Non-Gender Specific MC's and Romance Options


#1

So I’ve actually searched the forums for this and didn’t really find any topic that already existed that answered my question.

With games that allow you to play as a non-gender specific MC, exactly how do the romances work? I like making my romances either straight/bi-sexual/lesbian/gay instead of having them open to any relationship . . . it just feels more realistic to me is all. But I ended up thinking, how would a NPC view a non-gender specific MC . . . if this is making sense.

This is in no way me trying to be rude or ignorant, I am just truly curious how other authors handle this or how readers would like it to be handled, especially those who are non-gender conforming.


#2

Since I’m rather new to coding I decided to not go through the hassle of defining my characters for three instead of two gender options. I definitely want to include a third option for genderfluid/agender readers in a project one day, but currently it’s difficult enough for me to tackle male and female options with all of the sexualities and romance options that come with it. If I can get the hang of things I totally will add that third option. Those readers would get two romance options: the female asexual panromantic in my story as well as the agender character with a clear preference for other agender/genderfluid people. (Other characters include: A gay, straight and bi man and a bi woman. Everyone gets at least 2 options this way.)

To still represent people that define themselves like this I did decide to create a character who uses ‘they’ and does not define their gender as male or female. Since my story has superhero elements said character is a firefighter and burn victim who uses their power to copy the appearance of every person on earth to get through their day. They have a pretty integral part to play in the story as a whole. =)


#3

Are you looking for technical help?(coding etc…)
Social advice?
Or political correctness?

If you’re looking for social advice, I’d tell you first off in real life most people are going to assume one or the other. I’ve never known any stranger to correctly guess that I prefer being genderfluid or an Androgyne.

I don’t really get bent out of shape when someone assumes my gender. But it happens a lot and after a while I started playing with that confusion in a very sarcastic way sometimes working against me I might add… I also don’t bluntly beat someone over the head with a sharp correction “Hey! I’M A #^&/& you jackhole.”

Essentially with non-specific genders it’s better to let the Npc make that mistake and the main character correct them. It’s a more natural way to do things…BUT mind how you do that because it’s a tricky line to walk with some folks (Not everyone is as live and let live as I am on a good day.)


#4

@Cirrocumulus I understand, I usually try to keep things simple to avoid offending anyone since I don’t want to assume and such.

@Snoe Lol understood, thank you that helps.


#5

As Snoe said, people usually assume we’re one or the other. It happened once or twice to have people not assuming my gender, but in these cases they were both transgender as well.
If it’s just some stranger I just sigh and let it go, but if is someone who I’ll be working together or something like that, then I correct them.

Well, pansexual people like people regardless of their gender, it IS a realistic thing.


#6

Here’s a few threads about non-binary stuff in general. (@Laguz was our resident expert for awhile, so you might check out their posts first.)

How to write a social setting and characters that deal with non-binary identities respectfully can be difficult, but this post is going to focus on coding. I didn’t realize until I worked NB main characters into my WIP that there were some logistic differences to accommodate.

Terminology is different. Gender-based words for sexuality (e.g. heterosexual) don’t fit, so the terminology is androsexual/gynosexual (prefers males/prefers females). If a non-binary person prefers other people outside the gender binary, the word is skoliosexual, or there’s another one that I’ve forgotten.

In my coding I’ve actually got three different flags - the MC’s gender (which sets things like pronouns, affects which clothes are available to them, etc.); which gender(s) they prefer (which sets whether to show or hide flirtatious options with those characters); and an orientation flag (if the combination of 1 and 2 make them non-heterosexual, it affects the reactions of other characters.)

Attraction to others is a bit hard to code - given 3 genders (male, female, NB) there are 8 possible combinations. (All; none; 3 options of only one; 3 options of any 2.) I simplified it for myself down to male vs female (prefers male/female/both/none) and likes non-binary (true/false). Then I can check whichever one applies to whoever they’re around, or combine the two if I need to.

Identity coding is only difficult because it can overlap. If you separately code gender, orientation, and gender presentation (you only have to code whatever you’re using, but it’s nice to know which wardrobe your MC’s reaching for), you can make anything from a crossdressing gay man, to a hetero tomboy, to a pansexual non-binary femme.

The one thing I couldn’t sort easily was trans vs./and/or NB. If you try to fit trans into the gender slot, you end up with six options (similar to what happened with sexual preference.) So again, I made gender one of three options (male/female/NB) and split trans off into its own flag (true/false). Gender is what’s referred to the most, and I only check the trans flag if it’s relevant.


#7

Ceterosexual, I think?


#8

I think it was “cetero”? If I recall correctly, “skoliosexual” is not very liked because in Greek “skolio(s)” means bent/crooked.

@Fiogan yep, ceterosexual :slight_smile:


#9

I was leaning toward just deciding for each of my characters on an individual basis whether nonbinary people are included in who they’re attracted to or not. For example, I might have a man who’s attracted both to other men and nonbinary people, and another man who is only attracted to other men.

I figure that way it would avoid invalidating a character’s nonbinariness.

(Does the term ceterosexual also apply if a binary person is attracted only to nonbinary people, or is there different terminology for this? I’ve yet to hear about anyone who did idenify this way.)


#10

I was told that it was for NB people, and would be appropriative for other people to use. So, I don’t know what the term would be for a non-NB person who exclusively prefers NB people. Maybe there isn’t one because it would be seen as fetishizing, the same as a cis person who tries to only date trans people is seen as suspicious and a “chaser”?


#11

For me, being an aspiring writer myself, have found gender a real hard topic to tackle in both coding and actual writing. Most of the time, I try to work hard on realistic reactions of my characters to one’s MC. Which usually leads to a bunch of hours in the night, spent rewriting coding for differently gendered characters.

So it truly depends on how you’d like to approach the topic, which can be friendly or realistic. In a realistic situation, it’s be to where you have different sexualities and genders for your characters, and different reactions to another’s sexuality and gender. Rather then having it where everyone accepts everything and everyone is romancable to everyone. Like you mentioned ToxicDreams.

So to respond to a Non-Binary MC, would probably be different depending on one’s character. Ya know?


#12

I guess that would depend on where the line is between fetishizing and sexual orientation :confused: Since it’s generally not a problem to be attracted to a specific gender when it’s a binary one, without that being fetishizing… :confused: but I also realize that “nonbinary” is an umbrella term encompassing a whole lot of different genders, so being attracted to some of those wouldn’t have to imply attraction to all of those… then, with a cis person only dating trans people, that has the issue of treating them differently based on trans status rather than the actual gender identity, like it’s also an issue if a cis person won’t date a trans person just because of being trans… but someone being specifically attracted to nonbinary people at least wouldn’t be invalidating the gender identity, right? :confused: But I can imagine there would be a lot of people going about it in an invalidating or fetishistic way…

I’m afraid I don’t really have a good grasp of what would be considered appropriative and objectifying in this context, aside from the obvious :sweat:

I suppose when it comes to romance options, it would be safest if a romance option who only likes nonbinary MCs would also be nonbinary? While binary MCs could be oriented for male-only, male+nb, female-only, female+nb, or everyone?


#13

This is exactly the way to do it I think, just in terms of LI availability. Unless you’re going to have all LIs available to all players (which is a practice I have pretty mixed feelings about anyway), I think it gives all the characters a lot more individual agency to have them have individual preferences. Otherwise I think the usual way is to just have bi/pan options open to nb people and then straight or gay options just to their preferred gender, which is fine and perfectly workable, but I think less accurate or interesting.


#14

Well maybe it’s not that you don’t have a firm grasp on it. In this matter, I believe it’s all about how far you’re willing to go to make everyone feel content with what you’ve worked with.

Sometimes though, you just gotta power through it. Not everyone will like what they’re seeing, but we’re only human. Even though it really is hard to get it right, that’s why we got forums like his. To figure out what we all like best. Whether that means keeping things simple, or working that extra mile to see all options.


#15

Honestly, I’m not 100% sure; I have read somewhere that cetero only applies for nb to nb cases, but maybe I’m wrong.

This character of yours may be described as:

  • Bisexual: some will argue that bi is only about two genders, but there are (social) circles where they use bisexual when it comes to being attracted to more than one gender without being pansexual (since your character isn’t into women).
  • Polysexual: I guess that this definition is more “correct” (in terminology) because the name clearly states an attraction to multiple genders, not just two (as it is in the case of bi-sexual).

Aaaah, yeah, that’s kind of fishy. I reminds me of this gross man I met that stated he was “definitely hetero” and absolutely not into guys, but had the fantasy of sleeping with a trans man “because it’s hot”. What. The. Hell.

There’s nothing wrong with dating trans people, but if you only date trans partners, that’s going to raise some flags. Like someone who only wants to date Asians: rather than persons, it looks like they are only looking for a certain characteristic/trait :confounded:


#16

I suppose that would have the issue of nonbinary people having fewer romance options than everybody else, which doing it on a character-by-character basis would solve.

This makes sense… how characters identify could be important if it’s in a fairly real-world setting (not so much an issue for most fantasy settings :stuck_out_tongue:)… but I think that would also depend on the individual. For example, I’ve met a woman who identified as bi because she was attracted to both her own gender and others… mostly nonbinary ones, not men. But I would expect that many other women who are similarly attracted to women and nonbinary people would identify as lesbians :thinking:

I’m sure for a lot of monosexual romance options, it would “realistically” depend on the MC’s specific nonbinary gender and their gender expression (like a gay guy might like masculine of center people)… but I really don’t think that’s the sort of thing we’d want to get into most of the time, correct? It would run the risk of acting like nonbinary people are “really” just one or the other, which would be terribly inappropriate.

Eek :confounded:

Then there’s also a lot of people who entirely rule out the possibility of dating trans people… I’ve heard about a gay guy who was dating a trans man but broke up with him because he “wasn’t sure what it meant for his gay identity.” Trans men are men, so… it meant he had, indeed, been in a gay relationship… it’s not that anybody has to be into anyone specific, but if you were into someone, finding out that that person is trans shouldn’t change this :rolling_eyes:

(Naturally, a gay male romance option should be available for trans men and cis men but not trans women and cis women, and so forth… which should be clear to everyone, but, just in case… :sweat:)

(Edit: I realize there’s some exceptions in real life to that last point, mostly in the cases of relationships that continue after one person transitions, which sometimes survive and sometimes don’t. I don’t want to say those are wrong. But in the context of a choice game it is important to base it in the main character’s gender identity :slight_smile:)


#17

Speaking of fetishizing!
I’ve had this happen to me, I didn’t know it at the time but having a few stalkers creeping after me on the internet was not fun… apparently I’d been labeled as a sissy/femboi to the point where my Myspace was mobbed by an assortment of… people with a vested interest making with lewd requests…

And that ladies and gentlemen is why I don’t go on Facebook or share photos of myself online via social media.


#18

Just gotta say: Your post helped me a LOT to come up with a solution for how to incorporate a nonbinary option for the Reader. This helped me so much, so thanks for that! =)


#19

Yep, absolutely. Like in real life, no one but ourselves can tell us how we identify; if a woman says she’s bisexual instead of pansexual, she is bisexual because she knows herself waaaaay better than anyone, or she has her reasons to identify as such. Like when this cis dude told me that I was trans, like… excuse me? Who the f*ck do you think you are to tell me who I am?

Ah, that’s… complicated. Like, I believe that it may be difficult for someone cisgender to truly understand the difference between nb genders such as agender/neutrois/genderfluid enough to say “I am attracted to neutrois but not genderfluid people”.

Sure, I believe there may be concrete terms for orientations such as “only attracted to demiboys/genderflux/bigender people”, but the term cetero is, by default, polysexual (like bisexual/pansexual), and relatively easier to explain. If someone asks what cetero means, at most you have to clarify what nb means, but in other cases, not only you have to explain your sexuality, but what nb means, and the difference between nb genders. Kind of like why some people just say “I’m bisexual” instead of “I’m pansexual”.

Orientation has a lot of… what’s the word? Planes/tiers that separate the romantic and sexual (and sometimes the sensual) parts of the orientation, and they don’t always have to agree. So… the mono/poly part is just like the asexual/allosexual aspect, another nuance.

Aaaaay, what a mess of an explanation :sweat_smile: If you don’t understand something or want me to clarify it, feel free to ask :relaxed:

Yes, yuck :frowning2:

I believe it’s because in a lot of people’s mindset there’s still a strong relation between someone’s gender with their bits, which is not accurate at all. I once saw a tweet that was very good because it said something like “you can’t call a guy gay because he is dating a trans woman; your girlfriend was once a little girl and no one is calling you paedophile”. That’s to say, trans people aren’t the gender they were designated at birth, but sometimes people havea hard time letting go of these things; what we identified before as, or thought we identifiead as.

@Snoe I feel you there, pal :cry: Sometimes people are just gross gross gross :confounded:


#20

The vast majority of people I know in real life are like this. :disappointed_relieved:
The “I support their civil-rights BUT will never date a trans woman even tho I’m attracted to females” -type.
Which translates “yes, I think you are a woman…but not really”.
It’s a difficult thing to tackle because it’s not like everybody will say it out loud (generally because they don’t want to seem transphobic). It’s pretty easy to past it as “oh we get along fine but it’s just that there is no spark” or “I’m very busy now and not interested in dating”.
And this is something that the so called anti-SJW people will never get (or admit). Discrimination isn’t always direct and/or hostile. People do like their political correctness (even if it’s just for the sake of avoiding trouble). A lot of times you can disguise it as something else. You can “punish” people for attacking a trans person or a dark-skinned person. But you can’t do anything if they just don’t find them as desirable lovers (which can still be hurtful to the person’s mentality when it happens again, and again, and again and again during their lifetime).

The only hope is that next generations will be more educated and therefore genuinely accepting.