Gender Choice Help

Hmmm, okay. This is happening. The MC is a sexless AI, whose designer asks it to describe their appearance (blatantly just making the player design the designer, in a sick twist of fate). This carries some importance, as the aforementioned sexless MC AI, which can identify as any gender, later has the option to explore affection with their designer, which they created. So, how do I make that un-offensive?

“Great! Audio output seems in order, speech boards, language memory files, all intact. Let’s see about your optics. Describe me.”

Choices: Male, Female and… uhm… Human?

It makes it a bit difficult in this particular situation. “Human” just seems so… insulting, in a way. I can’t exactly say “Non-Binary” either, since this judgement is based on optics alone. And “Neither” doesn’t really give it a narrative flow.

Is there something I’m missing here? Am I being overly cautious? Is there a ridiculously simple way that eludes me? Or is a quick re-write in order?

I would just re-write and restructure the situation to make things work, but, hey, this is a learning opportunity, so why not learn?

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“What kind of hardware do you have installed?”

  • “Male to female connections.”
  • “Female to male connections.”
  • “I connect solely via wireless signals.”

For Reference



Alright, that got a good giggle out of me. And it’s a wonderfully poignant way to approach the situation.

Except, the character is asked to describe the gender of somebody they are observing.

I totally would have loved to use that, though.

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It seems this will be a two part process. The MC’s understanding of the world initially is gained through what they are programmed with (CoR style) - so, why not take the descriptions of male/female that are in “text-books” or in Wikipedia or Britannica and run with those as ways of “classifying” their maker.

Later on, as the ability of the MC grows towards experiencing feelings, they can classify where on the scale of likeability their maker is …

I would recommend (re)reading Choice of Robots and a WiP called The Myrmidon because kgold and Moreau both have perspectives on this that are well written and commendable.

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I sort of feel like just saying “nonbinary” for the option would be the most direct… there are other words like “androgynous,” but someone could easily be nonbinary but not going for an androgynous look.
Having it be optics-based might just be a little tricky in general, since it does mean you’re making the judgement call based purely on looks, and you often can’t tell a person’s gender from looks. Do you feel really attached to having this decision be an optics thing, or might you just set it up in more of, I don’t know, a conversational or data-entering way? :thinking:

“Male to male connections only :pensive: I can always get an adapter.” :robot::rainbow_flag:


Noted. I’ll go and do some… ahem reconnaissance. Thank you for the advice.

This is a very interesting approach. I shall explore!

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Hmm… I fully agree with what @TSSL said and, if you’re having trouble figuring this out, you could turn it into a memory test into an optics test. Since this is the designer, I assume that somewhere in the MCs code would include knowledge, or at least basic info, of who created them. So you could turn into into a scene such as:
“Alright, now for a memory test, do you know who I am?”
“You’re my designer”
“Yes but do you know who I am.”

And then the MC can state their name if that’s already decided and talk more about the designer, including their gender in there as well.

I hope some of this helps some!


That is an excellent point.

I think maybe just a slight alteration then, where the entire gender-determination choice is thrown out the widow under a passing bus.

How about questions like, “What colour are my eyes? What does my hair look like?” Those superficial cosmetics that really don’t matter until we somehow make them matter later, and then just refer to the designer ambiguously henceforth: “The Designer did this and that.” Just never play the pronoun game. Proper nouns only.

Is that problem avoidance or some serious intuitive problem solving skills at work?

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Yes, this is parallel to my new line of thought. I agree with this. Just yes.

I’ll still be interested in learning new things, though, but this approach seems most amicable.

Also, this popped up somewhere: Setting the player's gender in unique and clever ways


Yeah, while I think gender avoidance could work, I expect @RenaB’s solution will be the best one… it allows you to do what you meant to, but avoids the trickiness, while still elegantly fitting the narrative so it wouldn’t distract the reader too much. :smile:

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