Transgender PCs


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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 guess, to me, I find that approach to be a frustrating one, if the intent is to explore transgender characters without having transgender characters. It can relegate transness to a strictly metaphorical state, a kind of backhanded erasure, as it were. Just my opinion.


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KSF 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?

I guess, to me, I find that approach to be a frustrating one, if the intent is to explore transgender characters without having transgender characters. It can relegate transness to a strictly metaphorical state, a kind of backhanded erasure, as it were. Just my opinion.

I dunno. Is there a trans* membership card you can earn or lose for not being quite trans* enough or queer enough? My own experience is definitely on the trans* spectrum, but probably closer to genderfluid or non gendered. I am not metaphorical, but I do often feel erased in both cisgendered and transgendered society because I am neither cis enough nor trans* enough to truly fit either category. Like gender, trans* seems to be more of a spectrum than a binary.

And yep, those are still pretty good plot hooks if you hang them on a fantasy character. Same caveats apply about it being awfully easy to trip up in bad ways if your understanding of what it feels like not to be cisgendered is limited to shallow stereotypes.


I don't know about trans PCs... But I sometimes play a genderfluid Kitsune Rogue (Kitsune Trickster archetype) w/ Disguise/Alter self, Magical Tail, Realistic Likeness, and Swift Change (or whatever that feat was called).

Lets me do what I wish I could sometimes, after a fashion. Fun bit of escapism/dream-play for me. GMs absolutely love the plot hooks that can pop up around it.

Which was going to lead into a question I had concerning it, rather than start a new thread that'd be similar to this one... But it seems to have slipped my mind thanks to an offline distraction. Bummer. Maybe I'll remember it later.


TanithT wrote:
KSF 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?

I guess, to me, I find that approach to be a frustrating one, if the intent is to explore transgender characters without having transgender characters. It can relegate transness to a strictly metaphorical state, a kind of backhanded erasure, as it were. Just my opinion.

I dunno. Is there a trans* membership card you can earn or lose for not being quite trans* enough or queer enough? My own experience is definitely on the trans* spectrum, but probably closer to genderfluid or non gendered. I am not metaphorical, but I do often feel erased in both cisgendered and transgendered society because I am neither cis enough nor trans* enough to truly fit either category. Like gender, trans* seems to be more of a spectrum than a binary.

And yep, those are still pretty good plot hooks if you hang them on a fantasy character. Same caveats apply about it being awfully easy to trip up in bad ways if your understanding of what it feels like not to be cisgendered is limited to shallow stereotypes.

Good points as always, Tanith.

Edit to add: To clarify, for a long time, the kinds of stories TheJeff describes in his post were pretty much the only options. And they still are more common (it seems to me), than just having a trans character. Hence my frustration with those options. In and of themselves, they're fine. I just want to see space for more direct representation of trans people, in fantasy/sci-fi and elsewhere.

And by trans, I mean anyone who identifies as such, to whatever degree they identify as such. And I'd include genderfluid and non gendered in that statement. So, apologies, Tanith, if you felt excluded by what I said.

Edit to add: Wait, Tanith, was this the line in TheJeff's post you were thinking of? "But without focusing on the dysphoria or wanting to change. " Because yes, I totally agree that element is not necessary or one that needs to be focused on. Sorry about that. Read past that line when I was initially responding.

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