Non-binary characters and pronouns

I’m binary, and while gender neutral pronouns don’t trigger me, they make me very uncomfortable. But I think it’s because I’m trans. I mean, I’m not transitioning only to have my gender stripped away from me, and that’s what it feels like to me. I’ve also often seen transphobic people trying to hide their transphobia by using gender neutral pronouns, so they don’t have to validate your identity but still don’t out themselves as transphobic by obviously misgendering you.

Some view it as misgendering, some as “nongendering”. But to me personally that difference is not relevant in this context, what I was getting at was, that it is indeed sometimes weaponized against binary trans people, because it leaves room for an excuse. “Oh but it’s gender neutral, I thought that would be inclusive to everyone!”

No, it’s not the same and I wouldn’t be mad at anyone using they/them for me, because they don’t know better at this point. But it would still make me feel uncomfortable, no matter the intention behind it. You said you couldn’t understand how gender neutral pronouns could (paraphrasing) be an issue for binary people and I wanted to give you an example.
I don’t pass in real life yet, and my writing style online is most of the time on the “feminine” side. He/him pronouns are among the very few validating things I have which makes them so much more important to me.

But you threw that out there and it is something I’m affected by. I’m replying to you, I’m not starting a discussion, just explaining my pov.


so as in, someone purposely referring to a trans binary person by the singular they in order to not respect their binary identity? that’s misgendering. so is this topic about weaponizing gender neutral pronouns to misgender people who are not gender neutral? that obviously firmly falls into a space where i can understand how that would trigger someone—but i think it’s clearly not the same as using a neutral term out of respectfully not assuming. how did…what is this part of the discussion I’m so lost. like… yeah i can’t get my thoughts together, i just don’t wanna start talking about this very specific personal thing if that’s not what the actual topic of discussion is

facts, but… that’s by bad faith actors. to pretend you have a harmless reason to do something harmful is the perspective of someone who means to do harm. this thread is about non-binary characters and pronouns or does it need to be renamed?

you did give me an example and after reading my post again, I don’t think I threw anything out that wasn’t already being discussed dude. I said I didn’t understand something and you made me understand it. This is a thread, where things get discussed (the most general use of that term), and I was trying to make sure that I was staying on topic instead of needling on one specific, off-topic point about gender.


If you want the full low-down, it’s started on Options you want to have more often and other features and elements you want to see more often in COGs or HGs, comment 33 (I dunno how to link to specific comments). For short, it’s a discussion on nonbinary characters almost always being referred to with they/them or neopronouns.


Which is it?

It is heavily related and I don’t see a reason why I shouldn’t jump in and add my thoughts on a specific point. There is no need to open a separate thread for every microscopic diversion from the original topic. But don’t worry, I won’t reply to you anymore, because you come across as very aggressive.

oh good lord

excuse me for my initial poor word choice. in saying “start talking” let me clarify that i meant i didn’t want to start:

literally no one said you shouldn’t so i don’t see a reason either. I never said to open a separate thread, I was saying I didn’t want to needle on one smaller point of a greater discussion, while i was still lost as to what the full topic even was. You don’t have to reply to me, but I am going to openly disagree with the characterization of “very aggressive.”

I am nonbinary and live in Africa. I am misgendered literally every day of my life and will continue to be by close friends and family until the day that I die. That is not what I said I hadn’t heard of:

Hayden gave me an explanation and, to quote myself again because apparently it’s easy to miss in a rather short post:

disengaging with the thread now. seemed potentially interesting but i don’t do convos like this.


You’ve never heard of nonbinary people being triggered by people using the wrong pronouns? I’m not even sure what kind of proof you want for that. It’s everywhere.

And I mean… @Hayden_Winter and I are both nonbinary and both use he/him pronouns. We both have very similar experiences. From what I can tell, using they/them for him even more uncomfortable for him than it is for me because he’s also transgender.

You have multiple first hand accounts, and still no one has actually provided a counter, just that they “never heard of it.” Well, now you have.

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I’m a binary trans man.

No big deal! :slight_smile:

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Oh, I thought I saw you say you were nonbinary in another thread? Maybe I misread it.

EDIT: Oh, you had said “I’m not nonbinary” in another thread and I missed the “not.” Sorry about that.

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I think pretty much everyone here is misreading each others’ posts, and using the same phrasings to mean different things.

Everyone of us can only speak for us selves, and framing our opinions and experiences as something more general, is not helpful.

That said:

I, personally, have not in real life experienced a binary or non-binary trans person having a problem being addressed gender-neutrally by someone who isn’t doing it in a mean-spirited way. Deliberately misgendering a person is a completely different potato, and not something I have seen anyone in this thread advocate, or saying that anyone shouldn’t be upset over.

As to whether non-binary characters using the traditionally binary pronouns is okay: it depends.

Are they the only non-binary character in the story?
Are they framed very binary in the story?
Do they fall into the ‘stereotype’ of non-binary just being ‘woman lite’?
Are there other ways to make it clear that they are non-binary?
Is it a modern setting? Fantasy or Sci-fi?
Does the game have in-game character pages that state gender and pronouns?

Generally, I would argue that non-binary characters are getting to be common enough in CS games (as well as other IF and indie visual novels) that most readers aren’t completely unfamiliar with their existence.
That should make it more safe to showcase a lot more diversity in representation in future games. Sure, there will always be new readers who will get confused, or find some reason to get offended. But if the representation of non-binary characters has to be streamlined, we are just going to be teaching people that real non-binary people are only the stereotype.

And yes, that goes for the pronouns as well.


Of course. But that’s a big shift from your original assertion that gender-neutral pronoun, specifically, are so often triggering as to be unhelpful. Those are clearly the “wrong pronouns” for you… what I observe others responding to is the implication that gender-neutral pronouns are more often wrong than right. If that’s a misreading of your point it might be helpful to clarify it.


Oh, is that what people were thinking I said? That’s missing an entire half of the sentence. I said gender-neutral pronouns are more often triggering than other gender-neutral terms. As in, they/them pronouns are more likely to trigger a nonbinary person than calling them a “person” or “parent”.

I don’t like it at first when in the game you see a “they” or “that” because i get confused and think its talking plural, its after some more interaction that I understand its a non binary

I wont lie, i will never get used, but i understand why it its there ans how it should be an option for you to choose if you yourself want the protagonist to be called in non binary pronouns ( like 90% of all games here do(?) )

Authors need to feel free to make as much options of who the player want to be orientally and genderly.