Transgender PCs


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Artemis Moonstar wrote:

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.

Yeah, the bolded part sums it up nicely.

I don't talk of it often since most people still consider that weird.

Then again, I once admitted all of this at a bar while drunk, and my friends didn't run off on me.


I have yet to tell anyone outside my wonderful fiance. Mainly because I simply don't have friends at the moment, but beyond that, I look indisputably male (aside from being of a very broad 'viking' skeletal structure, major scruffy beard thanks to being too poor to afford to shave)... But also for the exact same reason. I haven't known the most.. Accepting people, in my life.

Still, kudos to your friends for not wiggin' out about it.


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

Since I'm cis I don't have that experience I can't really know how it feels like, but pretty much every trans person I know personally is a third wave radical/queer anarchafeminist. Might sound very specific, but it's quite a common stance in my circles and the Swedish left (among both trans and cis people). I guess I have a hard time seeing how it's not trivial? Second-wave feminism clearly have issues with trans people (though radical feminism and trans feminism can be compatible, just that historically it hasn't been and TERFs are still abundant).

But unless you view gender identity and gender roles and gender expression as one and the same thing, I don't really see how there's a problem? Is there something I'm missing?

I mean, gender expression and gender roles being performative, and reproducing those norms being performative, doesn't necessarily mean that gender identity is.


Icyshadow wrote:


Then again, I once admitted all of this at a bar while drunk, and my friends didn't run off on me.

Some of our best admissions come when we're drunk.


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Marroar Gellantara wrote:
[. 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.

Butler discusses her views of trans people here.

Judith Butler wrote:

Q: What, if anything, would you like trans people to take from your work?

A: Gender Trouble was written about 24 years ago, and at that time I did not think well enough about trans issues. Some trans people thought that in claiming that gender is performative that I was saying that it is all a fiction, and that a person’s felt sense of gender was therefore “unreal.” That was never my intention. I sought to expand our sense of what gender realities could be. But I think I needed to pay more attention to what people feel, how the primary experience of the body is registered, and the quite urgent and legitimate demand to have those aspects of sex recognized and supported. I did not mean to argue that gender is fluid and changeable (mine certainly is not). I only meant to say that we should all have greater freedoms to define and pursue our lives without pathologization, de-realization, harassment, threats of violence, violence, and criminalization. I join in the struggle to realize such a world.


KSF wrote:
Marroar Gellantara wrote:
[. 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.

Butler discusses her views of trans people here.

Judith Butler wrote:

Q: What, if anything, would you like trans people to take from your work?

A: Gender Trouble was written about 24 years ago, and at that time I did not think well enough about trans issues. Some trans people thought that in claiming that gender is performative that I was saying that it is all a fiction, and that a person’s felt sense of gender was therefore “unreal.” That was never my intention. I sought to expand our sense of what gender realities could be. But I think I needed to pay more attention to what people feel, how the primary experience of the body is registered, and the quite urgent and legitimate demand to have those aspects of sex recognized and supported. I did not mean to argue that gender is fluid and changeable (mine certainly is not). I only meant to say that we should all have greater freedoms to define and pursue our lives without pathologization, de-realization, harassment, threats of violence, violence, and criminalization. I join in the struggle to realize such a world.

That is more or less what I am saying.

But unlike her, I do not deny the possibility (or validity) of genderfluid people.


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Todd Stewart wrote:
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.

I would recommend "cordelia fine delusions of gender".

Everything is not clear cut.

But do not misunderstand me, I did not mean to imply that biology couldn't play a role in gender. Interesting studies showed a significant decrease in some transgenders depression levels against a placebo after taking hormone therapy without changes in behavior [vague recollection without citation].

What I do think is limiting is thinking that our society's 2 intelligible genders are the only possible ones.


Gaberlunzie wrote:
Marroar Gellantara wrote:
Reconciling the third wave feminist notion of non-essential gender differences with the reality of the transgender experience is non-trivial.

Since I'm cis I don't have that experience I can't really know how it feels like, but pretty much every trans person I know personally is a third wave radical/queer anarchafeminist. Might sound very specific, but it's quite a common stance in my circles and the Swedish left (among both trans and cis people). I guess I have a hard time seeing how it's not trivial? Second-wave feminism clearly have issues with trans people (though radical feminism and trans feminism can be compatible, just that historically it hasn't been and TERFs are still abundant).

But unless you view gender identity and gender roles and gender expression as one and the same thing, I don't really see how there's a problem? Is there something I'm missing?

I mean, gender expression and gender roles being performative, and reproducing those norms being performative, doesn't necessarily mean that gender identity is.

The issue with gender being a performative is that the act constitutes the identity. What I took from Butler (even though it wasn't really her intent) is that you should not shape your own gender to societal norms.

One issue that you will find with radical third-wavers is that like most radical groups, they may have neglected reading all the relevant literature.

The common conclusion among third-wave philosophers is that transgenders should be free to express themselves. But that does not mean they consider the compulsion valid.


Marroar Gellantara wrote:
What I do think is limiting is thinking that our societies 2 intelligible genders are the only possible ones.

In german we use the term (literally translated) "biological sex" and "social sex". For me, gender and sex was always the same term, but gender is more like the german "social sex", right?

I am a very tolerant person, so I would give everybody the right to call himself whatever he wants, be it male/female/genderfluid.

But in biological terms I cannot understand what this is about. There is a XY chromosome and a XX chromosome. There are rare deviations from this which are mostly not very benign. And thats it.

So, when I talk about "male" and "female", I certainly mean the biological terms. But what a male/female is and how he/she has to behave has nothing to do with that.
So, trans people are, in my mind, people with a problem with a their biological make-up and should be helped, so they can switch in the more appropriate sex.
How someone behaves has nothing to do with "I am a male" or "I am a female". It just has to do something with "I am myself". And everybody should be him- or herself.

Loooong post. What I take from that for RPGs:
In a world where it is more important to survive against enemies I'm not interested in how stereotypically someone behaves, but more if this person kills monsters.
If someone wants to switch genders in game, I still would be "Meh. As long as you can still swing your sword, allright."
But then, I'm OK with female soldiers or female priests and find it laughable that someone would not be OK with that.


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Marroar Gellantara wrote:
But unlike her, I do not deny the possibility (or validity) of genderfluid people.

I'm not sure that's what she was saying. Based on the interview, I'd think she'd view genderfluid as a legitimate gender identity, but would not expect someone to suddenly become genderfluid (or suddenly become not genderfluid). That's how I interpret the statement. She's trying to clarify that various gender identities are legitimate, and that they're a core part of who we are.


KSF wrote:
Marroar Gellantara wrote:
But unlike her, I do not deny the possibility (or validity) of genderfluid people.
I'm not sure that's what she was saying. Based on the interview, I'd think she'd view genderfluid as a legitimate gender identity, but would not expect someone to suddenly become genderfluid (or suddenly become not genderfluid). That's how I interpret the statement. She's trying to clarify that various gender identities are legitimate, and that they're a core part of who we are.

I agree that they are core to who we are. But I am not going to deny the possibility that gender can be learned.

With all the possible biological differences we accept that some people are born with a gender identity that does not directly map from their body. Likewise we accept that some people are born with a gender identity that does map from their body. If that is possible then it is equally possible for someone to be born without a gender identity and incapable of learning one. It would also be possible for someone to be born with no gender identity and capable of learning one or more.

It is observable that people do learn performatives (in my sense of the word which is a bit more expanded than butlers). Whether or not gender is a learn-able performative depends on certain rational constraints of the universe, but we have evidence of societies with far more genders than currently accepted in western thought.

To me though, a performative is core to who a person is regardless of how they acquired it. I consider that the most real part of a person.


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Jeremias wrote:
In german we use the term (literally translated) "biological sex" and "social sex". For me, gender and sex was always the same term, but gender is more like the german "social sex", right?

Not necessarily. Sometimes, yes, sometimes, no. Depends on the views of the speaker and the context in which the word is used.

Jeremias wrote:
But in biological terms I cannot understand what this is about. There is a XY chromosome and a XX chromosome. There are rare deviations from this which are mostly not very benign. And thats it.

My understanding is that physical gender is more complicated than that, and that viewing everything with regards to gender as stemming from the presence of an XX or an XY chromosome is an oversimplification of how the body actually develops. But someone with greater knowledge in this area, like Todd Stewart or TanithT, could speak to that point better.

Jeremias wrote:

Loooong post. What I take from that for RPGs:

In a world where it is more important to survive against enemies I'm not interested in how stereotypically someone behaves, but more if this person kills monsters.
If someone wants to switch genders in game, I still would be "Meh. As long as you can still swing your sword, allright."
But then, I'm OK with female soldiers or female priests and find it laughable that someone would not be OK with that.

Well, I'm not sure we're talking about PCs (or NPCs) exhibiting stereotypical gender behaviors here. However, to your other point, sure, that's a valid viewpoint, and a valid way to play the game. It also leaves a space for those who wish to play transgender PCs, which is a good thing.

However, as I said much earlier in the thread, for some people, it can also be fun, and satisfying, to inject some of one's real-life experiences or concerns into a game, or to explore those experiences and concerns even if one hasn't dealt with them in real life. Particularly when those experiences are so underrepresented in fictional media in general, and heroic fantasy in particular. It was in that spirit that I started the thread.


Jeremias wrote:
But in biological terms I cannot understand what this is about. There is a XY chromosome and a XX chromosome. There are rare deviations from this which are mostly not very benign. And thats it.

In a lot of ways, sex is socially constructed. Intersex persons are the common corner case to counter essentialist claims on sex. For example, there has been evidence of genetic chimera intersex persons who have XX cells AND XY cells. This is extremely rare, but the condition is livable and is one of the ways humans can be a true hermaphrodite (although not all with these kinds of genetics are).

After going through all the various corner cases, I have come to only three essential sexes for Human biology in this universe: Male fertile, Female fertile, and infertile. Someone fertile in both senses is not a 4th sex, they are at least two at the same time.

Yet with that in mind, we still sex children, the elderly, and even infertile adults as being either male or female. This leads to there being no essential difference between transsexual women and "natural" infertile women (especially once all intersex persons are separated into one of two groups).

Something to keep in mind, there is no reason that there only needs to be two fertile sexes. That is just the common method of earth biology in this universe.


Marroar Gellantara wrote:
With all the possible biological differences we accept that some people are born with a gender identity that does not directly map from their body. Likewise we accept that some people are born with a gender identity that does map from their body. If that is possible then it is equally possible for someone to be born without a gender identity and incapable of learning one. It would also be possible for someone to be born with no gender identity and capable of learning one or more.

I guess I don't see how your conclusion follows from your premise. That is, I don't see how the fact that some people have a gender identity that either does or does not map to their body necessarily means that one is capable of learning a gender.

Capable of learning behavior associated with a gender? Sure. That I agree with. And to the degree that gender exists as something performative, and to the degree that those learned behaviors are part of that performative identity, okay. But my understanding and my own experiences lead me to believe that there exists a core of gender that sits beneath the performative aspects (though I acknowledge that it is difficult to put that core into words).

I'm pretty sure, for example, that even in a completely egalitarian society, without stereotypical gender roles, and without a restrictive, binary-only view of gender, in other words, in a situation where the restrictions on performative gender are removed, many transgender people would still feel the need to transition physically. Again, speaking from my own experience. I find my experience as a trans person, both in terms of my dysphoria and my response to hormone therapy, to be deeply rooted in the physical, even though there are certainly significant performative or social components layered on top of that.

Marroar Gellantara wrote:
but we have evidence of societies with far more genders than currently accepted in western thought.

I kind of wonder if we should retire that term, "western thought." I'm a westerner, I think, but my in my thinking, gender is a wide and varied spectrum that contains numerous possible identities. The term gets into dividing the world and world culture into east and west, yet another oversimplifying binary. (It also suggests that some trans people in "eastern" cultures don't face the same sort of lack of societal acceptance as those in "western" cultures, when that's quite definitely not the case.)

Marroar Gellantara wrote:
To me though, a performative is core to who a person is regardless of how they acquired it. I consider that the most real part of a person.

I guess that's where I'd disagree with you.

Marroar Gellantara wrote:
After going through all the various corner cases, I have come to only three essential sexes for Human biology in this universe: Male fertile, Female fertile, and infertile.

Definitely disagree with that categorization.


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Anyhoo, some of the above discussion really merits a different thread.

So, back on topic, Ashiel, the one element of Victoria's story that gives me pause is this:

Ashiel wrote:
and his insistence that she be look, act, and be considered female

It makes it sound as if he's forcing a gender identity on her, and actually kind of reminds me of the sorts of things therapists used to force trans people to do in order to attain medical care. (That is, look and act in a manner that corresponds to someone else's notion of being female or male.) I don't know, I'd be suspicious of someone like that. I guess it's a villain doing this to her, so maybe that's in keeping with his character. But still, it gives me pause.

Thanks for typing out the long character bio.


Jeremias wrote:
Marroar Gellantara wrote:
What I do think is limiting is thinking that our societies 2 intelligible genders are the only possible ones.
In german we use the term (literally translated) "biological sex" and "social sex". For me, gender and sex was always the same term, but gender is more like the german "social sex", right?

Within my own field of anthropology, "sex" refers to the biology, both in terms of genetics and the physical configuration of the body. "Gender" refers to social roles defined by a particular culture. All known human cultures have at least masculine ("man") and feminine ("woman") genders. Many cultures define other categories as well, and often the names for these are not easily translated into English.


KSF wrote:
Marroar Gellantara wrote:
With all the possible biological differences we accept that some people are born with a gender identity that does not directly map from their body. Likewise we accept that some people are born with a gender identity that does map from their body. If that is possible then it is equally possible for someone to be born without a gender identity and incapable of learning one. It would also be possible for someone to be born with no gender identity and capable of learning one or more.

I guess I don't see how your conclusion follows from your premise. That is, I don't see how the fact that some people have a gender identity that either does or does not map to their body necessarily means that one is capable of learning a gender.

Capable of learning behavior associated with a gender? Sure. That I agree with. And to the degree that gender exists as something performative, and the degree that those learned behaviors are part of that performative identity, okay. But my understanding and my own experiences lead me to believe that there exists a core of gender that sits beneath the performative aspects (though I acknowledge that it is difficult to put that core into words).

I'm pretty sure, for example, that even in a completely egalitarian society, without stereotypical gender roles, and without a restrictive, binary-only view of gender, in other words, in a situation where the restrictions on performative gender are removed, many transgender people would still feel the need to transition physically. Again, speaking from my own experience. I find my experience as a trans person, both in terms of my dysphoria and my response to hormone therapy, to be deeply rooted in the physical, even though there are certainly significant performative or social components layered on top of that.

KSF wrote:
Marroar Gellantara wrote:
To me though, a performative is core to who a person is regardless of how they acquired it. I consider that the most real part of a person.
I guess that's where I'd disagree with you.

We're running into how we probably have different ideas about cosmology. In the way I am using performative, it can have physical components. Or as I like to put it, there are rational constraints in the universe that inhibit acquiring particular performatives and/or rational constraints that prevent expressing them.

NOTE: As for some of the other stuff. It is an inductive argument. If there exist this biological possibility, then there can exist others.If there are people who don't map their gender from their body. Then it can be inferred that their may be people who simply don't map their gender from any body.


I agree that its a matter of actual use, otherwise its just characterization on page. If we go by history of actual play, one might describe my characters as 'not sexually interested' even tho their character histories might include a healthy view on it. Why? Because I'm not interested in RP'ing sex stuff in my games, and in most cases it never comes up (hur hur). Its like your usual fantasy movie stuff. You don't usually play with things like "hey, remember all those other bodily functions we don't use in games? Lets use those!" but assume they occur between the scenes or whatever.

It's kinda like those huge character histories (bonus the char dies in the first encounter..seen that happen, hasn't everyone?) which can be useful for informing the player on how the char might see things/interact, but largely have no purpose unless the GM starts picking hooks from it.


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KSF wrote:

Anyhoo, some of the above discussion really merits a different thread.

So, back on topic, Ashiel, the one element of Victoria's story that gives me pause is this:

Ashiel wrote:
and his insistence that she be look, act, and be considered female

It makes it sound as if he's forcing a gender identity on her, and actually kind of reminds me of the sorts of things therapists used to force trans people to do in order to attain medical care. (That is, look and act in a manner that corresponds to someone else's notion of being female or male.) I don't know, I'd be suspicious of someone like that. I guess it's a villain doing this to her, so maybe that's in keeping with his character. But still, it gives me pause.

Thanks for typing out the long character bio.

You're welcome, and yes he was indeed and not for her own benefit but for his. The short version is that he's an ass. The long version is he's a narcissistic madman with illusions of grandeur who had some real special quirks. All of his vampire thralls were beautiful women, and in some cases he insisted on being treated as a divinity (and at least one or two of his thralls had such devotion to him). To give an example of how twisted he was, one of the PCs successfully intimidated him with a skill check which caused him to pause and act more cordially towards her, but when his attitude shifted down more negatively he realized was both amused by her fire yet angered by her contesting his will, and he decided that he would play cat and mouse with her for a while (leading to the vampires becoming noteworthy antagonists to the party for some time, including slipping a spy into their midst - Miranda - who eventually confessed because of how nice te party was to her that it got the better of her conscience) before he would turn her, bed her, and add her to his collection.

The reason he was so insistent upon her being so feminine was because of his own insecurities with his attraction to her (he would never admit it even to himself however) and not really for her own benefit. But since she had struggled to be the woman she was before being turned and whisked out of the country she was born in, it just felt like the acceptance that she hadn't known previously, but she eventually woke up and realized he wasn't what she thought, wanted, or needed. When the party met her she had become mostly cold and cruel to the others, but after her encounters with the party stirring up stuff, she warmed up a bit and began reevaluating a lot of things in her unlife.

Hopefully this all makes it a little clearer. Thanks for your interest. ^_^


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Losobal wrote:

I agree that its a matter of actual use, otherwise its just characterization on page. If we go by history of actual play, one might describe my characters as 'not sexually interested' even tho their character histories might include a healthy view on it. Why? Because I'm not interested in RP'ing sex stuff in my games, and in most cases it never comes up (hur hur). Its like your usual fantasy movie stuff. You don't usually play with things like "hey, remember all those other bodily functions we don't use in games? Lets use those!" but assume they occur between the scenes or whatever.

It's kinda like those huge character histories (bonus the char dies in the first encounter..seen that happen, hasn't everyone?) which can be useful for informing the player on how the char might see things/interact, but largely have no purpose unless the GM starts picking hooks from it.

Sex stuff <> romance stuff. I've never actually RP'd sex stuff, but I've RP'd plenty of romance.

*There are people for whom there is no sexual implications to romance, but it's not that common and for all the cases I've seen in game, if a romance proceeded far enough, sex was assumed. It just happened offstage.

For actual trans characters, that's a reason to have the transition actually happen in play, rather than just have it as backstory - Show, don't tell.

It's also a possible reason to play around with fantasy variations on the theme, especially if you want to be cautious about making a modern politics statement.


To Jeremias:

Jeremias wrote:


In german we use the term (literally translated) "biological sex" and "social sex". For me, gender and sex was always the same term, but gender is more like the german "social sex", right?

It's not quite so simple. Gender and sex are made up of many components, not just "biological" and "social", and transgender people may have a biology that does not neatly fit into either "biological sex" category (studies show that many people who are trans have brain structures that are more similar to those of their gender, rather than to those who were born with similar genitalia).

Biological sex and social gender are very simplistic generalizations, and while they can be useful sometimes, they are also inaccurate, so in a discussion where accuracy in relation to gender is needed, they don't always work.

Splitting it into physiological sex/gender identity/gender expression is a lot more accurate but still a simplification.

Quote:
But in biological terms I cannot understand what this is about. There is a XY chromosome and a XX chromosome. There are rare deviations from this which are mostly not very benign. And thats it.

Chromosomes are not what society uses to determine sex, though. Very few people have done chromosome tests. Instead, at birth, we are assigned a sex based on the shape of our genitalia, and when the genitalia isn't binary enough, we are as infants forced through surgery without our consent to better conform to body standards.

And while chromosome deviations may be considered rare, they are not as rare as some people think. Klinefelter, which is just one of several chromosome variations (though the most common), is present in somewhere between 1:1000 and 1:2000 people, so in the US alone that's between 300 000 and 150 000 people. Though I can't stress enough that chromosomes are not what is used to determine people's "biological sex", neither juridically nor socially.

To Marroar Gellantara:

Quote:

One issue that you will find with radical third-wavers is that like most radical groups, they may have neglected reading all the relevant literature.[/quote

Ah, when I say "radical feminist" I don't mean "radical" as in extreme, but rather "radical" as in this context. While radical feminism has a long history of being transphobic, most trans feminist (and feminist with a focus on trans rights) groups I know in my country has a large influence of radical feminism in their theory (together with queer feminism).

Quote:
The common conclusion among third-wave philosophers is that transgenders should be free to express themselves. But that does not mean they consider the compulsion valid.

Is that really the common conclusion? Perhaps I've been blessed enough to live in a country where most third-wave feminists have a different analysis, but to me, a more developed analysis of gender identity and trans issues is one of the defining features of third-wave feminism as compared to second-wave feminism.

Not saying that we don't have issues of transphobia in the Swedish feminist movements - we absolutely have - but they seem to come more from people more ideologically rooted in 2nd wave feminism (as well as issues cropping from general ignorance, rather than as part of an analysis).


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Losobal wrote:
I agree that its a matter of actual use, otherwise its just characterization on page. If we go by history of actual play, one might describe my characters as 'not sexually interested' even tho their character histories might include a healthy view on it. Why? Because I'm not interested in RP'ing sex stuff in my games, and in most cases it never comes up (hur hur). Its like your usual fantasy movie stuff. You don't usually play with things like "hey, remember all those other bodily functions we don't use in games? Lets use those!" but assume they occur between the scenes or whatever.

Well, we're not talking about RP'ing sex stuff here. A character being transgender has nothing to do with their sex life, and a player roleplaying a transgender character doesn't mean there are going to be any sexual scenarios involved in the game. (That's true for someone playing a homosexual or bisexual character as well).


Gaberlunzie wrote:
** spoiler omitted **...

Spoiler:
It runs into the issue of effectively good enough. Your average third wave feminist would be aghast at the treating someone poorly for stereotypical feminine behavior. But you will find few of the philosophers that would agree to essential gender differences. Some transwomen require that they "actually" be female. The philosophy around third-wave would deny that. hence a lot of transphobia even in that group. Now transgenders and intersex persons are still critical in dismantling essential sexes and showing how even sex has performative natures. That proof prevents the gender being a mapping from physical sex argument. So these groups should be very important to a third wave feminist movement.

Second-wave requires the existence of women while third-wave feminism is explicit-ally not about women. Transphobia is a lot more common in that group because of that. Although I would like to point out that you have a essentialist binary gender/sex perspective without being transphobic. My rules of tolerance is if someone is not harming anyone with their behavior than it should be tolerated. I use that to prevent myself from being phobic against things I don't really understand. (if you want to test just how progressive and accepting you are, I suggest looking up other-kin)

Third-wave feminism is also defined by not having a unified message or meaning. It accepts that there are many different feminist voices.

I myself do not identify as a feminist of any wave. I advocate that treating people like people regardless of other factors should be 'normal'.


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To be fair KSF, I think saying that being transgendered, homosexual, or bisexual has nothing to do with their sex lives is a bit off base. Gender identity sure, but homosexuality and bisexuality literally mean sexual attraction to the same sex or both sexes, and a transgendered person is not necessarily asexual either and could they themselves be homosexual, bisexual, or heteosexual depending on who/what they were attracted to sexually. Given that someone's gender and sexuality are usually linked (and not just socially) and someone's gender and sexuality are often a part of who they see themselves to be (why most identify with a gender or sexuality) I think it's important to realize that sex is human and transgendered people are human too. :)

Beyond that, I agree with thejeff. Romance is an important part many stories and I see no reason to give it the boot from RPGs. Just because a character has a romantic relationship (or even romantic "relations") doesn't mean that the sexual activity has to be described or roleplayed during the game (anymore than you need to describe where most half-orcs come from). Though you and your significant other(s) may enjoy roleplaying such things away from the table. :3

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You can't know what it's like to be transgendered by looking from the outside. I'm married to one who came out about 3-4 years ago, and I'm still figuring it out myself.


KSF wrote:
Losobal wrote:
I agree that its a matter of actual use, otherwise its just characterization on page. If we go by history of actual play, one might describe my characters as 'not sexually interested' even tho their character histories might include a healthy view on it. Why? Because I'm not interested in RP'ing sex stuff in my games, and in most cases it never comes up (hur hur). Its like your usual fantasy movie stuff. You don't usually play with things like "hey, remember all those other bodily functions we don't use in games? Lets use those!" but assume they occur between the scenes or whatever.
Well, we're not talking about RP'ing sex stuff here. A character being transgender has nothing to do with their sex life, and a player roleplaying a transgender character doesn't mean there are going to be any sexual scenarios involved in the game. (That's true for someone playing a homosexual or bisexual character as well).

Hmmm. I would say having sex does not relate to gender, but how you have sex can be part of a gender expression.

Gender Diversity Cross Cultural Variations by Serena Nanda talks about a particular time in Brazil where gender was broken down by whether or not you have ever been penetrated. The culture had a male gender, a female gender, and a not male gender. Sexual activity was the deciding factor.


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Ashiel wrote:
To be fair KSF, I think saying that being transgendered, homosexual, or bisexual has nothing to do with their sex lives is a bit off base.

I was thinking of it in the same sense that TheJeff was. Fantasy stories and RPG scenarios are often full of heterosexual elements without focusing on sex itself. I'm not saying more explicit sexual elements cannot be included, but what I was trying to point out to Losobal was that RPing a trans person or a gay person doesn't mean you need to include "sex stuff" in your games. It's a common argument made against the inclusion of LGBT characters in games.

Ashiel wrote:
I think it's important to realize that sex is human and transgendered people are human too.

Yeah. I'm a trans person. I know.


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Marroar Gellantara wrote:
Hmmm. I would say having sex does not relate to gender, but how you have sex can be part of a gender expression.

Sure. But with regards to an RPG game, I think it's important to argue against the notion that including an LBGT character necessarily means the inclusion of "sex stuff" in the game. The equation of "LGBT character means there will sexual scenes in the game" has been used in the past by those who argue against LGBT characters appearing in games, and in Paizo products in particular.

(Plus, trans people can be of any sexual orientation - gay, lesbian, bi, straight, asexual, what have you. That's what I meant by it having nothing to do with their sex life. Saying a character is transgender gives you no information about their sexual orientation.)


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KSF wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
I think it's important to realize that sex is human and transgendered people are human too.
Yeah. I'm a trans person. I know.

We're on the same page then. :)


To clarify, I did not, and do not, intend to equate trans/gay with 'oooooh....sex' in rp. I'm just saying that its essentially entirely up to the player what they want to run. My personal preference is to not rp any of my characters with sexual behavior/relations. I'm not a prude, its just not my interest in RP as a character. It doesn't mean my _character_ is a prude or asexual or whatever. As character history, how much happens is essentially entirely up to the player.

My chars usually aren't involved in romance angles either. If your trans char was in our murderhobo game, we wouldn't care about that aspect. We'd care about how well you go along with the rest of our murderhobo group. In terms of "How well do you smash the walking bags of loot and xp we all run into"....and whether you're a ninjaloot chaotic-douchebag alignment pretending to be a team player. Similarly, if you were in our murderhobo game it might not be a good fit if you ARE looking for character development involving backstory stuff, not because its anti-trans, more because its 'we have backstory?" So your experiences will vary greatly on what group you're with

As per your OP, again its entirely up to the player and GM use of stuff. You may want to do stuff as a player and the GM couldn't care less, or they can't be bothered. The GM may want to do stuff, and you as a player couldn't care less or be bothered.


Losobal wrote:

To clarify, I did not, and do not, intend to equate trans/gay with 'oooooh....sex' in rp. I'm just saying that its essentially entirely up to the player what they want to run. My personal preference is to not rp any of my characters with sexual behavior/relations. I'm not a prude, its just not my interest in RP as a character. It doesn't mean my _character_ is a prude or asexual or whatever. As character history, how much happens is essentially entirely up to the player.

My chars usually aren't involved in romance angles either. If your trans char was in our murderhobo game, we wouldn't care about that aspect. We'd care about how well you go along with the rest of our murderhobo group. In terms of "How well do you smash the walking bags of loot and xp we all run into"....and whether you're a ninjaloot chaotic-douchebag alignment pretending to be a team player. Similarly, if you were in our murderhobo game it might not be a good fit if you ARE looking for character development involving backstory stuff, not because its anti-trans, more because its 'we have backstory?" So your experiences will vary greatly on what group you're with

As per your OP, again its entirely up to the player and GM use of stuff. You may want to do stuff as a player and the GM couldn't care less, or they can't be bothered. The GM may want to do stuff, and you as a player couldn't care less or be bothered.

Thanks for the clarification, Losobal.


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KSF wrote:
Sure. But with regards to an RPG game, I think it's important to argue against the notion that including an LBGT character necessarily means the inclusion of "sex stuff" in the game. The equation of "LGBT character means there will sexual scenes in the game" has been used in the past by those who argue against LGBT characters appearing in games, and in Paizo products in particular.

Having thought a little more deeply about what you've said, I can see why such a thing could be taken that way (primarily concerning the less than tactful arguments in the LGBT in Golarion thread further down the boards), so I think we looked at the same text and ended up drawing different conclusions as to what it meant because of our prior experiences.

I agree with you though. A character's sexuality isn't really a thing until of course it becomes a thing out of necessity. In the same game that Victoria is from, our party's Paladin has two other members of his order who have been traveling with the party as his order typically does (generally teams are composed of a warrior sort, a mage sort, and a support/skill sort of...some sort :P).

The two other members (NPCs) are Klari (a templar "sorceress") and Myriel (a templar "inquisitor") who are both highly skilled in different psionic traditions (Klari dresses like a knight and melts faces, Myriel wears robes, a faceless mask, and manipulates, reads, and judges the minds of others). Klari was the childhood friend of Carrius (the PC Paladin) who spent adolescence at the same chapel, while Myriel was a fresh inquisitor that had recently arrived at their chapel and was placed with the two for a cross-border mission. Klari and Myriel become lovers over their six-ish month stent with the party, though it didn't come up until the Paladin (who had a longstanding crush on Klari but didn't know how to bridge the gap from friend to lover) confessed to Klari during a dance they were having at a bar during a mission. He was mostly pretty smooth about it too (maybe kicking the butts of slavers gave him a bit more confidence).

Stuff ensued. Myriel and Carrius (the Paladin) had a conversation, which led to the typically quiet, reserved, and contemplative Myriel commenting that they had already consummated their feelings towards one-another which filled Carrius with more jealousy than he would have wanted. He came pretty close to punching Myriel in the face during their talk at the bar. He also felt pretty uneasy about the fact the two of them could converse mentally without talking (imagine how you would feel when you know that the other two members of your love triangle can be having elaborate dialogs in front of you without you ever even knowing :o).

Making matters more complicated is that Klari probably would have been willing to make a go at a relationship with Carrius but he acted too late, leaving her with conflicted feelings and uncertainties as to what she was feeling. Myriel typically seemed cold and uncaring on the outside but during this particular stent in the story a lot more about her was discovered as she and Carrius had a few very deep conversations where she admitted to him as having grossly violated their order's laws and that her position in the order was built on a lie that she cannot take back (spoiler below for what that was). Carrius was torn for a bit since he could have gotten her kicked out of their team, but in truth he couldn't himself fault her, in fact he felt sympathetic, which in all truth only made it harder because he couldn't bring himself to just blindly hate her because she was his rival for Klari.

At one point during a fight he defended Myriel quite fiercely. It was no secret to Myriel that it could have been easy for him to just let battle be what it was. None would have faulted him for continuing the fight if something were to have happened to her in the midst of combat, but Carrius don't roll that way. Carrius eventually came to terms with their relationship but his grief was pretty evident for a while. Later when he was promoted after several demonstrations of success and valor within his order, Klari and Myriel threw a party for him, where they dropped a bomb on his head (figuritively, though he's a Paladin, so he'd 'ave walked it off if it was literal :P). Turns out that Myriel and Klari had discussed it at length and the two wanted to include Carrius in their relationship, which wouldn't have been so terribly odd (Klari's aunt had two husbands even), but unfortunately Carrius declined as he was kind of a one-woman fellow as it were (which actually made Klari kind of mad with him for a little while, having felt a bit like he rejected them both when Myriel was at least willing to compromise for her sake).

Fortunately their drama mellowed after a while, and Klari's and Carrius managed to get out most of their frustrations during a sparring match inside the training room of the capital city's grand cathedral, which actually drew a somewhat terrified crowd of fellow faithful after they came to see what all the commotion was about (at this point they were both about 9th-10th level or so, and their "sparring like old times" was shaking stuff, causing a lot of noise, and in some cases tearing apart the building around them (fortunately the priests of the cathedral could fix such damage easily enough, but the severity was baffling to them). It actually terrified most of the other members of their order who saw it (all of them being around CR 1/3 - CR 6 at best save for the high council who suddenly began evaluating them for their potential in the order and the threat they could pose if they went rogue) but it was good for burning away all the tense emotions between them.

Carrius seems to have grown content with just having Klari as a friend again, but has found a new love interest in the vampire who confessed to being a spy in their midst, Miranda. Miranda grew up in the same kingdom where their order is from and has a sort of hero-adoration of the Templar (even though post vampirism their go-to action would be to end her existence) and she looks to Carrius like a hero, her champion who has saved her from the vampire who stole her away from her family (and indeed Carrius did reunite her with her family, though she was afraid of what they would think as undeath is viewed in their culture as being on the same level as fiends; though her parents were so glad to have a second chance with their daughter they dismissed such things more readily than she ever would have expected. Such is the power of a parent's love). Given that Miranda had wanted to become an adventurer and idolizes the Templar so heavily (being rather religious herself in fact), Carrius has decided he wants to make her his squire and bring her into the order's fold (0% of the other Templar are amused by this notion but most either can't do anything about it, and the few that could are staying their hands because he hasn't technically done anything wrong yet and his friends and he had been instrumental in breaking up a slavery ring and slaying a vampire lord).

Unfortunately Klari is now suspiciously jealous of Miranda. How Myriel feels about the whole thing is up in the air, because for someone who is a master at dealing with other peoples' emotions she is very silent about her own...

Myriel's Burden:
Myriel spent a significant portion of her life in one of the monasteries that was responsible for training the inquisitors that act as diplomats, spies, and truth-seekers for the order. They are prized by the order and feared by those deemed heretics for their ability to see through the most cunning of lies and even sift through the thoughts and memories of people and places. Myriel had been learning here at the monastery for several years and was very skilled at her art but had never had to put it to use.

A nearby village beneath the monastery was where she spent some of her off time. As she progressed in her training she became increasingly distant from those outside of her order, perhaps because over time she began having difficulties not paying attention to the emotions of those around her, which made social activity feel loud and overwhelming. That is until she met him. A young man from the village who was frequently reading books at a small cafe. The man had a nice aura about him that she found pleasing and so she decided to say hello. It was a greeting that would forever alter the course of their respective lives.

The two became friends and eventually more. When she was having trouble with her studies or when dealing with her responsibilities, he always seemed to have a parable or insight that would make it seem less bad. He too seemed very religious as she was supposed to be, and he never seemed to mind her talking about their devotions at the chapel. However, as the two became closer, Myriel found something that she never expected in the possession of this young man about her age. A forbidden text, an alternate bible of their faith, belonging to a related but heretical splint of her order's doctrine, and she found it hidden in his bedroom while he was cooking dinner. She was confounded. She had felt nothing but altruism from him in their time together so she had stopped probing him and questioning him, trusting only what he said with true trust. Yet here was a contraband bible in his possession. She put it away and tried to pretend she hadn't found it.

Despite that it was her duty to report him for his heresy, she remained silent and used her training to hide her emotions to prevent the rousing of suspicion by those in her chapel. Until one night...

She learned that the chapelmaster had received reports that there was heresy within the village nearby and that an inquisition would soon follow. Myriel was struck with fear for her friend who she had come to even love, and so she slipped out the night before the inquisitors were to go into the village to warn him, but in her haste and unusual time of leaving another student saw her and reported the strange activity to one of the teachers there...

Myriel arrived at her friend's house in the dead of night and he opened his home to her as he had many times before. She told him that she knew about his books and the secrets of his faith but that she didn't care. She told him that the inquisitors would be coming the following day and that she wanted him to get far away from the town before they could come. However, the inquisitors arrived early with the chapelmaster to find out why Myriel had struck out in the dead of night before curfew.

There was nowhere to run, and so her friend did something in an act of desperation that would spare Myriel reprimand. He took it all upon himself. "You tricked me!" he shouted at Myriel, "You pretended to be my friend just so you could find what you were looking for," he cursed and acted out until restrained by the Templar. Myriel knew through the link they had developed in their time that his rage was real but his belief that she was responsible was anything but. She reacted with her usual deadened emotional state, partially out of conditioning, partially out of shock of what was going on. As her friend was dragged away in chains, the chapelmaster examined the book that they found in his possession during their search.

"You have done exceedingly well my dear," the chapelmaster complimented. "This man was nowhere on the list of names that the informant provided, yet you sensed something amiss early enough to investigate yourself. A bold and thoroughly successful intuition for an apprentice. I'll begin making arrangements for your transfer to the chapel in Agate in the morning. Get a good night's rest, because you will be joining the seniors in the graduation ceremony tomorrow, Inquisitor Myriel," he said placing a hand on her shoulder. "You have more than earned that title".

"Thank you sir," she said watching her friend be carried out. It was that night, now alone with the knowledge that she had led them strait to her friend and the man she loved, now alone with the knowledge that she had broken the rules of the order and had no one to confide in, now alone with her own mind and her own feelings and her own guilt, it was that night that the inquisitor with the cold stare cried herself to sleep.


You can have a homosexual character and never in any way during gameplay interact romantically with anyone else. Ive had several such PCs; nearly all my PCs have been homo or bi and less than half has had any kind of romantic or sexual interaction. Ive had characters with wives at home, characters who are widows, characters who are homo/bi but just isnt that into flirting.

There is no connection between a characters attraction and whether there will be flirting/romance/sex in a game. Possibly barring that aromantic asexuals might lessen the chances of that happening a lot.


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Gaberlunzie wrote:

You can have a homosexual character and never in any way during gameplay interact romantically with anyone else. Ive had several such PCs; nearly all my PCs have been homo or bi and less than half has had any kind of romantic or sexual interaction. Ive had characters with wives at home, characters who are widows, characters who are homo/bi but just isnt that into flirting.

There is no connection between a characters attraction and whether there will be flirting/romance/sex in a game. Possibly barring that aromantic asexuals might lessen the chances of that happening a lot.

True, though characters who never express that sexuality in anyway, either romantically or sexually, are unlikely to be recognized as any particular sexuality - probably assumed straight if anyone even thinks about it.

This particular sub thread started with something that looked much like the usual "We don't have LGBTQ characters in our games because we don't do sex stuff." Raising the concept of romance is the usual response because it allows the players to notice that characters are LGBQ without actual sex appearing or without just blatant announcement of each character's orientation.


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It's a potentially awesome plot hook, though if you don't seriously understand the day to day issues trans* folk face in the real world, using them as plot fodder in a fantasy world will come off poorly written at best and seriously hurtful and offensive at worst. Blackface is just not funny or cool.

There is a rich tapestry of stories to be told about the trans* experience and how it might intersect with a given culture or technology level or heroic situation. It is well worth exploring if you have the depth of understanding to do so. It is also a subject very easy to trip up on in various ways if you don't have more than shallow stereotypes to write about. I wouldn't recommend it if you don't have enough of an understanding of the issues to create a realistic, believable fictional depiction that doesn't contribute to hurtful stereotypes.

It's not something I've explored personally very much in character creation, as I really don't tend to self-insert even in my player characters. They're all just characters, and part of the fun for me in writing a character is exploring an entirely alien mindset and experience that is not my own.


In the interest of avoiding something that comes off as blackface, what do people think about using fantasy takes on gender changing concepts without directly being trans* characters. Anything from the traditional living as the opposite sex for reasons of plot to shapeshifters comfortable as either sex to characters like Orlando who change for somewhat mysterious reasons.

But without focusing on the dysphoria or wanting to change.

Is that treading too close or is it far enough away to just be a different thing?


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thejeff wrote:

In the interest of avoiding something that comes off as blackface, what do people think about using fantasy takes on gender changing concepts without directly being trans* characters. Anything from the traditional living as the opposite sex for reasons of plot to shapeshifters comfortable as either sex to characters like Orlando who change for somewhat mysterious reasons.

But without focusing on the dysphoria or wanting to change.

Is that treading too close or is it far enough away to just be a different thing?

I'm not sure, but I've toyed with shapeshifting effects in stories before. One of my groups once met a wizard and his wife who they later determined was his familiar. Yep, wizard familiars being of human sentience and already sharing a bond, the two fell in love and she wears a ring that keeps her permanently in a humanoid form.


I don't think I've ever played a trans character, other than maybe a few minor NPCs here and there. It's not that I have anything against them, but I have no idea how to reflect that characteristic in any meaningful way.

I'm just plain old vanilla straight, I don't know anyone who is trans (AFAIK, at least) and trans folk are very underrepresented in media, so I fear that any attempt to role-play a trans person for more than a few short scenes would come out as a ludicrous caricature.

Occasionally I hear the argument that "You can roleplay formians and other completely alien races, why can't you role play real-life humans?".

Well, exactly because those races are completely alien. No can say I'm doing it in a wrong or hurtful manner. It doesn't exist, so however I see it is just as valid as however anyone else does. Also, the fact that they are fictional. If I make a ludicrous caricature of an fictional creature... Who cares?! They are fictional! It has no feelings to be hurt or rights to be ignored. They do not exist. I can say every elf is a a$!&~@+ and roleplay them as such... Doesn't matter. Elves don't exist. I can be as racist against them as I wish, because they are not a real race. Fictional characters exist solely to do whatever it is that real people want them to do in fiction.

With real people, that's a different situation. They are real. They have real feelings and real rights. So I avoid the risk of misrepresenting them in game and perpetuating harmful stereotypes.

There is also a far less noble reason... The fact that I simply forget about trans folk. I feel bad about that, but like I said, I know no trans folk (AFAIK) and they are very underrepresented in media, so it's not a characteristic that often comes to mind when I'm designing characters.

I hope nothing I said was offensive. It was not my intention.


Wow. I was planning on coming into this thread with the expectation of some really challenging nuanced viewpoints, but in fact I think this thread resolved to my satisfaction by the second post...

What if your character is experiencing some difficulty with transgendered issues? You were an M born into the body of a W... In the real world this transition can be a difficult, painful exhausting journey... On the other hand... In pathfinder...

Get a belt of gender change... Problem solved! Magic!

The T of LGBT shouldnt come up much in a pathfinder game because we've got magic...

Now of course it doesnt in any way simplify the idea of a character who 'wants to be one gender and have mannerisms of the other...' but you don't need spells for that.

On the other hand it would come up in the context of a character who wants to change genders but cant yet afford the magic item... what an admirable backstory to say 'I became an adventurer for this'... Or even cooler... I'm not doing this for me... I became an adventurer so that I can help someone I care about do this...

Might be helpful though to consider the item that does this should perhaps not be referred to as 'cursed' though. Sadly at the moment pathfinder as published has the girdle under cursed items and 'changes gender' as a possible drawback that applies to a cursed item. Thats a stigma that might be better off being changed... Creating a girdle of gender change might be something a caster should be able to create intentionally. Kinda surprised, knowing a few folks on the dev team, that the girdle still landed in the cursed item section.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
thejeff wrote:

In the interest of avoiding something that comes off as blackface, what do people think about using fantasy takes on gender changing concepts without directly being trans* characters. Anything from the traditional living as the opposite sex for reasons of plot to shapeshifters comfortable as either sex to characters like Orlando who change for somewhat mysterious reasons.

But without focusing on the dysphoria or wanting to change.

Is that treading too close or is it far enough away to just be a different thing?

Since most fantasy writing I read is pretty awful anyway, one gimmick doesn't stike me as being much different than any others. Folks who are trying to write from outside the LGBT experience, are going to do no better than an ivory tower "whitey" trying to create a black character from "the streets".

Most people, especially men, barely grok women as people from my experience. They won't be doing much better in creating characters that switch gender, having not learned the essential lessons, that sex is not gender and vice versa.

The rare exceptions to this rule, will demonstrate it by their output, by their ability to make the story transcend the gimmick.


Lemmy wrote:

I don't think I've ever played a trans character, other than maybe a few minor NPCs here and there. It's not that I have anything against them, but I have no idea how to reflect that characteristic in any meaningful way.

I'm just plain old vanilla straight, I don't know anyone who is trans (AFAIK, at least) and trans folk are very underrepresented in media, so I fear that any attempt to role-play a trans person for more than a few short scenes would come out as a ludicrous caricature.

Occasionally I hear the argument that "You can roleplay formians and other completely alien races, why can't you role play real-life humans?".

Well, exactly because those races are completely alien. No can say I'm doing it in a wrong or hurtful manner. It doesn't exist, so however I see it is just as valid as however anyone else does. Also, the fact that they are fictional. If I make a ludicrous caricature of an fictional creature... Who cares?! They are fictional! It has no feelings to be hurt or rights to be ignored. They do not exist. I can say every elf is a a$$&!#~ and roleplay them as such... Doesn't matter. Elves don't exist. I can be as racist against them as I wish, because they are not a real race. Fictional characters exist solely to do whatever it is that real people want them to do in fiction.

With real people, that's a different situation. They are real. They have real feelings and real rights. So I avoid the risk of misrepresenting them in game and perpetuating harmful stereotypes.

There is also a far less noble reason... The fact that I simply forget about trans folk. I feel bad about that, but like I said, I know no trans folk (AFAIK) and they are very underrepresented in media, so it's not a characteristic that often comes to mind when I'm designing characters.

I hope nothing I said was offensive. It was not my intention.

This is why I'd find it hard to play characters of any sexuality, as I'm an asexual myself.

I can't really understand conventional sexual attraction.


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Vincent Takeda wrote:

Wow. I was planning on coming into this thread with the expectation of some really challenging nuanced viewpoints, but in fact I think this thread resolved to my satisfaction by the second post...

What if your character is experiencing some difficulty with transgendered issues? You were an M born into the body of a W... In the real world this transition can be a difficult, painful exhausting journey... On the other hand... In pathfinder...

Get a belt of gender change... Problem solved! Magic!

The T of LGBT shouldnt come up much in a pathfinder game because we've got magic...

Not everyone has the funds to purchase the magical means to transform themselves -- just as not everyone has the funds to purchase the medical means to transform themselves in real life. There will definitely be trans folk who haven't yet been able to make that happen -- they should be treated with respect and dignity, and unless you want your game to be about (at least in part) the struggle of trans folk for acceptance, they should be accepted as the gender they want to be, so that the player can just play what they want to play and not deal with bigotry or ignorance. (This is why there's not much intra-human racism, homophobia, or sexism in Golarion: these are things that are pervasive in real life and people who want to escape into a fantasy game probably want to be able to forget about these problems. People who want to make a game about these issues will have no trouble adding them to the setting.)


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icehawk333 wrote:

This is why I'd find it hard to play characters of any sexuality, as I'm an asexual myself.

I can't really understand conventional sexual attraction.

I know a couple real-life trans* people that are asexual, but they still felt the need/drive to transition. Their brain still identified as strongly female, so they moved heaven and earth to make their physiology and social identity conform/affirm/match their brain identity; whom they might be interested in forming relationships with didn't seem to enter into it.

[TMI]Heck, I haven't had a date in ages, and I still mentally self-identify as female.[/TMI]


Sometimes I wind up playing genderfluid PCs. Usually, those with transformative spells, or at the very least disguise/alter self. Most commonly, Kitsune Tricksters with a rank or two of Magical Tail and Realistic Likeness.

Despite not having any problems out of game with those I've played such characters around, I do sometimes wonder if it's in poor taste, but that's probably just my anxiety acting up.

(Stealth edit:) In the mean time... While I may play genderfluid or cis types, I rarely make attempts at trans or dual-gendered humanoids. Specifically for the reasons Lemmy stated above. I'm an a&$&$%*# by nature (I'm workin on that...) so I've made it a personal policy to take great pains to NOT potentially insult people I happen to play with. Despite having several trans friends (and reading some great insight from awesome people on these boards), I refuse to do it for the same reason I refuse to free-form RP canon characters or write fanfic with canon characters.


icehawk333 wrote:
Lemmy wrote:

I don't think I've ever played a trans character, other than maybe a few minor NPCs here and there. It's not that I have anything against them, but I have no idea how to reflect that characteristic in any meaningful way.

I'm just plain old vanilla straight, I don't know anyone who is trans (AFAIK, at least) and trans folk are very underrepresented in media, so I fear that any attempt to role-play a trans person for more than a few short scenes would come out as a ludicrous caricature.

Occasionally I hear the argument that "You can roleplay formians and other completely alien races, why can't you role play real-life humans?".

Well, exactly because those races are completely alien. No can say I'm doing it in a wrong or hurtful manner. It doesn't exist, so however I see it is just as valid as however anyone else does. Also, the fact that they are fictional. If I make a ludicrous caricature of an fictional creature... Who cares?! They are fictional! It has no feelings to be hurt or rights to be ignored. They do not exist. I can say every elf is a a$$&!#~ and roleplay them as such... Doesn't matter. Elves don't exist. I can be as racist against them as I wish, because they are not a real race. Fictional characters exist solely to do whatever it is that real people want them to do in fiction.

With real people, that's a different situation. They are real. They have real feelings and real rights. So I avoid the risk of misrepresenting them in game and perpetuating harmful stereotypes.

There is also a far less noble reason... The fact that I simply forget about trans folk. I feel bad about that, but like I said, I know no trans folk (AFAIK) and they are very underrepresented in media, so it's not a characteristic that often comes to mind when I'm designing characters.

I hope nothing I said was offensive. It was not my intention.

This is why I'd find it hard to play characters of any sexuality, as I'm an asexual myself.

I can't really understand conventional sexual attraction.

Oddly, character sexuality has never been a problem for me. I find it pretty easy to roleplay interest in something I don't like IRL, so pretending to like guys instead of girls, or both, or neither is not difficult. What I find troublesome to roleplay is the whole gender identity thing... I don't know how to accurately portray that issue in a way that doesn't make it look ludicrous to me, even if the other players don't care or don't even notice.

Closest I've had are characters who were Reincarnated in a different race, rather than a different gender (but that's easy as well, for the aforementioned reasons that since those races don't exist, I can say whatever and it's okay! I can't be wrong or offensive because there is no wrong or offensive!) and characters who were magically turned into someone of a different gender.... But that's usually played for laughs (not by mocking trans people or people of a different gender, but by the characters having difficulty to adjust to his new body. Like an woman who couldn't stop scratching her new beard. Or the guy who was terrified by the idea of having a period).

I don't really know the feeling of having been born in the wrong gender. I mean, as a human I can sympathize and understand what other people feel, and I always disagree with the notion that you can't comprehend something without personally experiencing it, for I believe the human mind is not that limited.

But due to having very little contact with trans people, both IRL and in media in general, I don't know how the gender identity thing affects their daily lives, so I'd keep second-guessing myself ("Is this how this character would feel/act? Or is it too much of a caricatures? Would they be offended by that NPC's behavior? Flattered? Would they even care?")

Scarab Sages

icehawk333 wrote:
This is why I'd find it hard to play characters of any sexuality, as I'm an asexual myself.

Let me know when you figure out how to reproduce asexually. That would be awesome. I very much like the idea of just splitting into two of myself, someday.

I don't mean to belittle a lack of sexual desire, but I think that term is misleading and funny when applied to humans. I do agree that expressing a lack of sexual desire is difficult to explain to many, and "asexual" does work very well for this, even if misleading and a tad humorous to the more literal minded, like myself.

Personally, I'm not a very publicly sexual person. This displays very much like lacking sexual desires which an "asexual" person would have. It isn't the case, but I'm just horribly discriminating in my tastes and stubborn, so I'll be single for some time, I suspect. I can wait, a perfect one awaits.

Virgo, of course.


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Murdock Mudeater wrote:
icehawk333 wrote:
This is why I'd find it hard to play characters of any sexuality, as I'm an asexual myself.
Let me know when you figure out how to reproduce asexually. That would be awesome. I very much like the idea of just splitting into two of myself, someday.

Icehawk is a wizard!

;) @ Icehawk


Lemmy wrote:


Occasionally I hear the argument that "You can roleplay formians and other completely alien races, why can't you role play real-life humans?".

Well, exactly because those races are completely alien. No can say I'm doing it in a wrong or hurtful manner.

Just want to say, I think you've misunderstood that argument. From what I've seen, the argument is more of a counterargument when people say it would be "unrealistic" etc, or in reference to very large gaming companies that could no doubt get the competence needed to make minority characters (such as say Bethesda or Microsoft).

It's perfectly understandable that a small personal campaign where less than a half-dozen people are involved in the creation won't have any openly LGBT characters.

When it's a huge sprawling world with hundreds of characters made by a company with dozens of developers, and the world is still like 80% straight white men and 19% straight white women and straight black men (collectively), and it's defended with "well it's in the medieval time, anyone who was anyone back then was a white straight man!", I feel more like "you have elves, dragonpeople and floating extradimensional castles, and you've spent eighteen gazillion dollars making the game, I think you could have managed a bit more diversity...".

Companies have gotten better over time, naturally, but there's still such a far way to go...

But again, I don't think anyone thinks it's wrong not to create trans characters for your own home campaign, especially not when it's due to the reason you stated. Rewriting or excluding trans characters from already published adventures is another thing though...

The Exchange

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LazarX wrote:
thejeff wrote:

In the interest of avoiding something that comes off as blackface, what do people think about using fantasy takes on gender changing concepts without directly being trans* characters. Anything from the traditional living as the opposite sex for reasons of plot to shapeshifters comfortable as either sex to characters like Orlando who change for somewhat mysterious reasons.

But without focusing on the dysphoria or wanting to change.

Is that treading too close or is it far enough away to just be a different thing?

Since most fantasy writing I read is pretty awful anyway, one gimmick doesn't stike me as being much different than any others. [b]Folks who are trying to write from outside the LGBT experience, are going to do no better than an ivory tower "whitey" trying to create a black character from "the streets".

It's funny that you would say that on a genre where anyone from Earth writing it is going to be writing about someone with a much wider gap of personal experience from the author than "wealthy white vs poor black"... You chose the totally wrong genre to say that about. I doubt very much that many fantasy authors use personal experience when they write about hobbits stealing from dragons, bare chested barbarians raiding towns, or wizards shifting the universe with their mind.

Sure, like anything else, 90% of published fantasy is crud and easily avoided. But the actually good fantasy writers? the ones that can realistically convey the humanity of people (some of them not even human) living in other worlds and doing things so unlike anything actual humans ever experienced? the authors that can feel true empathy to the characters populating their world?

Yeah, I think these guys can stretch their imagination and fine ear for humanity far enough to accommodate a person for whom gender is a more complicated thing than for most.


Vincent Takeda wrote:
Or even cooler... I'm not doing this for me... I became an adventurer so that I can help someone I care about do this...

That's not a bad hook. Thanks.

Vincent Takeda wrote:
Might be helpful though to consider the item that does this should perhaps not be referred to as 'cursed' though. Sadly at the moment pathfinder as published has the girdle under cursed items and 'changes gender' as a possible drawback that applies to a cursed item. Thats a stigma that might be better off being changed... Creating a girdle of gender change might be something a caster should be able to create intentionally. Kinda surprised, knowing a few folks on the dev team, that the girdle still landed in the cursed item section.

There's already been some discussion about the cursed nature of the girdle on various threads. For example, here's James Jacobs on the issue. Wes Schneider posted stats for a non-cursed item that did something similar. (Forgetting where the post is at the moment.) And I think this was one of the reasons for including the Elixir of Sex Shift in the ACG. The original girdle most likely ended up in the cursed section due to tradition (the item goes back to 1st ed. AD&D). I'm glad that Paizo has addressed it and offered alternatives.

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