Hi. I want to write a story with widely inclusive customization. Specifically, inclusiveness with sexuality/amory, transgender, and bigender. How should I do this, or what precautions should I take, to portray this customization respectfully?
If you don’t have specific questions and are more just looking for general dos and donts, the best places to start are the Trans and Gay representation threads, which probably have most or all of the information you’re looking for:
Specifically, should I characterize “becoming” trans or bigender as an epiphany of some kind? Or should I characterize it as a concious decision for change of identification? Should I include both in their own way?
I’ve heard that gender and sexuality are fluid. Would the MC making a concious change as one possible *choice be accurate, or would it come off as disrespectful? (PS-- I’m bi and cis, and personally beleive sexuality and possibly gender is fluid. But I don’t want to come off as offensive…)
Look at Eagle’s Heir as an example the gets good feedback there:
The game allows the player to pick gender and presentation, and if genderfluid to change pronouns over the cause of the story.
I’m doing that (minus the representation part) in my story, including a couple of genderfluid npcs.
As for sexuality: what i see more and more games do is the indirect question. As in the character either gets flirted at or similar and can declare whether or not or maybe they are interested.
And of course there’s the 'everyone’s bi/pan" approach of not asking for the mc’s sexuality at all and have all romancable npcs romancable
Thanks for the insight. I’ve read Eagles Heir. I’ll look to it as one example.
While a couple of people pointed to some good resources (I personally still consider Eagle’s Heir the gold standard of inclusivity in our games), the single most important piece of advice I can give is to have people read it, and listen to their advice, particularly those that are the marginalized groups you’re including. There’s no way for anyone to think of every possible way something can be (accidentally) wrong or offensive, so it’s good to have a second set of eyes. (This is why sensitivity readers exist.)
I intend to have beta testers after it’s finished. Hopefully that will do.
I would say you can’t be disrespectful if you understand about what you are doing…
Things like sexuality are simply biologic, so in a way, you don’t “become” anything… That also includes being transgender, what makes you feel in the wrong body is part of you, you are born with it. So, about this, you just need to word things correctly. For example, many people say things like you “become” a man or woman. That implies that you were the opposite at some point, and that can offend some people. I personally can’t say anything for the bigender people, but i can give my say about the thing as non-binary(not that all non-binary people think like me, but still): Gender is a social construct, the aspect of being “masculine” or “feminine” outside of your body features(these ones are referred to as “sex”, the real, measurable ones) . That means it is subjective, and it can vary to a degree from person to person that the very concept of dividing what people can/can’t/should/shouldn’t be/do based on bodies or even in gender classifications is idiotic, so i refuse it completely. I presume bigender people feel the same way: They don’t want to be restricted by one group or the other, so the identify as part of the two.
But i still strongly advise for you to do as @HomingPidgeon said, it will probably give you the information you need. As i said, you can’t accidentally offend people within this topic if you understand what this is all about.
The inborn aspect may be true for trans people. I’ll take note of that. But as a true bisexual who used to be a true heterosexual, I know from experience that sexuality is fluid.
And here we get into sociopsychology:
If you are bi, you’ve always been bi. Only social norms and nonsense convince one one must be hetero.
I’m ace, but oh boy did i think i ought to be straight for loooooooong
I am demi sexual now. I discovered here the name by the way. However when I was younger and didn’t have bad relationships I was not demisexual i was rather passionate in dates with people i hadn’t a real emotional connection so things change
Eh, sociopsychology aside, leanings can change. My brother goes through periods where he’s super attracted to women, then through periods where he’s super attracted to men, then back. He’d never start calling himself homo/heterosexual but the preference change is noticeable and does affect his romantic pursuits.
And then grey sexuality can be a weird ride. Sometimes my brain just arbitrarily decides I’m badly attracted to someone for like, a few weeks and then just gets bored and goes back to “in your head you prefer men, sometimes you like girls, and have absolutely zero interest in any form of relationship regardless of this knowledge” form of confused apathy.
I’m not a fan of the *choice idea, since aside from the hide flirt options/stop mentioning how pretty someone is settings and setting gender of ROs, it doesn’t really do much, and calls to mind the “You’ll change your mind when you meet the right [person of the opposite sex]” chatter, though just as one perspective.
leanings, sure. But the overall thing is usually there the whole time
In terms of sexuality, probably the safest path is the one that allows the player to initiate any romantic interest. After all, there are many reasons other than orientation why the player (or MC) may be disinterested in a love interest character, even if you think you made them the perfect boy/girlfriend. Stories with railroaded romance get as much negative feedback as stories that get dragged for lacking inclusivity. And it’s not just from ace/aro readers, either.
I also really resent it when there’s a sexuality choice at the beginning and then you keep getting options to flirt with people who don’t match it. If I wanted to romance those people I’d have picked a different option!
But I think differently In a way. U select being attracted to men for instance. That DOESN’T characters know you orientation. So I follow that if a character likes your pc responses could Propose and ask… to know. Then you say No sorry I see you as only a friend. However, I think in people that is role playing and maybe think they character could be willing of experiment or really feel something for that special woman man or nb. So I gave the option . To say I always liked x gender but I want to explore my feelings for you.
I think have sense and is the most natural way of doing. But if people doesn’t like it maybe give a choice to blocking any other type of relationship that is not strictly your orientation. But I would feel bad for representation. I don’t want people feel everyone is their orientation and world is only that way
I don’t mind characters flirting with mine; in fact I kinda prefer that ignoring my pick because like you said the other characters don’t know that.
What I mind is when there’s a “you’re at a party; what do you do?” choice and one of them is “go flirt with X”. Assuming there isn’t some tactical reason to do so, in which case I won’t take it because I’d feel bad about doing it but like that faking it is an option.
I also don’t mind if there’s not a choice at the start and you establish it by which flirt options you take; I just mind when there is one and then the game seems to ignore it.
I respect player agency if you choose being homosexual you will remain that and no seen flirt with the hetero option. What i will give is if you are really into a great friendship with that character that is not orientation a choice to say. Look you have sharing a lot of moments with X Do you think is something more or is just only friendship?
I do same with hetero with a great affinity and connection for that friend of same sex.
Because I know friends that were hetero however they developed alfirst a friendship then genuine love and even marry so I want give the option. Even if I feel nobody will pick it
In my game, all romance-able characters will have a different canon sexuality. Like in real life, your character can try to romance anyone; but it will only work if your sexualities are compatible.
Same for me For instance I have a gay romanceable poliamory couple they will accept another male as third part always it accept that relationship goes with both of them. They won’t accept a woman as they don’t like women. However I let them asking heterosexual male doe they don’t know if you are gay or not.
As straight you of course have several ways to say no. But I still give an option open if Player things his character would be tempted to experience that. I think is organic and have sense as stuff likethat happens a lot in real life