Pronouns for gender-fluid character


#1

Hi, I’m not sure whether this would go here, but it does relate to a game I’m currently making at the moment so I’m just going to jump right in and ask my question.

How would someone approach pronouns in regards to a gender-fluid NPC? Would I continuously use they/them or other gender-neutral pronouns through the whole story to make it easier understand? Do I change pronouns based on the gender/how masculine or feminine the character is on each respective day?

I personally think changing pronouns might confuse people, however, I also know what it’s like for people to constantly misgender me day in and day out, so I’m honestly not sure.

Any insight would be highly useful as I don’t want to seem as if I am trivialising pronoun-use and want to portray a gender-fluid character as accurately as possible.

Thanks :slight_smile:


#2

People usually use Ze, Hir, Hirself. Though I don’t personally like third gender pronouns not that it matters much.


#3

The book ‘The Last Flight’ (a Dragon Age tie-in novel) had a gender-fluid character in it who changed pronouns along with presentation from time to time. Might be worth a look to see how they wrote that?


#4

I never understand this “it might confuse people”. If there’s 5 boys in a room and you say “he will come with me”, wouldn’t people be confused anyway? If a girl have 5 nicknames and you see her being called in one you don’t know, wouldn’t you get confused anyway? :confused:
I don’t know how to answer it in terms of script, but in “social” terms, it varies. There are genderfluid people who always use they/them. Some will always change it if they feel a boy or a girl at the time. And some just don’t care and accept any of them. If you introduce some nonbinary character and they explain about their pronouns, I don’t see how people would get confused in general.


#5

I suspect this will be a recurring character? If changing pronouns would be appropriate for a gender-fluid character, then why not simply have the character explain that they are gender-fluid to either another character, or to the main character as part of some dialogue, and educate that character on why they change pronouns. This way the reader will be educated as well without feeling like they are being hit over the head with a lesson.


#6

I’d say to go with what you think would work best for the character. My gender is semi-fluid but I’m only comfortable with being called he/him pronouns but I also have other gender fluid friends who change pronouns as they see fit or don’t have a preference and let people choose any pronouns/any out of a set acceptable pronouns (like she/her and they/them but not he/him, for example)

If you end up going with changing pronouns depending on what gender that character is in the situation, I think it would be fine as long as you say the character’s name just before you first change the pronoun. Stating that they’re gender fluid somewhere in the game would help too


#7

Thanks everyone.

Yes, this character will be a recurring character. I have a gender-fluid friend and they prefer to be referred to with they/them pronouns, and likewise another gender-fluid friend of mine is fine so long as you don’t use feminine pronouns for them. I suppose it really depends on the person.

What would you prefer to read, however? Constantly changing pronouns or a set of pronouns that don’t change? I haven no problem writing either, and have no trouble switching in real life, I just know a few (‘a few’ being a great many) people who do get confused by pronoun use particularly if they change often (Curses at my tenth grade gym teacher). This was part of my reason for asking in the first place.


#8

In my writing, I let my NB character chose. One character is a fashionista and really tries their best to look like a Eurasian fashion model - this character always uses they/their because that is how the character is written.

Another of my characters is a more of a gender-fluid character that leans more on the male presentation - and is ok referred to as whatever - as long as it isn’t she/her … again this is how the character is written…

In both cases, its not a big deal - it isn’t made a big deal by anyone that knows them and those in the story that don’t know them are treated as if they don’t know them as individuals.

The challenge is writing these characters naturally. It is a challenge made easier when I concentrate on the characters themselves and let the pronouns flow freely. For example: my second character mentioned above is always referred to as “he” while on the basketball court because while playing basketball that is how he sees himself but when at home, that character is referred to as they/them because that is how they see themselves there.

Personally, as a reader, I will be ok as long as the characters are written decently themselves and I accept whichever pronouns are used.


#9

For me, anything is fine. However, most of non-binary characters use they/them or ze/hir for what I can see in CoG games, so I think it’d be nice to see a genderfluid character that changes their pronouns or do prefer 1 or 2 only.

I accept any pronouns, BUT I prefer neutral and male ones, I rarely talk about myself using female ones (in English, because in my native language I’m sort of forced to use gendered words) though I accept them, even when I’m on “female mode”. Also, there are words that I NEVER accept. You can call me a she, a girl, but NEVER EVER “daughter-in-law”. It doesn’t matter if I’m 100% a girl at the time, that is a term I forbid people using for me. Why? I don’t know, I just don’t like it. So long story short, there’s also an “option” to prefer some words and dislike others. :yum:


#10

I have a game with 3 genders and Nt (people who don’t feel exactly as one of them) I have let you choose yours between a big list and even write yours. However in my settings people use for themselves others. And even asking so you want be called x Is first time I heard that pronoun. I do that to give realism.