Transgender ROs

How would you feel about an RO realising they are trans after you have already met them?

See, in a story I’m working on, there is a scene where an RO meets other trans people, and, in hearing their stories and experiences, realises for the first time that there is such a thing as being trans and finally starts to understand why they feel the way they do, eventually leading them to coming out as trans.

Or at least, that was the plan. After giving it some thought, I wasn’t sure if it would be a good idea, since I’m not sure who would be attracted to this character. Not because trans people aren’t attractive, but because:

Say, for example, you are only attracted to men. When you meet a male RO, you may focus on that character and spend all your time with them. So when they come out as actually being female, you’d be disappointed, since you are not attracted to females.

On the other side, say you are only attracted to females. When you meet this character, you (incorrectly) assume they are male, so you wouldn’t be attracted to them. When they come out as actually being female, you may start to like them, but by then you already missed out on the earlier chances to get to know them better.

So the question is, do you think I should change my plan and not make them trans? It would mean getting rid of a bunch of scenes where they explore their identity and start to feel more comfortable with themselves, plus some cute bits where you can cheer them on (Possibly a bit too much and getting them overwhelmed), but I don’t want people to feel disappointed when they come out as trans.

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If I like them, I like them. Going through a transition won’t change that. (Then again I’m pansexual, so whether someone is male, female, agender, non-binary, trans, cis, or whatever doesn’t matter much :woman_shrugging:)

I love the idea, though. There aren’t nearly enough characters out there who go through such a change while the MC is present. As long as you handle it respectfully and take care that they have a personality aside from their transition you’ll be fine.

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As has been said, I’ve never seen this done, but would really like to. I would recommend against making the player lock themselves into a particular gender attraction, and letting them choose based on each character. Especially in a situation where the RO’S are more fluid.

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As I recall, there is a character (who I believe is an RO?) in The Sea Eternal who is introduced, and then later comes out as a trans woman. It’s been quite a long time since I played and I can’t recall that character’s storyline very well or I might try and elaborate.

I don’t recall what her reception was, but it does serve as an example of one way to include this type of character.

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As a trans person, it would mean a ton to see representation like this in a character. In a practical sense, maybe making the romance trigger after they make the realization that they’re trans would make more sense. I don’t want this to come off as shaming or guilt trippy, but the idea that they’d be nixed as a trans character just because it’s tricky to implement is disheartening. I believe the readers of COG/Hosted IFs are a really accepting bunch and I really don’t think it would be an issue, and if it is, that’s their problem. If your character is trans, please don’t compromise that for fear of audience reaction.

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A trans RO? There’s no many of those!

I think it would be good for representation but, as you said, people that are not pansexual or bisexual could find themselves pursuing something that they end up not being attracted to.
I’m straight, so personally, that would make me restart the whole game. It would be frustrating.

A possible solution is to tell your readers beforehand but, Is it necessary for this to be a surprise reveal? Because if so, then this is not plausible. I wish you good luck with your game!:heart:

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It’s definitely interesting to explore the relationship when a party decided they’re trans after the relationship is established. Will it continue? Will it break? Handle the case with care or it will disappoint not only straight readers, but also the others.

I’m not opposed to the idea, but as I said, if it’s possible to break up the relationship, you have to be mindful with how you write and how the plot resolves. Maybe both PC and RO still continue their relationship as good friends, maybe either one is utterly devastated they decide to cut off all contact.

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(I’m trans and very exclusively attracted to women, for what ever that’s worth)
I would say you should have the option to end the relationship. It’s really shitty sounding, especially if they strongly loved you, but I’d be very uncomfortable in a relationship with a dude even if we both thought he was a girl and still looks the part. With the opposite, you would need to have a good amount of the standard “begin relationship” bits after the realisation to feel fair (since even on replay I wouldn’t want to start before they know), so it shouldn’t be too far in the book.
Either way, both are potentially interesting and very unexplored relationships with unique problems (and a lot of angst if you want it). Could have unique bits with a trans MC too (assuming that’s an option). I’m for it, both for representation and the dynamics it offers.

If you want the character to be trans, do it. Fuck the whining that may (who am I kidding, will) happen. Don’t not do it because of someone could be transphobic. There’s not exactly a plethora of trans characters in anything in the first place, let alone ROs, let alone ones that learn in the story. Do what you want first and foremost.

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for my part, I will be disappointed with the revelation that comes after MC and RO begin their romantic relationship. not before.
I think the main thing is to leave the player with the same level of variability as for all other decisions. will you, as an author, be comfortable writing not only supportive and kind but also mean or “don’t-give-a-shit” type of MC (depending on what characteristics your game has) in that particular situation? and it will be a good thing to leave some hints in text beforehand.
and, well, this character will be much less loved by the public than the rest in the end but this is your brainchild, so do whatever you feel will be more fun for you.

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I’d like to remind people that one of the rules of this forum is to be respectful. Calling users with genuine criticisms or concerns pricks is not being respectful.

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I was specifically referring to anyone who would have a problem with a trans RO who transitions (who are just being transphobic about it), not people who aren’t attracted to trans people (or whatever you’re implying, only thing I can come up with).

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I understand that, just be careful with language. The easiest way to cause a fight is by accidentally setting off people who agree with what you intend, because of the tone of your post. That’s why it was a general reminder and not directed at anyone.

By its nature, this topic will lead to disagreements. The burden rests with everyone to try to keep the temperature down

@WeisseWoelfin: Saw the edit, much better thanks!

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Sincerely, I think is a good idea for a novel. Not for a choice of games or interactive fiction. And is something that should be handled with enormous care and community support with the trans people. Sensitivity readers if you have the money.

So in a way, it is not practical. But I am sure it would be an important part of the integration. I personally wouldn’t find myself confident enough to try something like that, because I am not knowledgeable enough for doing justice.

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I agree witht this. It’s a good idea for a novel but not as much for IF. I’m not trying to say that you should not write it just because it’s a tricky subject because you should totally just fuck it and go for it, it’s just that you need to handle it with care and lots of community feedback.

Here’s my two cents. As a gay man, I’m just not wired to like women, trans or not. As years of self-deprecation has taught me, you can’t just choose who you like with a snap of your fingers. I’d totally support them, and I would never try to stop them if that’s what they really want to do, but I’m just being honest in saying that I will be pretty bummed out about it. I’m not trying to be transphobic…it’s just how I feel.

To answer your question, I would still very much like to see that. I think it would be an interesting theme to tackle.

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As someone pointed out, the sea eternal has a transgender character who isn’t immediately out to the player, and it’s done well, but they come out to you before you are given the possibility of entering a relationship with them. It’s still a decent of example of how that kind of thing can be done well though.

As for who would be attracted to this character, there are plenty of people who go through these exact situations, and while there is probably more ways for it to go wrong than right, you wouldn’t have to Include the bad. That might take away some player agency perhaps, but It would be easy to write without getting into stuff that is much more complicated and ugly.
I do however think there is plenty people could get out of something like this, especially if the player character was themselves trans.

Overall my advice would be to avoid too much detail or anything serious, because it’s very easy to go wrong. You want to avoid coming across as condescending or voyeuristic, I’ve seen both of those quite a lot. Specifically I am very sick of the way any positive portrayals of trans women require the approval of a cis women who acts as friend/mentor.

To summarise, if this is an attempt at something light and fluffy, then that sounds doable. I don’t think this would have to be a romantic relationship to be worthwhile, and finally, trying to write any serious scenes without a robust understanding of transmisogyny is going to be very hard.

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I think for it to work fine, you should ask the player about sexual preferences and etc, like most games do and then if the player chooses to be bisexual you can continue this RO storyline without much problem, if they’re straight/gay then the RO would be a friendly companion :slight_smile:

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If it helps your research, there are plenty of real-world stories about this exact same situation, including people who only discovered their partner is trans after they got married (and yah, there are some happy endings).

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Yeah, that was my case, in fact. I was in a 3 years old relationship when I realized I was trans. My boyfriend was confused on what to feel at the time, but supported me regardless. At the same time, he actually started to question his sexuality and now he thinks of himself as a bi man, attracted to man and women… But I’m non-binary . That didn’t affect a single thing. He loved me as a girl and still loved me as a non-binary person even at our 8 years relationship ended (for reasons that were completely different from gender stuff). I was fine too. Not even once I wondered if he really loved me if he wasn’t attracted to non-binary people. He just loved me. Nothing in life is necessarily static or 100% something.

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I wish I could remember the game but something else on cog did this sort of. I remember the google reviews majority disliking and being disappointed of this reveal that the woman they were pursuing was a trans woman.
Personally I don’t mind a character figuring out their identity. I wouldn’t be disappointed if they transitioned to a gender I’m not attracted to, moreso I’d be disappointed that I’d be too far into the story (probably?) to romance someone else lol. A break up option would be nice too.
I think it’s great you doing this, as a trans woman myself I much prefer trans characters going through these different little experiences.

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There’s already a choice game that does this. Sea Eternal? I think? A human researcher, initially introduced as a man, ends up in a city of merpeople and she comes to realise she may be a trans woman. There’s a route where you can help her make a deal with the whales to give her a female body.

People realising they’re trans and coming out while in a relationship happens all the time in real life. It’s an opportunity for many interesting explorations in the mc’s emotions too. Sure there will be disappointed people, but I would consider it a reasonable consequence if it means I can put this experience out there.

The MC will have to come to terms with their RO being trans. It can end sweet or bitter sweet or angsty. Especially if the MC is gay or straight.

I’m bi, so my MCs are usually bi as well. Even then I would have to reconcile the image I had of my RO to the person they’ve realised they are. It might take time. I might even decide I’m not attracted to the person anymore.

And if the MC is also trans, this will lead to some interesting dialogue options as well.

“Feeling disappointed” doesn’t always mean you’re disappointed in the game. Sometimes you appreciate the disappointment as part of the experience.

That is, as long as you represent the disappointment as an option. It would majorly suck if there wasn’t a breakup option.

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