Hey so I was kinda go backing and forth on posting this but, I feel like it kinda needs to be said. Basically I would really love it if people doing their games and wips, and stuff added some more transgender options. Mainly this is due to the fact that I’m a trans guy myself and well…there hasn’t been alot.
I’m not calling anybody out or anything I just think it would be nice to have those options, like I mean the non binary options are pretty neat, and I’m happy that nb get that representation! But it would be nice if there was a bit more representation for us too. And I mean you don’t even have to go into a lot of depth, like maybe during the thing there could be a slight thing, referencing to wearing a binder or estrogen pills.
Just…something more than, “you have gone through all the necessary things to make yourself the man/woman you were always meant to be.” And then nothing.
I’ve been going on about this for ages. Trans binary people need their stuff too! Unfortunately, it’s a matter of “what is appropriate to ask”, for most people. Could you give everyone some new pointers on how you’d like the options or lines to appear in-game? Just a skeletal one if you want?
I agree with @Bagelthief. Basically I’d love to implement more options yet I’m confused as to which was is the best. I also don’t want the player to get annoyed by the game asking questions… It’s very complicated to be inclusive without being unnecessarily intrusive (if this makes sense). But, if a system that everybody can be happy with is agreed I’d be very happy to implement
As a trans woman, I understand this sentiment exactly.
When I see a question about if I’m trans or not in a Cog game, I have to contain my hope that it will actually reference anything after the following page. I don’t think a CoG game I’ve played has yet, despite the fact that in some games you’re in a position where, as a trans person, you may not always have the resources you need. That’s not at all referenced at any point.
I get the why of it. It’s a pain to code and write something a tiny fraction of the audience will see, and is far easier to add some limited flavor text immediately after gender or gender identity is chosen, which usually means just setting pronouns for the remainder of the game. On top of that, it would be incredibly challenging for authors who aren’t trans to write the experience of a trans character in such a way that both shows the author acknowledges us and isn’t being overbearing (Plus they would have to spend hours researching specific things about trans experiences, again all for a little flavor.).
Ultimately, it’s unfortunate that there isn’t more flavor text related to being trans ingame, but it’s a not at all simple process to go through to make sure trans people are represented properly in the story.
We’re actually getting more in game representation through characters overall in some newer games, which is a massive step forward (Play The Sea Eternal if you haven’t already. It’s fantastic and is the referenced step forward.). It’s slow going, but we are seeing positive progress and more gaining more active roles in stories, which is awesome.
Finally, you don’t sound whiny at all. You have a valid criticism that is shared by at least a few people here, myself included.
It’s an academically-sound idea that runs into a lot of potential issues.
As far as I’m concerned, given that we’re just writing text here, we should be as inclusive as possible. We have opportunities that few other game developers have when it comes to be representative. In a vacuum, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be done.
However, there’s a part of me that thinks about the mechanics of it. Personally, I don’t like being asked more than maybe two or three questions about my protagonist. If a game starts asking me to define my eye color or my skin color, and unless these things are going to actually matter in the narrative, I zone out. The player can imagine a lot of these decisions. Too many questions and your narrative has hit a standstill. In a good Choicescript title, I always want to feel like I’m progressing in the narrative even if I’m just defining who the protagonist is.
A lot of Choicescript games simply don’t deal with issues of race, sexuality, transitioning or so on to the extent that even a slight amount of depth is necessary to the stories that are being told. There are a few I’ve played where I’ve personally thought the attempted inclusion comes off worse than just not touching it (If you choose non-binary, it cycles you to a choice that basically goes ‘Okay, sure, but what do you look like on the outside?’ and never ever brings it up again).
As a writer, I honestly don’t know how I’d include trans-representation without feeling like I’m cynically ticking a marketing box or, potentially, mucking it all up with an earnest attempt to treat the subject matter seriously. There’s a tension there. So, in my case, I generally don’t touch it.
It’s definitely an important topic. I think the difficulty for some might just be a simple lack of knowledge and not wanting to do it wrong.
I think the first step is to beta test the games. Provide feedback on them on how they can include the option to be transgender.
I just finished reading a novel where the characters were survivors of a plane crash, and the trans woman character was really worried about securing her medication. That’s definitely something that could come up in any sort of modern-ish survival game. I also remember it coming up in a sci-fi story, where a trans woman casually takes a pill and explains what it’s for.
Maybe some of it’s the difficulty of detail? Do you assume your trans character is already on hormones? If you’re including the option to be a trans man, for instance, do you assume he’s already had top surgery, or that he’s using a binder? Do you need to include the option for both?
If you’re in a setting with magic, or technology, that allows for a perfect transition, how does it get mentioned?
If you’re pursuing a love interest, at what point do you tell them?
I think Versus includes trans options too, but it does the magical hand-wavey transition.
I’d like to write a properly executed gender option for transgender people, and I’m slowly working towards it, but at this point it’s still somewhere far in the future.
The thing is, there’s a lot of difference between writing a trans npc (the stage I’m currently at) and a trans mc. With a trans npc the writer knows exactly at which point of the transition the character is, when it first became apparent that they were trans, the whole history that made that character who they are. With a trans mc the writer knows none of that, and the only way to know is by asking and making assumptions. The more you want to go into detail, the more questions you’ll need to ask, and it’s difficult to determine just how much is absolutely necessary, because the amount of detail the reader wants/expects differs from person to person.
Linked to that is also the question of how much influence it has on the story itself. How visible is it? Will people ask questions? Does the transition process continue during the story itself or does it remain the same as at the beginning of the story?
For as far as I’m concerned it should be possible to write all of this in a way that ticks all these boxes, but it will be a lot of work, and if you actually want to make it possible for the MC to start at any point in the process and continue the transition process during the game, well, than that will likely add an amount of content that dwarfs the content of the actual story part of the game.
So if I’m ever going to try to include all this, my first attempt will likely be in a game where the MC is trans by default and where it’s an integral part of the main story. Only then will I start trying to include these options in other games as well.
For those who don’t know how gender-inclusivity in my interactive stories has developed over the years, I don’t like rushing into things. (The process displayed below took about three years.):
Gender locked female - Male or female gender option - Trans npc - Non-binary npc (vampire/shape-shifter who changes gender (only male or female) at will) - Option for custom pronouns for nb mc’s - current
I’d love to see a trans author to write a HG/CoG and weave in the trans identity and the associated unique issues into the narrative. Let’s face it - yes writers can research issues but someone who has walked that walk will probably be able to write more authentically about it.
Versus had a lot of gender options and depending on your choice it even got mentioned again if you choose to get frisky with Breeze.
This is something that can happen regardless which gender you choose in the beginning of a game, just a short sentences and then nothing. Depending on what world the game is set in this can get pretty irritating. It also really bothers me if there is an NPC who has the same gender as my MC and the NPC get’s treated differently because of that but my MC doesn’t.
Let’s pretend we are talking about a realistic setting. Like for example everyone I know sees me as a woman because I dress in a typically female fashion so they also treat me like one. This may or may not be the gender I Identify as but if it isn’t, no one would be able to tell based on my appearance. So the questions
are actually pretty good questions. The realistic thing to happen would be something like that the MC gets misgendered by people who don’t know them or even by people who do know them depending if they are out or not. So, wouldn’t the actual question be whether I want to experience something like that in a game?
OK… This is quite new territory for me. I’ve never met nor talked to a transgender person, nor do I identify myself with them. I thought it would be quite fun to test it out, but hell is that a tricky bit to code…
Alas, I got it done with the help of a certain Rosewoof.
Assigned Male at Birth (somewhat outdated) - AMAB
Designated Male at Birth (currently in use) - DMAB
Coercively Assigned Male at Birth - CAMAB, usually used for and by intersex people who have had doctors perform operations to “correct” their genitals at birth.
Assigned is not offensive, it’s still in use! But it’s been largely taken over by the “designated” ones, with the exception of “coercively” variants. I have no direct source as it’s a community thing; older trans folks tend to use Assigned and younger ones tend to use Designated, in my direct personal experience only, of course. I tend to hang with the young trans folks.