Presentation of trans and nonbinary characters in pfs


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Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Texas—Houston

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Ferious Thune wrote:
I don't know if Paizo has an official style guide, and I imagine that would be an internal document, but in the one PFS scenario I've read with a non-binary character, "they" is the pronoun used.

For Starfinder at least, Paizo seems to have settled on the singular they for nonbinary folks (see Iseph's backstory) and third-gendered Shirren (see any SFS scenario featuring Zigvigix).

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 *** Venture-Lieutenant, Conventions—Gen Con

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Serisan wrote:
Ignorant cis white dude here. When portraying non-binary character and in the position of correcting a wrong pronoun, is it better to use "I don't identify as..." over "I am not..."? Alternately, would it be better to use a more affirmative "I am nonbinary"? Is there a preferred standard around that language or should I look for clues in the character's write-up?

Again, I can’t speak for nonbinary people, as I am a trans woman, but I never use the phrase “I identify as” or “I don’t identify as”. I am a woman.

Bill Baldwin wrote:
I admit that eventually our language would adapt to the new use of 'they.' My point is that it would likely adapt quicker and smoother if a completely new word was used. Which, again, I would think would be something that community would benefit from.
James Anderson wrote:
I have a friend who uses ze & zer as pronouns instead of he/she & his/her. I know it is just one of several pronouns schemes available. I still have trouble remembering zer pronouns sometimes, but I try. My problem in Paizo products is remembering to use they instead of ze. I would have prefered Paizo use a different pronoun scheme, as it would have a)Taken away the 'they' controversy and b)Been easier on my own usage. But they didn't, so... oh well.

Right, so here’s the issue. To the two of you (and many other people as well!), this seems like a really obvious choice. If you make up a new word as the singular gender neutral pronoun, then that eliminates a lot of the ambiguity of using they. But that solution is not as obvious to other people as it is to you. They rolls off the tongue much easier than a pronoun that you’ve never used before. It already conjugates verbs in a way that feels natural to us. And the “not telling the difference between singular they and plural they” is usually figured out from context clues. After all, if there are two men in a mission briefing and the text refers to one of them with “he”, usually you can figure out which one they mean.

In the end, there will be advantages and disadvantages to using they/them or something like ze/zer. And quite frankly nonbinary folks don’t always agree on which they should use. I know both people who use they/their and fey/feir. It seems like the majority of nonbinary folks are pushing towards they/them mostly due to its wonderful use as an umbrella term. (If we were having this discussion 10-15 years ago, we might have been pushing the other direction with making up our own pronouns for each instance.)

But I’ll be honest, the part that’s really bugging me is the whole “if you do this, it would be easier to accept you.” Like, part of the issue with being trans/nonbinary is that you get a lot of people policing what you “should” be doing to properly be trans/nonbinary and often giving conflicting messages. I can give an example as a trans woman. If a trans woman dresses feminine, there will be complaints that she’s “appropriating womenhood” and that “she’s just wearing a costume”, while if she dresses more neutral there will be complaints that she’s “not feminine enough”. There’s never any acceptable region to be in. This discussion is starting to sound like that.

Hmm wrote:
Miss Feathers: I portrayed her a smart information broker who happened to be a prostitute. My description: “Miss Feathers is a boisterous large and muscular woman with sharp eyes and information on everyone in town. At one point, she was male, but that was a while ago.”

Better: “Miss Feathers used to present as male, but now she presents as female.”

Also, Miss Feathers and Medda Spiritbreaker are not nonbinary – they’re both trans women – or so they’ve shown us.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 **

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

: Hmm takes notes. :

Thanks, Jen. You’re right. I used non-binary incorrectly as an umbrella term when it should have been trans / non-binary. I’m still learning!

Rigby Bendele wrote:
If you need some basic "what is nonbinary", the Enby Collective (enby being a term for nonbinary people, as a spelled-out version of nb) has a great 101 page. You can find it here.

This was an excellent summary, and a very interesting read.

Iammars wrote:
There’s never any acceptable region to be in.

I get why you feel that way — pushed on all sides. But do realize that many of us are also trying to find the right words so that we can say the right things to be more welcoming and inclusive. We’re just not always very good at expressing ourselves. There’s going to be a lot of flailing around. (It’s not only trans folk in transition. Our society is transitioning too.)

The learning happens on all sides. Just know that you don’t have to change a single thing about yourself as far as I’m concerned, Jen.

Hmm

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Hmm wrote:
I get why you feel that way — pushed on all sides. But do realize that many of us are also trying to find the right words so that we can say the right things to be more welcoming and inclusive. We’re just not always very good at expressing ourselves. There’s going to be a lot of flailing around. (It’s not only trans folk in transition. Our society is transitioning too.)

Oh, I get that. I may have been a little more terse at the end there than I meant to be – that was mostly because I was falling asleep while writing that last post and I wanted to get it out before I passed out from tiredness.

I’m sympathetic to helping people figure out the right language. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be in this thread. What I’m not really sympathetic to is cis people telling us what would be easier for them. There is very little that matters less in this world than a cis person’s opinion about a trans or nonbinary pronouns, yet we seem to get those opinions given to us a lot.

I realized I quoted Hmm at the top, although that’s not really fair because this isn’t really directed at her. But as a general message to various people in this thread – your opinion about what trans and nonbinary people should or shouldn’t do isn’t new. We’ve heard it multiple times before, and we’re tired of it. Don’t be afraid to ask about what you should do, and if we specifically ask you what we should do then go ahead and respond. But we’re really tired of cis suggestions as to what we should do.

More directed towards Hmm’s post:
Yeah, trans tends to be used more as an umbrella for nonbinary folks than the other way around. There’s no way that I would describe myself as nonbinary for instance – I’m very much a woman, which puts me straight in the gender binary. That having been said, there are a growing number of nonbinary folks who don’t appreciate using trans as an umbrella – as trans is more often used to represent moving from one side of the binary to the other, whereas nonbinary are exploring their gender in other ways. That’s why I’ve been trying to avoid using trans as an umbrella in this thread.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

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Jared Thaler wrote:
Bill Baldwin wrote:
Tallow wrote:
We don't get to decide or tell people how to identify themselves. If they wish to use gender neutral terms, then it is up to us to make that work within our own paradigm.
I am not saying we get to decide. I am saying that choosing something that avoids confusion behooves their cause.

It's not really as confusing as all that. People use They for gender neutral binary all the time.

For Example, Car pulls in front of you. You cuss, your passenger who was not paying attention says "Whats wrong" and you say "They cut me off!"

I assume you are not thinking the car was driven by multiple people.

Other examples:
"Somebody left their umbrella in the office. Would they please collect it?"
"The patient should be told at the outset how much they will be required to pay."
"But a journalist should not be forced to reveal their sources."

This one was really helpful to me, thank you.

2/5

Cisplaining - I learned a new word today!

It’s even a Twitter hashtag, #cisplaining

2/5

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pjrogers wrote:

Cisplaining - I learned a new word today!

It’s even a Twitter hashtag, #cisplaining

And just in case anyone thinks my post is some sort of faux-sophisticated ironic humor or snark, it isn't.

I've very much liked and agreed with what Iammars has written above and appreciate the time and energy needed to compose it.

I was just curious to see if "cisplaining" was a word and was pleased to discover that it is.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 5/55/5 *** Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

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Douglas Edwards wrote:


I have to admit I portrayed the recent non-binary gnome in Down the Verdant Path as just 'depressed poet gnome' and used 'they' exclusively and no one even picked up on or commented on something being amiss, but you think I maybe should have called out the non-binariness even more than that?

'Depressed poet gnome' was how they were presented when I played it and how I plan to present them when I run it. If someone in game uses a gendered pronoun near them they will probably correct it, but given the circumstances the only pronoun likely to be used is 'you' so it's not really an issue. Whatever their gender is doesn't matter for the situation, so I don't see a reason to bring it up unless the characters do in-game.

Iammars, the bit I wrote about "But they didn't, so... oh well." was supposed to be read as "But they didn't, so when dealing with Paizo stuff I'll roll with they/their and try to keep with it." Sorry if that didn't come through.

Starfinder is a bit odd about it. While Iseph is written up as non-binary, every time I've seen them played the player has presented them as male. Other androids I've seen all over the scale. My own android is non-binary but chooses to accept all pronouns. Then we've got Shirren and Maraquoi complicating the mix.

My wyrwood on the other-hand, despite having no bits at all, identifies as male when it comes up.

1/5 5/5

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...was so strongly fighting the urge to mention the Maraquoi, because... I think some brains just exploded somewhere...

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 *** Venture-Lieutenant, Conventions—Gen Con

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(I'll be honest, I kinda want to do an all-maraquoi party. It would be funny.)

4/5 5/5

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Iammars wrote:
(I'll be honest, I kinda want to do an all-maraquoi party. It would be funny.)

I think that is the only way to do right by them: six different gendered Maraquoi on their quest for me 7.. I

1/5

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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
...was so strongly fighting the urge to mention the Maraquoi, because... I think some brains just exploded somewhere...

I maybe should have included something in the AA entry about trans or gender-nonconforming maraquoi, but space was pretty tight. It's a pretty interesting topic to consider, though... maybe there'll be a good opportunity to expand on them down the line. ^_^

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden

Jared Thaler wrote:
Bill Baldwin wrote:
Tallow wrote:
We don't get to decide or tell people how to identify themselves. If they wish to use gender neutral terms, then it is up to us to make that work within our own paradigm.
I am not saying we get to decide. I am saying that choosing something that avoids confusion behooves their cause.

It's not really as confusing as all that. People use They for gender neutral binary all the time.

For Example, Car pulls in front of you. You cuss, your passenger who was not paying attention says "Whats wrong" and you say "They cut me off!"

I assume you are not thinking the car was driven by multiple people.

Other examples:
"Somebody left their umbrella in the office. Would they please collect it?"
"The patient should be told at the outset how much they will be required to pay."
"But a journalist should not be forced to reveal their sources."

This is pretty interesting. As a non-native speaker of English, most of these have me scratching my head going "is that really how it's done?"


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Lau Bannenberg wrote:
"is that really how it's done?"

Yes, so much so that it wouldn't even merit a comment if I were grading a college level writing assignment.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Rhode Island—Lincoln

I'm going to admit, I have recetly been toying with the idea of trying to play a non-binary or trans character. However this discussion makes me feel super nervous about it, as I typically do not do a whole lot of research or have fully fleshed out characters by the time I am done creating the character at level 1. Usually, things organically grow into the initial concept, and personality/behaviors evolve to give the character a more nuanced, multi-layered and multi-dimensional background that we try and strive for in an RPG.

But I feel that if I just go with how I've done it for most of my characters, I might act in a way that is disparaging, insulting... In short, end up acting like a jerk. Should I try and delve further than the piece Rigby linked? Should I work to having a blurb similar to that of our shaman pregen Shardra? How much work should I be putting in to at the very least, not be offensive? Is this something best left alone, because it can be insulting by the tone deafness I could bring to the fore?

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 *** Venture-Lieutenant, Conventions—Gen Con

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Prepare for that aspect of your character to never matter - you've seen a little bit of a skewed point of view - the fact that Cathran is trans has become extremely relevant thanks to a quirk of that adventure path. The vast majority of my trans characters never really have it come up at the table. But that's okay. I know they're trans, and that's important to me.

(But certainly don't feel like it's something you need to alone - one of the great benefits about RPGs is that you can be something that you aren't presently.)

3/5 ** Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro

James Anderson wrote:


'Depressed poet gnome' was how they were presented when I played it and how I plan to present them when I run it. If someone in game uses a gendered pronoun near them they will probably correct it, but given the circumstances the only pronoun likely to be used is 'you' so it's not really an issue. Whatever their gender is doesn't matter for the situation, so I don't see a reason to bring it up unless the characters do in-game.

The thing is that the whole scenario revolves around the premise that you are investigating a region which by its inherent nature operates on a spectrum. Its why as a nonbinary person I like the first world even with the writing faults that Paizo has.

Speaking of the faults it does turn up in the scenario but I'm not sure how you would fix it. It references a character that is actually really badly written to the point where I feel kind of awkward to use the pronouns. Namely, in that having a gendered name and sounding like a man are not reasons to actively attribute a gender to someone and yet Paizo thought that was an acceptable way to phrase someone's gender twice.
EDIT:
I would be a bit more stern in this regard but somehow in the same book they went from using "he or she" to using singular they which is a vast improvement. I'm just more confused as to why they don't have people sensitivity read this stuff more often.

5/5 ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Jared Thaler wrote:
Bill Baldwin wrote:
Tallow wrote:
We don't get to decide or tell people how to identify themselves. If they wish to use gender neutral terms, then it is up to us to make that work within our own paradigm.
I am not saying we get to decide. I am saying that choosing something that avoids confusion behooves their cause.

It's not really as confusing as all that. People use They for gender neutral binary all the time.

For Example, Car pulls in front of you. You cuss, your passenger who was not paying attention says "Whats wrong" and you say "They cut me off!"

I assume you are not thinking the car was driven by multiple people.

Other examples:
"Somebody left their umbrella in the office. Would they please collect it?"
"The patient should be told at the outset how much they will be required to pay."
"But a journalist should not be forced to reveal their sources."

This is pretty interesting. As a non-native speaker of English, most of these have me scratching my head going "is that really how it's done?"

A bit of a tangent, but I only learned this year that Dutch and (British) English use opposite rules when it comes to collective nouns. See this link for what I mean. Basically, Dutch people treat a group of people as a single entity ("my family is crazy"), British people are still individuals ("my family are crazy"). Which really threw me for a loop.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Iammars wrote:
Better: “Miss Feathers used to present as male, but now she presents as female.”

I apparently have no idea what presents as means if that is the case.

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Iammars wrote:

So here’s the thing about trans NPCs in Paizo material and in PFS in general. In a lot of cases it’s not going to matter. You say that the NPC is gender they present as, and unless the scenario brings it up at some point, it doesn’t really matter. It’s kind of like real life – if you suspect the person you’re talking to is trans, you use pronouns/titles of the gender they are trying to present as, and you don’t bring it up unless they bring it up first.

That being said, PFS has two issues: the first is the original sin of Miss Feathers, the second is that it’s hard to have natural trans representation in a RPG scenario for many of the reasons that BNW mentioned. I don’t have a ton of time right now, but here’s some big tips I can give to GMs who are looking for tips on how they present trans NPCs.

1. Get their pronouns correct. – I don’t care if you think that “they” isn’t grammatical. First of all, proper grammar is crap. Second, respecting people is more important than grammar. Third, consider it practice for when you encounter nonbinary people in real life and risk offending real people.
2. Don’t walk into trans stereotypes. – Most things you have been taught about trans people by society are wrong. It’s not only a sexual thing (although for some us, sex is a part), it’s not just as simple as “man in a dress”, it’s not equivalent to drag, it’s not done for humor, and we’re not trying to sleep with you. Also, trans men exist, which is something that society tends to forget about. Basically, just like you wouldn’t play every gay character as the flaming homosexual stereotype, don’t play trans women as the dude in a dress stereotype.
3. If the scenario brings up their transness in a way that’s visible to the players, don’t skip it! – I’m mainly looking at 8-99 here. The way 8-99 brings up the fact that Medda Spiritbreaker is trans is natural and visible to the players, but I find it funny how little players ask who the NPC is in that situation, and I agree that the time pressure of...

The original baldur's gate used they and have not heard anyone complain about that.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Contributor

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Iammars wrote:
Better: “Miss Feathers used to present as male, but now she presents as female.”

I apparently have no idea what presents as means if that is the case.

To use extreme cases:

If I were to go to a game day wearing makeup, a dress and high heels, I'm presenting as feminine. This is read as "presenting female."

If I go to a game day wearing a polo shirt, cargo pants, and "men's" boots, I'm presenting as masculine. This is read as "presenting male."

It is also important to note that these presentations are 100% rooted in culture. For example, long hair is seen as feminine while short hair is masculine. However, there are plenty of men with long hair and women with short hair. Men used to wear far more makeup than women in royal France, but not anymore.

Because people are rejecting these culturally prescribed gender roles and rules, we see an increase in the number of non-binary people, gender fluid people, and gender non-conforming people. Younger generations, mostly, are shattering traditional gender based stereotypes in favor of freedom of individual expression. You are going to see an increased number of non-traditional gender expression and identification.

Edit:
I meant to add: Western culture tends to lump "androgynous" and "ungendered" fashion in with masculine fashion. I.e. you are more likely to see a woman wearing overalls or a polo than you are likely to see a man in a dress. This is also because Western culture uses masculine features/ideals as the default and feminine features/ideals as "other." But maybe I'm getting off topic...

5/5 5/55/55/5

Andrew Hoskins wrote:
If I were to go to a game day wearing makeup, a dress and high heels, I'm presenting as feminine. This is read as "presenting female."

Right but thats how Miss Feathers always looked IIRC.

The Exchange 1/5 5/5 **

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WOW, I guess I'm really clueless because I never realized that the gnome or Medda were non-binary or trans until I read all these forum post. I have ran 8-99 like three times and never caught that! I played Verdant Path and it wasn't even a thought as to what the gnomes sex was.
Never heard about Miss Feathers until this thread either.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Contributor

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Andrew Hoskins wrote:
If I were to go to a game day wearing makeup, a dress and high heels, I'm presenting as feminine. This is read as "presenting female."
Right but thats how Miss Feathers always looked IIRC.

That's how she's always looked in-game. PCs did not have a chance to meet her pre-transition. I believe that Iammars was suggesting a way of describing her that includes the fact that she's transgender. I think the important distinction here is that Miss Feathers has always been a woman, even if she presented as male before.

So you DON'T want to say, "Miss Feathers used to be a man and is now a woman."

You DO want to say, "Miss Feathers used to present male, but now presents female."

If you want to be more elequent, you could also go with, "Though mistaken for a male in the distant past, Miss Feathers proudly projects an alluring aura of feminine mystique as she tosses her feather boa across her muscular body."

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thank you, that’s awesome!

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 *** Venture-Lieutenant, Conventions—Gen Con

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Andrew Hoskins wrote:
I believe that Iammars was suggesting a way of describing her that includes the fact that she's transgender. I think the important distinction here is that Miss Feathers has always been a woman, even if she presented as male before.

That was exactly what I was trying to say.

Liberty's Edge 1/5

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I'm non-binary myself. I use 'they' or 'ze' as pronouns. Most people end up using 'they', as it's easier to conjugate on the fly, or use my name rather than a pronoun.

I've got several male characters, several female characters, and a non-binary tiefling who looks very androgynous and, if asked whether they are male or female, will gleefully claim to be, 'Everything you're hoping for, and more.' I've also got a vigilante tengu whose social identity is distinctly female, and whose vigilante identity is, "None of your business."

When physically describing a non-binary character I would use gender-neutral terms or the 'conflicting' gender cues that fit that character. "You see a tall elf in leather armor with a longbow." If players asked if the elf was a man or woman, "You can't tell. Do you want to ask them, in character?" As a GM, I would have a prepared answer in character answer to that question, and would be prepared to firmly but politely shut down any disrespectful comments. Honestly, practicing respectfully asking after someone's pronouns is a WONDERFUL thing to have people do.

I saw a GM helping a group of 10-14 year old children set up characters for their first campaign this week. The GM asked for each character's name, race, class, and pronouns. It was a fantastic way of modeling for those kids, and opened up the option for them to play any kind of character they wanted.

In terms of dealing respectfully with trans and non-binary players, it's important to try your best to use the pronouns AND name that person has given you, if someone at your table has transitioned and is using a different name than they used to.

I correct people on my pronouns all the time. I don't get angry over it, but I do sometimes get very tired of correcting people. So if you, as an ally, can correct a GM or fellow player's accidental misgendering of someone at your table, that's very welcome.

I'm hard to offend, so if anyone would like to send a PM about a specific issue, question or concern, I'm happy to chat.

1/5

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Rigby Bendele wrote:

Hello, Actual Nonbinary VC here, ready to help!

Jen hits on most of the big points, but the other thing that you can acknowledge it as appropriate in the scenario. If there's a nonbinary npc, you can say "You see a nonbinary person ahead" just the same as you'd say "you see a man" or "you see a woman". That, honestly, is probably the most normalizing thing that you can do and it's appropriate in those contexts!

This is so perfect and such a good idea, I'm kicking myself for not already doing it. (One more victory over cisnormativity!)

One thing to add about using people's pronouns: if you notice you've made a mistake or you've been corrected, apologize, correct yourself, then move on. Correcting yourself isn't as good as getting it right the first time, but it's better than not. And self-indulgent explanations about how hard it is to get pronouns right are not better.

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nfelddav wrote:
. And self-indulgent explanations about how hard it is to get pronouns right are not better.

It is not self indulgent in the least. Its realistic. .

You're dealing with a group of people (geeks) who have a not entirely undeserved reputation of missing social cues and flubbing social mores they've been around their entire lives. Geek culture is very intent based: if someone didn't mean it meanly you don't take it meanly.

You have another group that emphasizes very particular, very specific language, to the point that it qualifies as technical jargon if not another language sometimes. Between the euphemism treadmill and trying to get things right, this language is rapidly evolving and relies a lot on subjective interpretation through a very specific lens.

I had french from the 6th grade till the 11th. Went to france for 2 weeks. Lived for 3 months in a country communicating mostly in french (and charades) . If you ask me to conjugate an ir verb on paper i can probably do it. In the middle of a conversation? Forget it. If a rule has changed in 20 years ? Not going to have any idea.

Proficiency takes time. Trans and non binary people are simply not a big part of most peoples lives and language. It doesn't come up, there's little time spent on it, proficiency is low. Spending as much time as it would take to gain and maintain proficiency for a percent of a percent of the population for something that high on the Maslow's pyramid is not a realistic request.

I will try. I am going to fail. A lot. Sorry yoda.

4/5

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
nfelddav wrote:
. And self-indulgent explanations about how hard it is to get pronouns right are not better.

It is not self indulgent in the least. Its realistic. .

The difference between "he...sorry, they" and "she...sorry, they, I just have such a hard time with...(insert things and reasons)...and that's why I keep screwing up" is, in fact, self-indulgent and it doesn't help the situation at all.

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Serisan wrote:

The difference between "he...sorry, they" and "she...sorry, they, I just have such a hard time with...(insert things and reasons)...and that's why I keep screwing up" is, in fact, self-indulgent and it doesn't help the situation at all.

It lowers the chance of someone reading into it and suspecting you of doing it deliberately out of malice or hatred instead of incompetence. Which is kind of important if you're doing it that badly.

Scarab Sages 5/5

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Serisan wrote:

The difference between "he...sorry, they" and "she...sorry, they, I just have such a hard time with...(insert things and reasons)...and that's why I keep screwing up" is, in fact, self-indulgent and it doesn't help the situation at all.

It lowers the chance of someone reading into it and suspecting you of doing it deliberately out of malice or hatred instead of incompetence. Which is kind of important if you're doing it that badly.

From all the learning I've been doing, while an explanation seems to make logical and even intuitive sense, it is not a preferred response of those I've spoken to and from articles I've read.

The preferred response folks gave told me they prefer is a simple, unequivocated, "I'm sorry, They." A sincere, simple apology, and a simple, immediate correction.

Otherwise it comes off like you are making an excuse for yourself and that you don't care.

1/5

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Tallow wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Serisan wrote:

The difference between "he...sorry, they" and "she...sorry, they, I just have such a hard time with...(insert things and reasons)...and that's why I keep screwing up" is, in fact, self-indulgent and it doesn't help the situation at all.

It lowers the chance of someone reading into it and suspecting you of doing it deliberately out of malice or hatred instead of incompetence. Which is kind of important if you're doing it that badly.

From all the learning I've been doing, while an explanation seems to make logical and even intuitive sense, it is not a preferred response of those I've spoken to and from articles I've read.

The preferred response folks gave told me they prefer is a simple, unequivocated, "I'm sorry, They." A sincere, simple apology, and a simple, immediate correction.

Otherwise it comes off like you are making an excuse for yourself and that you don't care.

Pretty much this. Getting pronouns right is hard, and we know it's hard. Believe me, trans folks know how hard it is to overcome bad societal programming.

The apology does a good job conveying that you're not intending harm, and will be appreciated. Going on into an extended thing about how hard it is for you, or maybe about your other friend who is trans and how you're trying so hard to get their pronouns right, is more than likely to read to the (invariably tired of people screwing up their pronouns) trans person as you seeking reassurance from them that you're being a good friend/ally, regardless of what your intent was. And that's putting more responsibility and emotional baggage on the trans person in this interaction, which is not what you want to be doing.

In case there was ambiguity, this applies to your typical interaction in which you use the wrong pronoun, not like, an online discussion about pronoun usage.


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Serisan wrote:
The difference between "he...sorry, they" and "she...sorry, they, I just have such a hard time with...(insert things and reasons)...and that's why I keep screwing up" is, in fact, self-indulgent and it doesn't help the situation at all.

It also makes the issue all about you and your feelings.

Rather than a simple apology for your behavior, you create a kerfuffle about your feelings, and how hard things are for you, and so on and so on.

It's a good way to deflect attention away from your mistake and the harm you've done to someone else, by making yourself the victim.

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Andrew Hoskins wrote:

Instead, please try to include different voices and representations so that you and your players can learn more about the world around you.

Do you think people feel like avoiding it because they're a horrible people, or because they don't feel comfortable being put in this position?

It is hard to show, it's doubly hard to show in this medium, it's tripply hard to show in a brief period of time, and most importantly you are asking people to teach that clearly do not know this stuff.

The character we were given to play? Wrong.

The presentation of the character? Wrong

A more subtle and nuanced Character? Erasure for not bringing it up. Wrong

The apology for messing up is also Wrong And self indulgent.

If you give people that much flak over any topic they are going to at least consider avoiding it. That's just human nature.

.

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CrystalSeas wrote:


It also makes the issue all about you and your feelings.

Or they're just babbling incoherently. I wouldn't trust any reading into that more than i would trust reading tea leaves.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
CrystalSeas wrote:


It also makes the issue all about you and your feelings.

Or they're just babbling incoherently. I wouldn't trust any reading into that more than i would trust reading tea leaves.

These are not mutually exclusive. For whatever reason, they *are* centering themselves. And we're not saying that we think those who apologize at length are being transphobic. But this thread is about how to be inclusive, and here's some advice on how to do it particularly well!

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nfelddav wrote:


These are not mutually exclusive. For whatever reason, they *are* centering themselves. And we're not saying that we think who apologize at length are being transphobic. But this thread is about how to be inclusive, and here's some advice on how to do it particularly well!

-Overcome a lifetime of social awkwardness and don't say anything anyone might consider harmful- is not a reasonable piece of advice to a group of geeks.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
nfelddav wrote:


These are not mutually exclusive. For whatever reason, they *are* centering themselves. And we're not saying that we think who apologize at length are being transphobic. But this thread is about how to be inclusive, and here's some advice on how to do it particularly well!

-Overcome a lifetime of social awkwardness and don't say anything anyone might consider harmful- is not a reasonable piece of advice to a group of geeks.

At least for me, in awkward social situations, an exact script is really useful. "If you mess up up someone's pronouns, say 'Sorry, they.' and then move on." would be a really useful rule to me (was, in fact).

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
nfelddav wrote:


These are not mutually exclusive. For whatever reason, they *are* centering themselves. And we're not saying that we think who apologize at length are being transphobic. But this thread is about how to be inclusive, and here's some advice on how to do it particularly well!

-Overcome a lifetime of social awkwardness and don't say anything anyone might consider harmful- is not a reasonable piece of advice to a group of geeks.

Most of the trans and nonbinary folks I know are themselves geeks, and gaming is actually how I met most of my trans and nonbinary friends.

People are being very generous with their time and energy here to help people learn to avoid saying things that are harmful. This is a great resource for answers to those very questions!

And while I'm here, I'll ask one! I'm thinking of making a nonbinary PC for PFS. Any particular pitfalls I should avoid?

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