2017-01-06

You Are Welcome Here

For me, the issue of gender and inclusivity in games isn’t always about sexuality or gender issues per se. It’s about acknowledging what your narrative choices say about the world you’re creating, and about the people in that world. And with respect (and in response to some discussions taking place elsewhere), I think people who say, “I would include LGBTQ content in my game if I had those people at my table” are missing a larger point.

In a (stereo)typical FRPG setup, if I say, “The owner of the inn welcomes you, introducing you to his wife where she works behind the bar…”, it says something about the world of my game. It’s probably not intentional, because we create these narrative moments by instinct, and our instincts are honed by our own experience of living in a world where men own things and women work for men. But contrast that to “The owner of the inn welcomes you, introducing you to her husband where he works behind the bar…” Because that says something slightly different — and, in my view, something important — about the world of my game. Just as “The owner of the inn welcomes you, introducing you to his husband where he works behind the bar.…” says something more important still.

The thing I hope that last one says to LGBTQ players is “You are welcome here.” The thing I hope it says to non-LGBTQ players is “This is the world you’re a part of.” Even over and above creating games and game narrative geared toward LGBTQ characters and players (because that’s obviously important), this is big part of what inclusivity means to me.