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Haydizzle

A Gender Neutral Option for Some Species?

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After playing for a bit and trying things out with different characters, I realized there wasn't a gender neutral option for most species. That said, I suggest the following;

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Applicable species be given a gender neutral option to select in character creation.

The reasoning for this idea is to expand upon the possible ideas players can have regarding making their characters. If someone wanted to make an androgynous character that was a little hard to tell if they were male or female, I don't think that putting something like this in the flavor text is a good solution, since getting to that point shows "s/he is ..." and can just circumvent what a player might be trying to do. I think androgynous pronouns for they/them for most races seem applicable (humans duh, skrell and unathi most likely, tajara problably?) and would provide good options on character creation. This said, I do know of a couple people who go by they/them that play Aurora, so in this regard too I think it would be a respectful addition to the game.

It's a fairly simple implement for applicable species with the plus side of being easily accessed from what I've seen. Implementation of this idea would be fairly straight forward I believe since IPCs get the option to be displayed as such, too!

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Humans don't always have a clear sexual dimorphism. Some people simply naturally look androgynous, and for those that put extra effort into looking such, it can indeed be extremely easy to pull off. Adding a 'they' option for humans at the least would be good, in my opinion. 

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Posted (edited)

This is along the lines of what I was thinking from the above. I don't think it's commonplace, but it still happens to a degree with some people hence the suggestion. Anything from clothing to hair to natural appearance can make it ambiguous or hard to tell as well.

Apologies though, I did a quick search and didn't see the previous topic so I typed this one up as a result.

Edited by Haydizzle

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Posted (edited)

YESPlease.

I don't think saying this is a dupe of that topic is quite fair, Skull. That thread calls for changing all player characters' descriptions to a plural pronoun, 

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When examining a player character or """"""""mob""""""""" make it say "They" for example "They are wearing a gas mask."

Compared to "Give applicable species the option to have gender neutral pronouns, in character creation."

A reason for this addition that seems to have been danced around and not really mentioned in this or the previous thread is that, right now, today, in 2020, there are people who identify with non-binary pronouns. I don't think it's such a radical idea to think that just maybe there will be humans that also identify as non-binary 400+ years into the future. 
I would argue this is also reason to assume that there might exist alien societies that have advanced so much socially that they realise maybe calling people what they want to be called isn't a violation of their rights, thus maybe there are non-binary skrell, unathi, tajara. Though, if their respective loredevs don't want this I also think it's understandable. Any species can, after all, be technologically advanced yet still have social problems. Just look at humanity today.
(I don't mention Vaurca and Diona because of their unique factors. And there already was a PR that made them have plural pronouns always.)

Even it is decided that skrell, unathi, and tajara shouldn't have this, I still think we should be able to have human characters with plural pronouns. Personally, I have had many times where I've wanted to have a character with plural pronouns. Even if they're not non-binary, even if they still identify as male or female, maybe this character just likes dressing in an androgynous style. I've also had times where I wanted to have a non-binary character. I have trouble seeing why there would even be pushback at all against having a simple menu like this:
image.png.b262d08ea6b0e1b95acdbf2d9acdc588.png

Well, I can think of one reason. "NOo You Can't BRinG sHIttY reAL Life PoLITICs iNTO THis gamE!!!!!"

I'm probably biased in this point, though, since I'm non-binary, too.

Edited by Winter404
Fixed a small typo. "their", not "ther"

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Thanks for your response Winter. I did want to bring up this argument, but I didn’t feel like it was my place to offer this point of view, and I think in the end you probably put it into words better than I could. (That and I see now how this thread can differ from the other one at least.)

I do hope this is a change that can be made at the very least. Perhaps just for humans at the start, and then whichever lore devs deem it appropriate for various other species. I think that at the very least the androgynous argument could be held up, but it’s not wholly my place to decide.

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I'll always support options for gender neutral pronouns just for the purpose of character freedome, so I'm definitely behind this. The only suggestion I'd have is, if this were to be implemented, to just have it as an option for all species, because a case could be made for any of them looking androgynous based on how that species handles gender presentation.

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Doesn't flavour text already cover this? In the cases for individuals that aren't like - Aut'akh or Skrell, it's on a per-character observer's basis whether or not they'd be able to discern your sex.

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12 hours ago, Carver said:

Doesn't flavour text already cover this?

I don't think flavour text is enough. I'll use one of my characters to show what I mean:
image.png.2e9794cdda4c845f5f88a62e202e406e.png
This is Yuri. An Off-Worlder human.
I'd like to think I managed to make their style look pretty androgynous.
Now let's see what someone sees when they examine them:
image.png.2f3abc851788f0a285f89ae200f994c4.png
And you might have noticed a problem. My flavour text never uses "She" or "He", I don't use these pronouns when describing their actions, but someone looking at this at a glance might still use gendered pronouns because our character creation has a binary gender selection.
I can't exactly put ((THIS CHARACTER IS NON-BINARY PLEASE USE THEY/THEM PRONOUNS THANK YOU)) in big bold letters in the flavour text because, that's not what a flavour text is.

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Posted (edited)

Yes, please. I have wanted this for a long time. As it stands, the way we use sex and gender on the Aurora isn't accurate. On the Character Set Up page, gender determines your sex. This, by definition of both words, is incorrect. Multiple written examples on both sex and gender can be found here, if anyone's interested: https://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/sexuality-definitions.pdf

If we wanted, I have seen another server that break this up into both a choice of your sex, and your gender. ((I'll take a look and add it to my comment. Update: I can't seem to find the server but I'll keep looking)). Therefore you could be female or male biologically, but use any number of pronouns from he/him, she/her/, they/them.

As a side note, I have additionally wanted this for IPCs. In that I believe all IPCs should have access to male, female, plural and neuter, regardless of the chassis.

All things aside however, I am 100% on board with the above suggestion as well and you have my support in it being implemented with IPCs.

Edited by niennab

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Allow me to play Devil's Advocate here. I'm not against this, I just wanted to express some of my thoughts

1. We can already just push for this in flavor-text

Just echoing what Carver said, I guess.

2. Female and Male sprites have visible differences

Like, for example, Unathi muzzles, Human sprites in general.

You know, this isn't really a problem for IPCs and Dionae, since there isn't any sexual dimorphism

2.5. We'd have to seperate genders and the sprites in the code

I'm not sure how old this code is, but it'll be somewhat of a challenge to seperate the gender stuff and pronouns,

like MALE use MALE sprite and FEMALE use FEMALE sprite

3. Medical Terminology

Since we have medical and employment records, It's usually standard to use biological gender.

Since you know, not everyone deals with pronouns like this on a daily basis,

and I know myself pretty well that I need to make a sustained effort to use neutral pronouns.

It's going to be confusing for the guy when he types out an entire paragraph of medical records.

It's a lot easier to deal with absolutes, and we've gotta cater to the average joe around here.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, wowzewow said:

1. We can already just push for this in flavor-text

Just echoing what Carver said, I guess.

I'll echo the examples that Winter gave concerning flavour text vs. examine.

4 minutes ago, wowzewow said:

2. Female and Male sprites have visible differences

Like, for example, Unathi muzzles, Human sprites in general.

That's fine, nothing needs to be done in that regard.

5 minutes ago, wowzewow said:

2.5. We'd have to seperate genders and the sprites in the code

I'm not sure how old this code is, but it'll be somewhat of a challenge to seperate the gender stuff and pronouns,

like MALE use MALE sprite and FEMALE use FEMALE sprite

Same as above, that doesn't really need to change. Biological sex and gender are different things.

6 minutes ago, wowzewow said:

3. Medical Terminology

Since we have medical and employment records, It's usually standard to use biological gender.

Since you know, not everyone deals with pronouns like this on a daily basis,

and I know myself pretty well that I need to make a sustained effort to use neutral pronouns.

It's going to be confusing for the guy when he types out an entire paragraph of medical records.

It's a lot easier to deal with absolutes, and we've gotta cater to the average joe around here.

If somebody consciously chooses to play a non-binary character, they're going to take that into account for making their medical records as well. It's not really an inconvenient problem that's forced on somebody unless they specifically choose to utilize it.

 

And, there are other servers that do it with a system like this in character setup:

nzvL5Kx.png

Biological sex is still a choice between m/f, which determines sprite, and doesn't entirely need to change yet, while the pronouns menu selection looks like:

image.png

Which changes how your pronouns are referred to in examines and such. It's not exactly a revolutionary change that we'd be pioneering.

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Thanks for all the feedback and support! I think that seeing the suggestion evolve to perhaps include determining sex and gender as separate things would be cool, if it’s not hard to do. Points were illustrated by both Wezzy and Josh for perhaps adding just the gender neutral option might be sloppy for sprites, so maybe adding a sex versus gender option would be cool.

3 hours ago, niennab said:

All things aside however, I am 100% on board with the above suggestion as well and you have my support in it being implemented with IPCs.

I definitely would like to say that the neuter option for IPCs really inspired this thread! So in a way, thanks for inadvertently pioneering this suggestion, I’d say!

36 minutes ago, wowzewow said:

Since you know, not everyone deals with pronouns like this on a daily basis,

and I know myself pretty well that I need to make a sustained effort to use neutral pronouns.

It's going to be confusing for the guy when he types out an entire paragraph of medical records.

It's a lot easier to deal with absolutes, and we've gotta cater to the average joe around here.

Devil’s advocate and all considered, this was still a tad concerning to read.

Just because ‘not everyone deals with this on a daily basis,’ does not mean people who think like this or prefer this don’t exist. People on Aurora and even on this thread have stated that they prefer to use they/them. It ultimately boils down to respect for the other person. If someone found out good friend Bob prefers to be referred to as they/them as it makes them feel more comfortable, giving them that space and respecting a honestly pretty simple wish would be pretty easy to do to honor that friend.

That’s how I see it at least, and I think it would be a good change to give people a chance to diversify who they play as well! It’s an entirely roleplay faceted change, in that to my knowledge, sex doesn’t affect anything in game other than things like your sprite and description text, both of which are meta creation options.

37 minutes ago, Doxxmedearly said:

I will see about working on this.

I’m 90% Citadel has code for something like this if you need an example or similar! Thank you for your help.

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I support this. It's frustrating to play an androgynous (or even nb andro) character and have someone metagame it based off 'well it says he/she when I examine you.' I would much prefer in a lot of cases (especially as some aliens) to just have they/them.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Haydizzle said:

Devil’s advocate and all considered, this was still a tad concerning to read.

Just because ‘not everyone deals with this on a daily basis,’ does not mean people who think like this or prefer this don’t exist. People on Aurora and even on this thread have stated that they prefer to use they/them. It ultimately boils down to respect for the other person. If someone found out good friend Bob prefers to be referred to as they/them as it makes them feel more comfortable, giving them that space and respecting a honestly pretty simple wish would be pretty easy to do to honor that friend.

That’s how I see it at least, and I think it would be a good change to give people a chance to diversify who they play as well! It’s an entirely roleplay faceted change, in that to my knowledge, sex doesn’t affect anything in game other than things like your sprite and description text, both of which are meta creation options.

Well, I guess 'not everyone' was kinda vague. What I meant like, there's definitely groups of people who do and don't. There's no real majority in either way, so we've gotta take a more careful, neutral approach.

 

You know the only thing I'm going to be a little staunch on here is on medical/employment records, because those IRL are biological sex

Flavortext and examine can be whatever.

[ aliens and robots are the exception here ]

 

Anyway, my response is mostly the same as Skull's.

Edited by wowzewow

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Posted (edited)

I have looked into it and it seems doable. I'll work on it between other projects. It may take some time but if nobody else is willing to work on it, I am happy to undertake it.

edit:

For those concerned

It is not a confusing implementation. Those who want nothing to do with it won't have to go through extra steps during character creation.

It is possible to restrict choices by species, so lore writers will be able to dictate the options available. For instance, we can allow Tajara/Unathi to only choose between binary options. This will be at lore discretion.

It is possible to allow bio gender to appear on medical and employment records.

It is also possible (and very cool IMO) to flag certain species as gender ambiguous. So, for example, we can have it so that only skrell can tell the gender of other skrell at a glance.

Other servers have implemented this separation as far back as four years ago, if not more. It is long overdue IMO. When the PR is up, we can determine what we want to do as far as records, text, options, etc. 

Edited by Doxxmedearly

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34 minutes ago, Doxxmedearly said:

 

It is also possible (and very cool IMO) to flag certain species as gender ambiguous. So, for example, we can have it so that only skrell can tell the gender of other skrell at a glance.

Other servers have implemented this separation as far back as four years ago, if not more. It is long overdue IMO. When the PR is up, we can determine what we want to do as far as records, text, options, etc. 

This sounds super cool.

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I think if the step after is to make it so that some species are harder to identify sex for, that would be really cool as well. I look forward to see what comes of this!

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In-depth sexual/gender-based analysis of the concept in specific terms would probably do more harm to the discussion (and, probably, perceptions of each other as individuals) than actual good. So, I'll only go over broad stuff.

To put this bluntly, I think this is an insignificant change, in the sense that it doesn't change up gameplay in any meaningful fashion and in the regards of roleplay, I don't think it's insignificant, but to some others they might disagree - but ultimately this isn't super roleplay influencing. But since on the flip side, this isn't a negatively significant proposal either, in that there's no harm that this change would do either. Short of whatever someone's delicate sensibilities are on this topic - but who cares what they think? This is a good idea at the end of the day.

Some time ago I would've been ambivalent, but there's an argument to be made that androgyn characters are not represented particularly well at the moment through game mechanics, despite existing and being valid in real life. I support this change on that premise, though I'm not entirely certain as to whether this would apply for Unathi in particular, where sexual dimorphism is very severe. I would have to assume this would only apply for Skrell and humans.

A suggestion to perhaps flesh this out a bit better and to avoid a problem down the line should this be pushed through: a descriptor field should be added so that biological/assigned sex is a thing, and separate from actual in-game gender. This would be ICly helpful for medical but probably not actually holding any usefulness in practice, but this is something that is done pragmatically speaking for actual medical practitioners. Distinction from "what is" and "how a person is presented" would be very helpful, but would be only something that is discerned through access to medical records.

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I like this suggestion! Fits well in a scifi setting where we work with a galaxys worth of people and aliens that its realistic to not immediately grasp someones gender at a glance. As a unathi i already try to have my character struggle to clock someone because humans are as alien to us as we are to them etc etc.

Creating special relationships where certain aliens see other certain aliens as androgynous would be a lot of trouble for a top-down version of this so I totally support this small tweak giving that control to players. 

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9 minutes ago, Scheveningen said:

In-depth sexual/gender-based analysis of the concept in specific terms would probably do more harm to the discussion

I only ever see these topics being derailed by this kind of bashfullness, notsomuch the conversation itself. We are fine so far! Dont worry about it

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10 hours ago, Winter404 said:

I don't think flavour text is enough. I'll use one of my characters to show what I mean:
image.png.2e9794cdda4c845f5f88a62e202e406e.png
This is Yuri. An Off-Worlder human.
I'd like to think I managed to make their style look pretty androgynous.
Now let's see what someone sees when they examine them:
image.png.2f3abc851788f0a285f89ae200f994c4.png
 

 

6 hours ago, furrycactus said:

I'll echo the examples that Winter gave concerning flavour text vs. examine.

I already covered this, to an extent:

23 hours ago, Carver said:

Doesn't flavour text already cover this? In the cases for individuals that aren't like - Aut'akh or Skrell, it's on a per-character observer's basis whether or not they'd be able to discern your sex.

Whether or not my character is able to discern your sex is on my character. You can have flavour text explaining they may look a particular way, but that shouldn't disregard that people have differing perceptive abilities and may be able to identify regardless of such. I noted Aut'akh as an exception because they've had near-all identifying physiological features stripped away, and Skrell because it may be argued that at particular ages it may be difficult to tell them apart due to head-tail length.

To say that my character lacks the perception to tell the difference isn't on you.

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14 minutes ago, Carver said:

Whether or not my character is able to discern your sex is on my character. You can have flavour text explaining they may look a particular way, but that shouldn't disregard that people have differing perceptive abilities and may be able to identify regardless of such. I noted Aut'akh as an exception because they've had near-all identifying physiological features stripped away, and Skrell because it may be argued that at particular ages it may be difficult to tell them apart due to head-tail length.

To say that my character lacks the perception to tell the difference isn't on you.

This is not about your character.

This is about the efforts of a person to look androgynous. Or someone who just naturally looks that way. 

I'm frankly incredibly sorry if your character being unable to x-ray vision into my androgynous off-worlder's pants and tell if they have a dick or not is losing out on a big feature, but its a feature I would be very, very happy to get rid of. 

+1. They/Them can and should be added. With extra thought put into the fact that Skrell can tell each others gender, since, they would know, but other species cannot tell a Skrells gender. 

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Unless you're wearing a voidsuit you're not gonna be indiscernible, and voidsuits and similar already change the examine to they/them.

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