Would a game about a character who must be trans work?


#1

Hey all! It’s been along time since I was active here but I just had an idea for a new game. So, as background, I’m trans myself and always head cannon characters as trans. I was wondering how you would all react to a game where the MC has to be trans.

They way I was thinking of it was like this, at the very beginning of the game you’d mention that you have an identical twin. You’d also get a letter which addresses you as either Mr. or Ms. Then, not too much later, you’d meet someone who’d see the letter, and, if you wanted to, you’d get to explain that yes, that’s your legal gender (since this game would take place somewhere in America) but you identify as NB. Then, even later in the game, you would meet your identical twin, who would have a different gender than you, so if you picked “Mr.” they’d be a girl and “Ms.” then they’d be a guy. There might also be a few words about you being trans after that.

TL:DR how would you feel if a game forced your character to be trans, whether binary or not?


#2

It sounds potentially quite exciting, a game with a trans MC written by a trans author. (I’m enby, myself.) Would the twin be possibly genderqueer and/or trans too, or are they always cis?


#3

I think your idea may work but it will take a lot of hard work and execution to ensure your audience will be able to relate to the story.

The only unclear aspect here is if you are forcing the MC to be an enby as well as trans? Identification flexibility may make it easier for binary people to connect to your story.

I think features like a glossary will be necessary to include.

With all that said: I’d be supportive of your project and would be willing to help as much as I can.


#4

Hmm, it would be fun if there were a good consistent way of making the twin queer. The way I was thinking about it they’d always be cis, although if you have any ideas I’d love to hear!


#5

The idea was that the audience would just be like, oh, I picked this person’s gender, with no mention of them being trans. So if the reader’s trans they might assume that the character is trans, and have their theory canonically confirmed, or, if they’re cis, they may be surprised the character is trans and, hopefully, think about it.

Sorry I was unclear! I don’t want to force the MC to be NB. Their legal gender in the game is going to have to be binary, at least at the beginning, but later they can clarify that they are NB, if the player chooses that. Or, alternately, the player can just choose that they are binary.


#6

Indeed, for obvious reasons I can identify much more readily with trans male (and in my case a gay one at that), since trans men are men, then trans female or non-binary.
Not that truly stellar writing or poking heavily at my niche interests couldn’t overcome that, but thus far the only game that compelled me to play a female character on this site has been @iris wip.


#7

No more so than a game that’s gender locked to any other gender, I wouldn’t have thought? I mean, I realise that statistically fewer people are trans than cis male, say, but readers are still making a jump either way whenever they’re playing a game not locked to their gender (or their social status, or economic class, or region, or religion…).

There’s such a lot of variety on the gender spectrum. The twin could be a demiboy/girl, or genderfluid, maybe? Or agender, or a number of other possibilities.


#8

My bad explaining! Yes, the MC can be NB, male or female, agender, bigender, genderfluid etc. And yeah, they can totally be gay, straight, bi, ace, etc. They just can’t be cis.


#9

Hmmm, you know what would be an awesome way to approach it? If during the course of the story the twin came out to you, and you could help them come to terms with their gender.


#10

I was thinking more in trans-specific concerns. Transition, “passing”, stuff that non-trans people may never been exposed to and that will need to be explored or explained so they can relate … I’m not really sure what thought-path my words sent you down … I’m sorry for any confusion I caused :smile:


#11

Right, I see what you mean (and no worries). I think this kind of thing happens in a lot of IF books though, and readers who are up for gender-locked games mostly go along for the ride. (Medieval setting—what do we do with eating implements? clothing?). Even aspects like ‘cosmetics, nylons, what?’ or ‘American football equipment and squeezable nacho sauce, what?’ where people are seeing or reading about things they’ve had little or no experience with, depending on their own backgrounds.

But right, careful beta testing will be important, as with any game I suppose, both to make sure a game’s sensitive to the trans community, and to make sure different aspects that are outside the experience of non-trans people are explained well, as you say. (:


#12

Honest opinion? The title had me expect something you’d wish to hell.
A game where the lead is trans/enby/etc by default… though.
It could work

Maybe reword the “must” to just “is”?
The must makes it sound like (as said) some very transphobic and ignorant dystopia written by someone who thinks using the correct pronouns and letting people use the frigging bathroom is totally oppressing poor cis folks…


#13

Well, I mean, gender isn’t this premise of the game. That’s based on college, mental-illness (which is something I have myself, in additional to working in mental health) and also possible interaction from the Fair Folk. This is just an idea I had for gender selection. And I’m not cis, although my perspective as a binary trans woman may leave me ignorant of some things, and I would need beta readers.

That’s totally fair. I should have chosen my words better. The MC is trans. In part because I have a hard time writing cis characters and in part because I think it may be a good thing to do. I don’t intend to write a dystopia. If anything, I’m probably going to end up way downplaying, or even possibly eliminating, modern American transphobia and homophobia, since who wants that trash in a game that’s supposed to be fun?

Do you have any ideas for how I could make it better?


#14

You mean in my hypothetical mc’s case the twin would turn out to be a trans woman?
As for helping them do you mean just emotional support or more practical stuff? Because I imagine a female to male transition works rather differently then the opposite.

That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, though like I said I imagine one transition is very different from the other. If I’ve taken one thing away from this site it is that no transition is like another some people, including likely my hypothetical mc would want to whole package down to the “package” if and when they can, whereas many NB people never even take hormones and those choices are all equally valid and idiosyncratic to the individual.

If you are going to do that why not build your own world or alternate history?
Then again I love both of those and realize not all authors want to necessarily put in Vancian levels of world-building to tell their stories.
But just a minor point in a much less bigoted America Trump would never be elected in the first place and politics, not to mention (pop) culture would look almost unrecognizably different to us.


#15

Mnnn…(first off: apologies for bad wording on my end. Edited it by now)
Id say work with the idea.
Someone here is currently working on a game about day to day life with a mental illness.
So… honestly… a game dealing with day to day life when one is trans (good stuff., bad stuff and weird stuff alike) might not be for everyone but thats not to say theres no place for it.


#16

Hmmm I was thinking agender, for some reason, but that would have to be something I work on.

I’m also hoping no to get into too much detail of transition stuff? Which sort of ties in with the downplaying transphobia, as in, the MC’s going off to a super friendly college, and their family is completely supportive, enough so that they, apprently, transitioned without too much trouble sometime in their teens, although I may leave that vague. Since everyone’s transition is so different, I thought it better to just no touch on that. Plus, since I don’t intend to have any explicit sex scenes, it’s really no one’s concern.

I want to set the game in America because first, I’m an American so obviously it’s familiar to me, but also second, because that will form a nice realistic back drop for some of the more magical realist and fantastic things that happen. But I don’t want this game to be about “hey, trans people in America kinda have to deal with a lot of crap, you know?” even though we do. I don’t want to be that heavy, and I don’t want to trigger anyone or put them through crap they’ve already been through. I just want to make a game about romance, college, coming of age, mental health, and also possibly fairies :smiley:


#17

Fair enough, I still think explicitly making it the modern USA would be a strange experience for me at least and a lot of visual novel authors over at RenPy seem to agree, given that they tend to go with generic countries that just happen to share lots of similarities with modern Japan/Korea/USA/UK, depending on the author quite often.
Honestly I think this would be preferably to explicitly setting it in the contemporary USA of the here and now, but it’s your story and not everyone is as interested in politics as I am.


#18

I am indeed doing this.

It’s mostly about trying to be a functional adult where your actions can affect your mental health, and if your mental health is too compromised you really struggle to function.

It has some possible fantasy elements, depending on how you look at it.

But the point is that putting someone into a certain point of view, which isn’t the standard presented in most fiction, can be really interesting. Not everyone will love it, but it will resonate with a lot of people too, and teach a lot of people as well.


#19

Thank you! I haven’t actually written anything of this game yet, so it’s all tentative, so that does sound like it may be useful. I’ll play with it a bit and keep it in mind :slight_smile:


#20

They does sound highly interesting, and I fully approve. I need to check it out.