Gender-fluid and Romance

Hi there. I’m in the planning stages of a possible Choice of Games story and I’ve run into a bit of a snag. You see, I want to have two of the romance options out of five locked behind gender as they are both straight. That way, there would be four romance options total for both genders each. However, I am a bit unsure how to handle a person who chooses to play with a gender-fluid identity.

Since the locked romance options are due to the gender, does that mean that both of them should be available for gender-fluid characters? Or does it mean neither of them should as they are only attracted to one specific gender? The obvious answer would be to lock them away because of this, but that seems cheap considering every other choice would allow you 4 options to romance per playthrough instead of 3.

Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated.

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Why thinking about it too hard?
Ask those ROs yourself, “Hoy, you fine with romancing a queer PC?”
:wink:

And if they’re not, you can always create a new RO for queer characters with your godly author power.


Of course, you may not be able to give equal options of RO to some gender, should you go this path.

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They’re not supposed to be viable for a PC of the same gender. However they are viable for trans characters. So I’m still unsure how to handle this. And I don’t want to create new ROs because there’s already going to be a lot of characters to write for and I wanted a limit of 5 love interests to focus on. Any more and I feel that their characters could become weakened.

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Keep in mind that trans people can be queer, can be not. (CMIIW)

Gender and sexuality are often blurry spots when designing RO for your story. In this case, I’d dedicate more time to think about it again, whether adding more characters or deciding to lock some of my audience from the game’s romance.

It’s all about compromise.

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While its going to suck for people who choose PCs who are GF, I would recommend locking them out. I think at the end of the day what is going to be more important is having the best writing possible for the characters, and I think that if you think this is important for the consistency of the characters, you should go with your gut.

Also, while I am in no way GF, I feel as if I can somewhat relate as I have played games where as a gay protagonist I wasn’t able to romance the LI I was most attracted to (I’m looking at you Atton/Carth/Alistair and to a lesser extent Kaidan). At the end of the day, good writing and characters are more important for most of your readers. And if you feel bad that of giving less options, I would just focus on making the 3 options have really good/interesting experiences. Maybe having some dialogue that is exclusive to people playing GF characters.

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Gender and sexuality are two very different things, and a genderfluid person can still be gay, straight or bi. So why not lock them because of their sexuality?

That doesn’t really help since it, as far as I have understood it is the pc not the LI who is genderfluid.

There is three way around it.
One is to make another LI who are also not on the binary gender spectrum and make them exclusive to the genderfluid PC. The other is open one of the LI to the gender fluid PC and just not have them identify as straight. The third is to not lock any LI behind orientations.

Noticed this while looking through threads while logged out and felt the need to put my two cents in. I’m not going to promise my thoughts aren’t going to be offensive.

As far as I’m concerned, this is your main problem. You’re treating sex and gender (and no, gender role does not equal gender) as if they are the same, they aren’t. If you’re going to add an option for gender-fluidity, I’d ask the player if their character is male, female, or intersex before asking for their gender if you want to keep things simple or:

If you don’t mind the extra work.

For the love of the gods do not treat gender-fluid PCs as if they’re non-binary trans PCs. At the very least treat them the same way you’d treat bi-gender/tri-gender/etc. trans PC, as in, give them the ability to change their pronouns whenever they want. While some gender-fluid people might not care, others probably will.

Finally, read every answer here. If you have any specific questions for me afterwards, feel free to ask and keep in mind that I only speak for myself.

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Honestly, that sounds like too few characters to be locking behind “straightness”, especially when you’re not balancing it with gay ROs, too. I’m assuming from the numbers that either a gay male or a lesbian MC will have only a single option, and I would very strongly advise against this.

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How is this going to help with the straight LI? The implication of this suggestion is that the straight LI are seeing the genderfluid’s equipment and deciding their gender = their sex.

Genderfluidity is a part of the non-binary umbrella because it falls outside the man or woman umbrella, you don’t really know if the gender fluid person leans more heavily on the cis or trans side of the spectrum - not to mention that as a part of genderfluidity there is a chance that the PC swings between trans and cis depending on their gender.

It is good for those genderfluid people who feel okay with being with a straight and/or gay/lesbian people(more options for them), but not all of us feel that way. I would be leery of such a romance because I would not feel that the agender part of my identity is respected and I need that respect from a partner. (At the very least it would involve a lot of conversations I do not expect a game like this to be able to handle because it is way out of scope.)

@markamadeo Oh, finally someone else who understands the pain of BioWare’s inclusivity stopping just short of where we would most like it to go. The sting of not being able to romance Alistair or Cullen as a guy still hurts.

@SimplyUnknown This seems like a tricky situation as you feel like writing quality and inclusiveness are at odds. The only solution I can think of would be a reworking of your gender system maybe along the lines of what @Revenant suggested? You might want to take a look at how the Versus series handles this, it’s the only title I can think of at the moment with a significant interaction between being GF and romance.

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All right, I have thought of it some more.

Is there a specific story reason that genderfluid was the identity other than I presume man or woman you chose to feature in the story?

Non-binary identities doesn’t generally mesh well with genderlocked romances, because the truth of the matter is that enbies aren’t an monolith group when it comes to sex, gender and gender expression.

Genderfluidity is an exceptionally hard identity to deal with because it has almost as many variations as there are genders and how the genderfluid person deals with it depends on many factors such as dysphoria, clothes and just general gender expression.

All that combines into a mess when it comes to LI who theoretically only has interest in one gender. Say we have a man who is interested in women, is he going to be interested in a feminine-expressing enby? What if that person is not always femme? What if they sometimes are not just masculine, but sometimes an actual man? What if they sometimes just doesn’t have any gender. What if they have days where they are both a man and a woman?
(And asking about sex, doesn’t solve this problem, because sex=/=gender).

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Thanks to everyone who replied, and I apologize for any confusion that may have occurred. I realize now that I left out some important details and my wording was a bit vague.

The characters that are genderlocked are locked behind how the PC sees themselves. If a male character sees themself as a female and uses female pronouns, then they will be able to romance the straight male LO. The reason that these two characters are straight is due to character reasons as well as simply as lack of interest, so I feel uncomfortable making them playersexual as I feel this would change their characters in an uncomfortable way.

I am aware that genderfluidity is hard to accurately portray in media, and I did have an idea for how to work with this. I thought that if you select the option to play as genderfluid, a prompt would appear at the beginning of every new chapter asking which pronouns you would prefer to use during that chapter. I’m aware that it’s not a perfect idea, but I thought that it could work for the fluidity of a gender fluid character. Please give me your thoughts on how to improve this if necessary.

This is my first time working with choice script and I’m a bit concerned if the coding will allow a character like this to work if I lock a character being romancable behind what pronouns they use. In a way, this is my biggest concern.

Yeah, I got that. A ‘male’ charater who sees herself as female is female. I know what you are trying to say and I appriciate it, but the wording is not the best.

The problem is that the genderfluid character way of ‘seeing’ themselves is, well, fluid.

Yeah, it is not a perfect idea, but I am gratefull for the thought behind it. Something I had thought about is to create an option to change pronouns in the stats screen. (Thus giving the player control) I am not sure if it is do-able, though.

You should not lock behind pronouns - particulary if you allow the option of changing said pronouns, that is just going to mess up the code. (And what are you going to do with players who use singular they and/or less common pronouns?)

I still think that your best option is to remove the genderlock on all RO or make another RO who is also genderfluid and only interested in other genderfluid people.

Though, I am also going to ask. How many options does gay players have?

…3. I didn’t even realize that until you asked the question. Well, that also changes things.

How about this; all the characters that you can get into an actual relationship with are playersexual, but I lock 1 time sexual encounters behind gender instead? It would require some changes, but maybe that would work a bit better.

That would certainly be more fair to everybody involved. And if the 1 times sexual encounters are not people the player hangs out with much, you can easier make a case-to-case for the genderfluid characters.