Seventeen Genders and Counting

I am often faced with a combination question and accusation (an accuestion) — “Why do you have to shove all this modern gender and orientation stuff into a fantasy RPG? Why not just stick with things from before the modern era!? Just, you know, for realism.”
First, representation matters. As a creator, I WANT to be inclusive, both so marginalized people have the same kind of rpg escape option that saved my life when, as a fat cis white male, I needed to get away from reality, AND, because as a greedy pragmatic capitalist, I want to expand into what I see as an under-served market.
Second, as long as we have bloodragers, orcs, fireballs, talking swords, dragons, and magic tattoos, I am unimpressed with any claim that realism is a concern.
Third, if I just mentioned alyha, bakla, bissu, calabai, calalai, dilbaa, fa’afafine, guevedoche, hwame, lhamana, nadleehi, ninauposkitzipxpe, quariwarmi, sago, or sekrata, most readers would have no idea what (ancient, pre-modern, real-world) concept of gender I was discussing, AND I’d be risking using the terms incorrectly and offending modern individuals who have those gender identities.
Much easier to stick to modern terms for these ancient ideas found on every continent.
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About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on November 3, 2016, in Business of Games, Musings and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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