or politics).

Contributor

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Marroar Gellantara wrote:
The way I see the transgender experience is that such people have a gender that requires a different physical expression than the intelligible gender sphere our western thought wants to place them in at birth. This way gender is still something core about a person that we should allow them to express, but it does not depend on genders being essentially different. It would also explain why not all transgender individuals require genital surgery or even hormones.

It's becoming increasingly clear from the scientific literature that internal gender identity is neurologically hard coded into brain structure during early fetal development, but due to certain events (likely included an interplay of genes and maternal hormone exposure) specific regions of the brain are masculinized/feminized on a sliding scale, allowing for a very diverse degree of potential internal gender identities, some of which may lead a person to desire to ultimately transition and some of which do not, with a ton of variation thereof.

We're still figuring out everything that's going on, but it's fascinating. It also arguably IMO makes non-emperical theories of gender somewhat irrelevant.


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I'm not sure what to call myself (gender-fluid?), but I've more or less come to terms with who / what I am.


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Genderfluid, from what I understand of the term, would be more like me, Icy. Some days I'm straight up male, some days I'm female. There are even days when I'm both or neither.

Dunno what makes me feel that way on a given day when I wake up in the morning, but it happens.

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