Author Topic: Transgender online  (Read 5025 times)

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Miss Unleaded

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Transgender online
« on: November 17, 2013, 03:47:37 AM »
I've read that the correct way to refer to transgender people is with the pronoun of the gender they're presenting.  So a man who feels like a woman but hasn't yet started the transition should still be referred to as 'he'.  If they have transitioned to female appearance, 'she' is the appropriate pronoun.  I was wondering how this applies to situations where the gender is not obvious?

I have a transgender friend I've talked into coming to play an MMO with me.  S/he is still living as a man and was having doubts as to whether s/he would in fact swap to being female, but she has asked me to use 'she' in game. I'm worried about how my online friends will react when/if they find out that the person they assumed was female both looks and sounds like a man in person.  I don't want to offend my friend by treating him as a guy, but I also don't want to lie to my other, online friends and I feel like calling my friend 'she' is close to lying.

If anyone has any perspective to offer on this situation I would appreciate it.  It's not a usual situation for me.



RingTailedLemur

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Re: Transgender online
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2013, 04:13:08 AM »
Use the pronoun the person in question wants.

If anyone else has an issue with that, it's not your fault or your problem.

iridaceae

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Re: Transgender online
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2013, 05:36:41 AM »

I have a transgender friend I've talked into coming to play an MMO with me.  S/he is still living as a man and was having doubts as to whether s/he would in fact swap to being female, but she has asked me to use 'she' in game. I'm worried about how my online friends will react when/if they find out that the person they assumed was female both looks and sounds like a man in person.  I don't want to offend my friend by treating him as a guy, but I also don't want to lie to my other, online friends and I feel like calling my friend 'she' is close to lying.

If anyone has any perspective to offer on this situation I would appreciate it.  It's not a usual situation for me.

She wants to be called she. She may undergo surgery,  she may not,  but she feels herself to be female. Calling her she is not close to lying in my book. And for all you know your other online friends night be undergoing/have undergone gender reassignment as well.

Pen^2

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Re: Transgender online
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2013, 06:16:02 AM »
As others have said. If someone identifies with a particular gender and has asked you to use the corresponding pronouns, then you should do it. That's the considerate thing to do, and fortunately, it's becoming more standard nowadays. It isn't lying in the same way that calling someone a nickname they prefer to go by instead of their name on their birth certificate isn't lying.

If someone gets upset at that, then that's their problem.

Miss Unleaded

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Re: Transgender online
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2013, 06:28:46 AM »
Thanks for the feedback all.  I will follow your advice.

One of the other reasons I'm concerned is that this game has very few women playing it (less than 10%), so my friend will almost certainly get male attention and flirting.  I can foresee a future time where this could get awkward when it comes out that my friend isn't genetically female.  I think some of the people I play with are going to feel like I was misleading them by not sharing that information.  But you're right, that's not really my business or my problem.


iridaceae

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Re: Transgender online
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2013, 06:40:37 AM »
If any of the guys get an unpleasant surprise that's what they get for assuming any female playing is fresh meat and that she wants to be flirted with.*

*Of course maybe she does. Still doesn't mean they should hit on every female they run across.

LadyL

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Re: Transgender online
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2013, 09:46:02 AM »
Thanks for the feedback all.  I will follow your advice.

One of the other reasons I'm concerned is that this game has very few women playing it (less than 10%), so my friend will almost certainly get male attention and flirting.  I can foresee a future time where this could get awkward when it comes out that my friend isn't genetically female.  I think some of the people I play with are going to feel like I was misleading them by not sharing that information.  But you're right, that's not really my business or my problem.

That is for your friend to navigate, not you. She will have to confront issues of "passing" in person and disclosure in dating situations eventually. Maybe starting online seems less intimidating for her.

Bright

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Re: Transgender online
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2013, 10:32:50 AM »
The correct way to refer to transgender people is by the pronouns they ask you to use.

I've found that MMORPGs are frequently full of male players playing female characters, and female players playing male characters, to an extent that you might be surprised with. Of course they're not all, or even most, transgender, but it's also a relatively safe environment for transgender people to start exploring their own gender identity.

It's far easier to make the first tentative steps towards transitioning online, than it is in person. It's safer and if people react badly you can always just turn the computer off.

Do as your friend asks, use female pronouns, and don't out her to anyone. If she wants to tell others that she's transgender then she can in her own time. It's also up to her how she chooses to navigate the flirting.

As for how your online friends will react, that's between your friend and them. Since she's transgender, it's not lying.

Slartibartfast

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Re: Transgender online
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2013, 11:10:49 AM »
This is an old study, but a survey of Everquest players found that men and women cross-played (played a character of the opposite gender) in about equal numbers.  However, because the player base was so heavily skewed male, this meant that women made up only ~50% of the female characters, while men made up <90% of male characters.

Anyone who assumes a female character is played by a woman is an idiot.

(And honestly, aside from XBox Live and similar, harassment of women in games like MMORPGs is a lot less than it used to be.  I had more harassment when I played male characters in Warcraft than when I played female.)

jedikaiti

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Re: Transgender online
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2013, 11:17:25 AM »
Thanks for the feedback all.  I will follow your advice.

One of the other reasons I'm concerned is that this game has very few women playing it (less than 10%), so my friend will almost certainly get male attention and flirting.  I can foresee a future time where this could get awkward when it comes out that my friend isn't genetically female.  I think some of the people I play with are going to feel like I was misleading them by not sharing that information.  But you're right, that's not really my business or my problem.

When I was playing MMOs, I found many people were very surprised that I was a girl, playing a girl character, in a typically male class. The impression I got is that there's a fair amount of gender bending going on anyway and none of it necessarily has anything to do with Real life gender identity.
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Pen^2

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Re: Transgender online
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2013, 12:22:04 PM »
When I was playing MMOs, I found many people were very surprised that I was a girl, playing a girl character, in a typically male class. The impression I got is that there's a fair amount of gender bending going on anyway and none of it necessarily has anything to do with Real life gender identity.

I know that when I play anything where I get to choose gender, appearance, etc. I'll tend to try to be something completely different from myself. To me, that's the point of a role-playing game. It's boring to role play someone as similar to yourself as possible. So I usually end up as a blue-skinned male sorcerer orc or something. Not because in real life I identify as male, or an orc, or blue, but just because it's a fun opportunity to make believe. I honestly think that a lot of the time, that's all it is, and it shouldn't be read into too much. That'd be like assuming that someone who is good at Risk is a sociopathic dictator at heart or something. For a lot of us, it's just a game, and we take the opportunity to pretend because the point of a game is to be fun and not mundane. Seasoned players are generally aware of this.

So sure, a person might choose a female character because they identify as female, but they might also choose it because they identify as male and it's fun to play something different, no matter what their biological gender.

Also, the pedant in me wants to point out that biological gender and genetic gender (e.g. XX, XY, etc.) are not necessarily the same thing. Look it up on Wiki though because I'm sure it would be TMI for a lot of people here in a public forum.

Miss Unleaded

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Re: Transgender online
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2013, 01:16:33 PM »
When I was playing MMOs, I found many people were very surprised that I was a girl, playing a girl character, in a typically male class. The impression I got is that there's a fair amount of gender bending going on anyway and none of it necessarily has anything to do with Real life gender identity.

It is an RPG, but a lot of people playing it don't role play as such.  There is a chunk of the playerbase who talk and play in character, but those people are a minority.  And it's always a bit of a surprise to me when I talk to someone who unironically treats the lore of the game as part of their game play experience.

Just to clear some things up: in this game, given the mostly male playerbase, people tend to refer to both male and female characters as 'he' unless the player behind the character is known to be female.  My online friends won't assume my real life friend is female because her character is female.  They will assume she's female because I refer to her as 'she'.  I'm sorry that I didn't make that clear earlier.  And that makes me think that I should have spelt that out to my friend because she was probably surprised at my talking about a female character as he.  She might have thought I was trying to make a point out of it.   :-[

Quote

So sure, a person might choose a female character because they identify as female, but they might also choose it because they identify as male and it's fun to play something different, no matter what their biological gender.

Also, the pedant in me wants to point out that biological gender and genetic gender (e.g. XX, XY, etc.) are not necessarily the same thing. Look it up on Wiki though because I'm sure it would be TMI for a lot of people here in a public forum.

Thanks for correcting me. That's a very rare scenario though and has no bearing on the etiquette of the situation, so not sure why you bring it up?

Pen^2

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Re: Transgender online
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2013, 01:31:04 PM »
Quote
So sure, a person might choose a female character because they identify as female, but they might also choose it because they identify as male and it's fun to play something different, no matter what their biological gender.

Also, the pedant in me wants to point out that biological gender and genetic gender (e.g. XX, XY, etc.) are not necessarily the same thing. Look it up on Wiki though because I'm sure it would be TMI for a lot of people here in a public forum.

Thanks for correcting me. That's a very rare scenario though and has no bearing on the etiquette of the situation, so not sure why you bring it up?

Pedant, nothing more. Sorry. :P

Tea Drinker

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Re: Transgender online
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2013, 03:11:00 PM »
Use the pronouns the person wants. With any luck, the other players will be civilized enough that, even if they meet her in person and are surprised by her appearance, they won't hassle her or you about it.

Also, if it would feel "almost like lying" for you to refer to your friend as "she," that's something you should think about separately. Is it because your friend isn't sure of her gender, or because you're used to thinking of her as male and it would feel dishonest not to tell the other people she's trans*? (Don't out people unless they say it's okay, because there can be safety issues. f you aren't comfortable introducing her to other people as the gender she identifies with, you don't have to--but the answer there is to not introduce her, not to say "this is my trangender friend so-and-so.")
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katycoo

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Re: Transgender online
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2013, 05:54:05 PM »
People who are on teh internet can be whomever they want to be.

If I am looking for a friend, then whatever is prjected to me is good enough.  If I am looking to meet that friend IRL I might care more about whether what was being projected to me was accurate to real-life but I have no obligation to any other person on the internet with respect to what I know, or think I know, about another person.