After pulling out the new role-playing game sourcebook, they flipped to the end. Specifically, the part where the “example characters” are listed.
If you’re unfamiliar with how these example characters work, they can be used as playable, pre-generated characters. There’s nothing stopping you from doing so – all the crunchy numbers and stuff have already been done for you. If you’re playing a one-shot at a convention, you’re probably going to play a pre-generated character to make things easier.
But the example characters… well, they’re rarely used. They usually serve as examples, so you get an idea of how the rules fit together to make certain types of character concepts. Usually there’s a little snippet of “backstory” to give an idea how this character would fit into the fictional world.
They weren’t happy about the example characters, and I couldn’t understand why.
“Look,” they said. “Look at the backstory.”
Then, finally, I saw what upset them.
One of the example characters had a backstory stating they were gay. Another’s backstory said they were transgender.
And though I saw it, I didn’t understand it.
They kept complaining about percentages of people in the population. They said that meant gay and transpeople were over-represented in the list of example characters.
“In that book,” I said. “There’s still far more straight example characters. And even if your numbers are spot on, there’s hundreds of example characters in sourcebooks everywhere where they’re not represented.”
But even that – though true – was beside the point. And not just because there were also elves and wizards and other things that are, um, vanishingly rare among the general population.
It’s beside the point because having a trans or gay example character did not limit them in any way. Just like you weren’t limited by the combination of stats and powers and feats used in the examples, you could still have whatever kind of character you wanted. They could never play a character that was different from them in any way.
But they were still upset.
That game – and I’m sorry, I don’t remember the name right now – bothered to make sure that there were examples that included gay and trans characters. They made sure that LGBTQI+ players knew they were included, and in a way that didn’t exclude the straight cisgendered players.
Because, whether you like it or not, other races, other religions, other genders, and other sexualities exist.
To paraphrase something that Patrick Tomlinson said:
What they don’t get is that us SJW creative types are not trying to change things by having diversity in what we create. Our world is a diverse one, and we are describing it.
Or in other words, quit complaining about having diversity and representation in things with dragons, magic, or faster-than-light drives.