The modders making games more gender-diverse

Hannah just wanted to be a farmer. Not a male farmer. Not a female farmer. Just a farmer that didn’t have to suffer NPC after NPC lumping them into one gender or the other. Hannah’s hopes rose with the release of Stardew Valley, but after jumping into the farming sim they discovered it offered only male and female gender identities, with he/she pronouns to match. As someone who identifies as non-binary, Hannah couldn’t help but be disappointed.

“I’ve almost come to expect little to no representation,” says Hannah. “Being able to play a character that is different from myself is fun and interesting, but playing one true to myself I find is often more fun. It feels more real if you are in the world rather than just an observer playing a person in that world.”

Unwilling to sit idly by, Hannah took it upon themselves to broaden Stardew Valley’s gender diversity, modding the game so that NPCs referred to the protagonist with gender-neutral pronouns and replacing the gender symbols in the character creator with ungendered body-type indicators.

The response from other players was overwhelming.

“Hi! Thanks a ton for doing this, makes it much more comfortable to play the game ^.^” – MattyToo

“thank you so much for doing this!! im agender and its really awesome not having to misgender my character in the game. :)” – EchoGaladrial

“The feedback has been phenomenal,” says Hannah. “So many people just enjoying the mod and even telling me when I missed a pronoun or two.”

Much of Hannah’s support came from a post they stumbled across on Stardew Valley’s official forums. The post echoed Hannah’s disappointment in the gender dichotomy, calling for a mod to add a non-binary gender option for the player character. Many other players had thrown their support behind the idea, proving to Hannah that they weren’t alone in yearning for broader representation.

While Stardew Valley might not have initially lived up to Hannah’s expectations, it’s hardly the only game to adhere to an outdated gender dichotomy–it is, in fact, better than most, supporting same-sex marriage and child adoption. Other games, though, tend to be significantly less progressive.

“By and large most games fall short,” says Hannah. “There are a few games that I’ve heard do a good job of LGBT representation with pre-set characters, featuring canonically gay, bi, or even trans* characters, but I’ve yet to see any games that have canonically non-binary or asexual characters.”

Worse, when games do attempt to portray non-binary characters, they can often do more harm than good. Whether it be the casual transphobia levelled at Erica in Catherine, or the disgusting slurs hurled at transgender NPCs in GTA V, non-binary characters continue to suffer prejudice and discrimination under the lazy guise of ‘humour’. Precious few are granted personalities and purposes that extend beyond their gender identities.

“It’s easy to use the character’s identity to define them,” notes Hannah, “but that’s not what a good, well-written character should be.”

Though Hannah wants to see more non-binary representation, they say that it doesn’t belong in every single game, and shoehorning it in only makes it seem artificial and out-of-place.

“Not all games have to include LGBT representation and not all should. But there are games where LGBT representation is appropriate and definitely should be included.”

It might not seem like a big issue to some, but when you have to deal with people misgendering and misjudging you on a daily basis, being able to play a game that recognizes and accepts you for who you are can be tremendously empowering.

“I really just hope people are able to enjoy Stardew Valley as a gender-neutral player,” concludes Hannah, “and that players will be more comfortable when addressed by their correct pronouns or otherwise in a gender-neutral manner.”

***

Hannah is far from alone in their dissatisfaction with gender representation in games. LGBT organisations like GLAAD provide free media reference guides for writers of both creative and non-creative works, advising on the best practices for inclusive representation of LGBTQ people. The GLAAD guide echoes many of Hannah’s points, emphasising the importance of using a person’s preferred pronoun whenever possible, and defaulting to the gender-neutral ‘they’ when uncertain. Similarly, GLAAD encourages representation that looks beyond mere biology, noting that ‘a transgender person’s gender is much more complicated than a simple glance at external anatomy can capture.’

It’s for this reason that Fallout modder Grabstein set about removing the gender bias present in Fallout 3’s perk system. Grabstein’s mod allows characters of any gender to pick the Black Widow and Lady Killer perks, which give you a 10% damage bonus in combat with men and women respectively, as well as adding in a new perk, “Charismatic!”, that boosts the player’s attraction to both genders regardless of their own. Free of arbitrary gender norms, Grabstein could finally role-play a character that felt true to themselves.

“I [found] it highly annoying, to be honest,” says Grabstein. “I consider myself bi-romantic and play as a female in any game I can, despite being born male. I like to have my options open to pursue any gender in a relationship and not be tied to gender bias.”

Grabstein has long felt non-binary characters are the ‘exception to the rule’, limited to a scant few praise-worthy examples like Krem from Dragon Age: Inquisition and Miranda Comay from Watch Dogs 2. Gender-neutral and -diverse pronouns are also becoming more common in games like Sunless Sea and 2064: Read Only Memories. But even as progress is made in some games, others continue to lag behind when it comes to gender diversity. For Grabstein, this can tarnish a lot of games.

***

Mods like Hannah’s and Grabstein’s allow games to tell more personal stories, ones that we can better identify with. The more of ourselves we see in our digital avatars, Hannah and Grabstein say, the more intimate our connection with their plight.

“I believe we should all be the heroes, or villains if we prefer that, of our own stories,” says Grabstein. “I believe we should all have a chance regardless of faith, gender, or sexual preference. With increasingly more non-binary exposure through games, I hope that more people are given the chance to live, and play, their stories as they feel is correct for them.”

As important as non-binary representation is at the personal level, Grabstein argues that it can be just as valuable on the larger, societal level, too.

“The more non-binaries and non-genders are ‘in the public eye’, the more accepting people will become,” says Grabstein. “I would like to see others attempt mods that balance the playing field a bit more for non-binaries.”

Hannah agrees.

“I honestly think games reflect reality and vice versa,” they say. “Simply learning about and understanding LGBT issues in games leads to a greater understanding and acceptance among game players.”

***

As empowering as mods like these can be, their bespoke nature severely limits their ability to effect social change. To reach the broader gaming community, gender diversity needs to be addressed during a game’s development, not after.

“I would love to see more representation not just in video games, but in tabletop or even board games,” says Grabstein. “More non-gendered NPCs, or even PCs, that aren’t just droids or amorphous aliens.”

Grabstein points to BioWare as an admirable example of a studio pushing the boundaries of representation, even if it doesn’t always get things right. In light of criticism regarding the transgender character Hainly Abrams in Mass Effect: Andromeda, BioWare has apologised to fans and pledged to address the issue in an upcoming patch. Grabstein applauds this approach.

“I’m glad that BioWare listened to consumer complaint and isn’t looking to remove the character,” they say. “She may have been presented a little heavily [but] BioWare, thank you for listening and responding appropriately.”

While mods can do great things, they’re limited by the parts of games that are hard-coded or otherwise beyond the reach of modders. In Grabstein’s opinion, the best way to improve non-binary representation in games is to first improve it in the industry itself. “There’s still far too many CIS [cis-gendered] in charge of the gaming community who don’t take others into account,” they say. “Almost every point of view in gaming is from a male perspective. We require more types of people in the game design field, period.”

Hannah hopes to see more developers recognize the powerful role pronouns play in one’s identity. “It might be nice to allow us to choose pronouns in the future,” they say. “Alternatively, games could avoid pronoun usage altogether, in which case pronoun selection is unnecessary.”

The most important advice Hannah has for developers, though, is to set aside their reservations and simply give it their best shot. The inclusion of just one non-binary character would be a welcome step in the right direction.

“My advice to developers would be ‘Just try’,” they say. “If you’re afraid to do it wrong, ask an LGBT person to help write or proofread your character’s story. If you try to be compassionate and treat that character’s story like any other character, you’ll do fine.”

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Graham Smith says:

    I'm going to lock the comments here. There's some good stuff below, some awful stuff we've left up because the replies are hopefully educational, and a lot more in our trash bin by commenters who have now been banned. It's clear that the conversation has run its course now though so I'm calling time. Thanks to everyone who was compassionate and commented in good faith.
  1. Nevard says:

    I don’t want to be picky but, Krem isn’t a gender-neutral or “diverse pronoun” character at all. He’s a man. That’s… pretty firmly gendered.
    It’s pretty important not to conflate people who are transgendered and male or female, and people who are nonbinary. It does not do trans men or women any favours if you start referring to them as “they”. Similarly, including trans characters who conform to the two more “traditional” genders is not nonbinary representation.

    Krem is a man, who uses male pronouns. There’s nothing neutral or particularly “pronoun diverse” about that. It’s great that trans characters like Krem exist, but he’s not what the article is describing him as. He’s firmly on the binary.

    • TheDandyGiraffe says:

      …and it might actually be considered mildly transphobic to suggest that a trans person identifying as a man/woman is somehow still “between” the genders.

  2. Troubletcat says:

    I strongly empathise with agender people. I hate labels. I don’t believe in God but I don’t want to be labelled and atheist because of all the baggage that comes with that. I believe in equal rights and equal opportunity for women but I don’t want to be labelled a feminist because of all the baggage that comes with that (although the rejection of this label paints me as a terrible enemy in the eyes of some people that I fundamentally agree with) and in my case, I was born with a dick and balls and… well, I’m basically fine with being called male because I view it more as a biological distinction that is, in my case factually correct, than anything else. But I don’t think that wearing makeup or dresses should necessarily disqualify somebody from being male. And I don’t really mind if people who don’t have a dick and balls view themselves as male. It just doesn’t… the label of ‘male’ or ‘female’ imparts absolutely no meaningful information about a person whatsoever. If I’m not trying to sleep with somebody I don’t care what sort of undercarriage they’re equipped with and I don’t think, in either case, that that information is very useful in actually getting to know a person.

    So the desire to completely divorce oneself from gender labels, I get it. At least I think I do. I respect it, even if I don’t get it.

    I like this article because it’s a much more even-handed approach to the topic than is common on some other sites. The understanding that not necessarily every game needs to include every gender identity (or lack thereof). But that, when you can be mindful of it, why not be mindful of it. It’s not a request for game devs to bend over backwards to meet some niche agenda. But if being mindful of a different perspective costs you absolutely nothing and make a big difference to somebody else, who it does matter to, and you’re aware of this… why not do it? Elsewise it seems like a bit of a dick move

    • comic knight says:

      If there is no God then rights do not exist.

      • Heliocentric says:

        Quite right, without a magic sky man to ensure them rights are imagined, and people will and should fight to keep imagining them.

        • Outsour says:

          I was literally about to say something along these lines xD

      • Tuidjy says:

        With or without god, right exists when a society decides that it is in its interest to defend them. Until god starts smiting those who violate your rights, your rights are derived from whoever has the advantage (or even monopoly) on violence. In most of our cases, that’s the state within the borders of which we live.

      • P.Funk says:

        Well since there is no good reason to think there is a god it must mean that somehow our imaginations are so powerful we’ve managed to create societies based on imaginary rights, otherwise commonly known as subjective value systems, negotiated and defined, then renegotiated and refined further and continuously refined ever further as our understanding of those values exceeds anything we can find in any religious text but which is evidently moral given modern sensibilities (unless there’s a Gospel of Intersectional Equality and Understanding I’m missing which isn’t specifically contradicted by other gospels somewhere).

        Its like saying without god you can’t have evolution because… special pleading.

      • Viral Frog says:

        If there is a god, then it is a malevolent being. God supposedly created everything. Even evil, as per the Bible. Yet this god is supposedly a loving, merciful God. But it does nothing to stop the world’s suffering. It does nothing to stop the world’s hatred, bigotry, chaos, or destruction. Some say that this is because God works in mysterious ways. I agree because, mysteriously, it’s as if God is not there at all.

    • Itdoesntgoaway says:

      Good post – can personally empathise with a lot of this (though I do proudly declare myself atheist and feminist, I can appreciate your reasoning).

  3. BradleyUffner says:

    I think expecting Fallout 4 to offer a diverse set of gender roles, when it can’t even properly offer a believable choice between good and evil, is a little overly optimistic.

    • SecondSince says:

      This

    • robertlepervers says:

      Well, in Fallout 4, you play as someone who already has their own backstory, motivations and personality. Sure, you can alter things a bit with choices, but ultimately you’re roleplaying as somebody that is not yourself.

      • Galilnagant says:

        But the character you’re “role-playing” is just three flavors of “Yes” with a “Yes, but please exposit at me!” for added spice.

  4. Gunsmith says:

    I cant decide whats worse, the delusional gender oppressed fantasies of socially insecure generation of progressive introverts desperate to prove themselves with solutions to problems that don’t exist or the fact that we openly engage these retards for fear of causing offence when we should be kicking them out of their social media circle jerks and out into the real fucking world.

    I expected better from you RPS.

    • Nevard says:

      Why you expected “better” from what has always been a very progressive publication I have no idea. Have we been reading the same website?
      I don’t think anyone who would simply openly call their detractors “retards” straight off the bat would really feel that welcome around here but I guess there’s plenty of ways people can conveniently ignore what they don’t like.

      Hopefully now having made your beliefs clear you won’t be forced to endure it too much longer.

    • BradleyUffner says:

      Gunsmith, it might be you that needs to learn to live in the real world. That’s where these people exist, and they are not going away just because you disagree with their world view. You need to learn to accept that.

      • Flopper says:

        It’s not the rest of the world’s job to participate in an individuals delusion.

      • Gotem says:

        But why do they insist that we all have to change reality to match their views? and people are afraid to tell them no or be called a retrograde of homophobic

        • Snowskeeper says:

          You say that, but so far as I can tell, there is no shortage of people willing to try and tell them no.

    • Roest says:

      >I expected better from you RPS.

      After the Rimworld thing I don’t expect anything at all anymore.

      • Scripten says:

        Then, frankly, you and OP might just do better to fuck right off. We’ll be waiting in the real world, where real people with diverse identities all live.

        • Roest says:

          So angry. Shouldn’t have slept in biology classes in the real world though. There are two genders. No less, no more. No matter how intellectually challenged people like you want to spin it.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            Ah, OK. So “sex” and “gender” are synonymous then? Is that what your hypothetical science teacher told you?

          • Ashabel says:

            Calling people intellectually challenged and accusing them of sleeping through biology classes doesn’t work when you prove to have no idea how chromosomes work within the same sentence.

          • Scripten says:

            No, I just happened to attend biology at a level higher than secondary school, where real science is actually discussed. For the record, I’m not angry; mostly just disappointed. If the terrible “f-word” offends your delicate sensibilities, I’m sure I can find alternatives.

          • Grizzly says:

            This… isn’t true. I mean, one could argue about the difference between gender and sex and what all that means but…

            There’s not even 2 sexes. There’s variations in the 23rd chromosone such as XXX and XXY, there’s various hormone related variations, and there’s the whole paradigm of that genotype does not equal phenotype (or: Why identical twins still have different fingerprints at the least). There’s some more stuff here if you’re interested: link to twitter.com

          • Hyena Grin says:

            That isn’t even true in the purely biological sense, after (without good reason) ignoring neurology and psychology.

            Biologically, there are numerous possible chromosome combinations other than XX (biological female) and XY (biological male). That is only two of twelve observed and understood chromosome combinations in humans.

            Trisomy X syndrome (XXX)
            Tetrasomy X syndrome (XXXX)
            49 XXXXY and 49 XXXXX syndrome
            48 XXYY syndrome
            Klinefelter’s syndrome (XXY)
            XYY syndrome
            Turner syndrome (X)
            XX gonadal dysgenesis
            de la Chapelle syndrome (XX male syndrome)

            This does not even fully cover the complicated subject of intersexed individuals (XYY and XXY syndromes notwithstanding, intersex does not always mean chromosome syndrome), which is also purely biological in nature.

            And while many of the above can result in issues with gender dysphoria, they are not remotely the primary cause of it. The cause is neurological (which is biological, I remind you, because ‘biological’ doesn’t always mean ‘visible’ and neurology is an example of that) and psychosocial (as are all aspects of identity).

            The human brain is a complicated thing, and it never fails to astound me that someone can accept all of the visible, physical differences between individuals, but can’t wrap their head around the idea that something in the brain that isn’t immediately obvious to them, could result in gender dysphoria.

            I suggest you educate yourself on the subject, because middle-school level biology isn’t going to give you a very good understanding of the diverse plethora of human potential, biological or otherwise.

          • LuckyStampede says:

            Mhmm…so, what about me? I have a mix of masculine and feminine features, like a thick neck but no adam’s apple, broad shoulders but prominent breasts, etc…all this is without taking

            Does it come down to genetics? Then I got a surprise for you. I’m what’s known as 46 XX/XY Chimera, which means I have two complete sets of genes in me, with some tissues testing male and some tissues testing female. I am more qualified than anyone to use plural pronouns.

            Genitals? None of your damn business. Do you ask everyone that?

            So no, there are not just two genders, there are a lot of different possibilities. I bet some people on this thread didn’t even know people like me existed.

          • dethtoll says:

            I want you to know that I am the picture of serenity when I post this: You and OP are sad, pathetic little boys devoid of humanity.

          • Snowskeeper says:

            Dethtoll, when you post things like that, all you are doing is giving them the satisfaction of knowing that you are no better than they are. Don’t give them that.

          • Sc0r says:

            I love how the few intolerant conservatives and bigots who got lost here are roasted with science.

          • Grizzly says:

            @LuckyStampede

            You’re right! I did not.

          • dethtoll says:

            Snowskeeper, spare me. What these self-satisfied little trogs think of me or anyone else is of no consequence. All their boring little fears and bigotries will earn them is a lifetime of people thinking they’re pretty shit people, because they are. So I am genuinely uninterested in your namby-pamby, liberal moralizing, because all it’s doing is saying bigots deserve respect and hate is an academic position.

          • Snowskeeper says:

            Dethtoll, what you are doing right now is almost certainly earning you a lifetime of people hating you as well.

            If you want to have a conversation, have a conversation. Don’t be a prick about it; you might as well just not speak in that case, because nobody is going to listen to you, and you’re only going to turn more people who are on the fence against you.

          • dethtoll says:

            Snowskeeper, you make me laugh. If being mean to bigots — and let’s be honest, what I said was pretty mild — means bigots hate me, well… shrugsville, daddy-o. But as far as people whose opinions I care about, it’s worked out pretty well. As I said before, spare me your liberal moralizing — if my behavior causes someone “on the fence” to decide to throw their hat in the ring for the shitheads, it’s much more likely that they were just looking for an excuse. Anyone who actually gives a shit about the rights and well-being of marginalized people wouldn’t need to have their viewpoint totally dependent on the actions of one random person on the internet, so your attempt at tone policing is not only unnecessary, but it’s actually kinda offensive.

            In short: you’re wrong, get dunked on, bye

          • Snowskeeper says:

            Okay, so let me point something out to you, here.

            You are not the only person on this side of the fence involved in this discussion. Other people, here, are trying to explain why positions like “there are only two genders” are bullshit. But the majority of them are doing it in a reasonable way. They are trying to do that because many people just don’t understand the subject matter.

            What you are doing is making that harder for them. Especially given you could have chosen to just not post at all, if you found yourself unable to keep a cool head.

            That’s all I have to say on this subject.

          • dethtoll says:

            That’s all I have to say on this subject.

            Oh goodness, one can only hope.

          • Snowskeeper says:

            <3

          • Flopper says:

            I I I CAN’T CAN’T CAN’T HEAR HEAR HEAR ANYTHING ANYTHING ANYTHING INSIDE INSIDE INSIDE THIS THIS THIS ECHO ECHO ECHO CHAMBER CHAMBER CHAMBER OF OF OF DELUSION DELUSION DELUSION.

            If someone is ugly, they’re ugly. Poor genetics. So why is it when someone has mixed features of a man and a woman they’re considered normal and everyone else needs to accept it?

            If it were normal most of the world would have that genetic makeup. That’s the definition of normal. It’s abnormal. So people react to it’s abnormality.

          • Snowskeeper says:

            If there are multiple opinions and an ongoing discussion about them in an area, it is, by definition, not an echo chamber.

            And for the record, no, we don’t consider ugliness abnormal; we consider it one of many possibilities on the scale of how a human being can look.

          • Flopper says:

            Who is we? Are you part of a hive mind? And that’s just an answer ugly people give. Come on now.

          • Snowskeeper says:

            Takes one to know one, I guess.

        • ansionnach says:

          Let’s not have a purge, now. If everyone wants to get political know that I strongly disagree with all your views, whatever they are, so you’ll have to take me first.

      • Shakes999 says:

        Yeah, after this site stabbed Tynan in the back, I could honestly could not give a fuck less about what they think about gender politics. I’ll stick with reading “Wot I Think”s and laugh as John shits on anything that isn’t a puzzle game.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      You can’t decide what’s worse because both are complete nonsense. We all live in houses now, in case you’re interested.

    • Jeremy says:

      Does “expected better” mean that you hoped they would continue to marginalize an already marginalized population? That we would shun and isolate a group of people who have never felt that they fully belong? That we wouldn’t celebrate modders who add what should be harmless code to those of us who already fit easily into the social system, but are immensely important to those who are never represented? Because that’s kind of the vibe I’m getting from your statement.

      • Gunsmith says:

        I actually expected PC gaming news; you know, what RPS advertises it does?

        • Nauallis says:

          At this point I can’t tell if you’re trolling, or just stupid.

        • Scripten says:

          > Subject is a number of games
          > All games discussed are on the PC

          I fail to see your problem. Maybe you’re just too sensitive. I’m sure you will be okay, though. Promise those scary different people won’t hurt you when they are playing video games in ways that they find fun.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          That’s what this article is. It’s a news piece about a series of mods. Doesn’t get much more PC than that. As it were.

        • Jeremy says:

          Your entire comment was a critique on “catering” to a gender fluidity that you clearly disagree with. To say that this was about “keeping PC news pure” is such an obvious redirect, that it’s painful. As much as you may not like it, there are people out there that are not only different from you, but different from you in a way that’s going to make you feel uncomfortable. What we do with that discomfort is a very clear reflection of our character. We sit at a pretty big table, with more than enough space, and I think a lot of us are excited to make room.

        • skeletortoise says:

          Yeah, can’t RPS just go back to alerting us when the release date for next Call of Duty is announced? Y’know, like they used to do back when they were REAL games journalists?

          • Itdoesntgoaway says:

            Here here. Pre-release release videos are too hard to find otherwise.

    • Sin Vega says:

      when we should be kicking them out of their social media circle jerks and out into the real fucking world.

      I’m curious. Are you talking about the “real fucking world” in which trans people are regularly murdered by people like you? Or are you communicating with us from some special alternative reality that only you know about? Or what?

      • ansionnach says:

        So you’re saying this guy is essentially no different from a murderer because you’ve all taken a dislike to each other? Come on!

        • Sin Vega says:

          That is very clearly not what I said. Kindly develop your reading comprehension skills before returning.

          • ansionnach says:

            I’ll continue to return as often as I like and there’s nothing wrong with my reading skills.

          • Nevard says:

            In that case, perhaps instead try working on your comprehension?
            Or perhaps your post did not accurately reflect your beliefs?
            Something has clearly gone wrong with responding to a post that pretty obviously did not say what you are claiming it did.

          • ansionnach says:

            This is not about my beliefs. Sin, a sometime site contributer, is likening this guy to a murderer based on insufficient evidence to do so. This kind of character attack just isn’t on. You can consider me an outsider looking in in most situations. There’s a lot of vehemence here, starting with the inconsiderate tone of the opening post but the most ugly thing I see is a lynch mob.

          • podbaydoors says:

            Oh go back to 4chan you disingenuous worm

          • P.Funk says:

            The comparison is based on this same attitude being shared by those who perform violence against people on the basis of a shared social disregard for that group’s rights.

            Disregarded groups are always targeted when a mass of non violent people tacitly support or embolden violence through shared attitude and lack of criticism. Its the root of the “all it takes for evil” etc etc thing.

          • Sin Vega says:

            I don’t speak for RPS – my contributions as a writer are wholly separate, and if I say anything that they (whoever the ‘they’ is – I don’t even know who moderates, and don’t receive or expect special treatment from them) deem unacceptable, I don’t doubt that they’d delete my comments as soon as they would anyone else’s.

            the most ugly thing I see is a lynch mob.

            An ironic choice of phrase, as it’s exactly the same kind of self-righteous dehumanising attitudes like Gunsmith’s that gave rise to most lynch mobs in history. And that I simply (and accurately) compared two transphobes, contrasted to the guy flinging slurs and dogwhistling for abuse.

            podbaydoors put the rest of what I wanted to say much better.

            My “reading comprehension” remark was needlessly antagonistic and rude, and I apologise for that.

          • ansionnach says:

            Again, I am happy with my comments. My concern is the McCarthyism on display here. Personal attacks based on nothing only polarise the discussion and push people away from more moderate points of view. The discussion itself is one that can probably be definitively and impartially resolved so all that will happen is we hear the same old arguments, people get entrenched and it’s just a slagging match (which this has been since the very start when nuclear button was pressed and words like “retard” were used and there were calls for those who didn’t agree with a single point of view to remove themselves from what should be a safe space). It should not come as a surprise that given an unresolvable question, not everybody agrees. This should be fine once everyone resists the urge to lash out and engage in personal attacks.

            In likening a poster to a murderer Sin is essentially paraphrasing the line from The Crucible:
            “I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil.”

            I’ve stopped my wade through the comments section here as I’m disappointed to see this from Sin, who I consider one of the more interesting and informative posters here. I’ll continue to read their posts with interest elsewhere.

            The attacks on me that have followed are similar. I have never used 4chan. There is no basis on which to even make such a throw-away claim. As with many polarised discussions, a complete disregard for facts seems fine as long as you’re on the “right” side. I’m on nobody’s side and I don’t support any movements since I don’t wholesale agree or disagree with any of them.

            Ultimately, I think genuine attempts to debate very emotive subjects such as this are very difficult online as you can’t look those involved in the discussion in the eye. So many aspects of communication are missing in the printed word and it is very easy to twist even the most carefully-worded piece. I’ll leave it there but I’ll leave you with a call to take a good hard look at yourselves. Easy to twist into “pious” and “sanctimonious”? Competition time!

          • Sin Vega says:

            Shitting hell, I’m really sorry, I just realised that I mentioned the wrong person. when I said “podbaydoors”, I was referring to what P.Funk said, not what podbaydoors said (AT ALL).

    • Itdoesntgoaway says:

      Your disappointment is one of the many reasons I love RPS. Long live genuine attempts at compassionate and progressive thought.

      And for the record, you may have “expected better” from RPS, but the sad fact is that none of us expect any better from you. You are thoroughly predictable in your outrage, and tediously unoriginal in your expression of it.

    • hostleaver says:

      Good job Gunsmith, had to scroll too far down for a reasonable argument. I seem to be lost. I thought I was reading RPS but I’m apparently on Otaku.

      • Shakes999 says:

        Hey this sites politics are just as bad as Kotakus but be fair. There’s at least conversation happening and not a bunch of people screaming “racist” and “bigot” instead of discussion.

        • horus_lupercal says:

          No instead there’s just posters calling those of us who are more open minded insecure introverted retards who only exist in a social media bubble, I suppose you think that’s much better.

          Gunsmith came in slinging insults, some people will snap back and it makes several things clear that you’re trying to police the responses rather than the initial mudslinging.

      • GeoX says:

        “I fear and hate people who are different from me” is a “reasonable argument?” It’s not even an “argument,” let alone “reasonable.

        • Apolloin says:

          You know, when you put things in quotes you’re saying that this is either literally what he said or else a close-as-human-recollection paraphrasing can get?

          So far I’ve seen people who aren’t terribly interested in reading about the politics of transgendered representation in videogames being likened to murderers and having sinister motives attributed to said fatigue.

          And, yeah, I’m really not at all surprised that Fallout 4 can’t handle transgendered characters. Games still aren’t terribly good at handling FEMALE characters – and we’re talking about 52% of the population there, not 0.6%. When we’ve managed two flights of stairs, I’ll start getting antsy about whether we’ve climbed Everest or not.

          • Sin Vega says:

            I didn’t respond to “people aren’t terribly interested in reading about the politics of transgendered representation in videogames”. I responded to someone spewing hateful slurs and open hostility to a group of people who’ve done nothing wrong besides dare to exist. Likening open abuse with “fatigue” is at best dishonest and at worst complicit.

            If someone is tired of reading about gender issues, I have an extremely detailed guide to how they can overcome this most terrible of problems:

            1) when browsing a website that features an article on the subject, scroll slightly further down the page.

            Hard work, I’m sure, and so exhausting for the poor darlings who are cursed to live in a world where people other than themselves exist. However do they cope?

            (fair point about Fallout 4, mind. I hesitate to even imagine how Bethesda’s godawful writing would handle a trans character. Brrr. But there is potential scope for a genderless or ambiguously gendered character – hell, the games already have a lot of gender-neutral dialogue as it is for stuff like Threedog’s radio patter about the player character)

        • GeoX says:

          You know, when you put things in quotes you’re saying that this is either literally what he said or else a close-as-human-recollection paraphrasing can get?

          You have correctly deduced what I was doing. WELL DONE.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      As long as it’s an optional mod folks can install when they feel like it it doesn’t hurt me or society.
      Problem comes when it’s somehow expected as the quality of text and expression might suffer like in the farmer example above. It also only works in English as in my language farmer comes in a gramatically determined state of male or female, it’s not neutral nor both.

      • Otterley says:

        I’d suppose it would be implemented as a choice or choices in addition to femanle/male. So the writing needn’t change for anyone selecting f/m.

        Gender neutrality in other languages really does seem like a problem. In German, for example, nouns get a suffix if they pertain to a woman, and there is no analog to using “they” to avoid gendered pronouns (and no other useful contruct either, AFAIK).

        • Chaoslord AJ says:

          It makes for a lot of awful reading for sure. I’ll never be warm with the use of neutral “Mitarbeitende”, “Studierende” und “Flüchtende” in German.

          • Otterley says:

            Yeah, I’ve yet to see a solution that doesn’t sound/look terrible.

          • DEspresso says:

            Finally Southwest Germany is on the Forefront of something.
            Females can also be neutral here.
            ‘Des Steffi hot Kind griet’

    • P.Funk says:

      retards

      I came here to trawl the comments expecting to find exactly this. Not surprised its so far up the comment chain either.

    • mcGreen says:

      I really agree with you. In a few years there will be complaints that games dont let you play as anything other than a human. Remember the TV shows about people who thought they are a wolf or a tiger or something? Everybody made fun of them (which is mean) or agreed that they have a mental problem (which is correct) and this is nothing different.

      • Nevard says:

        If games only let you play as humans we’d be missing a ton of really good video games.

    • ColonelFlanders says:

      I’m really glad that this comment/thread didn’t get deleted. A a straight white male it’s quite easy to forget the level of hate people have to face on a constant basis from backward narcissists who cant stand the world not looking at them for five seconds. So thanks for the perspective on that.

      To the assholes: go fuck yourselves.
      To everyone else: Stay strong, I love and support you, whoever you are.

    • Shinard says:

      I think, if we got talking, I’d probably agree with what you have to say. I have my own issues with people defining themselves as non-binary, after all. However, you did such an excellent job at being a superior dick I have no inclination to listen to you. Good job, he said sarcastically.

    • xyzzy frobozz says:

      Yep.

      Anyone who has a different worldview to yours is a retard.

  5. Landiss says:

    All power to people who want to have freedom in how they play their games.

    However, personally I strongly prefer to play a character that was carefully created by game authors, has reach personality and is clearly not myself. That is one of the reasons I prefer Witcher to typical RPGs or why I also liked Planescape Torment (while the game gave the player some ways to shape the main character, it was only within certain boundaries, or at least that’s how I remember it). I also don’t feel any discomfort whatsoever playing characters that are not my gender (f.e. Tomb Raider) or race (f.e. in Left 4 Dead 2). It’s not me, it’s the character I’m playing. In comparison, main characters in typical RPGs like Piles of Eternity, Dragon Age or Mass Effect, felt so horribly boring, uninteresting and unbelievable, because so many parts of their identity did not affect the game scenario in any meaningful way, I just couldn’t play those games more than a few hours each.

    So, what I’m trying to say, I wish there were more games, including RPG, but not only, that put player in control of a specific character instead of a generic one formed from pieces player can select. I also wish that the character would not so often be white male with anger issues.

    • JarinArenos says:

      While I don’t agree entirely with your points, your last paragraph is something I’m pretty on-board with. I like both games that let you fully create a character (and think that there should be more options in these), and games that have a solid set of pre-defined characters they want to tell a story about.

      The problem is that self-created characters are the *only* place there’s even a hint of representation for marginalized gamers. It’s not just that we have an overpopulation of angry white dudes (as you noted, we do), but it’s that it’s impossible to even imagine a triple-A produced game with a trans main character. We can barely imagine a non-straight main character, and that’s only when there’s maybe one same-sex romance option amongst several straight. A true nonbinary protag (who is actually nonbinary human, and not just ‘cartoony undefined’) is even further off.

      • Snowskeeper says:

        Saints Row’s ‘boss’ is canonically trans, but this is only communicated via a joke-certificate in the background of a cutscene in a piece of DLC, so not sure that qualifies.

        • Cederic says:

          My SR3 character looked like a slim small breasted woman with a very neat and tidy moustache and goatee.

          The game let you look just how you want.

          It used binary pronouns but I’m ok with that. Life’s too short to learn 67 different sets of pronouns and I can’t remember peoples’ names, no fucking chance I’m going to remember whether they want to be referred to as ‘ze’ or some bullshit. Look like a woman, I’ll use ‘she’. Look like a man, I’ll use ‘he’. Look somewhere in-between, I’ll admire your androgeneity. Look like a fat bloke in a dress and I’ll try to guess right.

          • April March says:

            The thirteen hundred different pronouns for people outside the binary exist mostly because there are too many different groups of people for one to exist. If everyone accepted that, I dunno, ‘zee’ was the correct pronoun for a human being outside the binary, within a generation (if that!) almost no one would be using xe or e or any other.

            The idea that someone who clearly looks like a man or a woman should still be referred to as ‘they’ is a bit further outside the realms of grammar standards, I think.

    • haldolium says:

      I think I agree with Landiss on a certain level.

      My personal issue with games is not gender or race (never was, never will be). Video games (at least plenty of the more popular AAA titels) tend to be stupid and beyond any kind of realistic dialogue, presenting one-dimensional characters with awful dialogues.

      I’d rather wish that would be a topic, because games like Watch_Dogs 2 seem like a tremendous sham since it adds nothing of actual value. Not many will remember the game for it’s hollow and pathetic characters, bad plot and even worse written dialogue.

      I think it would be much more beneficial in general to question writing, presentation and thoughfulness in games equally strongly (doesn’t mean they cant be fun, doesn’t mean they’d be exclusive) instead of the continuing debate of mere representation of gender/race diversity. That too is undoubtly an issue and it is good that it is a topic, but it seems to overshadow related and equally important issues in games.

      • April March says:

        I think it’s a false equivalence to suggest that the problems with representation and diversity are just a subset of bad writing. I’ve read some great books with awful diversity. It’s not hard to find a writer who has great insights on the lives of human beings, as long as said human beings are straight white cis men. And look at Stardew Valley: adding a non-binary option does nothing to improve the writing, since the main character is a blank canvas anyway.

        But! Here’s a thing. Demanding greater diversity in games forces their creators to put in more kinds of characters. And it means that they might have to research what is the proper way to portray these characters. Which means that a greater care will have to be taken on them. Which, in turn, means that a greater care will have to be taken on all characters, because it’d be weird to have a long and deep backstory for a non-binary character and “he’s angry and stuff” for a binary one. Which means that, ultimately, demanding diversity adds a vector through which stories can be improved, making things better for everyone.

        Lastly, I don’t think you can blame RPS for not working on improving games’ stories. They’ve been analyzing and dissecting meaning and metaphor of gaming stories since the times when it seemed like a pointless endeavor to do so.

        • Snowskeeper says:

          I think we’ve also seen, though, that demanding diversity can also lead to developers adding a more diverse cast in an extremely lazy way in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience. The way some games treat greater diversity seems to be the same way as a male hooker might treat a codpiece.

          Not saying that more representative casts isn’t something we should strive for; there are a lot of stories that could be told that have gone totally untold, as of today. But if they’re done lazily, it’s not really much better than not doing them at all.

  6. Williz says:

    There are two genders

    • Jeremy says:

      And there’s only one race, but there sure is a hell of a lot of variance within that one race.

      • Williz says:

        There is one species but multiple race, look at you go you cro magnon.

        • Scripten says:

          Race is a social construct. But then again, so is gender. Guess you just proved your own point wrong. Thanks for playing!

          • TommyTwoToes says:

            You’re so right, that’s why I too support Rachel Dolezal.

          • skeletortoise says:

            Re TTT: Social construct basically means it doesn’t really exist. Which means being transracial would be pretending to not be one thing that doesn’t exist, but another thing that doesn’t exist. So, yeah, I think you’re actually alone in that.

          • TommyTwoToes says:

            Then it doesn’t matter if Rachel Dolezal is black or white. She just is a human. Her race is as socially constructed as her gender, neither of which need to be questioned. She is who she says she is, both in pronoun and race.

            I think we all support that.

          • skeletortoise says:

            TTT: Well, yeah, it shouldn’t matter if anybody is black or white in any context, that’s nothing to do with this. Anyway, again, since race, for the purposes of this discussion, does not exist, she is not who she says she is in race, anymore than I would be a wizard if I said I was. And therefore we need not support her.

          • pepperfez says:

            Social construct basically means it doesn’t really exist.

            Noooooo! Social constructs are absolutely real. The prohibition on theft is a social construct, and woe betide the person who thinks that means it won’t affect them.

        • Jeremy says:

          Pedantry is most often the last resort of a failed argument, but I’m not too concerned with my own ego to bite at that. So, for the sake of this argument, let’s change my statement to fit into your correction:

          There is one species, but a hell of a lot of variance within that species.

          Now that we have a commonly agreed open language to speak from, what’s your response?

        • snappycow says:

          Who are you to say that I am not an Apache helicopter? Check your vehicle privileges at the door next time

          • Sin Vega says:

            Did that sound clever in your head?

          • Esin12 says:

            Judging by how often he’s said it on the Facebook thread (assuming it’s the same person, which is what I’m doing), I would say yes.

    • Nevard says:

      “There are two genders” is absolutely a true statement, just only on the same level as “there are two elephants” is.
      There’s definitely two genders out there. At least.

    • Premium User Badge

      Drakesden says:

      THERE … ARE … FOUR … LIGHTS!

      • Christo4 says:

        More relevant than you’d think.

      • Itdoesntgoaway says:

        Let’s drop the ranks for a moment. I don’t like you. I think you’re insubordinate, arrogant, willful, and I don’t think you’re a particularly good first officer. But you are also the best poster on the thread.

    • P.Funk says:

      Not in South Asia apparently.

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      “Hijras have a recorded history in the Indian subcontinent from antiquity onwards as suggested by the Kama Sutra period. This history features a number of well-known roles within subcontinental cultures, part gender-liminal, part spiritual and part survival.”

      So its not even like we can pretend this is some kind of modern special snowflake affectation totally invented by something something “goddamned PC culture with their cultural Marxism!” or whatever.

      I mean really just fucking read this – “Nepal, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh have all legally recognized the existence of a third gender, including on passports and other official documents.”

      These are not exactly places one looks to first for the most forward thinking social justice and tolerance enshrined in the statutes and institutions of the state and if they can hack it maybe we’re just not as open minded as we think.

      • pepperfez says:

        But you see, those poor benighted peoples just don’t have the scientific enlightenment of the advanced West. If they did, why, surely they’d speak English and call gender biological like civilized folk!

      • DelrueOfDetroit says:

        Native Americans historically have as well. Check out “two-spirits.”

    • oyog says:

      Just gonna quote Hyena Grin from a post above you, cause apparently I’m feeding the troll:

      “That isn’t even true in the purely biological sense, after (without good reason) ignoring neurology and psychology.

      Biologically, there are numerous possible chromosome combinations other than XX (biological female) and XY (biological male). That is only two of twelve observed and understood chromosome combinations in humans.

      Trisomy X syndrome (XXX)
      Tetrasomy X syndrome (XXXX)
      49 XXXXY and 49 XXXXX syndrome
      48 XXYY syndrome
      Klinefelter’s syndrome (XXY)
      XYY syndrome
      Turner syndrome (X)
      XX gonadal dysgenesis
      de la Chapelle syndrome (XX male syndrome)

      This does not even fully cover the complicated subject of intersexed individuals (XYY and XXY syndromes notwithstanding, intersex does not always mean chromosome syndrome), which is also purely biological in nature.

      And while many of the above can result in issues with gender dysphoria, they are not remotely the primary cause of it. The cause is neurological (which is biological, I remind you, because ‘biological’ doesn’t always mean ‘visible’ and neurology is an example of that) and psychosocial (as are all aspects of identity).

      The human brain is a complicated thing, and it never fails to astound me that someone can accept all of the visible, physical differences between individuals, but can’t wrap their head around the idea that something in the brain that isn’t immediately obvious to them, could result in gender dysphoria.

      I suggest you educate yourself on the subject, because middle-school level biology isn’t going to give you a very good understanding of the diverse plethora of human potential, biological or otherwise.”

  7. Christo4 says:

    Biologically, there’s only male and female. You can identify as whatever you want, be it gender, religion, planet etc. (i myself identify as an pastafarian attack planet from the dark side of the sun), but that doesn’t mean it’s not the truth. Why do games need more “genders” when there are only two? I don’t get it. You can play a character that identifies as whatever you want them, role play as one. But the character creation is just that, a kind of biological slate on how you want it’s basis to be. Why does everyone have to pander to delusions?

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      “Truth”.

    • BradleyUffner says:

      So you are saying that these people don’t actually exist? link to en.wikipedia.org

      • Christo4 says:

        Retards are more common than that. If i can’t play a retarded character, one with down syndrome or autism, i don’t see why that exception needs to be put. Of course, it’s up to the developer to decide what to do.

        • grandstander says:

          If you want to start a movement to include cognitively disabled people in games, you’d probably get support. Assuming you don’t call them retards.

          I guess I just don’t understand why your empathy is so broken. You seem just mean-spirited and I don’t know why. But I’d ask you to consider whether a 13 old year kid, already a twisted ball of insecurities, self-hatred and hormones, would invite further ridicule upon themselves by identifying as transgender. I don’t think they would. They’re just trying to be themselves, why do you have such a problem with that?

          Is it religious?

          Are you old? Very young? From a conservative family? Do you feel repulsed? Does it threaten your own identity?

          Also, as a sidenote, if there were a group of people who legitimately identified as planets, i might think they’re fucking crazy, but L’Chaim I say. If no one’s hurting anyone else, why devote any of your thoughts to what other people want to do with their lives?

          • Christo4 says:

            How is my empathy broken exactly? By calling a spade a spade? People need to stop being so easily offended. And when you choose a gender in a game, it refers to biological gender, now what you identify as. Even that transgender kid still has balls or a baby maker. Not both (other than extreme exceptions).

          • skeletortoise says:

            Christo: Assuming for a moment that a spade is indeed a spade, in this instance, I wouldn’t say it’s making that distinction that’s not empathetic. It would probably be consistently going out of your way to repeatedly tell spades that they’re spades, whether to their face, through a megaphone, or on just about any internet article comment section, after all the spades have communicated very clearly that they’d prefer not to be called spades. You might be right (exclusively in this hypothetical I’ve constructed), but you’re still being a quite un-empathetic ass by any metric.

          • Christo4 says:

            Well yeah maybe i am being an ass without empathy by calling a spade that doesn’t want to be called a spade a spade. I’ll still do it though. Ofc, i’d never insist on it (mostly just annoyed atm at people calling me ignorant, but without anything to back them up), unless the spade insisted it’s not a spade, which is exactly what’s happening here. It’s like a shitty artist insisting that his painting is the next michelangelo. I’m going to call him a shit no matter how much he insists that he’s the best and throws tantrums at me. If he thinks he’s the next michelangelo without insisting and wanting me to think the same? Then i don’t really care. Though the insisting part especially when it’s not based in reality is what’s going on lately and really irks me.

          • skeletortoise says:

            If a Jehovah’s Witness knocks on my door and tries to tell me what I’m missing, they are asking for the hell I might give them and their ideas. But if they don’t knock on my door, more power to em. I don’t know who keeps “insisting” at you, and forcing you to respond, but I imagine it’s not as hard as you imagine to completely not give a shit about what other people are doing with their lives that isn’t harming anybody else.

          • Slazia says:

            “If you want to start a movement to include cognitively disabled people in games, you’d probably get support. Assuming you don’t call them retards.”

            Quote worthy.

        • Otterley says:

          “Retards”, eh? :/

          Do you think there are a lot of people with down syndrome or autism asking for representation in games? The idea isn’t to offer every variation of human being as a player character, it’s about considering bringing those on board, that have a strong desire to be included.

        • ColonelFlanders says:

          Certain demographics aren’t common, so let’s shit all over them every time they get representation!! Yay human progression!

    • Isendur says:

      TRIGGERED

      There is no dark side of the sun.
      Also there two always are; no more, no less.

      • Christo4 says:

        Yeah i know there’s no dark side of the sun. it was a joke

    • Kitsunin says:

      It’s not a delusion. In fact, far less people are delusional than the average person thinks. It’s strange, I know.

      Personally speaking, I know I have junk, and it doesn’t bother me. I know being called a dude isn’t a big deal, but it still just doesn’t feel good. There’s a lot of baggage associated even with simply being called “him”, a certain amount of it is just within my head, but every now and then assumptions get made which hurt and completely clash with the way I want to be (“Guys are just clueless like that” “You’d rather be chatting with the women than helping us lift this stuff?”) and even more frequently little bitty ones which reinforce those negative feelings which stem from gender (for me).

      Again, it’s not a big deal, I don’t care, at all really, but if it were really easy to just not have people refer to me with a gender, it would be nice. I also have the empathy to see how it could be a pretty big deal to some people, but I do get that it can be a helluva lot harder to understand why people care when you don’t. What I don’t understand is why people react so aggressively, like they do get it and it’s stupid, instead of just shrugging and saying “I don’t really understand, but sure.”

      • Christo4 says:

        Because biology is not something you can interpret as you want. I understand what you mean, but even if there’s an edit button to put whatever gender you want to identify as, there are still 2 genders biologically. And yeah people aren’t really going to change for that one person out of 100.

        I don’t really understand why people expect the world to change for a minority. Next thing you know, everything will be made to pander to the mentally deficient (since someone said retards is too harsh). It kinda is already anyway, everything is geared towards pleasing the masses of sheep and it bores the fuck out of me and all this does is make it even worse.

        Mild ranting aside, since it’s an RPG, why is it so hard to imagine that you play as a transgender character or something like that? just take the slate as what is biological. This is what kinda annoys me. You’re supposed to play the character you want, the creation thing is just a template.

        If a creator wants to make an alien world with 100 genders, by all means, be my guest. But if they try to root it in reality, i don’t see why you need to make it more gender “diverse”, when biologically it’s just 2, it’s just what you identify as that brings the “diversity” of genders. So why not identify like that in the game as well? I just don’t get it…

        • Kitsunin says:

          Arguing from nature doesn’t make sense.

          I mean, yeah, we kinda do “pander” toward minorities, that’s, uh, nearly the definition of compassion. Nothing wrong with it especially when it’s easy to do (this is way easier to do than wheelchair accessibility which is actually law), and no, it’s not that hard. I’m actually living in a country where the spoken language uses gender neutral pronouns. It makes communication easier, believe it or not; I’ve seen English speakers stumble a lot trying to talk about someone without knowing their gender.

          Pretending to be playing a transgender individual isn’t really a solution…in this case we’re talking about people who identify as neither.

          • Faxmachinen says:

            > I’ve seen English speakers stumble a lot trying to talk about someone without knowing their gender.

            This. I didn’t realize how fucking stupid the pronouns are until I tried writing rule-text for a board game. The player does X and the other players do Y, then they do Z. Who is “they” referring to here?

            Also, let’s say I were to propose the introduction of two new pronouns – “heb” and “sheb” – to be used if talking about black people, and then “he” and “she” would be used when talking about white people. Would you think that the proposal is perhaps a bit racist and/or segregationist?

        • Otterley says:

          Are you game for a Gedankenexperiment?

          Imagine you get a full body transplant after a squishy accident. The body you get happens to be of the opposite gender. Which gender do you have, which gender do you identify as? Would you like people to take your new genitals as the sole indicator?

          Biologically speaking, certain parts of the body develop differences depending on gender. Usually the entirety of this differentiation corresponds to one gender. However, as one poster already pointed out, a single body can exhibit tissues of both genders in rare cases.

          There have been studies showing that the brains of people experiencing gender disphoria exhibit characteristics of the experienced gender. Also, identical twins are more likely to both be trans than fraternal twins. I’m not sure if any of this would suffice as evidence for you, but at the very least these findings indicate that the brain might develop differently from the rest of the body.

          Biology is seldom as clear cut as we tend to believe. It’s understandable that our first reaction to rare variations of human biology tends toward dismissal. Considering that we’re dealing with people every bit as real as you and me, I think we need to try harder.

          [Food for thought: SciAm: Is there something unique about the transgender brain?]

        • Kitsunin says:

          And one thing unaddressed…this whole thing doesn’t really relate to male vs. female. The problem isn’t having to choose genitals, it’s choosing between people in the game calling you “that guy” and “that lady”. You can imagine your character to be agender after picking the mars symbol in char gen, but that starts to fall apart as soon as somebody in the game uses the word “he”.

      • GeoX says:

        I don’t really understand why people expect the world to change for a minority.

        JEEZ. If you’re really that fundamentally broken inside, discussion is definitely pointless.

    • Sin Vega says:

      Why does everyone have to pander to delusions?

      You’re right! I’ll get the ball rolling and dispel yours: You are too ignorant to speak in an informed conversation about gender.

      • Christo4 says:

        Really, i’m ignorant? Hmm last i knew there were only two genders biologically. For 99.99999% of the population at least. You can identify as whatever you want, but that doesn’t change the fact that biologically you’re either a he or a she.

        • Nevard says:

          Why did you think that responding to “You are ignorant.” with “You think I’m ignorant? Check out [display of ignorance]!” was a good idea?

          • Christo4 says:

            I like how all of you say i’m ignorant, but without any proof to back it up. Then you’re all green pasta to me, i don’t need any proof since you don’t seem to need any either to make your assumptions.

            And my proof is biology. Unless you didn’t learn at school that biologically, there are just 2 genders. Other than some extremely rare exceptions, outliers.

          • Nevard says:

            There’s plenty of people who have already dispelled your point, further up the thread. There’s no point repeating what they’ve already said.
            You choosing not to engage with them, sticking your fingers in your ears, and humming loudly, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

          • Christo4 says:

            No one dispelled my point at all. Unless you mean calling me ignorant or other things is an argument. I still haven’t seen anyone quote any scientific finding that there are more than two types of reproductive organs that humans have. You can identify as whatever you want. Doesn’t mean that there are more than two genders. (again, except outliers)

          • Nevard says:

            The equation of gender with reproductive organs is another point in favour of your ignorance though. Gender and sex are different terms, you are confusing one with the other. Scroll up and read the very long and informative posts above this one.
            This is accepted science. Hell, it’s even in the Oxford dictionary.

          • Christo4 says:

            As i have previously said, you can believe that you are whatever you wish. You can even identify yourself as being a non-gender or whatever. But biologically it’s still the male and female genders. If you mean gender identity, or gender roles, then i may agree with you. Biologically, there are still just two. And in the context of gaming, since you choose a biological template for your character (skin color, facial features, GENDER), it’s pretty obvious that they don’t mean what you identify as. I’ll agree that they should say sex, if people are so fucking annoyed about there being only two genders. Or gender identity or biological gender. No one will comment then. But since gender and sex are most times used interchangeably, it’s not surprise that gaming uses the former to replace the latter and it specifically means what you are, not what you identify as.

            I don’t get what’s so hard to understand tbh.

          • April March says:

            It’s almost cute how you earnestly believe that the problem with people that are citing scientific papers to refute what you say is that they don’t understand the simple thing you are saying.

        • LuckyStampede says:

          Actually it’s more like 99% (flat) since 1% of all babies are born with some genetic or physical variation from male and female. If you think that’s a small number, that means approximately 70 million people worldwide, and 3 million in the United States alone.

          • Nogo says:

            There’s a slew of non-visible, atypical groupings as well. You just never see them because there’s no reason to test for something like that.

            Genetic abnormalities are a lot more common than people think. Human bodies are shockingly diverse in minute biology, but amazingly adaptable at making it all work.

            Statistically speaking, in every major comment section on gender at least one of the angry chromosome worshipers is rocking the an ‘incorrect’ genetics for their preferred phenotype.

    • TheKillerNacho says:

      Look, I don’t really give a damn about inclusion in video games much either but… you do know that Gender and Sex are two entirely different things, right? There are only two sexes, but genders are a social construct and there are far more than two, this is a fact. Many even ancient civilizations had three or even more genders.

      Unlike what you seem to believe, they are NOT interchangeable terms at all. Sex is the biological term describing male or female; gender is the social term describing man, woman, and many others.

      • Snowskeeper says:

        There are more than two sexes. Hermaphrodites are a thing.

        The thing to realize is that classification like this is mostly arbitrary; it’s done by humans attempting to figure out how to describe the world they live in.

  8. Shadow says:

    I’m more on the scientific side, aligning gender with biology and ending the matter there, but if small changes like these make games easier to play for others, then I don’t see anything wrong with it. After all, it changes little to replace male/female icons with 1/2. The dialogue might be rather weird if completely devoid of gender-related pronouns, but in a mod/optional context, it’d be easy to maintain the more traditional approach.

    • frightlever says:

      This is more or less how I feel. If someone wants me to call them “they” (and it seems at least a few of my niece’s friends at school are like this) then I have no problem with that, but… it does leave me somewhat bemused…

      …actually, I’ve been trying to figure out how to express my feelings on this, for some time as it happens, writing and re-writing the comment, but I think I may have just had a breakthrough, literally while Googling. There are two sexes, that’s a scientific fact, but gender is just a social construct. My slow process of enlightenment continues. To be fair, this one should have been easier as Hijras in India have a gender which isn’t based on their sex, although I am in no way drawing parallels between the situations.

      FWIW, I’ve never been homophobic (much) but Six Feet Under completely won me over to same sex couples. I noticed last season that Shameless and currently Billions has been doing their best to explain the gender-neutral concept. Rock on, I guess.

      It’s still okay to make fun of furries, right? I kid. Some of those Tumblr chicks are hot.

      TLDR: Gender doesn’t equal sex, and some chicks who dress up as animals are, literally, foxy.

      • Grizzly says:

        fwiw, furries tend to be the most rad people I have had the pleasure of meeting. There’s something about dressing up as animals (or indeed, any form of dressing up!) that makes the people that engage in the practice to be entirely non-judgemental.

        This is entirely based upon anecdotes and therefore actually somewhat judgemental, but I still felt like standing up for furries. How can you not love stuff like this?

      • Snowskeeper says:

        “There are two sexes” isn’t scientifically correct; it’s practically correct. Those are two different things. For the most part, humans are sexually dimorphic, but on the cellular level things are far more complex than that makes it seem.

        I don’t have a great understanding of the science, here, but there are some excellent posts higher up in the stack. If you want to find them, hit Ctrl+F and search for “49 XXXXY.” Be aware that these posts are a little argumentative, since they were in response to people who were being a little argumentative.

        • Shadow says:

          Yes, there’s a number of very atypical variations which technically impede a person from being classified as 100% male or 100% female from the biological standpoint. However, those cases in which sex is so ambiguous to the point one truly can’t tell whether a person is biologically male or female, those are precious few. According to Leonard Sax, around 0.018%.

          • Snowskeeper says:

            Okay, but the fact that they’re higher than 0% indicates that they exist, yes?

  9. Premium User Badge

    teije says:

    Interesting article, too bad it brought out some idiots who don’t seem to understand that RPS has always been progressive in what it writes about.

    Ignore them, hopefully they will go somewhere else to get their gaming news “uncorrupted” by reality, and continue writing what you write.

    • Mi-24 says:

      Nicely put

    • pepperfez says:

      I treat these articles’ comments as an opportunity to calibrate my block list for more pleasant reading in the future.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Unsurprisingly, the comments section is a complete clusterfuck.

    But I’m glad people can make mods for this sort of thing. It’ll be a while before it’s entirely built into every game, of course. But at least the rising moddability of games in general has made it so people can be more comfortable with their entertainment.

    • Nauallis says:

      No joke re the comments. I’m also glad to see awareness happening in original titles, or non-moddable titles (like console games, generally), trying to be more inclusive. Horizon Zero Dawn, for PS4, featured a strong female lead character not putting up with bullshit about assumed gender roles, doing her own thing, making her own way. Not a trans character, true, but a good example of how to do strong, non-male lead characters.

  11. Atlas says:

    Curious what RPS’s banning policy is. Is it possible to do something about this mess because boy are they out in force today.

    • grandstander says:

      Personally I think that’s the wrong direction, at least right now. I think there’s some fairly civil debate that goes on. Someone posts an ugly comment, another comment calls them out. We see both sides.

      Plus it allows for comments that, while abhorrent, express their point of view in reasonable terms and in a manner open to discussion. I can get behind that.

      • Nevard says:

        I love seeing both sides of the “slur spewing asshole” and “someone with slightest sliver of empathy” divide. Real productive and useful stuff that comes out of both sides of that conversation, I am sure.

        • Atlas says:

          I love the “both sides” argument. It’s such a handy red flag to know exactly where a person is coming from before getting bogged down in their garbage.

      • Atlas says:

        People arguing for bigotry is not a “fairly civil debate”. Hate speech and acceptance are not two different sides with equal opinions or different perspectives. You said it yourself, their views are “abhorrent”. There is no way to express that in “reasonable terms and in a manner open to discussion”.

        If your discussion is about just how much to treat people like humans or to what degree should they be discriminated against, that’s not two sides, it’s one side arguing with itself.

        • Donkeyfumbler says:

          So is any argument with your point of view on this subject not permitted? Not trolling but genuinely curious as to what you think here. Are there any other subjects where you think dissenting voices should be banned?

          • Premium User Badge

            subdog says:

            Just to be clear, the “argument” we’re talking about banning is “RPS shouldn’t write about this stuff”

          • Donkeyfumbler says:

            I don’t think so. Fairly sure Atlas is talking about banning people making comments about the gender debate rather than ones questioning RPS’ decision to write this article.

    • frightlever says:

      If the only way you can change opinion is by silencing opposition, you’re doing something wrong.

      Screeching hysterically at people who, to be fair, probably represent the mainstream view, and certainly the mainstream view of most people from just a decade ago, because their pace of change is slower than yours, is not helpful, and only makes them dig in. It doesn’t advance the dialogue.

      Moreover if someone comes along after and reads the comments and all they see is banned messages and a bunch of gloating it just looks like someone was silenced, whereas they should be seeing thoughtful comments dissecting an erroneous position calmly explaining a better way of thinking.

      Those referring to “hate speech”, and worse, are ludicrous. It’s the entrenched opinion and they won’t change it by fighting it with their own “hate speech”.

      • Nevard says:

        Read this comment section again and tell me who the side “screeching hysterically” is. I’m… pretty sure you’ve got it wrong in your post.

        • Chaoslord AJ says:

          I read a lot of discussion forums. This is as civilized as it gets on the internet. Noone was even called a nazi yet.
          Check Youtube comments or Steam discussion on such discussions. This land is peaceful its inhabitants kind.

      • Sin Vega says:

        Change doesn’t come from people politely waiting for the establishment to voluntarily enfranchise others. It comes when those others stand up and tell the establishment to go fuck itself, their idiot excuses be damned.

        There are a few people in here that have expressed a variety of nuanced views and thoughts on the subject at hand. There are also people slinging slurs, disingenuous tubthumps, and tedious right wing copy-pasted stock insults and shitposts. The latter should absolutely be slung out, but they’ll try desperately hard to pass themselves off as the former, and enabling that only makes the whole conversation more tiresome for everyone.

        Yes, ban the shitheads. RPS has hosted all sorts of conversations and civil arguments. Kicking tedious dickheads out has never impeded that.

        • Hao-Sen Lin says:

          I kind of disagree but I’m not sure. I prefer the system of upvote/downvote, with downvoted threads being collapsed by default, so you can still have your fill of silly poorly formed arguments if you’d like to read them, but you don’t need to scroll past multiple low quality posts.

          While I also feel that being more aggressive with bans/timeouts can lead to a much better reading experience and keep people civil and friendly, I sort of worry about moderators going overboard and causing people to feel really restricted about what they can and can’t write, the times I’ve really disliked heavy moderation is on websites that are either very progressive or very conservative, and ban people on the basis of voicing a viewpoint that is too regressive or too progressive, I believe going against the grain that the community sets should be encouraged, as long as its done politely.

          Granted, I don’t think my worries really apply here since the people you were angry at were being very juvenile and disrespectful. Funnily enough writing this out has caused my opinion to change, I think tossing out the low quality posts would go a long way to making the comments sections on this type of article a lot better and easier to read through. It really is a shame when interesting and insightful debates get buried by shouting matches.

          • Sin Vega says:

            One of the huge unsung upsides of strong moderation (assuming it hasn’t gone completely off the rails, which as you said is sometimes the case) is that it makes it harder for people to intentionally derail a discussion. I’d argue that it’s derailment specifically that drags the majority of online discussions into the mire rather than (say) swearing, or radical viewpoints, or even open hostility.

          • DelrueOfDetroit says:

            Kotaku has a pretty cool comment system where a comment thread is hidden until approved by a moderator so the shitposts remain but get buried while the actual discussions are visible.

    • Itdoesntgoaway says:

      I believe RPS run on a “we are not a forum for free speech and will remove whatever we like” policy. As is their right.

      Personally I think there is value in witnessing (and letting others witness) abhorrent views and our response to them, no matter if the former are insensible, vicious etc.

      IMO: There is no gain in denying that hatred or intolerance exists, or in scrubbing it from the record for convenience; all it does then is fester until it can find some other outlet, case in point: many of the “shocking” political results we have recently seen are increasingly acknowledged to have occurred as a result of large swathes of the population in the western world who don’t share progressive liberal ideology lashing out as a result of being ignored, marginalised, belittled and underestimated.

      Perhaps if those of us who believe we are on the right side of history had spent our time confronting their concerns head on, rather than laughing at their “small mindedness” from within our liberal enclaves, things wouldn’t be such a mess. I know I now look back with regret on times I should have spoken up against family around a dinner table, for example, and I certainly do now. And I believe the same is true in this instance.

      Lastly, RPS are well aware these kinds of things will be controversial and bring out the lunatic fringe, and I am sure that they fully intend to confront people with the uncomfortable reality of contemporary gender and sexual politics in this instance.

    • Nevard says:

      It looks like a mod is awake now, thank goodness.
      You are doing god’s work, whoever you are.

      • Frank says:

        Oy, thanks for that info.

        Looking through the comment thread now, it looks like Atlas was being a jerk and throwing vague shade on a lot of folks in the thread (which, at this point looks quite tame). I was readying an angry reply in my head… you know, free speech and all that.

  12. CartonofMilk says:

    I know i was very disappointed when i found out the main characters in Mafia III and Watch dogs 2 were black. I’m white you see. Being able to play a character that is different from myself is fun and interesting, but playing one true to myself I find is often more fun. It feels more real if you are in the world rather than just an observer playing a person in that world.

    • Itdoesntgoaway says:

      I can’t tell if you are serious or not. But just to humour you for a second. Assuming you played GTA 4 – were you totally comfortable playing an ex-military Eastern European immigrant? (Assuming by sheer coincidence this doesn’t describe you).

      Or, if you have played the Witcher 3, a centuries old mutant monster killer with an absurdly powerful sexual magnetism and the stubble of a demigod? (Again, perhaps this is basically you).

      So, I struggle a bit to see how “being white” would prevent you imagining that you are, as in the case of Watchdogs 2, a young nerdy hacker taking down a corporate monolith with his leet skills who is, pretty much incidentally for all that it matters in the game, also black… surely this is the case for virtually every game one plays i.e. the ability to suspend one’s disbelief is a basic prerequisite in order to empathise with playing a character in a different world.

    • Premium User Badge

      subdog says:

      Keep looking, I’m sure you’ll find a game that lets you play a white guy somewhere.

    • Shadow says:

      While this is obviously an ironic statement (that almost makes sense), its Achilles’ Heel is that you’re comparing games with fixed characters (and their specific story) and those whose protagonist can be customized and the story is far more interchangeable.

      Games with fixed characters and fixed stories have their place, and there’s really nothing wrong with simply expanding the degree to which a protagonist can be customized in those other games where such mechanics exist.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Just a matter of taste I guess. As a straight biological/identified male I always create females in RPG except when Bioware limits in the romance options I have to go male.
      It doesn’t matter to me either way whether I’m playing a chosen undead or a talking dog, I feel no identification whatsoever.

      • Cederic says:

        Why do the romance options make a difference? You only roleplay lesbians, you can’t roleplay a cock hungry female priest that exploits teenage boys?

        Some of my RPG characters go one way, some another, some both. Doesn’t really matter which gender the character is. None of it is based on who I am.

        • Chaoslord AJ says:

          Because in Dragon Age or Mass Effect or Baldurs Gate 2 IIRC without console some NPCs can only be romanced by a specific gender PC.

        • Nevard says:

          Weird (*not at all weird) how the leap is always “You want gays??? what’s next, paedophiles?!?!?!”

          • Chaoslord AJ says:

            I didn’t even see the connection to pedophily while reading that comment.
            I was a desperate teenage boy once so I have a certain viewpoint on that.
            Besides there are no teenage romances in western RPGs as far as I know for obvious reasons.

        • Sin Vega says:

          Bloodnet had a recruitable female priest, who’d kill anyone you attacked just like anyone else. And although you couldn’t ‘romance’ anyone, it also had an NPC who could sexually abuse another recruitable NPC, a small boy.

          There wasn’t a lot of sex in it, but I suppose you could also intentionally prey on children as a vampire, although it would make the game hard going as it’d deplete your humanity very rapidly (causing a game over).

  13. khaoselement says:

    Okay, here’s my issue with this. No dev could EVER be expected to make everybody happy. LGTBQR+ is just too much. We’re just writing the alphabet in a new order at this point. They cannot be expected to write lines for ALL of them. I am all for you thinking you are whatever the hell you want to think you are, but don’t expect people to cater to you because of it.

    • Itdoesntgoaway says:

      The article very explicitly states that they are not expected to – only that they could at least try to be more diverse in many simple ways (pronouns being a very easy fix). You are making a false dichotomy – it isn’t all or nothing. There can be many things in between depending on the game/genre/developer resources etc. etc.

    • Nevard says:

      People aren’t asking for every game to cater to everyone, they are asking for the whole to cater to everyone.
      Not every game can fit all the various kinds of humanity, but among games in total there should be room. And yet…

    • Sin Vega says:

      Two things:

      1) that’s not what’s being asked for

      2) It isn’t relevant to every game (as the article itself notes), but agender characters can be an interesting and useful and thematically important part of a story simply to serve that story. This is particularly true of protagonists and even more so of protagonists in games. To take the Stardew Valley example, you don’t even need to be making some kind of progressive movement to represent people or prove a political point – you could have the protagonist only ever called “the farmer” just to emphasise that this is all they are, that their humanity is irrelevant, that their value in society is defined entirely by their occupation or title. And what does “the farmer” mean? Is there only one farmer (think of Adventure Time, which calls a protagonist “Finn the Human” as a cute joke to make him an equal of his friend “Jake the Dog”… but as the series goes on it also becomes an expression of existential despair as the viewer learns that Jake might literally be the human, as in, the only human left)? Is it an inherited title? Is the farmer allowed to do anything else? Can anyone else farm?

      None of these are necessarily relevant in SV, modded or not, and that’s fine. But there are plenty of games where it could be, and where devs or modders could explore all sorts of ideas about gender and identity for its own sake, not just to make a political point or intentionally represent anyone.

      But, y’know, you say anything remotely unorthodox about gender around games, and all this gets swept aside by extremely boring little boys who think they’re special because they don’t understand what gender is.

  14. BruniotheDude says:

    This article reminded me of a sociology class I had back in college where we had a lecture labeled “The five genders”. Fact is, the vast majority of the population identifies as two of the five. Hence the others are largely misunderstood and not even known to many.

    Heck, I live in a sheltered area where things such as this or the five genders could really bother adults and children alike just by thinking or talking about it. They simply could not understand such concepts. When first hearing it in college it bothered me as I simply had never heard of such things before.

    I think one of the largest reasons for the lack of the three other genders not being in games is due to it upsetting the market more than appeasing it. I don’t see this changing in the near future for big titles, but for indie games it just needs support. Doesn’t the lack of seeing this in current games show it simply has a lack of support/market? Seems like its being handled correctly, make mods to add in what you see missing. If there is enough support games should follow.

  15. Hednar says:

    Great, another non-issue. You can mod the game so you can identify with the character? Great. Awesome. Do it. You can’t? Well, get over it. But don’t start a stupid outcry over a topic that is basically not existent to most of the players.

    First world problems.

    • Itdoesntgoaway says:

      You should probably try to internalise some of this advice.

    • Nevard says:

      Obviously only problems that happen in economically underprivileged countries are important.

      • Sin Vega says:

        Fun fact: “Third world” doesn’t have anything to do with poverty or wealth. It simply indicates a nation that aligned with neither the USA nor the USSR during the Cold War.

        I’m probably expecting too much from a tired meme, but

        • Premium User Badge

          artrexdenthur says:

          This is the most interesting and surprising thing I’ve seen in this comments thread. Thanks!

        • Premium User Badge

          Oakreef says:

          Yep. Sweden, Ireland, Switzerland, etc are all technically “Third World”. Kinda why the term has fallen out of favour and people use “developing nations” and “the Global South” more instead.

      • Hednar says:

        No. But there are way more important problems out there than “gender diversity” in games. It’s cool if they mod the games to their likings. Thats what modding is for. But this topic is clearly blown up.

        • Nevard says:

          You are the one who said it, not me.
          If you’re coming to a PC gaming website to read about the world’s most important problems, well… you should probably look elsewhere.

          This isn’t even mentioning the fact that bringing up one problem doesn’t mean that you believe that it is the only one worth considering, or even that it’s the only one you talk about (RPS covers a huge range of issues affecting PC gaming), but I am sure you know all that already and just wanted to say something pithy that sounded like it meant something without having to think of an actual thing.

          • Hednar says:

            “Obviously only problems that happen in economically underprivileged countries are important.” Never said that. Thats your conclusion. I said it’s a so called “first world problem”. Basically not a problem at all. At least to the majority of players/people.

            They can live their lives as they like. But i’m really botheres by the constant “notice our problem” attitude (there’s an example in Germany – the use of * or _ in some words [professions for example] to try and represent all genders. Basically butchering the written word just for sake of representing every minority possible).

          • Otterley says:

            @Hednar: Personally I dislike attempts along the lines of “LektorInnen” too. But that’s a reaction to a particular way some people have attempted to address the problem. It doesn’t touch upon the validity – or lack thereof – of the actual problem.

            The gendered nouns like “Bauer/Bäuerin” and not having an option like “they” to avoid gendered pronouns, makes German a language incapable of including other concepts of gender without change.

            Any change would probably be uncomfortable for the majority, no change remains more than just uncomfortable for the minority. The majority can always dismiss the minority, but it seems worth discussing if that’s really what we want to be doing.

    • Shakes999 says:

      Well at least they aren’t stabbing Tynan in the back over source code this time.

      • Leafy Twigs says:

        Who stabbed Tynan in the back? RPS provided RimWorld with months of free advertising with regular articles on the game. Tynan received hundreds, or thousands, of sales from people who read those articles. I’m one of them.

        What RPS did was discuss an aspect of the game. They did so calmly without insulting. They disagreed with how this aspect was implemented. Tynan and all his fanboys grossly overreacted. Got angry about the fact someone was actually taking their game seriously as a work of art.

        Now, RPS is basically ignoring RimWorld, which is fine with me. I try to separate the art from the creator (and the fanbase), but that sheer blind anger over nothing was a huge turnoff.

        • Snowskeeper says:

          Tynan admitted shortly after that he overreacted.

        • Shakes999 says:

          Mined source code for made up controversy and was disingenuous about it for generating clicks, “discuss an aspect of the game. They did so calmly without insulting”. Potato, Potahto.

          • Snowskeeper says:

            I don’t know why you’re making that claim when even the dev in question has admitted that’s not what they were doing.

          • Leafy Twigs says:

            From what I remember, they were looking in the source code for an explanation of behavior in the game. They discussed it. It was when RPS was on a huge RimWorld kick at the time and constantly talking about the game from every possible aspect. Like I said, giving the game a ton of free advertising. Not many games received that kind of coverage here.

            But one mildly critical article and people like you ignore the tons of positive press from RPS while yelling “stabbed in the back!!!!!”

            Oh well, the coverage is gone now. But you can keep being angry over this “great betrayal”, if it gives you some purpose in life.

          • Shakes999 says:

            I’ve searched and searched for him saying he overreacted, so links or you’re full of shit.

            Also, know who else hasn’t been featured on RPS since then? Claudia Lo. I doubt she’s welcome after screwing up the meal ticket, you know, seeing as how she used this site to write a hit piece about nothing. Id assume it would be awkward to keep writing about a game developer you stabbed in the back.
            You cupcakes and your revisionist history I swear. And you accuse me of being a fan boy *laughs*

          • Snowskeeper says:

            Pretty sure you’re lying about having “searched and searched” for it, because this was in the same comment stack as his initial response was.

            link to rockpapershotgun.com

          • DelrueOfDetroit says:

            That’s because Cluadia wrote the article herself and then sold it to RPS. If she hasn’t had another article on RPS it is because she hasn’t sold any to them.

          • Leafy Twigs says:

            You’re holding an impressive grudge for someone who supposedly isn’t a rabid fanboy. Sorry that one mild article triggered you so much, but maybe you’ll soon find something new and completely inconsequential to be angry about.

          • Premium User Badge

            Graham Smith says:

            I’ve banned Shakes999.

            It wasn’t clickbait. We didn’t stab anyone in the back. We still stand by the article. I’d gladly commission Claudia Lo again.

            At any rate, it has nothing to do with this article, so bringing up repeatedly is just trolling.

    • P.Funk says:

      “But don’t start a stupid outcry over a topic that is basically not existent to most of the players.”

      That’s exactly the kind of shit you hear from people who don’t experience those problems, and who equate wellness and quality of life with materialism and context ignorant privileges rather than the much more complex way that social conditions can affect people regardless of class or status.

      If anything the comfort and privilege of the first world ought to be a factor condemning our inability to address these things as we’re not bothered by actual “real” problems like hunger, war, or political corruption to the extent you have the other two.

      First world problems, you ass, is meant to describe how the privileged moan while others without that privileged suffer. Transphobia and acceptance of broader gender identity, identity being rather important to people you know, for mental wellness, a non materialistic concept, is in such a state in the “first world” that all our comforts and freedoms should make it easy to extend the privilege to them, but we are resistant, because of assholes who think like you.

    • LuckyStampede says:

      These strangers are wasting time complaining about things that don’t matter. Therefore, a good use of my time is to complain about them doing that.

      Logic!

    • Otterley says:

      I can’t imagine many problems you ever had being anything other than “first world problems”. Would you enjoy them being dismissed as such?

    • klow says:

      ‘First world problems’ implies developing countries don’t have a history of discussions over gender identity. This is not the case.

  16. R. Totale says:

    Why do people get so angry about something that doesn’t affect them in any way? I genuinely don’t understand.

    • Nevard says:

      Shitting on people who are “safe targets”, already maligned and mistreated by mainstream society, provides a feeling of power, enjoyment, and (perhaps most crucially) inclusion.
      There’s few things more empowering than being a complete twat to someone else, and being secure that probably a significant portion of random people you might meet on the street could have your back.

      It’s disgusting, but to a certain kind of person the appeal is obvious.

    • Itdoesntgoaway says:

      Principles. Honourable ones in some instances, deplorable ones in the others.

    • Leafy Twigs says:

      Probably because this is the last gasp of anger before gender issues goes completely mainstream and becomes relatively unremarkable to the average person. I say this because I’m old enough to remember how conservative straight people would talk about gay people in the late 80’s to early 90’s. “Why can’t they be normal? Why can’t they fuck women instead?” (The focus was almost entirely on gay men.) “Why can’t they get treatment for this pathological condition?”

      And so on. It’s uncanny how similar the whining is between now and then, despite dealing with different issues.

    • P.Funk says:

      Because it attacks their identity because their identity is based on internalized and mostly unconscious prejudices that are contradicted by these discussions.

  17. skeletortoise says:

    I find some of what’s going on with this article a little troubling, but I’ll have to work to avoid just being lumped in with the numerous cretins who use half-understood science to justify bashing and ridiculing people because they dare to define themselves differently. Anyway, it seems to me that the general premise of this article taken to the extreme would be including the perspective of any feasible demographic or kind of person into every single game. Showing diverse viewpoints is great, if that’s what you want to do, but I feel like this perspective can lead to a lot of shoehorned, paint-by-numbers, half-hearted BS in games, all for the sake of checking a few diversity boxes. And why? Is it the job of games to positively represent certain groups? Or is it to make them feel safe? They’re certainly welcome to do either, but I feel like it’s very easy for stuff like this to interfere with any sort of artistic vision. I haven’t played Stardew Valley, but I expect there’s a character or two who might have a perspective more like the trolls in this comment thread and may not respect your pronoun preference. If so, you’ve fundamentally and arbitrarily altered a character. Same goes for the GTAV thing (I don’t know what in particular it’s talking about, so I could be off base), but real people do say real horrible things to transgender people, but in order to be more inclusive, we have to pretend otherwise. At what point is that not whitewashing? I think the Mass Effect: Andromeda mention is best example of all though. A) The developers probably felt compelled to include a trans character, without the perspective or writing ability to do them justice, and it was thus a disaster. B) The developers patched the game to fix it. Not a bug, but a character. They fixed a character because people weren’t happy with the representation. It might be ironic to talk about artistic vision regarding Andromeda, but I think ideas like this could really negatively impact games if taken too far. All that said, if people want to create, or mod games, about or including these groups and these topics, more power to them. I just don’t want every game to become some empty very-special-episode nonsense.

    • Nevard says:

      I don’t want to be rude or anything but… this was literally addressed in the article?

      Though Hannah wants to see more non-binary representation, they say that it doesn’t belong in every single game, and shoehorning it in only makes it seem artificial and out-of-place.

      “Not all games have to include LGBT representation and not all should. But there are games where LGBT representation is appropriate and definitely should be included.”

      This kind of non-argument is brought up as a response to these articles every time. Nobody is asking for the thing that you are worried about, and there is literally no chance of it ever happening.

      I’m also not sure what you’re getting at with the Mass Effect thing… there’s thousands of people out there who would absolutely tell you that they want Bioware to go in and patch the dialogue of more of the characters in that game. It sorely needs it.

      • skeletortoise says:

        a) Well yes, I’m very glad that the modder in this article expressed that they don’t think it should be shoehorned. Problem solved.

        b) I never intended to imply that the article was directly calling for this sort of thing, I was just reacting to the general spirit of the article and similar sentiments I’ve heard expressed. And really? ‘Literally no chance’ of self-censorship? Or tokenism? That’s an incredibly optimistic outlook that’s probably proven wrong in every entertainment industry every day.

        c) Um, I’m referring to point A. How Bioware shoehorned a transgender character into their game and it was very bad? Or, as per point B, how they modified (see censored) the content of their own work, not because of their own feelings on its quality or artistic vision, but because of popular reception? Two things that I thought there was literally no chance of ever happening.

        • Nevard says:

          I’m not saying there is no chance of tokenism I am saying there is no chance of the expectation actually ever becoming, and here I quote:

          including the perspective of any feasible demographic or kind of person into every single game

          This is something that there is literally no risk of ever happening, nor is what the article was calling for. You are arguing against a point that doesn’t exist from people who don’t exist.

          Nobody likes shoehorning but some amount of it is usually inevitable before people figure out how to actually write these characters, that doesn’t mean they’re suddenly going to spring up in every game.

          Bioware also have shown a clear internal desire to include diverse characters in their work. Why are you assuming that this was outside pressure when they are telling you the opposite? And have done so repeatedly, throughout several of their titles?
          They swung, they missed, and now are attempting to correct the work to match their vision of what the impact would be.
          Why are you calling an internal decision to change something in response to criticism “censorship”? That’s not even close to what the word means!

          • skeletortoise says:

            This is something that there is literally no risk of ever happening, nor is what the article was calling for. You are arguing against a point that doesn’t exist from people who don’t exist.

            I mean, I don’t think that will actually happen or that it was being advocated. I was just trying to clumsily make a point (see below comments). Shame you didn’t quote this originally, might’ve saved us a lot of typing.

            Bioware also have shown a clear internal desire to include diverse characters in their work. Why are you assuming that this was outside pressure when they are telling you the opposite? And have done so repeatedly, throughout several of their titles?

            Bioware doesn’t exist in a vacuum. No decision to include certain characters was ever made based entirely on internal desire. They weren’t directly externally pressured to include said specific character, of course, but if you don’t think there wasn’t a ‘gotta include a transgender character while it’s a big issue in the media right now’ mindset involved, you’re being naive. And it sounds like that level of thought was reflected in the end result.

            They swung, they missed, and now are attempting to correct the work to match their vision of what the impact would be.

            Why are you calling an internal decision to change something in response to criticism “censorship”? That’s not even close to what the word means!

            They’re trying to placate people on twitter, not ‘correct the work to match their vision of what the impact would be’. Whether good or bad, the character is what it is, and changing them like they’re a bug makes them sound like politicians trying to nail the perfect word choice to make a speech palatable for all demographics. In short, not a ton of artistic integrity.

            And I meant self-censorship, which I realize I should’ve been clear on instead of expecting point B to clarify things.

          • Nevard says:

            Looking at Bioware’s past, I think you are entirely misinterpreting this situation. I don’t see how you have arrived at the conclusions that you have, but please take a moment to try and re-examine them.

            This wasn’t Bioware’s first transgender character. This is something they have demonstrably chosen to do in the past themselves, and it was very well received. You could say that it is because it is because they genuinely care about representation, or because it is good PR, it doesn’t matter. They wanted to make another trans character, nobody forced them to.

            This character, then, did not generate them good PR. It was not as successful as their previous character, because the writing missed the mark. The people they had intended to attract with this addition, were instead repulsed. So they went in and fixed it.

            This isn’t censorship. They made this character with an intended audience in mind. When that audience didn’t like it, they went in and fixed it, because those people are their fans, and making their fans happy is in their interest.
            They are not being censored, they are responding to feedback from their fans. This is admirable, it’s what a good developer should be doing!

            They included a transgender character in their game, not for the first time. The transgender character was not liked by the people they included it for. They read those comments, and changed the character in response, to make their fans happy.
            In what way is that a bad thing? They aren’t compromising on their vision, because a character that transgender people would like was clearly always part of the vision for that character and part of the reason she was ever included.

            When the people who are supposed to like something you made for them are upset, you want to fix it. Because that is why you included it in the first place.
            The use of “censorship” in any manner, be it with the world “self” placed before it or not, is simply just incorrect.

          • skeletortoise says:

            The more we talk, the more I realize our disagreements have nothing to do with representation, but more our views on games and game developers and what their aims should be. So never mind, I guess.

          • Nevard says:

            Fair enough, glad we could come to some kind of understanding.

    • Itdoesntgoaway says:

      This is just a slippery-slope fallacy.

      Taking a little bit, or a moderate concern as the article advocates, for providing more balance w/r/t gender or sexual representation does not need to (nor would it given the impracticality financially etc.) inexorably lead to “extreme” attempts to make everything ultra PC.

      I don’t think anyone could reasonably argue that games as a medium get very high marks for their inclusiveness in any area – so I would argue that although it is not their obligation to make an effort to improve since they are after all businesses etc., it is nonetheless the right thing to do. Just as it was right for people to argue and fight for the same in Cinema/TV/Music/Art/Drama (and continues to be in all instances) in generations past.

      • skeletortoise says:

        I think I may have sounded more extreme/melodramatic about this than I intended. I wasn’t trying to evoke some sort of creative apocalypse where every video game character was required to be a trans POC. I was just saying this kind of thinking inevitably leads to self-censorship, tokenism, and generally dishonest and watered down depictions of reality. As such, it’s not a slippery slope, as you can see that sort of thing everywhere, all the time.

        I agree that it was good and important for all those mediums to become more inclusive. You don’t have to look far in any of them to see examples of what I’m worried about, though. It should be done organically, is what I guess I’m saying, though hopefully so organically that you aren’t really ‘doing’ anything at all. The question should not be ‘where can I fit this trans character’ or ‘which of these characters should I make the trans one’, but ‘would a trans character make sense in this role’?

        • Itdoesntgoaway says:

          True enough. I can’t decide what side I fall more on though, erring on the side of caution or being more gung ho and seeing what works. I agree that doing anything just for the sake of it is potentially counter productive, but don’t think that is the case in the article. Thanks for the interesting conversation on it.

    • Sin Vega says:

      A lot this was addressed in the article, but to fair they’re valid concerns (and I recognise that you’re speaking in good faith fwiw), and there’s definitely a danger of doing representation by numbers. You only need to look at stock photography or all manner of advertising to see the kind of nauseating tokenism or sheer blanditry that can result in.

      I think it’s a minor danger though, and even if it became common, I think it would pass as our media adjusted and started getting to grips with these things better.

      • skeletortoise says:

        Yeah, as I’m replying on this comment my ideas on the topic are beginning to solidify a bit more and I think I may have sounded a bit hysterical originally. Becoming more open and encouraging to stuff will inevitably lead to some forced/empty representation, but that will be offset by excellent stuff that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. You gotta take the bad with the good, ‘spose.

    • P.Funk says:

      “taken to the extreme would be including the perspective of any feasible demographic or kind of person into every single game”

      Why take it to the extreme though? Why assume the worst? You’re basically saying that you’re going to assume the argument they’re making is disastrous and a slippery slope. That’s just silly.

      Lets say there are an innumerable quantity of potential gender/sex/identity concepts one could represent. Criticizing a failure to ever break from the obviously limiting gender binary is not demanding that subject matter always be dissolved into a hopelessly futile effort to include everyone by having an exact representation of their unique perspective on their own identity.

      Whats important here is the failure to break from the gender binary and how often any break is done in a patronizing, prejudicial, often offensive and belittling way. Most people who do not identify with the binary one typically associates with society would be more than satisfied I’m sure with a totally generic gender identity persuasion that gives them freedom to react and choose in games that allow this based on their whims, meaning non binary non cis character through choices creates their identity rather than being defined by preconceptions by writers.

      If its just a character defined by a more fixed narrative an actually sensitive and thoughtful non offensive or pandering character would be I’m sure very welcomed by those who don’t even identify with it directly as it would at least be representing a diversity that all non binary identifying people see as common to their issue with the binary’s dominance of popular culture and therefore socially accepted personality.

      Phew… that was a long one done in one go. Hope that holds together.

  18. aliksy says:

    I don’t personally have a stake in LGBT stuff as an unremarkable cis het guy, but I’m happy to support inclusion, more options, more kinds of stories. I know it means a lot to other people.

    I don’t have the mental energy to wade into the comment battles here, but I’d like RPS to know I come back to the site in part because of how progressive it is.

    • Itdoesntgoaway says:

      Seconded.

    • P.Funk says:

      As nice as this sentiment is I still find it gross how we white cis male heteros have to (or think we have to) wade in by approving the message of actually marginalized groups with the weight of our privilege in forums that typically overrepresent our privilege.

      Its kind of catch 22 material. I think its ultimately though a worse sin to not use our privilege to help (as long as we recognize we’re NOT heroes or the saviors and get smug or take over their narrative) as ultimately the inaction of the privileged or worse the oppositional action of the privileged is how the yard sticks are made to be so hard to move.

      • Otterley says:

        Yeah, there’s no simple wrong or right. As a gay guy I’ve usually appreciated ‘standard issue’ men and women wading in. Often enough their opinion simply mattered more than mine. Now I live in a situation where being gay hardly has any drawbacks and I’m grateful to everyone who helped bring this about.

    • Otterley says:

      Have a free hug :)

  19. Hogans heroes says:

    This is meant to be a PC Gaming site!!! Who cares about all this gender and sexuality nonsense??? I don’t understand how you could write even one word about this pointless topic. No one cares! I certainly don’t. I never even think about it. Never. Not even one thought about my gender identity or sexuality. Does not matter. I never think about it. I never wake up in the middle of the night wondering if heterosexuality and a male gender identity is who I really am. Never happened, never will. Yep, no thinking or caring from me about this pointless topic. No thought about it has ever got close to my head, not one. I just don’t care and really want you to understand that. Please understand, I do not care about this topic.

    So please RockPaperShotgun do not post articles about topics I do not care about. Every time you do, I am compelled to tell you how much I don’t care. I even had to do quite a bit of research because of this article, just to determine I am not interested in gender diversity. Hours and hours of research about a topic I don’t care about. Please do not make me do that. I am begging you with peace and love, stop posting these articles about topics I don’t care about. I just do not care, read my lips.

  20. Heliocentric says:

    I have a new found respect for why RPS had so many locked comments posts on sensitive issues, but I still disagree with locking comments.

    Hopefully this has given people food for thought, whether they disagree or agree.

    • Nevard says:

      It’s given me food for the thought that locking comments is definitely the right thing to do a lot of the time.

    • Synesthesia says:

      Hilariously/sadly enough, it’s just 3 or 4 twats who registered an hour ago, just to spew spew some ignorance on every single thread. And we’re the triggered ones. Yeah.

      • Itdoesntgoaway says:

        Indeed. Every time I see someone of an intolerant mindset use the epithet ‘snowflake’ a little voice in my mind shouts: “Physician, heal thyself”.

  21. Michael Fogg says:

    I can’t fathom what makes a person with a given set of primary and secondary sex characteristics want to consider themselves ‘agender’. Is this meant as an expression of unaccpetance of established gender norms (gender being seen as a set of assumption on how men and women should behave)? What is being accomplished by a slight change in pronouns? I consider myself a rather unmanly man, I don’t like to fight and argue, I wish I could live as a homemaker, taking care of kids and cooking meals and doing laundry all day (while blasting some death metal), while my significant other heads out to be the breadwinner. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m still a bloke.

    • Nevard says:

      It sounds like you’re not nonbinary.

    • Itdoesntgoaway says:

      For me, there is an inherent problem with the formulation of your question: the word “want”.

      Why assume that anyone ‘wants’ to be something that they intrinsically feel themselves to be – even if that thing appears to you to be unnecessary?

      • Michael Fogg says:

        That’s on a level of abstraction that I have problems grapsing. I don’t ‘intrinsically feel’ anything special about myself at all. I don’t see how that’s possible without anything to compare it to.

    • Sin Vega says:

      Right, because you feel part of one element of that binary. Think about how you would feel if, from right now to the rest of your life, everyone started treating you like and explicitly referring to you as a woman, and ostracising you any time you behaved in a way that they deemed unwomanly, or even if you just didn’t look or talk or walk the way they expected. Really think about it, imagine how it’d go, and how it’d feel after months, years even. Imagine that it cost you jobs and relationships, and that you had to make constant commitments to pretend to be a woman, or face further problems or even the risk of violence. Imagine how that would complicate every aspect of your life, and how exhausting and stressful it would be to do on top of and interacting with all your other problems

      Experiences vary, but some non-binary folks feel something like that about either being a man or a woman. Others feel like neither is really comfortable, or that the whole thing just doesn’t make sense to them, and dividing people into either ‘man’ or ‘woman’ makes about as much sense as assigning everyone social roles based on Hippocrates’ four humours.

      • Michael Fogg says:

        I don’t see how I’m supposedly on one part of the binary as I’ve just told you that I seem to have elements that belong to both. And if society somehow suddenly demanded that I act as a woman, in time I’d probably internalise it and it wouldn’t be a problem to me. Why would it? If I don’t see the female as in any way inferior, why would I be so abhorred by the idea of living as one?

        • GeoX says:

          I don’t see “the female” as in any way inferior either, but as a cis-gendered dude, it would do a number on my psyche if society suddenly demanded I be a woman. I don’t understand why this is so difficult.

    • MD says:

      I reckon this article is worth reading: link to slatestarcodex.com
      It’s not written by a transgender person, but I think it still offers a helpful perspective if you’re confused/sceptical about some of this stuff.

  22. Outsour says:

    Man, I don’t know why people’s gender identity matters to so many people. I don’t know if I really believe that all of them exist, but I still support people’s right to believe in them. That’s just me trying not to be a dick.

    • Christo4 says:

      Then games should either just have biological gender/sex (which is what they mean when you make your character) or have another one in addition to that that says gender identity. Everyone happy right? Though i don’t understand why people can’t just choose their biological sex and then role-play as whatever they identify as. And if a game has limits as in only male or female, then that’s that. Either you mod it to make more choices, or just accept it as it is.

      If you buy a car and it only has 2 colors available from the manufacturer, if you want to have a different paintjob you have to paint it yourself or go to someone else to do it. How would that manufacturer feel if everyone started complaining at them that the colors they offer aren’t inclusive enough?

      • Itdoesntgoaway says:

        88The examples you give are all arbitrary limits. There is no reason not to provide more options beyond inconvenience. Nor is there any reason for you to object to people advocating that designers try to provide more options when they feasibly can. What harm would it do?

      • BradleyUffner says:

        Then games should either just have biological gender/sex (which is what they mean when you make your character) or have another one in addition to that that says gender identity.

        It’s neat how you have such insight in to exactly what every game developer means in their character creation screen.

        If you buy a car and it only has 2 colors available from the manufacturer, if you want to have a different paintjob you have to paint it yourself or go to someone else to do it. How would that manufacturer feel if everyone started complaining at them that the colors they offer aren’t inclusive enough?

        If there was a large enough people asking for a larger range of colors, I imagine they would think that is is AWESOME that they discovered a new opportunity to make money selling cars to a new market that was failed by other manufacturers. Which is also exactly what game developers are doing here.

      • baekhesten says:

        Pretty sure if the only hair colors available in a game were “black” and “brown” people would complain. Or–ooh, here’s one, roleplaying game where you’re meant to create your own distinct character, but the only skin colors are “light brown” and “dark brown.” Boy howdy would people get upset. But they shouldn’t complain, right? That’s not fair to the creators, they can’t please everyone!

  23. DeadCanDance says:

    I support it.

  24. Minglefingler says:

    I think this could all be sorted out if everyone who identfies as either male or female is referred to by the pronoun “Barry” and everyone who doesn’t uses “Other Barry.” Or perhaps we could let people call themselves whatever Barry/ Other Barry like, it’s not like Barry/ Other Barry are hurting anyone by asking to be addressed in a slighty different fashion. This would cause some small amount of trouble for people actually called Barry, ” What’s Other Barry’s name? Other Barry’s called Barry” etc, etc. They’re a minority though so fuck them and how they feel.
    I fail to understand why some people felt it necessary to leave comments here complaining about these matters so in the spirit of inclusivity and understanding I’ve left a big pile of gender specific pronouns outside your wall. If you’re quick you can scurry out, gather them all up and barricade yourselves back inside in time to have a nice cup of horlicks before Aliens comes on the telly.

    • Archonsod says:

      Actually it’s a lot easier to just refer to everyone as meatsack. Not only does it then avoid giving offence, but it also tends to avoid the confusion usually encountered whenever people assume you’re actually interested in their opinions, self-identity or indeed anything beyond their potential nutritional value.

      • Minglefingler says:

        I’m all for nutritional value, opinions are fine too unless they’re hate filled. Too much of that these days.

  25. Ada says:

    This isn’t so much about “making games gender-diverse” as it is about making games less trans-antagonistic.

    • Ephant says:

      So you’re saying that every game with a male main character is misogynistic? Every game with a female main character misandristic?

      • Sin Vega says:

        So Ephant you’re saying that murdering tiny babies for fun is a good and admirable thing?

        • pepperfez says:

          It certainly seems like the only logical conclusion from their argument.

  26. LennyLeonardo says:

    I like that these mods exist despite the fact that I’ll never use them. They don’t hurt anyone, and they help some. Why anyone would object to them, or this article, is totally beyond me. I’ll never understand the sort of hatred that’s being expressed here.

    • Snowskeeper says:

      “B-But if I allow these mods to stand unopposed, how will I justify my ridiculous pseudo-scientific beliefs?”

    • Minglefingler says:

      It’s beyond me as well, I really don’t get why people feel the need to spew nonsense over things that have no effect on them.

    • LuckyStampede says:

      I know that a major step in my personal understanding of myself was just being presented the option in Fallen London. The “neither” gender option is the most popular, largely because it’s presented in a unique and cheeky way, which is why I took it. I don’t think I’d ever really been given that option before, but as I started to envision my character I realized yes, my character was gender non conforming. It was very liberating playing such a character. Later on, with a lot of other steps, I realized I was gender non conforming IRL. Still later, when I was considering hormones, genetics tests came back and informed me of just how complicated my gender actually was.

      Never underestimate the power of just presenting options. I think, to be honest, that’s what a lot of people further up the comments *fear.*

      • Otterley says:

        That’s so cool :)
        When I read or think about representation it’s mostly about the feeling of being ignored, the existence of people like me being considered irrelevant enough or sometimes unpalatable enough to be excluded.

        But you’re right, ofc, representation can also help us realize things about ourselves that might otherwise just remain a source of dissonance.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        This is just brilliant.

  27. Deviija says:

    Nice write-up, I appreciate it. As someone that considers themselves agender, I like to see these things being talked about more often and I love seeing mods like this (and have used a couple before myself). Big kudos.

  28. hausser0815 says:

    Alright, maybe im missing something here as english isnt my native language, but to me that article reads like a elaborate troll. like, it shows how ridiculous the whole attempt is by referring to Hannah as “they”, as to show that you cant really write gender neutral.

    • Snowskeeper says:

      “They” has been in use in the English language as a gender-neutral pronoun since before Shakespeare.

      (I mention Shakespeare because he used it for that purpose repeatedly.)

      • Apolloin says:

        I generally borrow from the Bard when it comes to agendered pronouns. If He or She prove unequal to the task, then I generally default to They as my failsafe.

        I like to maintain a certain seperation of church and state in this field. I honestly don’t care who someone sleeps with or doesn’t, I just don’t want to have a long conversation about it when that level of conversational intimacy doesn’t exist.

    • DelrueOfDetroit says:

      They while meaning a group of people can also refer to a single person you aren’t aware of. Such as:

      “There is somebody at the door.”

      “Well find out what they want.”

      In this instance neither person is aware of who is at the door so using he or she isn’t appropriate. They works as a substitute. Extending this use we can easily use it in a modern sense to refer to others when you are not sure of their gender. It’s often used here when referring to other RPS users in posts.

      I hope that makes sense.

  29. Headress Chipmunk says:

    this is junk. i just found this site and I thought it would be good, guess I was wrong. Bye, folks!

    • Snowskeeper says:

      Bye, sweety.

    • GeoX says:

      An incalculable loss to the community.

    • Slazia says:

      Wow. They should write tons more articles like this. It would keep this a much nicer place!

    • P.Funk says:

      The best thing about these articles is they help enforce a self selecting exodus of douchey human qualities.

  30. MazokuRanma says:

    …Hannah took it upon themselves…

    Shouldn’t this be ‘themself’? I understand they’re agendered, but they still consider themself a singular entity, correct?

    #corrections #maybe?

    • baekhesten says:

      As someone with a nonbinary partner and several nonbinary friends who use they/them pronouns–yeah, it should be ‘themself.’ It sounds weird, but think of it like ‘you.’ ‘You’ can be singular or plural, just like ‘them.’ But when you’re talking about just one person, you say ‘yourself’ instead o ‘yourselves.’ Same for ‘them.’

  31. Lejin says:

    Hey everyone. I have to ask this question.

    Is it a us thing, these stories about being represented and all ? Where I live (France), we simply do not care.
    No offense, please, that’s not my goal.

    I don’t really get it. I don’t care what people do with their mind, body and sexuality, like every people I know. It’s not a topic here. People are what they are, and we don’t care if someone is straight, gay, male, female or whatever as long as he/she understand that it is his/her life and not something to share withthr while world.

    On a side note, gender and sex is one and the same in french (“genre” and “sexe” are synonymous).

    • SexyHomie says:

      Pretty much agree with Lejin. I am not sure how it works in other countries, but this is like second time I’ve heard about non binary genders and I really did not care till this point.
      No one from people I know cares about this stuff. I don’t want to be dick here, but this whole issue seems rather absurd to me. I don’t care if my friends are gay, have weird fetish etc.
      I am not even entirely sure why I am writting this comment, since I dont even care what RPS writes about. If I dont like that article I simply ignore it.
      But from my perspective, humans have much bigger issues that needs to be adressed rather than arguing about gender identity. Fuck, i am so confused right now >:o

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        The fact that you’ve never heard of the problem doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, or is absurd. Reducing it to “lol, foreigners” is absurd, though.

      • Nevard says:

        It’s fortunate that as humans (and as a human society of billions), we’re capable of caring, writing, reading, understanding, and addressing, multiple things at the same time, huh?

      • P.Funk says:

        “But from my perspective, humans have much bigger issues that needs to be adressed rather than arguing about gender identity.”

        So you mean that when you call the police or seek redress for petty property crimes or disputes in civil court with your privileged neighbours in whatever privileged part of the west (I assume) you live in you should be told “this seems minor, there are bigger issues facing the world”?

    • Ghostwise says:

      You seem to be living in an extremely different France than I do.

  32. Premium User Badge

    heretic says:

    Thank you for this article and the comment thread too, it’s interesting to read, many good points and interesting facts raised. Great to see some people explain their point of view and come to a better understanding of the issues at hand.

    So shout out to the mods as it was actually possible to read this whole comment thread :)

  33. Lejin says:

    I’m afraid this issue is just some kind of fashion trend (not sure if it’s something that can be said in english).

    It popped out of nowhere from my point of view. Not to say that some people did not have a harsh life because of this, mind you. But trends tend to do more harm than good.

    And I always thought the goal was to not care about what people do with their lives as long as it doesn’t harm anyone. Why is there a need to be seen, or represented ? I’m not saying that things should be hidden. Far from it.

    As far as I’m concerned, being transgender or whatever you may be is just a non issue. You are and that’s it. One has the right to be ignored by the other and live his life however on sees fit.

    That’s what I don’t get. If no one is pointing a finger at you and cares about what you’re doing, why is there a need to come and say “look at me I’m different”?

    I’m really not trying to offend anyone. I’m just trying to understand what seems to be a local cultural thing.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Imagine that you had never seen a film, TV show, play, or piece of art with a French person in it. How would that feel?

      • SexyHomie says:

        Then perhaps elaborate little bit more how should we treat these people. Because screaming on internet how you are getting bullied because you identify yourself as non binary gender is not gonna help.
        Guess what, people with any kind of disorder are getting bullied cause people does not understand them. They have some real problems, not just that you suddenly started to feel differently and you have urge to scream about it why no one understands you. How many handicapped people you saw in movie? How much exposure are they getting? If you know how it feels being treated differently, are you actually doing something to help other people that have similar issues? If not, guess what, you are being hypocrite.
        This? This seems really kind of blown out of proportions. Expecting people to treat you differently just because you decided to identify yourself as something outside of general understanding, pretty much forcing it on others, is probably even more naive than trying to stop people from fighting each other.
        I am not being dick here. I understand people can feel differently, have different tastes etc., but this is just absurd.

        • Grizzly says:

          Someone made a mod for a game! It literally does not affect you in any way! How is that absurd?

        • Nevard says:

          Sadly, it takes more than just saying “I’m not being a dick” to make it true.
          You claim that there is no such thing as bullying against nonbinary people? And yet, here you are, contributing to that exact issue.
          (And where is the “screaming” in the article, exactly?)

          There is inadequate representation of “handicapped” people in media? Absolutely! I agree! You don’t need to have one at the expense of the other. You can have both! You could even (gasp) have a transgender disabled person in your video game.

          How often do you go out and campaign against ableism? Are you actively pursuing greater representation of disabled peoples in video games? Or are you just using them as a cheap tool that you don’t truly care about to distract from another issue you’d rather would go away? It’s pretty transparent that this is how it usually works.

          • SexyHomie says:

            Where did I claim that non binary people are not getting bullied? It’s in our nature to treat people differently if they are somehow different from us “normies”, if its good or bad, thats another question.
            Thing is, I am still trying to understand this issue. I treat people based on their character. As I said, I dont care if you are dude, girl, or any other gender you claim to be. If you are nice person, that’s enough for me.
            I think where our opinions collide is that I dont believe you can change society. If you are different somehow, you will always get different treatment from others. No matter what you do.
            I am trying to understand people that identify themselves as different gender, but it just feels so trivial. Same like arguing about religion.
            I get that people that are e.g. reliant on wheelchair can get pissed off when they want to use subway, yet there is no elevator. Or any other obstacle which makes their life harder, even tho they did not ask for this “handicap”.
            But if you voluntarily chose to be different gender, aware of the fact that you will probably get treated differently(in bad way), you cant just walk away from it claiming “I am XY gender so you should treat me that way”. That’s just not how it works, at least from my POV.
            Although I am willing to admit that amount of people that are causing shitstorm because of this subject versus amount of people that are actually acting like these “special snowflakes” is certainly questionable.

      • Ghostwise says:

        Relieved due to much lowered exposure to French-bashing “jokes” ? :-)

        But the entire “local thing” argument can be wholly dismissed. The French laws for transgender persons are awful even after some recent changes, the most vital political movements in the country by far are deeply homophobic and transphobic and inspired waves of homophobic assault, etc.

        One of the focus areas for the next Pride protests in France re.: transgender persons is “stop forced sterilisations”.

    • Nevard says:

      The importance in representation is that as you can see by reading comments above, there are people who apparently aren’t even aware that these issues exist.
      When people think something doesn’t exist, it is easy for them to ridicule it. Conversely, when you think you are alone, it is easy for ridicule to cut you very very deeply.
      Tolerance doesn’t spread through “not caring” about what people are doing, it only works on an individual level. If you want, societally, for people to be tolerant of others, then they need to be made to acknowledge that those others exist and are real. When people are easy to dismiss as “special snowflakes” or “a fashion trend”, because you have never heard of them before, and have not taken any time to learn about them, then they will never actually be accepted.

  34. Rack says:

    Thing that struck me here is are there even two genders? There are trends and similarities between people of similar chromosomes but is that really enough to characterize them? What exactly is an agendered person rejecting? Is it the real differences or the meaningless societal constructs? Without those constructs would the concept even exist?

    • Nevard says:

      For that one I think if you asked five different nonbinary people you’d probably get five different answers.
      Then again, if you asked five different men how to define their “maleness” you’d probably also get pretty different results.
      Gender and an individual’s relationship to it is a weird and complicated thing!

  35. Lejin says:

    Thanks for the answer. I do not see anything wrong qbout transgender in France. I might be wrong, thought. We don’t have lot of issues regarding one’s sexuality or identity either, granted there will always be some dickheads to bully others. Sad, but can’t be totally helped. Furthermore I THINK our healthcare system takes care of someone who changes his/her gender. Same for your id, social security number, etc…

    As for not seeing french people in movies…well, American flicks are what is mostly screened here. French are stereotypically described in movies. I don’t really care and never heard someone complain about it either.

    I just thought that accepting the other meant that you had to not care. Not ignoring, just minding your own business. It doesn’t mean you should close your eyes if issues arise, au contraire. Just that being accepted means not having to explain yourself or trying to convince others of your well being.

    Hell, my mother is black (half black half asian to be precise) and I don’t give a damn about that or anything related to it.

    • Ghostwise says:

      No, the sécurité sociale isn’t exactly helping. And if people think they are helping by not caring about it, it never will.

      Educating yourself on the local situation would take, like, three clicks. There are multiple associations as well as the inter-LGBT one.

      Please don’t make erroneous statements about our national realities based on some naïve view of how you think things should be. It *doesn’t* help, and it certainly doesn’t change the facts.

  36. Lejin says:

    I work for the cpam.
    Agents of this institution are monitored to be sure to be as kind as possible to any people who changs gender. Not being considerate about it is considered a mistake which can help you be fired.

    The operation is taken care of (hors depassement d’honoraire). And I’m not saying everything’s perfect. Just that it’s not Mordor or some hellish place full of racists and bigots.

    Saying this is not a heavy issue in france is not being naive. Ignoring what is done or what exists just for the sake of it is overly pessimistic.

    Edit for saying you were condescending even though you weren’t. Sorry.

  37. Gothnak says:

    One of my friends (He’s an American Trump Supporter :)) on facebook has decided to parody the whole situation by calling himself a trans-giraffe, he wants everyone to refer to him as a giraffe from now on, because that’s what he believes he is.

    Now, obviously that is annoying and stupid and belittles what these people believe about themselves. But if he wants to be known as a giraffe and not a human anymore, isn’t that actually the same and we should respect it?

    Everyone says ‘if someone wants to be referred to in a certain way, then we should respect their wishes and do that.’.

    Do we do the same for someone wanting everyone to refer to them as ‘god’ or ‘prime minister’ or a 50yr old man wanting to be treated as a baby?

    I’ve got no idea.

    • Ghostwise says:

      I guess it’s a funny joke, provided that one :
      – has no understanding whatsoever of the subject.
      – has no interest in understanding the subject.
      – want people to pay attention to them.
      – feel it’s funny to mock people in an awful situation.

      Outside of that, it’s just a rerun of “if gay people can marry each other then I should be able to marry my dog AH AHAH AHA HA AHAH I’m SMART RIGHT?”. We’ve had that one for decades.

    • baekhesten says:

      Gender is something that occurs prenatally, as far as we are aware. There’s always the possibility that his development could have gone differently and he could have been a girl instead. There is no chance his development could have gone differently and he could have been a giraffe.

  38. Isendur says:

    Oh boy, 200+ comments on this. I wonder what RPS is gonna do with this gold mine (of turds).

  39. skyst says:

    Why not just implement gender sliders instead of choosing male or female? Seems simple enough to do, one end maximizing stereotypical muscular/testosterone/male features, the other stereotypical soft/estrogen/female features. I played something fairly recently (Dragon’s Dogma, maybe?) that had a masculine/feminine slider after choosing a gender that allowed for some interesting variation in presets. If the game world needs to acknowledge gender, either incorporate a preference option or default to which end of the slider is chosen. It seems like a reasonable option to get close enough to what anyone is looking for their character to be – and honestly close enough should be fine – these are video games that we’re playing.

    Interestingly, I assume that the vast majority of players would set the hypothetical gender slider somewhere in the middle-3/4 of the bar, not swung fully to the male side or the female side. Something to think on, there.

    • Premium User Badge

      cpt_freakout says:

      This would be good, on top of other gender options like the ones the article mentions. Like many a poster here has said against the scientistic asses above, gender is more than just sexual organs and looks. ‘Feminine’ and ‘masculine’ have different meanings depending on culture (implicating also space and time), as well.

    • GameCat says:

      Dark Souls games have masculine/feminine slider in character creator and in most cases I set it at maximum values depending on if I’ve made male or female char.

  40. Farsearcher says:

    The mod is of little interest to me but I’m glad it exists for those who want it. It does seem a lot of people are angry about something that will have no personal effect on them.

    I very much like that the mod author recognises that such content shouldn’t be shoehorned into every game but I agree that where it is appropriate it would be good to see it represented in more games.

    Reading all this got me wondering how we’ll handle these issues in the more distant future. Currently in the long term I think we’re on the path to virtualising ourselves and perhaps combining ourselves with artificial intelligence. Without all the glands and hormones we currently possess how will we view sex and gender? We may by this point have the ability to download our consciousness into a biological body of our choosing, able to experience male and female biology and everything in between. How will our society change?

    • skyst says:

      Expect about a decade of us locked in our bedrooms.

    • JoeD2nd says:

      “It does seem a lot of people are angry about something that will have no personal effect on them.”

      Yeah, no. Redefining what genders are (especially since there is ZERO evidence that there are more than two genders) is normalizing mental disorders. This will have an effect on everyone, not just those playing this game and NOT just those who are messed up in the head. It has already started to have repercussions on the world with idiocy like gender-neutral bathrooms, or allowing anyone to use any bathroom they choose based on what gender they feel they woke up with that morning… or 5 seconds ago. The crazies are running the insane asylum and the longer we let this go on the more damage it will do to society. I am not religious nut, either. I am a die-hard atheist/libertarian which means I believe in rational, logical thought and evidence. You will have generations of f’ed up kids who grow up into f’ed up adults because of this catering to a small minority of confused, entitled, spoiled rich kids who have so much time on their hands that they’ve decided to question their own gender because of “feels.”

      • LuckyStampede says:

        Translation: “I’m not crazy! You’re crazy! The world is crazy! I’m the only sane person left! I’M RATIONAL! RATIONAL, I SAY!”

      • Rwlyra says:

        I actually read your post and don’t quite understand why are you against neutral bathrooms? I had these in my school in early 2000s and it certainly didn’t seem all that revolutionary.

        • pepperfez says:

          Because it’s a sign of political affiliation now, so whatever you actually think you have to be very upset about bathrooms or else the liberals win.

      • Sin Vega says:

        I am a die-hard atheist/libertarian which means I believe in rational, logical thought and evidence.

        No it doesn’t. As evidenced by this very sentence.

        I’m a vegetarian, which means I’m a great cook

        I’m a soldier, which means I love tanks.

        It’s raining, which means it’s July.

  41. Scopis says:

    There are two genders. Male and female.. The rest is mental illness. Nothing anyone can say is going to change that. You need to get help instead of trying to be “NON BINARY”.

    Like which kind of weirdo creep sits at their computer and starts thinking.. “Oh my god the game jsut called me a he or a she.. this isn’t right..” ??? I shouldn’t have to see articles about mental illness (that is not about helping them) on my fallout 4 homefront. good day.

    • LuckyStampede says:

      You’re right, there are two genders. Male and female.

      That’s what I am.

      Male and female. Both. At the same time.

      Glad we could reach an agreement. :)

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Holy fuck.

    • Lejin says:

      Even if I’m not believing in the gender fluid dogma(is it the right saying?), there’s no need to be upset.

      As long as there’s no harm done, no need to pick up a fight. You can disagree and still be respectful.

      Edit: was talking to luckystampede.

      • Premium User Badge

        cpt_freakout says:

        Respectful, like the guy calling people “mentally ill weirdo creeps”.

        • JoeD2nd says:

          Sorry, but it is a mental illness. There are two biological genders, period. What people make in their heads is a result of mental illness.

          • GeoX says:

            It’s really precious how know-nothing idiots like this can just ignore the many, many comments above showing just how wrong they are. SORRY MY STUPID, WILLFULLY IGNORANT OPINION IS OBJECTIVE TRUTH CUZ I SAY SO DURRR

          • Sin Vega says:

            Oh, stop opening your ignorant little announcements with “sorry”, you absolute snivelling coward.

      • JoeD2nd says:

        “As long as there’s no harm done”

        That’s a huge assumption you’re making. There’s plenty of harm being done.. not only to the people who believe they are not male or female, but to society as a whole. These people truly believe they are something other than male or female – this is an illness. IT is NOT normal and it is not healthy. You will discover these people have plenty of other issues to go along with this particular psychosis. We should no more cater to these people than we should cater to people who believe they are dolphins, or Jedi’s, or George Washington. If we did that would be destructive, to them and to society.

        • LuckyStampede says:

          So…by believing I am what my *genetics* say I am, I’m part of the downfall of society?

          And you’re calling us crazy?

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          It’s weird how someone so invested in the concepts of scientific ‘rightness’ and what is and isn’t “normal” can have such a radical view of the issue. I mean, I’ve literally never encountered someone who sees non-binary gender identity as a mental illness. Your argument basically eats itself.

        • Phasma Felis says:

          > *You will discover these people have plenty of other issues to go along with this particular psychosis.*

          No they don’t. You made that up.

          • LuckyStampede says:

            Well to be fair most trans people *do* have a host of other mental health issues…but saying being trans is just a result of those mental health issues is like saying being made of meat is just a result of having stab wounds all over your body.

      • LuckyStampede says:

        Was I upset? I don’t believe I was. I was in fact getting a bit of schadenfreude out of how easily OP walked into that one.

        Now, OP, (I believe this is a reasonable assumption) he sounds pretty upset.

        Also I didn’t say anything about fluidity. I’m bigender. Male and female, at the same time. Gender fluidity is something different. Furthermore–and this is not discounting people who don’t have this–in my case it’s been proven with genetic testing, so if you dont’ believe it, that’s scientific ignorance.

        • Lejin says:

          If I was mistaken, then i’m sorry. As for the terminology, like I said, I’m not sure what to use. And no one said that being bigender (hermaphrodite, that’s the saying in french, I believe) is about believing or not. That is indeed genetics.

          As for the “no harm done” thing, Joe, none of this harms me -or anyone as far as i know- so I can’t begin to see where the problem lies. And i’m no psychiatrist, so i don’t have all the keys to say what’s wrong or what is not.

          And yes, it’s possible to disagree on something, talk about it, have a healthy debate and still be respectful.Anyway, i’m afraid i’m creating a mess more than anything constructive on this matter, so i’ll leave you here and keep on reading RPS.

    • baekhesten says:

      The DSM-5 and the American Psychiatric Association disagree with you.

    • oyog says:

      Just gonna quote Hyena Grin at you too, because it’s an excellent comment:

      “That isn’t even true in the purely biological sense, after (without good reason) ignoring neurology and psychology.

      Biologically, there are numerous possible chromosome combinations other than XX (biological female) and XY (biological male). That is only two of twelve observed and understood chromosome combinations in humans.

      Trisomy X syndrome (XXX)
      Tetrasomy X syndrome (XXXX)
      49 XXXXY and 49 XXXXX syndrome
      48 XXYY syndrome
      Klinefelter’s syndrome (XXY)
      XYY syndrome
      Turner syndrome (X)
      XX gonadal dysgenesis
      de la Chapelle syndrome (XX male syndrome)

      This does not even fully cover the complicated subject of intersexed individuals (XYY and XXY syndromes notwithstanding, intersex does not always mean chromosome syndrome), which is also purely biological in nature.

      And while many of the above can result in issues with gender dysphoria, they are not remotely the primary cause of it. The cause is neurological (which is biological, I remind you, because ‘biological’ doesn’t always mean ‘visible’ and neurology is an example of that) and psychosocial (as are all aspects of identity).

      The human brain is a complicated thing, and it never fails to astound me that someone can accept all of the visible, physical differences between individuals, but can’t wrap their head around the idea that something in the brain that isn’t immediately obvious to them, could result in gender dysphoria.

      I suggest you educate yourself on the subject, because middle-school level biology isn’t going to give you a very good understanding of the diverse plethora of human potential, biological or otherwise.”

      • Elkoveto says:

        Are you really suggesting genetic defects are equivalent to the two sexes all sexually reproducing species in nature consist of?

        Do you also consider microcephaly a normal and expected body type for a human baby, instead of a defect that ought to be prevented?

        • Snowskeeper says:

          Bees have three sexes. We refer to both workers and queens as female because they’re both egg-layers, but they contain vastly different sexual characteristics (workers can’t get laid). Obviously both are very different from drones.

          This is one example. The reason that most species have two distinct sexes is not that it is a rule of Nature™, but that it is typically simpler. Because of the mechanics of natural selection, species will tend towards the simplest, most robust setup possible.

          So no, nature doesn’t support your argument.

      • LagTheKiller says:

        title=”GENETICS TIME”
        Wow, quick genetic course at the master level. Have any of u heard about RNA driven sex differntion? To put it simple; u got 2 possible outcomes. U are male or female. (In rare occasions u got both active gene groups and sometimes even both of them at once [both mean two at once not three]). Also all the multiple gender chromosome peaople are mentally dsiabled/behind/sterile. They are still male or female only mutated ones. Its about which chromosome is active. Also X chromosomes suffer turn off effect like Harry Potter and Voldemort, there can be only one active. So u can get XXXXXXXXXXXY and if Y is still functional ur a male.
        I strongly recommend you not to mess gender and sexuality. Not that i got sthing against them. I simply dont care barring the parade when i cant get through city. We dont care if u are female identifying as USB type C, just dont shove ur ideology into every public space. Rejoice bcs u can be new Pornhub category but there are only 2 genders. [Sidenote: There are no more genders even in whole biological Earth life]

        • Sin Vega says:

          Master level, eh? Well, you’re almost incoherent and blinkered enough to pass for a masters student. Keep on trying!

  42. Pizzzahut says:

    Mental health issues are very serious. Ignoring ‘transgender’ as though it’s normal is just going to cost more to fix in the long run. Transgender is like any other mental health issue, these people need help.

    • LuckyStampede says:

      I agree! We can’t just ignore the mental health issues transgender people face. We really do need to get them help. I mean, I know I felt a million times better when a therapist helped me I come out as nonbinary and trans, and a million more when I got my hormones sorted out with the endocrinologist.

      I’m so glad that we can reach agreement on this issue. :)

      • Elkoveto says:

        nonbinary AND trans?

        That’s pretty impressive.

        • LuckyStampede says:

          Nonbinary because I’m both male and female. Trans because I’m on hormones to facilitate that, and because I’m undergoing a social transition. Oh yeah, and I’m also intersex because as stated elsewhere, I have both male and female DNA.

          I’m glad you’re impressed. This is a productive conversation.

  43. sonofnazareth says:

    im glad a single word has been replaced, it really enhances my gaming experience.

    • Sin Vega says:

      Yes, single words are meaningless and have no effect on anyone. That’s why you won’t mind if we all exclusively refer to you as “Paedofriend” from now on.

  44. trollomat says:

    Wait, they make me choose between cats and dogs? What kind of binary bullshit is that?

  45. Sunjammer says:

    Here comes a novel:

    I always feel like a fool getting involved in this type of conversation because so frequently a viewpoint that is moderate and inclusive and in good faith is ridiculed as noncommittal or “weak” somehow, or reconstructed into strawmen to fit the author into some stereotype of the white privileged cis-person who is too privileged to “get it”. But it seems even more foolish to just hold my peace, so here goes, if only just to rubberduck myself and take you along for the ride.

    I’ll start by acknowledging my privilege before going into how dumb that is: I’m a mid-30s white dude, self identifying as male, having grown up in the state of Norway. I had parents who loved me, I’ve friends who support me even though I can lapse into the absurdly depressed with all the self-interest that involves.
    Outside of a cholecystectomy in ’06 I’m generally healthy, decent vision, good hearing. While my grandparents were horrendously traumatized by the theaters of WW2 they participated in, I have never been to war. For all intents and purposes, I have lived in a bubble of safety, in a country that is notoriously safe to the point
    of blandness.

    My parents were dirt poor. My family slept in a single bedroom, I was bathed in a bucket of water, and in the winters we had a little oven we would huddle around. We had a b&w TV with a single channel and my dad had a wire around the antennae taped to the wall to give us reception that was at least intelligible. I went to public schools, after a growth spurt that hauled me up to about 187cm I was ostracized and beaten the shit out of in the latter half of primary school and struggled with terrible depressions after, making creating new friends difficult. I disappeared into books and the internet. Video game was for rich kids. I watch them from afar. I snuck away my dad’s keycard to the uni he worked at so I could play games on their computer lab macs. It wasn’t until I turned 18 and quit school to get a job and get out of what was then a fairly tense household that my life found some sort of stability. Now at 2017 I work from out of California, in a country where I’m currently experiencing health problems that are new to me but with a medical system so punitive I’m reticent to engage with it, near a city where the streets flood with the destitute and the uncaring.

    When I grew up in Norway, I was readily exposed to homosexuality, transsexuality and more. At a friend’s house I found his parents’ (proudly displayed) collection of French erotic comic books, my sister was in the rave scene and surrounded herself with gay culture. I’d peek at her collection of imported fashion and culture mags, it was clear to me the world of self-representation was complicated and dense. So I never questioned other people’s life choices. This live & let live attitude has been strong with me since I was a little kid, and perhaps I have just been lucky but it was what was preached to me by my elders, it was what my friends felt, it was what schools preached.. It was a society where, as some other euro commenters above have said more hastily, what gender or sexuality someone had just wasn’t very interesting. A close friend of the family who played a big role in “lifting up” my parents and getting us out of the worst times was a very successful and wealthy artist who was prominently gay, but this was never and is still not really discussed as some sort of determinant in Who He Is. Clearly it had an impact on _him_, our sexualities are hugely important to how we internalize ourselves and how we find our footing, but it was never a thing that colored _our_ perception of him. He was just a great guy. I was at times babysat by a Sri-Lankan transsexual who self-identified as a woman and for all I can remember was always spoken of as a woman, and I found out much much later that she had once been a man. What on earth good was that information to me? It seemed like such an odd thing to even know or care about, such a personal thing. I remember her as a flamboyant colorful artist that made scrap metal sculpture hung from trees and brought me and my sister jelly beans as a gift from abroad. Why on earth does sexuality or gender matter here to anyone but her?

    Privilege among human beings is, I think, not a matter of skin or race, sexuality or locality, but a complex amalgam of the cards you are dealt. We are bubbling, boiling meat-messes of ideas and history and other people. But in culture and media discourse, the English language is the very definition of privilege.

    I want to discuss the creative limitations the Include Everyone paradigm introduces, the dominance of English, and what that does to introduce tokenism in art. The debate surrounding identity politics is dominated by English, and commenters from every country with every language and culture of their own seem to casually toss theirs into some ditch along the way to solving a problem with Anglo-American culture, projected onto us simply through the process of globalization. I spoke English fluently before I was 6 because of _Knight Rider and Airwolf_. Europe was *carpet bombed* with American culture following WW2. Conversely, convincing an American that the rest of the world isn’t much like the US at all can be exhausting at times.

    Sidenote: Anyone remember that X-Files episode where Mulder and Scully go to Norway, the title is made up words made to look Norwegian, and Norway is just this pirate shanty town full of grumbling beardy men and the Norwegian characters have last names named after big cities, and the Norwegian is acted out phonetically by American actors? I promise you Norwegians do. X-Files fandom was huge here, folks were like holy shit we are getting represented, and instead it was just like they couldn’t bother doing even basic research on us. I would rather not be represented, then.

    Anyway; why is this debate so centered on representation from the pov of expression in Anglo-American culture, when it should, I presume, be about human nature and being reflected in the world as a whole?

    Can we agree that fundamentally sexuality is about making babies? This is the dullest point of view in a world that should probably stop making babies for a while for the good of the ones we already have to take care of, but still. My understanding is also that gender dysphoria does not come from a simple place. A straight male may have corrective surgery to reproject himself as a gay woman: His sexuality does not change, but his physical representation does. Why would he do this? Is it up to any of us to judge? Is gender then a nature/nurture/culture societal construct while sex itself remains simply biological? If gender is societal, can we agree it is possible the relative acceptance of gender fluidity is a locally cultural thing rather than world wide? Is it possible for us to stop talking about gender diaspora in broad sweeping terms like being uncertain of ones gender is intrinsic to the human experience, and not a relatively rare corner case resulting from specific factors that are deeply personal? Can we agree this is complex enough that we may not be mature or even capable of handling it better than “tastefully” in the mass media, simply because it’s not truly mass-relatable?

    It bothers me tremendously that Anglo-American culture’s deeply checkered past with prejudice comes to represent the world as a whole, that the American Experience comes to be the lens through which people of other cultures need to calibrate their own. This article bends over backwards to do pronoun-jutsu and it is absolutely distracting and in some cases just grammatically wrong (themself/themselves). I’m 100% behind the modding scene modding new representations into the games they play, much like I am 100% behind the straight guy wanting to mold himself into a gay woman. This is IMO why mod support is so critical for games in today’s world. Mods allow for richness and inclusivity in highly specific ways the developers themselves lack either the capacity or skill or forethought to do. Honestly guys, asking every game to start ditching gender-specific pronouns is giving gender fluidity an overrepresentation that in its impact on the writer results in strained work and unnatural limitations on the ability of words to have concrete meaning. The idea that everyone is potentially not cis-gendered is a reality-twisting hack.

    Yay to mods, yay to inclusivity, yay to every darn thing that embraces the sheer vibrancy of how colorful this world is and how complex human nature is, but all art is not created equal, and no art is required to appeal to you, certainly not product design built for the mass market. At the end of the day we are all alone in this, with our worries and weirdnesses, and it’s down to our innate interpretive ability and empathy to take the foreign and transforming it into something relatable from which we can grow. I wept like a child last night at stories of unrequited gay love in the s-town podcast: It doesn’t have to be you to become you in your mind, or did we just lose this ability at some point?

    • baekhesten says:

      That sure was a lot to write about a point no one is making.

      “Not all games have to include LGBT representation and not all should. But there are games where LGBT representation is appropriate and definitely should be included.”

      • Sunjammer says:

        This is a response to the discourse in this comment section so far, not the article alone.

    • Hyomoto says:

      Your comment is the only one I found interesting.

  46. Hyomoto says:

    Comparatively, AAA publishers releasing games in unfinished states, day one patches, taking pre-orders for pre-orders, including microtransactions, obligatory multiplayer and general focus testing of games into mediocrity are higher on my list of things we should address because everyone suffers from that. And if you have a unique problem, like Hannah, it’s okay to fix it yourself.

    I mean, how is the focus of this article not that Stardew Valley allows for this kind of modding? Or that these other games can too? Isn’t THAT something? Try that shit with Ghost Recon Wildlands.

  47. Elkoveto says:

    … But what if I don’t identify as a farmer?

  48. Spakkenkhrist says:

    Why do people get so upset over a something made to allow more people to feel more comfortable and better enjoy playing their games? It’s ludicrous.

  49. Neuromancing the Boil says:

    As a bisexual occultist weirdo who grew up alienated and miserable in the deepest swamps of Alabama, who once was almost put in the hospital by good ol’ boys who thought I was a “faggot,” I totally identify with people who seek an end to this categorical-obsessed nominative culture we’ve had in the West for a good two thousand years.

    But as a Discordian satirist who thinks people take shit Way Too Seriously, I can’t help but be uncomfortable with all the heteronormative White Knights who seek to defend People Like Me, and do so by acting like obnoxious hall monitors at best, officious fascists at worst. There’s no need to liken people to murderers, no matter how much you disagree with their preciously voiced ‘opinions.’ I’m winking at you, Sin Vega ;)

    Anyway, all of this is pretty exhausting, no? Being that I was, again, once almost beaten up into the hospital in high school, by Rebel boys wielding Maglites who felt I was a “nigger-loving cocksucker fag,” I simply don’t live in a world where pronouns in a videogame threaten me. Actual aggression and violence threaten me, n’est ce pas? I’m not trans, though I am definitively ‘non-binary,’ but I have been physically aggressed by troglodytes who felt my sexuality was a threat to their way of being. Still, this need to project my personal struggles onto the totally irrelevant fact of pronoun usage in videogames is, at most, bizarre to me. Keep up the good fight, regardless, I suppose. I disagree with the notion that overpowering other people is an ideal way to prevent ‘people like me’ from being overpowered, but I suspect others disagree with this sentiment intensely. I’ve come to terms with the fact that the tenor of my existence will give specious cause to the yelps and agitations of those who fundamentally have no idea what it is to be me. Though I still insist that some of the reactionary language in these comments, presumably from people who are not in anyway like me yet nevertheless seek to ‘protect me,’ is disquieting at best.

    Never a dull moment, though, RPS! And far more stimulating than the clickbaiting vitriol of Kotaku or its ilk. Regardless, I’ll stick around as long as Alice keeps writing the news. I’m a tad drunk and haven’t had a chance to voice this, but Alice is a fucking treasure :)

  50. damnsalvation says:

    There is such a thing as taking something sensible to the point of being meaningless, absurd, nonsense. When you start making up and tossing around phrases like “non gender binary” and demanding conformity to it, you’ve reached that point.