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Thread: Intersex PCs

  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scots Dragon View Post
    I'm a trans girl and I feel that hard.

    I got hit with the genetic straw of 'let's make you into a tall, broad-shouldered person who could be mistaken for wearing old Hollywood werewolf makeup'. Really cannot wait to start hormones.
    Relatively short (about average human height) but broad here, with a relatively 'traditionally masculine' face structure. Honestly if I could narrow the shoulders a bit and soften the jawline I think I could manage to pass as whatever I wanted.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: Intersex PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Relatively short (about average human height) but broad here, with a relatively 'traditionally masculine' face structure. Honestly if I could narrow the shoulders a bit and soften the jawline I think I could manage to pass as whatever I wanted.
    FWIW, as a trans girl, I have a similar problem, and I found (even before HRT) makeup could make a massive difference.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I don’t think I agree with you, but I really don’t want to argue about such a sensitive topic, especially not here.

    I don’t want to be rude to anyone. How would you suggest describing a nonbinary character to players? What if they ask for clarification?
    Sure.
    "Jack is about 7 feet tall, bright eyed, tan in complexion and pretty thin. They are dressed as a sailor and have long hair that looks like it hasnt been trimmed for ages. Their vest is covered in colored talismans, and they have a pouch that is clearly bulging with material components giving sign they are a spell caster . They do not looked to be armed with anything larger than a personal knife. "

    Then if a player asks. "They look pretty androgynous overall. You might have to ask them. "
    Last edited by KaussH; 2020-12-27 at 05:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Intersex PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    In short, because it is a very efficient, quite probably the most efficient, way to share a tremendous amount of descriptive information about a character.
    I disagree heartily. It's a pretty okay way to communicate a tremendous amount of assumptions people will have about that character, but that's about it. Even then, that depends on other information outside the sex/gender box and (of course) the cultural context of both the character and the observer.
    Let's ignore the differences between gender stereotypes in Western/Middle Eastern/Japanese/Indian/African/etc etc etc culture and focus specifically on the variety of stereotypes for femininity within American culture. (Though before I start, I'd like to emphasize that I'm describing these stereotypes, not endorsing them.)

    I can't in good conscience not mention the Madonna/Whore dichotomy—the way women tend to be categorized as "virgins" or "sluts," diametrically opposed stereotypes, depending on all sorts of arbitrary qualities that generally don't appear on a character sheet.
    Beyond that, we obviously have age; we expect different things of little girls, tweens, young women, old ladies, etc. We also have subcultures within American culture, which cuts both ways; people expect different things from (say) Texan, West Coast, and Midwestern women, and Texans/West Coast/Midwestern people have different expectations about women. A woman's build also affects things; we make vastly different assumptions about slender, buxom, fat, etc women. Obviously, class affects things, too; we assume different things about a poor inner-city mom, a suburban mom, and Elon Musk's wife despite all of them being women and moms. Oh yeah, we make vastly different assumptions based on marital status, especially when we combine that with age. "Middle-aged wife" and "Middle-aged single bachelorette" conjure up vastly different images, don't they? Heck, whether or not the middle-aged wife has kids affects things pretty significantly, and whether those kids are "hers" or not even more. (Birth-moms are good, stepmoms are bad. Again, diametrically opposed stereotypes.)

    And that's just scratching the surface. I haven't mentioned intersectionality (how race, sexuality, cis vs. trans women, etc etc) affect things, or the way personal presentation influences things, or that many of these assumptions are probably wrong in the first place.
    (Sticking to genre expectations doesn't make things any better, by the way; all the same stuff applies. Arguably it applies more, because fictional archetypes are more detailed and diverse than typical stereotypes.)

    TL;DR: Yeah, that was kind of the point. Anyways, sex/gender is a terrible synecdoche for personality/description/whatever. You need all sorts of other information just to start making assumptions about a character. From a D&D perspective, class gives you more information in about the same amount of space (or a bit more for multiclass characters). From an alternative perspective, sex/gender still isn't helpful.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    I'm not sure why people make a such a big deal about it. Especially in context of speculative fiction, which, before you get to realistic and realistically muted portrayals of various intersex conditions, has always had mythological and exaggarated androgynous and non-sexed beings. Getting creeped out by an intersex human when you could run into a Baphomet-worshipping shape-shifting lust demons or changelings or have your physical sex altered or removed by a magic potion is... quaint.
    On one side of the fence, you have marginalized groups who want to have their existence recognized and their voices heard. On the other, you have traditionalists who want this not to happen, whether out of some BS "moral" concern or because they want to preserve an inequity they personally benefit from. It's almost a law of sociophysics that these two forces will be (roughly) equal in passion and volume; if they weren't, the marginalized groups would soon be either accepted or concealed.

    As a culture, we're in the process of transitioning from a state where this isn't a big deal because there's only one option to one where it isn't a big deal because nobody cares. Until then, it's worth making a big deal about, for the good of the former group. (Or for the bad of them, if you're an effing a-hole.)


    That said, your point about speculative fiction messing with stuff is a good one. Picking Order of the Stick because we're familiar with it: The gag about a sex-changing belt makes trans binary characters basically impossible to include in the comic. Either they have used the belt to physically transition, or you need to explain why they can't; either way, you risk that character's arc becoming about being trans, specifically in a speculative context. That's not inherently bad—stories like Dreadnought do it well—but it requires care (especially for cis authors) and needs to be in the right story. You can't just drop a trans character into a setting which naturally screws with gender.
    That's not an inherently bad thing, of course. The casual way Rich threw a sex-changing belt into the story carelessly has ruined the story for at least one fan (wish I could find the post where he mentions that), but it can be done well. The trick, as with everything in writing, is to be careful how you write it. Don't just trivialize things that are important to some people, don't misrepresent demographics/identities, stuff like that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    So are most single player video games; a typical game still involves a lot of trial, error and outright failure no matter how strongly the game's narrative skews towards power fantasy. The same point applies: you get your fantasy after the fact, if you play the game succesfully. It is a reward for playing the game. Psychologically, it's an exercise in delayed gratification. Trying to bake your fantasy into your character concept shows inability or unwillingness to delay gratification, and there's a host of reasons to not prefer such players.
    On the other hand, if your fantasy isn't baked into your character, it feels out of nowhere, like you wrote a Mary Sue instead of a normal character.
    Incidentally, the label "Mary Sue" is more often applied to marginalized groups (especially but not exclusively women) than to straight white cis men. Also like "Mary Sue," the problem isn't the power fantasy, it's the context. Mary Sues aren't bad because they're cool, or overpowered, or even because they're boring, but because of how they warp the story around them to be about how they're kewl and awsum.
    The same applies to overt fantasies at the gaming table; they're only bad if the player tries to bend the game around their fantasy. As far as fantasies go, it's hard to get less disruptive than "I am [x], but not marginalized".


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    Quote Originally Posted by Silly Name View Post
    In one of my own settings which is mostly influenced by Mediterranean Antiquity, I've decided to be very ahistorical and just make sexuality and gender identity a non-issue: nobody in that world will give you crap for who you are, unless they're a complete *******.
    I think this is a good choice for most settings. If you're not going to explore bigotry in a story (at least a little), it's best to leave it out; it's like conservation of detail, except that the details are hardships and trauma to a certain subset of your audience.
    Traditional RPG settings have a unique problem when building (published) settings—they will be used to tell stories about basically everything, from epic tales of good and evil to intimate character studies to pulpy nonsense with no intentional themes, often at the same time. This is a bit less severe for small, focused TRPGs (or settings for larger TRPGs which are similarly focused—almost everything in Krynn is ties back to its epic divine conflict), but for the D&D settings most people are going to use/draw from, flexible generic fantasy is the order of the day.


    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I really wish the nonbinary community had chosen to go with an invented pronoun rather than using "they". Reading a plural pronoun for a singular individual always confuses the heck out of me.
    Speaking as a cis guy, it seems like several were attempted but none caught on (especially in the general population). I haven't really looked into it, though.

    I agree with the first paragraph on its own. I agree with the second paragraph on its own. But, taken together, they read like "kink-shaming" to me.

    I don't see why it is ok for someone to play Thor because they like the fantasy of being a powerful Viking god, and ok to be Tony Stark because they like the fantasy of being a billionaire super genius, but not ok to play She Hulk because they are attracted to large muscular women or not ok to play Starfox because they like the fantasy of never being rejected by a woman.
    Because one is "normal" and one is "aberrant". I guess "it's weird if people realize you like large muscular women but not if people realize you like being a large muscular man" also plays into it, but that's basically a circular argument.


    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    The advantage of a blank box is that it gives a player free reign to decide what's important about their character and isn't prescriptive. The disadvantage is that it gives no inherent starting point.
    As a tangent, this is the only useful purpose I think alignment serves. If you have to figure out whether your character is good/evil and lawful/chaotic, you need to think at least a little about who they are as a character (and, consequently, how they're different from you). For novice roleplayers, this is a good thing; it gets them thinking along the right lines. (Think of it as the RP equivalent of one of those unobtrusive tutorial boxes that just tells you that X makes you jump.)
    But as more and more new TRPG players have experience with VRPGs (and non-RPGs with some kind of explicit roleplay-ey choices, e.g. Telltale-style adventure games and many visual novels), and as 5e has introduced traits/flaws/bonds/etc that do much the same thing, alignment becomes less and less useful without losing its limitations. (Granted, the limitations are loosened by removing alignment's mechanical effects.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    For me there is this element of "Why not?" People ask why did you make this character [something] like it takes more energy.
    That assumption makes more sense if you realize that, broadly speaking, there exists "default" for fictional characters. This varies somewhat with what role a character fulfils in a narrative, but in general (especially for protagonisty types) the "default" is white (or at least ambiguously non-POC, ie anime characters), non-LGBTQ, able-bodied, attractive, male, etc.
    To paraphrase a somewhat memetic tweet, this creates two genders, male and "deliberate"; two sexualities, straight and "deliberate"; etc. Even if a writer's choice to write a black/trans/whatever protagonist (or anything else varying from a role's "default," e.g. a male "distressed damsel") isn't actually deliberate, many people will assume it was because it isn't "the default". Many of those will furthermore assume that it must be significant, for the same reason a character having wings, three eyes, or pink hair seems significant—it's incongruous with expectations.

    On one hand, the idea of a "default character" isn't BS; everyone starts with a certain set of assumptions about each character they write that they never get around to questioning (most obvious with able-bodiliness). On the other hand, sometimes an artist just gives their characters weird hair colors. And it's obviously worth pointing out that certain Animal Crossing fans found people of color more incongruous/significant than talking animals.


    Quote Originally Posted by Scots Dragon View Post
    This forum needs a like function.
    Quoted for truth.

    In general, I mean. I wish I could express support/agreement without just quoting them and saying "Quoted for truth" or something.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Blade Wolf View Post
    Ah, thank you very much GreatWyrmGold, you obviously live up to that name with your intelligence and wisdom with that post.
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  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    For me, a form is the simplest way to find information and to remember to include things. [...] For the record, character sheets in my system have both specific entries to fill and a blank box to fill in what you think is important, but given a choice between the two I much prefer the former. [...] For the record, I am not talking about check boxes; that is way too restrictive and clutters up the sheet. I am talking about blanks you can fill with a specific prompt.
    Right but you can still adjust the labels by the blanks (a blank line is just a small blank box) to prompt the kind of information the game needs. I don't know exactly what you are going for (is this Heart of Darkness still?) but Gender/Sexuality might be a good label. A bit long because its two words but they are usually grouped together anyways and you can just write "male" or "female" with cis- and straight being implied if you are at that level. But if you want to try to cram in that they were assigned female at birth, are presenting male to adventure but are non-binary and are bisexual, poly and panromantic go ahead. Honestly it sounds silly when I list it like that but that isn't really that out there.

    But back to the blanks, on the other hand if you don't need sexuality you could do race/gender to cover things like "human trans-man" and "robot".

    And that's in games like D&D, in more RP heavy games, it plays a bigger role. For example, the character I have played the most in Mage is ostensibly asexual, but is obviously in love with her best friend. This has a huge impact on how I RP that character and the plot's she is involved in.
    Asexual but not aromatic. Two separate things that only usually match. The main character of a series I want to write is that actually and my sexuality and romantic-whatever don't match either. Also I learned a surprising amount about other posters today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BisectedBrioche View Post
    FWIW, as a trans girl, I have a similar problem, and I found (even before HRT) makeup could make a massive difference.
    Dyspraxia and the associated problems with fine motor control have honest;y stopped me from trying.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    On one side of the fence, you have marginalized groups who want to have their existence recognized and their voices heard. On the other, you have traditionalists who want this not to happen, whether out of some BS "moral" concern or because they want to preserve an inequity they personally benefit from. It's almost a law of sociophysics that these two forces will be (roughly) equal in passion and volume; if they weren't, the marginalized groups would soon be either accepted or concealed.

    As a culture, we're in the process of transitioning from a state where this isn't a big deal because there's only one option to one where it isn't a big deal because nobody cares. Until then, it's worth making a big deal about, for the good of the former group. (Or for the bad of them, if you're an effing a-hole.)
    What we should be moving towards is a society without any gender norms at all. What people are doing now is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Attempting to reform a system that's simply not worth keeping around at all.
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    Default Re: Intersex PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    What we should be moving towards is a society without any gender norms at all. What people are doing now is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Attempting to reform a system that's simply not worth keeping around at all.
    I actually agree with this.

    As I mentioned on the LBGTQ+ thread a few weeks ago, as someone who comes from a background of second wave feminism I actually have trouble comprehending what non-binary even means.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Right but you can still adjust the labels by the blanks (a blank line is just a small blank box) to prompt the kind of information the game needs. I don't know exactly what you are going for (is this Heart of Darkness still?) but Gender/Sexuality might be a good label. A bit long because its two words but they are usually grouped together anyways and you can just write "male" or "female" with cis- and straight being implied if you are at that level. But if you want to try to cram in that they were assigned female at birth, are presenting male to adventure but are non-binary and are bisexual, poly and panromantic go ahead. Honestly it sounds silly when I list it like that but that isn't really that out there.
    I don't know if I was referring to any one specific game; I am currently playing or preparing to play Delta Green, Changeling, D&D 5, and Heart of Darkness, so it could have been any of them. When I talked about designing my own character sheet that was in reference to Heart of Darkness, the sheet in that says "gender" but really means biological sex.

    Quote Originally Posted by KaussH View Post
    Sure.
    "Jack is about 7 feet tall, bright eyed, tan in complexion and pretty thin. They are dressed as a sailor and have long hair that looks like it hasnt been trimmed for ages. Their vest is covered in colored talismans, and they have a pouch that is clearly bulging with material components giving sign they are a spell caster . They do not looked to be armed with anything larger than a personal knife. "

    Then if a player asks. "They look pretty androgynous overall. You might have to ask them. "
    See, in that case I would just assume they were a guy because Jack is a typically masculine name and seven foot tall woman are all but unheard of. If they had an obvious secondary sexual characteristic such as a beard or breasts, I would wonder why the DM didn't mention it. I am also wondering how I know their name and their pronouns before I ever talked to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    I disagree heartily. It's a pretty okay way to communicate a tremendous amount of assumptions people will have about that character, but that's about it. Even then, that depends on other information outside the sex/gender box and (of course) the cultural context of both the character and the observer.
    Let's ignore the differences between gender stereotypes in Western/Middle Eastern/Japanese/Indian/African/etc etc etc culture and focus specifically on the variety of stereotypes for femininity within American culture. (Though before I start, I'd like to emphasize that I'm describing these stereotypes, not endorsing them.)
    Real people don't have classes. Profession might tell you a little about someone, but not really. If you say someone is, say, a delivery driver, I have no idea what they look like, what their personality is, what their roll in society is, or what their fashion is when they are out of uniform.

    Even with class, the last character I played in D&D was a ranger, I challenge you come up with even a single statement about my character that you can infer from that without tautologies.

    Even if we ignore societal factors, we can infer a whole host of physical tendencies based on gender. Its weird that this is even a controversial statement, like every MMO I can think of has different character models for sex, but none of them have different character models for class.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scots Dragon View Post
    I'm a trans girl and I feel that hard.

    I got hit with the genetic straw of 'let's make you into a tall, broad-shouldered person who could be mistaken for wearing old Hollywood werewolf makeup'. Really cannot wait to start hormones.
    I hear you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    That assumption makes more sense if you realize that, broadly speaking, there exists "default" for fictional characters.
    I'm trying to ignore it. Actually breaking from that default seems to be the hardest part of it.

    In general, I mean. I wish I could express support/agreement without just quoting them and saying "Quoted for truth" or something.
    Usually I add why I agree, highlight my favourite point that kind of thing. I like to a put a bit more work into it to show that my agreement is more than a passing fancy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BisectedBrioche View Post
    FWIW, as a trans girl, I have a similar problem, and I found (even before HRT) makeup could make a massive difference.
    I really need to get on learning the ropes of that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    A game setting does need to be designed to be fun and functional to game in.

    But there's more to good worldbuilding than piling the "parts to game in" on a big pile.

    Farmland isn't there to be adventured in, primarily, but one assumes it's still there and part of the landscape -- just because adventurers don't go there often doesn't mean it doesn't or shouldn't or needn't exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    What we should be moving towards is a society without any gender norms at all. What people are doing now is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Attempting to reform a system that's simply not worth keeping around at all.
    Problem there is that whenever I see this expressed, it's never an attempt to deconstruct the gender binary and propose a radical shift forward; it's an attempt to shame (or outright misgender) trans people for rejecting their AGAB, but worded to sound woke.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Dyspraxia and the associated problems with fine motor control have honest;y stopped me from trying.
    That's fair. Stuff costs more than it's worth anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BisectedBrioche View Post
    Problem there is that whenever I see this expressed, it's never an attempt to deconstruct the gender binary and propose a radical shift forward; it's an attempt to shame (or outright misgender) trans people for rejecting their AGAB, but worded to sound woke.
    See: the entire concept of Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism. Which shouldn't get to call itself feminism.
    Last edited by Scots Dragon; 2020-12-27 at 10:08 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    A game setting does need to be designed to be fun and functional to game in.

    But there's more to good worldbuilding than piling the "parts to game in" on a big pile.

    Farmland isn't there to be adventured in, primarily, but one assumes it's still there and part of the landscape -- just because adventurers don't go there often doesn't mean it doesn't or shouldn't or needn't exist.

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    Others have kind of addressed this but:
    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    In short, because it is a very efficient, quite probably the most efficient, way to share a tremendous amount of descriptive information about a character.
    Is often true, and when it is, you should include gender in your description. But if it's not obvious, then it's not carrying a lot of information and isn't helpful.
    For example, a Warforged from D&D...
    "Sprag is a tall lean warforged with themes of brass and oak in their look and a resting face that looks angry". I can check "male" and use "he" but those tell you nothing unless he actually cares about pronouns
    "A skinny human bundled up with furs. When they pull their hood back, their black hair is in scalp plaits. When they take off the thin ivory glare-goggles (medieval sunglasses), their eyes are so dark its hard to see where pupal and iris meet". Does ticking "Female" tell you anything?
    How about "A skinny human bundled up with furs, decorated with scenes of hunting and battle typical of a man from the northern hunting bands. When they pull their hood back, their black hair is in scalp plaits which is more typical or a woman from those parts." - and surly the description here is giving information relevant for roleplay which ticking a box wouldn't help at all
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    Small correction for you Talakeal - Intersex is just one of many, many options for gender expression besides the standard "male" and "female." A category called Other isn't, and shouldn't be, considered a synonym for that one very specific label - and I would recommend not using "Other" at all.

    Rather, if you want your game to be more inclusive, the easiest solution is to have Gender be a freeform (and optional) field at character creation. Instead of being an array of checkboxes between discrete options, just let the player themselves state how they would like to identify (if they wish to do so.) In fact, a far more important field would probably be asking what pronouns they prefer to use rather than asking them to sort themselves underneath a potentially imprecise or limiting label.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Quote Originally Posted by BisectedBrioche View Post
    Problem there is that whenever I see this expressed, it's never an attempt to deconstruct the gender binary and propose a radical shift forward; it's an attempt to shame (or outright misgender) trans people for rejecting their AGAB, but worded to sound woke.
    Doing things and caring about things is the problem. You're still thinking in terms of different norms that are adapted to you, not in terms of not having any norms at all. They need to be extinguished along with a great deal of other norms (for example, do we really still need the institution of marriage, or indeed [rule violating topic redacted] in general? I don't think so). I preach against these things not for the sake of the counterculture or of the establishment but because I don't want to be bothered with them, from either side.

    EDIT:
    I have a very good analogy but I'm not allowed to post it because it involves American history

    EDIT:
    and for the record I'm 1.) Aromantic, so I'm under the LGBTQAI umbrella, and 2.) Often wear ladies' pajama bottoms as underwear because I care considerably more about comfort than I do about gender.
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    @GreatWyrmGold:

    What you brought up about belts of gender change (or whatever it's called) is a bit different for what I was going for.

    My point was about arbitrariness of getting creeped out by a real thing when fantastic version of that thing is all over the place. Yours is about underexamined speculative elements. This is an issue with fantasy, especially kitchen-sink fantasy, because it's hallmark of the genre to be wasteful with speculative elements. This leads to situations where you can't do realistic representation, or maintain suspension of disbelief, except by selectively ignoring some speculative elements.

    If you want to think about underexamined elements when it comes to sex and gender, the aforementioned belt is really just the tip of a really big iceberg. In fantasy, characters often have souls, true names and true forms, etc. . The underpinnings of settings are frequently idealist and essentialist, so the nature of intersex or trans people can be highly particular and different from what one could argue in reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Doing things and caring about things is the problem. [...] I preach against these things not for the sake of the counterculture or of the establishment but because I don't want to be bothered with them, from either side.
    A world were no one does anything nor cares about anything sounds absolutely miserable, not to mention short-lived. I doubt you meant it at that extreme but I think the problems exist before that extreme. I have been siting here for a while figuring out how to say it in detail but at a high level I think just accepting varying from a norm is easier and probably more useful than pretending there isn't a normal. There is, no one is exactly that but there are averages and some features are more common than others.

    I'm Aromantic, so I'm under the LGBTQAI umbrella,
    If this has lead to some particular experiences that informed your position (I could see some annoying matchmaker stories) that's great, share them as you see fit. But don't use the umbrella as a shield.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    The underpinnings of settings are frequently idealist and essentialist, so the nature of intersex or trans people can be highly particular and different from what one could argue in reality.
    I've one or two attempts at mixing fantasy with gender issues in a "fundamental" way. Such as that transgendered people look like they feel in the spirit world. Still I haven't read that many fantasy stories that have tackled gender issues at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scots Dragon View Post
    See: the entire concept of Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism. Which shouldn't get to call itself feminism.
    I already mentioned this in another thread, but it makes perfect sense to me. As a radical feminist myself, I find gender to be a harmful social construct that should be abolished. At the same time, modern trans theory seems to hold to opposite ideals, that gender is something that is special and sacred and a vital part of everyone’s identity afaict.

    Note, this in no way excuses mistreatment, erasure, or discrimination against trans people.


    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Small correction for you Talakeal - Intersex is just one of many, many options for gender expression besides the standard "male" and "female." A category called Other isn't, and shouldn't be, considered a synonym for that one very specific label - and I would recommend not using "Other" at all.

    Rather, if you want your game to be more inclusive, the easiest solution is to have Gender be a freeform (and optional) field at character creation. Instead of being an array of checkboxes between discrete options, just let the player themselves state how they would like to identify (if they wish to do so.) In fact, a far more important field would probably be asking what pronouns they prefer to use rather than asking them to sort themselves underneath a potentially imprecise or limiting label.
    I don’t use checkboxes, that was Delta Green. I have a blank space which you can fill out however you like.

    But its really for physical sex (which can be changed in my setting) rather than gender.

    I am not sure the concept of gender expression really makes sense in my setting as it takes place in an egalitarian 19th century society, and the common tongue is explicitly stated to be gender neutral by default.

    But again, I don’t really understand modern trans theory, and everytime I try and research it all I can find is people so worried about offending someonee they wont make definitive statements at all.

    If the players want to play with modern notions of gender identity or pronoun usage that is obviously their right, but I am not sure if the game designer should make a stand on it one way or the other.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I don’t use checkboxes, that was Delta Green. I have a blank space which you can fill out however you like.

    But its really for physical sex (which can be changed in my setting) rather than gender.

    I am not sure the concept of gender expression really makes sense in my setting as it takes place in an egalitarian 19th century society, and the common tongue is explicitly stated to be gender neutral by default.

    But again, I don’t really understand modern trans theory, and everytime I try and research it all I can find is people so worried about offending someonee they wont make definitive statements at all.

    If the players want to play with modern notions of gender identity or pronoun usage that is obviously their right, but I am not sure if the game designer should make a stand on it one way or the other.
    I guess the underlined bit is part of what's confusing me specifically. What do you mean exactly when you say "physical sex?" The PCs' genitalia? Other characteristics like a deeper voice or facial hair? If it's the former, I'd question why that really needs to be a field in a roleplaying game at all, and if it's the latter, you can prompt players for that information without implying any connection between it and their character's gender.

    Consider the D&D 5e Adventurer's League character sheet as an example - it has no field for gender at all, it simply asks players to list the things that someone meeting them would be able to observe, like eyes, skin, hair, height, and weight. It then has larger freeform spaces labeled "appearance" and "backstory" that, if a player desires, they can easily use to disclose their character's gender/pronouns. I don't think the designers were "taking a stand" by structuring the sheet this way, just being inclusive.
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    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I already mentioned this in another thread, but it makes perfect sense to me. As a radical feminist myself, I find gender to be a harmful social construct that should be abolished. At the same time, modern trans theory seems to hold to opposite ideals, that gender is something that is special and sacred and a vital part of everyone’s identity afaict.
    This is the issue I have as well,

    [redacted]
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    This is the issue I have as well, they've taken something that is irrelevant at best (and anathema at worst) and turned it into somethig sacred.

    Placing emphasis on manhood and womanhood has traditionally been the purview of troglodytes and reactionaries.
    That's really not a good faith reading of the trans experience, to put it as diplomatically as possible.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    A game setting does need to be designed to be fun and functional to game in.

    But there's more to good worldbuilding than piling the "parts to game in" on a big pile.

    Farmland isn't there to be adventured in, primarily, but one assumes it's still there and part of the landscape -- just because adventurers don't go there often doesn't mean it doesn't or shouldn't or needn't exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scots Dragon View Post
    That's really not a good faith reading of the trans experience, to put it as diplomatically as possible.
    I've not met a single trans person where manhood or womanhood wasn't important to them. Maybe that's a case of me having a small sample size, but IME a trans woman wants you to know and care that they're a woman.

    EDIT: to be clear, I agree with Scots Dragon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    EDIT: to be clear, I agree with Scots Dragon.
    I take more than a little issue with the importance we place on our own gender and the recognition thereof being compared to reactionary thought, yeah.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    A game setting does need to be designed to be fun and functional to game in.

    But there's more to good worldbuilding than piling the "parts to game in" on a big pile.

    Farmland isn't there to be adventured in, primarily, but one assumes it's still there and part of the landscape -- just because adventurers don't go there often doesn't mean it doesn't or shouldn't or needn't exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    This is the issue I have as well, they've taken something that is irrelevant at best (and anathema at worst) and turned it into somethig sacred.

    Placing emphasis on manhood and womanhood has traditionally been the purview of troglodytes and reactionaries.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    If this has lead to some particular experiences that informed your position (I could see some annoying matchmaker stories) that's great, share them as you see fit. But don't use the umbrella as a shield.
    I mean, a bit, because since I don't date or anything the whole man/woman schtick plays less of a role in my life. I've never been on a date, I've never been interested in dating, and since I'm also not interested in the stereotypical roles or activities of either men or women the only place it really ever comes up is in a medical setting.

    [redacted]

    EDIT:
    I think I'm gonna drop out of this thread before we get yelled out for discussing beliefs and politics
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    Personally i have no problem including Intersex PCs. Not that i expect it to matter that much anyway as most intersex variants can easily pass as one or the other and won't be treated as special by the ransom NPC stranger.

    I have far more problems allowing Trans characters. You can't play a Trans character without knowing what men and women even mean in the setting. And the portrayal won't be convincing if you don't agree about that with the other players. IME either the setting has detailed description of gender roles because they are somehow special, then you can use those but Trans won't mean nearly the same as for us. Or it doesn't and everyone at the table comes with their own, very different assumptions. And even if you solve that problem, there is the problem of acceptance. How does the society react to a Trans person.

    But if we would be playing modern urban fantasy or "the real world but with X", sure, go ahead and play Trans characters because we can assume that gender roles and acceptance are pretty much identical.




    Personally i am agender and both transgender and cisgender seem equally strange and hard to understand. But who cares ? There is way more about a person than gender and you can get by with mostly ignoring it.
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    Spoiler: I support abolishing gender norms, and therefore oppose groups which are fighting against them!
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    I'd like to start with something:

    The core of sexism (and gender norms) is the idea that your sex is a fundamental aspect of who you are. To be a male means you are strong, stoic, productive. To be a female means you are passive, empathetic, nurturing. Some form of gender essentialism is the underlying assumption at the root of all gender norms; if nothing is seen as essential to masculinity or femininity, there is nothing for a norm to latch onto.

    What could be a bigger refutation of gender essentialism than someone assigned female at birth turning out to be a man, or vise versa?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    What we should be moving towards is a society without any gender norms at all. What people are doing now is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Attempting to reform a system that's simply not worth keeping around at all.
    I don't agree with your take.
    First off, the idea that LGBTQ+ issues aren't important because they can be resolved if we move to a genderless society is kind of sickening? It would be one thing if eliminating gender norms was a practical short-term political goal, but it isn't. I put "end gender" somewhere below "end capitalism" and above "steal underwear" on the "practical plans to make the world better" scale.
    Second off, I disagree with the idea that LGBTQ+ activists aren't eroding gender norms. Fighting for acceptance of identities which conflict with gender norms inherently weakens them.

    It's possible you're talking about some other group less relevant to the discussion at hand, but you're being friggin' vague and using arguments I've heard used against LBGTQ (well mostly trans) people. (Speaking of which, does anyone remember which ContraPoints video Natalie Wynn mocked this exact argument in?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Doing things and caring about things is the problem. You're still thinking in terms of different norms that are adapted to you, not in terms of not having any norms at all. They need to be extinguished along with a great deal of other norms (for example, do we really still need the institution of marriage, or indeed [rule violating topic redacted] in general? I don't think so). I preach against these things not for the sake of the counterculture or of the establishment but because I don't want to be bothered with them, from either side.
    "I'm opposed to traditional norms. That's why I am arguing against people who are actively fighting against the norms society wants to impose on them, and not the people imposing norms on them."
    Hopefully you could see why people think this line of argument is just a way to shut down trans people while sounding woke.

    and for the record I'm 1.) Aromantic, so I'm under the LGBTQAI umbrella
    Same. That hasn't stopped me from having dumb takes about trans people. The difference is that I didn't stumble across an opportunity to air them until after I realized they were dumb.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    I think I'm gonna drop out of this thread before we get yelled out for discussing beliefs and politics
    If I might be blunt to someone who's abandoned the thread, BS. This whole thread would have been shut down ages ago if the existence/experience of LGBTQ people was considered "political".


    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I already mentioned this in another thread, but it makes perfect sense to me. As a radical feminist myself, I find gender to be a harmful social construct that should be abolished. At the same time, modern trans theory seems to hold to opposite ideals, that gender is something that is special and sacred and a vital part of everyone’s identity afaict.
    Which is made clear by the way that they accept non-binary and even agender people. Oh wait.
    Also, this is one of those contexts where "radical feminist" is a red flag.


    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Real people don't have classes. Profession might tell you a little about someone, but not really. If you say someone is, say, a delivery driver, I have no idea what they look like, what their personality is, what their roll in society is, or what their fashion is when they are out of uniform.

    Even with class, the last character I played in D&D was a ranger, I challenge you come up with even a single statement about my character that you can infer from that without tautologies.

    Even if we ignore societal factors, we can infer a whole host of physical tendencies based on gender. Its weird that this is even a controversial statement, like every MMO I can think of has different character models for sex, but none of them have different character models for class.
    I find the claim that no MMO has different models for different classes suspicious, because I can think of several (admittedly non-MMO) games that do.

    Anyways, I'd like to note three important factors about the "class conveys more information thing".
    1. We're discussing TRPG characters, so "Real-life people don't have classes!" is inherently meaningless.
    2. D&D classes aren't professions. If they were, every PC would have the Adventurer class, because they're all in the same line of work. A character class in D&D is an archetype, a collection of traditional skills, weaknesses, and quirks that your character will embody to some extent or another by the nature of the game.
    3. Class doesn't need to define your character well for my argument to be true, it just needs to define your character better than gender. Which it does.


    Now, onto physical appearance. First, you're wrong; while there are muscular guys with bushy beards, hourglass-shaped women, and other people whose sex defines their physical appearance, there are also plenty of people whose sex doesn't. There are muscular women, bishonen dudes, and everything in between. Sex affects appearance, but so do a million other factors, and if sex defines a character's appearance they're probably the kind of yahoo who puts "please" in the blank.

    And given that my argument has never been "Sex/Gender has zero impact on what someone looks like," you're inherently asserting that it's the most important factor in determining someone's appearance, which...no. Going back to character class, that obviously has a huge impact on a character's appearance. Which is a more significant visual difference—a guy in a robe vs. a gal in a robe, or a guy in robes vs. a guy in plate armor?


    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    I'm trying to ignore it. Actually breaking from that default seems to be the hardest part of it.
    I see no value in trying to ignore a problem. For one thing, it seems like that would make it harder to avoid falling into it yourself. For another, I generally consider it useful to have some idea why people think what they think, especially when it seems bizarre to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Blade Wolf View Post
    Ah, thank you very much GreatWyrmGold, you obviously live up to that name with your intelligence and wisdom with that post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    What could be a bigger refutation of gender essentialism than someone assigned female at birth turning out to be a man, or vise versa?
    That's not a refutation of essentialism at all if the core idea is that the person's identity as the gender they "turn out to be" is a fundamental part of their self-identity, determined at birth. It's merely a refutation of gender physicalism in favor of gender idealism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    I guess the underlined bit is part of what's confusing me specifically. What do you mean exactly when you say "physical sex?" The PCs' genitalia? Other characteristics like a deeper voice or facial hair? If it's the former, I'd question why that really needs to be a field in a roleplaying game at all, and if it's the latter, you can prompt players for that information without implying any connection between it and their character's gender.

    Consider the D&D 5e Adventurer's League character sheet as an example - it has no field for gender at all, it simply asks players to list the things that someone meeting them would be able to observe, like eyes, skin, hair, height, and weight. It then has larger freeform spaces labeled "appearance" and "backstory" that, if a player desires, they can easily use to disclose their character's gender/pronouns. I don't think the designers were "taking a stand" by structuring the sheet this way, just being inclusive.
    Our sex influences (but doesn't determine) nearly every facet of our physical forms, as well as having some degree of influence over psychological, social, and fashion. To me it is a very useful descriptor. Along with age and race, it is used in virtually any descriptor you will hear if someone is trying to locate someone, for example a missing child poster or a police bulletin.

    Likewise, sex appears on every piece of identification I own and I need to input it in the vast majority of forms I fill out. Aside from 5E D&D (and those that omit "fluff" entirely) I cannot think of a single character sheet which doesn't have a place to mark one's sex.

    I really don't think including a field for sex is nearly as controversial as you are making it out to be.

    Also, I may be emotionally a bit too close to the issue to give an unbiased answer. Being able to play as a female character is very important to me, and as I child I would frequently get into trouble from my parents or other kids for being the "weirdo who pretends to be a girl" that being told there shouldn't be a place for sex on the character sheet feels like being told to get back in the closet. Obviously that isn't what you meant, but it is how it feels to me on a raw emotional level.

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    Which is made clear by the way that they accept non-binary and even agender people. Oh wait.
    Also, this is one of those contexts where "radical feminist" is a red flag.
    As I said, radical feminism and modern trans theory are, afaict, fundamentally incompatible philosophies. While someone CAN use a difference in philosophy to be a bigot, it is obviously not a requirement.


    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    I find the claim that no MMO has different models for different classes suspicious, because I can think of several (admittedly non-MMO) games that do.
    I can't think of a CRPG which doesn't have different models for male / female but does have different models for classes, except for maybe Ultima Exodus from the 80s. I am sure there is one out there, but I sure can't think of one. The closest I can recall are games like Diablo or Borderlands where classes are essentially premade characters whom you get to rename.



    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    Anyways, I'd like to note three important factors about the "class conveys more information thing".
    1. We're discussing TRPG characters, so "Real-life people don't have classes!" is inherently meaningless.
    2. D&D classes aren't professions. If they were, every PC would have the Adventurer class, because they're all in the same line of work. A character class in D&D is an archetype, a collection of traditional skills, weaknesses, and quirks that your character will embody to some extent or another by the nature of the game.
    3. Class doesn't need to define your character well for my argument to be true, it just needs to define your character better than gender. Which it does.
    If we are defining class that narrowly, what games outside of D&D even have classes?


    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    Now, onto physical appearance. First, you're wrong; while there are muscular guys with bushy beards, hourglass-shaped women, and other people whose sex defines their physical appearance, there are also plenty of people whose sex doesn't. There are muscular women, bishonen dudes, and everything in between. Sex affects appearance, but so do a million other factors, and if sex defines a character's appearance they're probably the kind of yahoo who puts "please" in the blank.

    And given that my argument has never been "Sex/Gender has zero impact on what someone looks like," you're inherently asserting that it's the most important factor in determining someone's appearance, which...no.
    Ok, so what are we disagreeing about then? We both agree that sex influences someone's appearance, but does not determine it. Are we just arguing about the relative skill?

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    Which is a more significant visual difference—a guy in a robe vs. a gal in a robe, or a guy in robes vs. a guy in plate armor?
    Unless they are wearing a mask, I would say sex. Maybe you are different, but I look at people's faces first and foremost. And if they are wearing a mask, well yeah, I guess, but you might as well ask to take eye color off of a character sheet because they might be wearing sunglasses.

    The thing is though people change clothing. I would expect most characters to spend most of their lives out of their "adventuring garb" while changing sex is somewhat rarer and a more serious event. And even so, most clothing is designed for one sex or the other; even armor made for women is a different shape than armor made for men.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    I see no value in trying to ignore a problem. For one thing, it seems like that would make it harder to avoid falling into it yourself. For another, I generally consider it useful to have some idea why people think what they think, especially when it seems bizarre to me.
    Before I begin I would like to say I am speaking only on the level of creating characters and system design. I do have some larger views but I don't feel like discussing them at this time. Not that I don't enjoy unwrapping thoughts sometimes but not right now.

    I'm not ignoring a problem I am just ignoring what the traditional character types are expected; what the default or stereotype is for that role. Not that it is perfect every time, hence my comment about the hardest part, but usually once I catch an assumption writing a character who doesn't follow it is usually fairly easy. So I know what the stereotype is for a lot of character types. But I "ignore it" in that it doesn't change what I think my character should look like. Outside of some times where the relationship to the stereotype is important but out-side of some meta-aware stories I usually don't do that. (And again I'm not claiming to be completely free of implicate biases, I could even tell you some of the weird ones in retrospect.) And if I "fall" into it, so what? Sure there are extremes in terms of consistency and offensiveness that are problems but if I write a "big dumb jock" because... well did you expect the tall one struggling in school to join the chess club? If they want to they can but the last character I wrote didn't. They pretty much fit that stereotype and as I was making them I was aware of that. But it fit the character so I went ahead, and they weren't quite "the" stereotype at the end but they were pretty close.

    So by ignoring the stereotype I mean... actually default is a good word for it because I am trying not to use it as a default but also I ignore it in that I don't put a lot of importance on where the character ends up in relation to their stereotype. And without getting into the deeper reasons as to why, that is how this relates to making characters.

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