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keftiu
Learned Scribe

86 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2020 :  01:17:26  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Arivia, I must say, that idea of the trans followers of Vhaeraun is interesting to say the least. I wonder how many might try to infiltrate Lolth's temples to work against them.

BTW, one thing I had noted in the past was in reading some of George's work. I found something that I had originally thought was a change he made, but then found out that it was actually a change made in Unapproachable East. Basically, Rilaunyr was noted in the old 2e Bloodstone lands as being one of Impiltur's Lords of Imphras II and being male. He had "Rilaunyr's Warship" and was travelling the seas to protect Impilturian interests from pirates. I then noted in his dragon article on Impiltur that it listed Rilaunyr still as a Lord of Imphras II, but now Rilaunyr is a female paladin of Sune. We had a brief discussion on it and thought it would make a good story that actually Rilaunyr, as a follower of Sune, may have sought out to become female. The other thought was that he had changed gender via magical mishap and that afterwards his interests changed and he pursued a new religion. I honestly don't know which makes a better story.



Well, one gives us a cool devout trans woman privateer, and one gives us a tired narrative that’s usually used as a setup for a bad joke, so I know my vote.

4e fangirl. Here to queer up the Realms.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
32655 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2020 :  01:21:46  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Arivia


postscript: The thing that I have tried to tease out of Ed many times over the years and never succeeded in getting is a description of how transitioning works in the Realms, the ways and means and so on. I have a couple ideas about how it might be done, but getting actual concrete details would be really nice for trans representation in the setting.



He answers questions on the Twitter, now. I've been compiling the answers as best I can, here: Ed Greenwood on Twitter. You can go on Twitter and ask about that, or if you're not on the Twitter, PM me your question and I'll ask him for you.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
32655 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2020 :  01:33:58  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by keftiu

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Arivia, I must say, that idea of the trans followers of Vhaeraun is interesting to say the least. I wonder how many might try to infiltrate Lolth's temples to work against them.

BTW, one thing I had noted in the past was in reading some of George's work. I found something that I had originally thought was a change he made, but then found out that it was actually a change made in Unapproachable East. Basically, Rilaunyr was noted in the old 2e Bloodstone lands as being one of Impiltur's Lords of Imphras II and being male. He had "Rilaunyr's Warship" and was travelling the seas to protect Impilturian interests from pirates. I then noted in his dragon article on Impiltur that it listed Rilaunyr still as a Lord of Imphras II, but now Rilaunyr is a female paladin of Sune. We had a brief discussion on it and thought it would make a good story that actually Rilaunyr, as a follower of Sune, may have sought out to become female. The other thought was that he had changed gender via magical mishap and that afterwards his interests changed and he pursued a new religion. I honestly don't know which makes a better story.



Well, one gives us a cool devout trans woman privateer, and one gives us a tired narrative that’s usually used as a setup for a bad joke, so I know my vote.



I'd assume there were two of them, myself. The elder Lord, with the warship, and the younger Sunite. Maybe the younger was a daughter, maybe a niece, possibly even someone he adopted.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3902 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2020 :  02:21:40  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One thing I did away with, as a “cursed” item was the Girdle of Femininity/Masculinity since some individuals actually seek them out.

The Old Grey Box and AD&D for me!
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3902 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2020 :  02:26:28  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One thing I did away with, as a “cursed” item was the Girdle of Femininity/Masculinity since some individuals actually seek them out.

The Old Grey Box and AD&D for me!
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Arivia
Great Reader

Canada
2914 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2020 :  02:59:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas
But then maybe another kind of "transgender" could mean [intersex]? Amongst our populations something on the web is saying that "noticeably irregular" genitalia accounts for maybe 1 in 2000 births (seems a little high to me, but I'm not in the industry). Still, if Rashemen had 1 person in each village, how might that individual be treated? Arguments could be made to view it as a curse or a blessing. I'm not quite sure how they'd treat them. Part of me thinks the Rashemi witches might take such individuals away to live amongst the spirits.



Sleyvas, I don't think you meant anything malicious by it, but the term you used in your post is considered to be a medical profession enforced slur against intersex people (those with biological differences from the standard models of male or female in their genitals, hormones, or sex characteristics.) It's appropriate to use for animals, but really offensive to describe people with. Additionally, intersex people aren't trans, and vice-versa (unless you're doing hardcore theorizing in the kinds of real world politics Candlekeep usually doesn't get into.) I get the point of your question though: being born intersex does question the sex binary pretty strongly, and is an effective repudiation of those binaries. However, the trauma that intersex babies usually experience after birth (including being assigned a sex and gender) is such a hurtful, still unresolved issue, that I'd be extremely wary to include it in a game.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Arivia


postscript: The thing that I have tried to tease out of Ed many times over the years and never succeeded in getting is a description of how transitioning works in the Realms, the ways and means and so on. I have a couple ideas about how it might be done, but getting actual concrete details would be really nice for trans representation in the setting.



He answers questions on the Twitter, now. I've been compiling the answers as best I can, here: Ed Greenwood on Twitter. You can go on Twitter and ask about that, or if you're not on the Twitter, PM me your question and I'll ask him for you.



I pinged him about it here, we'll see if he responds: https://twitter.com/icequeenerika/status/1217269729624281088

quote:
Originally posted by Dalor Darden

One thing I did away with, as a “cursed” item was the Girdle of Femininity/Masculinity since some individuals actually seek them out.



I planned about writing an article on that girdle for SWORD JAM but was too busy to follow through. I don't think it's irredeemable, though. (However, it certainly shouldn't be the only way to transition in your game!) The girdle is often used as a curse in order to create humour about gender expression, and only becomes really hurtful when you start dragging in gender identity, dysphoria, and physical transitioning. What I think would be best to do with it is change it to a list of limited options of various presentations (femme/masculine/feminine/drag/genderqueer/gender****/butch/etc), then you make it into more of a classic theatre trope of playing as another gender, instead of it truly changing the character's identity. If it becomes about expression only, the worst it will get are sitcom tropes of "wow girls sure like shopping!" (You can argue the value of those tropes, but that's certainly a safer comedy realm for many groups, both queer and cishet.)

e: oh! I remembered one of the characters that changes gender between editions. Farene of Westgate is female in the Old Gray Box and Forgotten Realms Adventures, and then Cloak and Dagger starts off calling them male and switches to female midway through the description. The Cloak and Dagger description seems pretty great for a bigender person or a crossdresser, so I'll run with something like that in my game.

Edited by - Arivia on 15 Jan 2020 03:06:26
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keftiu
Learned Scribe

86 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2020 :  03:32:03  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My own release, Blessed of the Traveler, suggests a number of means for physical transition in the setting for those who want it: herbal supplements, accessories enchanted with persistent illusions to aid in gender expression, and a cheap-ish ritual that does a minor permanent polymorph effect for sexual characteristics and other gendered elements of the body that I suggest priests and mages can do relatively cheaply. While the book is intended for Eberron and leans heavily on the lore for it elsewhere, this section is all pretty much setting-neutral.

4e fangirl. Here to queer up the Realms.
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
5671 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2020 :  04:23:03  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Arivia, I must say, that idea of the trans followers of Vhaeraun is interesting to say the least. I wonder how many might try to infiltrate Lolth's temples to work against them.

BTW, one thing I had noted in the past was in reading some of George's work. I found something that I had originally thought was a change he made, but then found out that it was actually a change made in Unapproachable East. Basically, Rilaunyr was noted in the old 2e Bloodstone lands as being one of Impiltur's Lords of Imphras II and being male. He had "Rilaunyr's Warship" and was travelling the seas to protect Impilturian interests from pirates. I then noted in his dragon article on Impiltur that it listed Rilaunyr still as a Lord of Imphras II, but now Rilaunyr is a female paladin of Sune. We had a brief discussion on it and thought it would make a good story that actually Rilaunyr, as a follower of Sune, may have sought out to become female. The other thought was that he had changed gender via magical mishap and that afterwards his interests changed and he pursued a new religion. I honestly don't know which makes a better story.



I can clarify that after checking with Ed he confirmed that there were many faiths of the Realms where gender change and gender fluidity were unremarkable - the faiths of Sune and Leira being the two most prominent, but for different reasons. So in "my" Impiltur, Rilaunyr's gender change was a positive choice on her part and part and parcel of her evolving understanding of herself and of the Sunite faith. After all, love is love.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus

Edited by - George Krashos on 15 Jan 2020 04:25:33
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Erik Scott de Bie
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
4596 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2020 :  04:38:09  Show Profile  Visit Erik Scott de Bie's Homepage  Send Erik Scott de Bie an AOL message Send Erik Scott de Bie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Not looking to start a fight, but I also do not like to be told that I'm using hate speech (to be clear, much of what you said is exactly what I agree with). Politically correct is a thing, and its a tool being used to quash people's ability to espouse ideals contradictory to other people's ideas (in all directions).
The concept of "political correctness" was invented by the right to shame and mock people talking about social responsibility, and the modern meaning is *absolutely* that. It is a right-wing dogwhistle.

If you're going to use that term, you should know the context and history--a context and history that is, by and large, extremely hostile to LGBTQ people and inclusiveness.

And to be clear, I did not accuse you of using hate speech. Using a right-wing rhetorical device isn't necessarily hate speech, but if your response to "are there queer people in the Realms" is "why are people trying to make the Realms all politically correct?" Man... defining basic inclusion as "political correctness" is pretty telling.

I don't think of you as right-wing, hateful, or intentionally belittling of others, for what it's worth. I hope you take a step back and consider these issues in depth.

I have nothing further to say on the subject.

Erik Scott de Bie

'Tis easier to destroy than to create.

Author of a number of Realms novels (GHOSTWALKER, DEPTHS OF MADNESS, and the SHADOWBANE series), contributor to the NEVERWINTER CAMPAIGN GUIDE and SHADOWFELL: GLOOMWROUGHT AND BEYOND, Twitch DM of the Dungeon Scrawlers, currently playing "The Westgate Irregulars"

Edited by - Erik Scott de Bie on 15 Jan 2020 04:46:26
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Erik Scott de Bie
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
4596 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2020 :  04:42:45  Show Profile  Visit Erik Scott de Bie's Homepage  Send Erik Scott de Bie an AOL message Send Erik Scott de Bie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by AJA

quote:
Originally posted by Erik Scott de Bie
George, when was that excerpt from Ed you shared originally posted? Is it recent or from years ago?

Erik, most of it comes from Ed's 2004 "Ask Ed" thread) (scroll down to 10 Sep, posted by The Hooded One):
http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1901&whichpage=53



Thanks! That's really helpful.

I wonder how Ed would answer this question now, 15 years later. We do evolve in how we view these things and especially how we *talk* about them.

Erik Scott de Bie

'Tis easier to destroy than to create.

Author of a number of Realms novels (GHOSTWALKER, DEPTHS OF MADNESS, and the SHADOWBANE series), contributor to the NEVERWINTER CAMPAIGN GUIDE and SHADOWFELL: GLOOMWROUGHT AND BEYOND, Twitch DM of the Dungeon Scrawlers, currently playing "The Westgate Irregulars"
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
8493 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2020 :  12:56:17  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by keftiu

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Arivia, I must say, that idea of the trans followers of Vhaeraun is interesting to say the least. I wonder how many might try to infiltrate Lolth's temples to work against them.

BTW, one thing I had noted in the past was in reading some of George's work. I found something that I had originally thought was a change he made, but then found out that it was actually a change made in Unapproachable East. Basically, Rilaunyr was noted in the old 2e Bloodstone lands as being one of Impiltur's Lords of Imphras II and being male. He had "Rilaunyr's Warship" and was travelling the seas to protect Impilturian interests from pirates. I then noted in his dragon article on Impiltur that it listed Rilaunyr still as a Lord of Imphras II, but now Rilaunyr is a female paladin of Sune. We had a brief discussion on it and thought it would make a good story that actually Rilaunyr, as a follower of Sune, may have sought out to become female. The other thought was that he had changed gender via magical mishap and that afterwards his interests changed and he pursued a new religion. I honestly don't know which makes a better story.



Well, one gives us a cool devout trans woman privateer, and one gives us a tired narrative that’s usually used as a setup for a bad joke, so I know my vote.



I'd assume there were two of them, myself. The elder Lord, with the warship, and the younger Sunite. Maybe the younger was a daughter, maybe a niece, possibly even someone he adopted.



That IS another option, and I think we threw that one out there as well. As always part of the fun of the realms is finding discrepancies and trying to find a way to make them true despite their differences.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
8493 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2020 :  13:35:35  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Arivia

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas
But then maybe another kind of "transgender" could mean [intersex]? Amongst our populations something on the web is saying that "noticeably irregular" genitalia accounts for maybe 1 in 2000 births (seems a little high to me, but I'm not in the industry). Still, if Rashemen had 1 person in each village, how might that individual be treated? Arguments could be made to view it as a curse or a blessing. I'm not quite sure how they'd treat them. Part of me thinks the Rashemi witches might take such individuals away to live amongst the spirits.



Sleyvas, I don't think you meant anything malicious by it, but the term you used in your post is considered to be a medical profession enforced slur against intersex people (those with biological differences from the standard models of male or female in their genitals, hormones, or sex characteristics.) It's appropriate to use for animals, but really offensive to describe people with. Additionally, intersex people aren't trans, and vice-versa (unless you're doing hardcore theorizing in the kinds of real world politics Candlekeep usually doesn't get into.) I get the point of your question though: being born intersex does question the sex binary pretty strongly, and is an effective repudiation of those binaries. However, the trauma that intersex babies usually experience after birth (including being assigned a sex and gender) is such a hurtful, still unresolved issue, that I'd be extremely wary to include it in a game.



Absolutely, I used a term that I consider clinical for a person with two physical genders (of which I've never personally met such a person... that I know of... and would simply consider them another individual who might have some different challenges in life). Other people don't consider this a clinical term and have deemed the word bad. It doesn't make the word bad. Language does change subtly over time (for instance gay no longer brings the same connotations to mind that it brought to mind a hundred years ago). I personally feel that the policing of language is one of the things that's fracturing us as a people though, but I also know that that's gone on pretty heavily since the concept of radio was invented and the sharing of language and idea started becoming more and more widespread. The same thing happens with what people consider racial slurs. I've been told that saying the word oriental is horrible, whereas in my mind it summons up imagery that I might relate to wonder. Other races have renamed themselves collectively with each new generation for the past hundred years, and now books that a hundred years ago were considered classics are considered horrible because they use certain terms that in that time were considered "the correct ones".

BTW, KIND of on that topic, for some reason my mind keeps going back to "the Walking Dead" tv show, and one of the things I personally find entertaining is the concept that every new group that they meet has a new slang word for zombies. It fits to me that without something like TV, radio, internet driving language to fit a mold, it will evolve in many different directions. I think that's one reason I like it when I see people coming up with another term for something that we would use in our world (just as a for instance, yesterday or the day before, I saw AJA using "littlestones" to meand the game of "marbles".... and I've seen multiple terms for Chess such as Lanceboard).

But enough on that. I agree that I'd probably never include an intersex (that's the term now?) person in a game, but that's because I can't think of a specific thing to do that might involve such. Lesbian and gay relationships though I can see (and have seen, which makes it easier to relate to), and I can see some story hooks that could possibly derived from them that could surprise folks and make for an interesting game or story (after all, that's the purpose of roleplaying and these forums).

I can also see some plots that could revolve around someone seeking to change their sex. In fact, one thing I'd discuss is whether people view whether basic polymorph effects should allow someone to be able to "fully" adapt to another sex. Personally, I think it would cheapen things if a person who changed sex via simple shape changing was able to father children (for a woman) or carry a child (if a man). I also think that we'd hear a LOT more stories of "accidents" happening if that were the case as well, because I think simple curiosity will drive those who CAN shapechange to experiment. However, I wouldn't be adverse to something like this being possible (even if for just a short term) with much more powerful magics, such as a wish.

BTW, thinking on some of what I just said about simple curiosity driving individuals to experiment.... I wonder how that might play out when things feel "weird" for such individuals afterwards. It makes me think about an unusual episode of black mirror I watched in the last year in which two male friends are playing video games in which one is playing a sexy female avatar in a fully immersive 3d environment. This kind of magical experimentation COULD lead to some "issues" for people of various sorts. I know we all want to think of everyone as accepting of these things, but it could cause serious confusion for them, especially if they're married. I know such confusion already happens when a married individual seeks out another partner, but it can be much more confusing for their wife/husband if the individual isn't even the same sex as themselves.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 15 Jan 2020 13:47:01
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
8493 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2020 :  14:08:00  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by keftiu

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Arivia, I must say, that idea of the trans followers of Vhaeraun is interesting to say the least. I wonder how many might try to infiltrate Lolth's temples to work against them.

BTW, one thing I had noted in the past was in reading some of George's work. I found something that I had originally thought was a change he made, but then found out that it was actually a change made in Unapproachable East. Basically, Rilaunyr was noted in the old 2e Bloodstone lands as being one of Impiltur's Lords of Imphras II and being male. He had "Rilaunyr's Warship" and was travelling the seas to protect Impilturian interests from pirates. I then noted in his dragon article on Impiltur that it listed Rilaunyr still as a Lord of Imphras II, but now Rilaunyr is a female paladin of Sune. We had a brief discussion on it and thought it would make a good story that actually Rilaunyr, as a follower of Sune, may have sought out to become female. The other thought was that he had changed gender via magical mishap and that afterwards his interests changed and he pursued a new religion. I honestly don't know which makes a better story.



Well, one gives us a cool devout trans woman privateer, and one gives us a tired narrative that’s usually used as a setup for a bad joke, so I know my vote.



I respectfully disagree. If you take things and look at them through the lens of just the single individual, one may look like more of a story than the other. HOWEVER, if you realize that Rilaunyr may have had a wife... may have had children... may have had brothers, sisters, parents, friends, extended family, etc... both can prove compelling storylines.

For instance, if it WAS a magical mishap, then how does this affect his/her relationship with their wife and kids? After all, it wasn't his/her choice, so they're going to be a LOT more sympathetic to it. It also opens up the wife to questioning, can she love her husband who is now a woman? Could THIS be what drives Rilaunyr to change from say a religion like Helm or Valkur focused on defense or the military and realizing that love is a stronger force in the world? If this was a magical mishap, does it open his/her eyes up to being a lot less stringent in his viewpoints (maybe he was a staunch conservative who didn't yield on the Impiltur's Lords of Imphras II council... and now all of a sudden he's listening to women's issues that he never heard before)? Also, if its a magical mishap, and the other Lords were very male oriented, this could FORCE a female into their midst (because they can't eject this person over a choice that wasn't even theirs). This CAN be a strong story, just as much as the story of someone who is already feeling like they are the wrong sex and acting a certain way, which generally means they'll keep pretty much acting the exact same way after the change.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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keftiu
Learned Scribe

86 Posts

Posted - 16 Jan 2020 :  22:25:01  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Absolutely, I used a term that I consider clinical for a person with two physical genders (of which I've never personally met such a person... that I know of... and would simply consider them another individual who might have some different challenges in life). Other people don't consider this a clinical term and have deemed the word bad. It doesn't make the word bad. Language does change subtly over time (for instance gay no longer brings the same connotations to mind that it brought to mind a hundred years ago). I personally feel that the policing of language is one of the things that's fracturing us as a people though, but I also know that that's gone on pretty heavily since the concept of radio was invented and the sharing of language and idea started becoming more and more widespread. The same thing happens with what people consider racial slurs. I've been told that saying the word oriental is horrible, whereas in my mind it summons up imagery that I might relate to wonder.


The trouble with this line of thinking is that the words aren't just being decided on as "bad" for no reason, it's these groups taking control of how they're labeled away from outsiders. Intersex people have objected to being labeled hermaphrodites by people unlike them; Asians have objected to being called orientals by people unlike them (and notably, the term literally comes from a meaning of "not-European," assuming a white default. What you see as frustrating fluidity or political correctness is marginalized groups rebuking control by others of what they should be called, and I hope you can sympathize with that.

quote:
I can also see some plots that could revolve around someone seeking to change their sex. In fact, one thing I'd discuss is whether people view whether basic polymorph effects should allow someone to be able to "fully" adapt to another sex. Personally, I think it would cheapen things if a person who changed sex via simple shape changing was able to father children (for a woman) or carry a child (if a man). I also think that we'd hear a LOT more stories of "accidents" happening if that were the case as well, because I think simple curiosity will drive those who CAN shapechange to experiment. However, I wouldn't be adverse to something like this being possible (even if for just a short term) with much more powerful magics, such as a wish.


As a trans person myself, I'm deeply uncomfortable with the idea that permanent, satisfying transition should be an earned accomplishment that we should be wary of "cheapening." Why should it need to be a massive quest or the pursuit of an entire adventuring career to simply be comfortable in your own skin?

quote:
BTW, thinking on some of what I just said about simple curiosity driving individuals to experiment.... I wonder how that might play out when things feel "weird" for such individuals afterwards. This kind of magical experimentation COULD lead to some "issues" for people of various sorts. I know we all want to think of everyone as accepting of these things, but it could cause serious confusion for them, especially if they're married. I know such confusion already happens when a married individual seeks out another partner, but it can be much more confusing for their wife/husband if the individual isn't even the same sex as themselves.



Again, why do queer narratives need to be ones of conflict, confusion, discomfort, and strife? Why do we never get to have stories of euphoria or acceptance? I'd sooner see a gender-curious mage get to explore a wide range of selfhood and then pass on those techniques to the like-minded or certain, rather than yet another story of a queer person being rejected.

It's frustrating to see your stories always assumed to be the worst, y'know?

4e fangirl. Here to queer up the Realms.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
8493 Posts

Posted - 16 Jan 2020 :  23:41:40  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Many of the things I'm bringing up are because these are things that happen in real life. Don't take this the wrong way, but I know of at least two people who propose that they want to be male and are female via my girlfriend (to note, I have never met them, but I hear of their doings, and they live like a 12 hour drive away). One of them is basically her daughter's half sister via the father's side with about 12 to 15 years separating the two, and the other is a cousin of that half-sister. I find them both to seem to be very confused. For instance, one wants to be called a man, but wanted to have a child and wanted a boyfriend. Finally, apparently the boyfriend had had enough of whatever her antics were and left (apparently she didn't want to give up any of the nice treatment of being a woman, but also wanted to be treated like a man, and the boyfriend felt as though she was just changing on a whim), and now there's some kind of weirdness between the two and yet they have to share custody of a child.

The other person was caught cheating on her lover with a male (even though she herself wants to be a male), and now again, there's weirdness between the two.

To note, I'm not saying that this type of behavior is limited to the LGBTQ community. Straight folk do stupid things as well that causes conflict and issues. I generally find that finding pure and wholesome love that is without conflict, confusion, strife, etc... is almost nonexistent. Even the most loving pairs of people get snippy with one another and periodically need to just step back and reevaluate how they are acting. I feel that this level of reality should be reflected in roleplaying, otherwise you're just creating an illusion that won't really exist.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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keftiu
Learned Scribe

86 Posts

Posted - 16 Jan 2020 :  23:54:56  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Many of the things I'm bringing up are because these are things that happen in real life. Don't take this the wrong way, but I know of at least two people who propose that they want to be male and are female via my girlfriend (to note, I have never met them, but I hear of their doings, and they live like a 12 hour drive away). One of them is basically her daughter's half sister via the father's side with about 12 to 15 years separating the two, and the other is a cousin of that half-sister. I find them both to seem to be very confused. For instance, one wants to be called a man, but wanted to have a child and wanted a boyfriend. Finally, apparently the boyfriend had had enough of whatever her antics were and left (apparently she didn't want to give up any of the nice treatment of being a woman, but also wanted to be treated like a man, and the boyfriend felt as though she was just changing on a whim), and now there's some kind of weirdness between the two and yet they have to share custody of a child.

The other person was caught cheating on her lover with a male (even though she herself wants to be a male), and now again, there's weirdness between the two.

To note, I'm not saying that this type of behavior is limited to the LGBTQ community. Straight folk do stupid things as well that causes conflict and issues. I generally find that finding pure and wholesome love that is without conflict, confusion, strife, etc... is almost nonexistent. Even the most loving pairs of people get snippy with one another and periodically need to just step back and reevaluate how they are acting. I feel that this level of reality should be reflected in roleplaying, otherwise you're just creating an illusion that won't really exist.



You can be a trans man, want children, and be gay. None of that is exclusive with any other part. I don’t know what this personal anecdote about unhappy relationships or infidelity has to do with the topic at hand, why you insist on misgendering this man, or why you feel like it’s at all appropriate for you to call someone you admittedly don’t personally know “confused” for being queer. Nothing in your post has any bearing on my reply or the wider conversation here.

Why are you in this thread, and so insistent on refusing to listen? Why steadfastly refuse my ask of trying to see where queer identities fit in the world?

EDIT: My frustration with queer narratives told by cishet people almost always being tragedies or traumatic is that we all live enough of those, and so rarely get to author our own. It is exhausting to exclusively be vehicles of sadness and pain when so may others get to enjoy the full span of adventure, heroism, joy, and so on, and to be fought tooth and nail when asking for something as mundane as “can we get a few happy endings?”

4e fangirl. Here to queer up the Realms.

Edited by - keftiu on 17 Jan 2020 00:03:51
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keftiu
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Posted - 17 Jan 2020 :  00:06:04  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So again I ask (as I did two days and a page ago): can we steer this thread towards discussing places and cultures where queer identities might be normalized and thrive, where we discuss uniquely Realmsian approaches to love and selfhood? Please?

4e fangirl. Here to queer up the Realms.
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Dalor Darden
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Posted - 17 Jan 2020 :  01:40:59  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think any area of the Realms where Magic is esteemed above all things (such as Thay, Halruaa, etc) there would be nearly no concern or social stigma regarding anything queer. It just wouldn’t make any sense when power/station is derived from magical skill that those with the power to do as they will would be concerned with anything similar to our own world of tangled prejudices.

In such places, they are likely uncaring regarding the gender or lack there of for anyone very much.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 17 Jan 2020 :  03:56:03  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dalor Darden

I think any area of the Realms where Magic is esteemed above all things (such as Thay, Halruaa, etc) there would be nearly no concern or social stigma regarding anything queer. It just wouldn’t make any sense when power/station is derived from magical skill that those with the power to do as they will would be concerned with anything similar to our own world of tangled prejudices.

In such places, they are likely uncaring regarding the gender or lack there of for anyone very much.



Actually, I'd expand that to any place that didn't have a strong emphasis on gender-specific roles -- which is a fairly large part of the setting.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 17 Jan 2020 03:56:29
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Arivia
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Canada
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Posted - 17 Jan 2020 :  20:15:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Dalor Darden

I think any area of the Realms where Magic is esteemed above all things (such as Thay, Halruaa, etc) there would be nearly no concern or social stigma regarding anything queer. It just wouldn’t make any sense when power/station is derived from magical skill that those with the power to do as they will would be concerned with anything similar to our own world of tangled prejudices.

In such places, they are likely uncaring regarding the gender or lack there of for anyone very much.



Actually, I'd expand that to any place that didn't have a strong emphasis on gender-specific roles -- which is a fairly large part of the setting.



I disagree. Like I said, we have evidence of homophobia as a function of rural life with not much exposure to the outer world in Cormyr, which doesn't have that strong emphasis on gender (in Swords of Eveningstar). Ed chalks it up to rural bumpkin-ness, and I'd do the same. Queer people congregating in large cities is very true to our culture, and then also serves as a good background for adventurers.

Edited by - Arivia on 17 Jan 2020 20:15:49
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Irennan
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Posted - 17 Jan 2020 :  20:47:33  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Erik Scott de Bie

This gets into a larger conversation about nature vs. nurture, but speaking about the Realms in a narrative sense, I tend to fall on the "cultural" side of the argument.

Drow society has been dominated by Lolth and her evil matriarchy* for basically the entire existence of the drow, so obviously the beliefs and expectations are baked into them from an early age. The priesthood of Vhaeraun is actively rebelling against that, but even so they can't just automatically shake off their cultural conditioning.

The mechanics are kind of a moot point now that 5e doesn't include "favored classes," but it's an interesting conversation piece.

(*Note my qualifier: not all matriarchies are evil, obviously, and it is very clear the drow structure of government is intensely evil.)




Not sure it's just Lolth's conditioning.

Eilistraeens and Vhaeraunites must be made up, for the most part, of people who were born in that culture (you can't have a faith which consists mostly of converts at all points of its story), and therefore, after tens of thousands of years, such conditioning would go away.

There's also the fact that both Eilistraee and Vhaeraun have interacted with the drow (or whatever the precursor of a drow is in 5e) long before Lolth was even known in Realmspace; they were patrons of whole cultures and nations (Ilythiir for Vhaeraun and Miyeritar for Elistraee) when Lolth was still struggling to regain divinity (or was chilling in the Demonweb). So, even after the Sundering and the Dark Disaster and the Descent and stuff (events that decimated their faith while empowering Lolth), it makes sense to assume that both of them retained some faithful, and therefore their original culture. That means that both converts and newborn drow would be directly exposed to the original ideas.

That's why I was of the opinion that, at this point, it can't really be about conditioning, but about nature (which would give drow men affinity to some kind of magic, and drow women to another--even though I don't like this take).

That said, I wonder if the ritual of Eilistraee's changedance, while no longer needed, would still be granted to trans people who wish to physically transition. I mean, with the importance given to freedom of expression and to valuing the uniqueness of every individual, it should be, and Eilistraee's faith should be one in which trans people could thrive.

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Edited by - Irennan on 17 Jan 2020 20:56:45
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keftiu
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Posted - 17 Jan 2020 :  21:26:20  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Y'know, I've never loved Eilestree (who always read to me as a shallow "goddess of good drow," perhaps unfairly), but that angle on her is a strong point in her favor. I'd love to see her faith as a way for dark elves to not only escape cruelty, but a deeply oppressive, deeply gendered society. Thank you for that!

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Irennan
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Posted - 17 Jan 2020 :  22:03:34  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by keftiu

Y'know, I've never loved Eilestree (who always read to me as a shallow "goddess of good drow," perhaps unfairly), but that angle on her is a strong point in her favor. I'd love to see her faith as a way for dark elves to not only escape cruelty, but a deeply oppressive, deeply gendered society. Thank you for that!



You're welcome.

Freedom of expression is one of Eilistraee's biggest points, so it would only make sense for her to be a shelter to escape a strongly gendered society. I mean, her faith is still a matriarchy, but it's so because it happens to be, not because it's enforced or something (since Eilistraeen communities form around shrines, and are therefore led by the clergy, which tend to be female--even though that's changing after the Second Sundering). Even then, Eilistraeens don't have a real hierarchy (so you don't have a very structured society; as we read in Faiths and Pantheons), and the priestesses that lead the drow are supposed to be an extension of Eilistraee's own motherhodd of the drow: artists, teachers, and protectresses, helping the drow to thrive in a world that has become hostile to them, but that is their rightful home.

I'm saddened to hear that you saw her as just a deity of good drow, because she has sa strong identity and history that she shared with her people, and that gave her a deep significance to me (if you've ever heard one of those stories in which a fictional character helped people to spring back from depression and suicidal intents, that's what Eilistraee has been/is to me).

-----------------------

This is completely off-topic, but I'll type it anyway, in case it might be of interest to you.

If you look at Eilistraee's lore, she's meant to be this goddess represeting the beauty (meant in the widest sense) in the broken, who learned to turn the scars of her battles into flowers, and her suffering into empathy and compassion

In her past, when confronted with the choice between comfort and luxury, and the path of hardship that she had foreseen for her people, Eilistraee chose to love. In Evermeet we see that she knew what was awaiting her, she was terrified of it, yet she still embraced it, to be by the side of those who would need a smile or warm embrace the most.

She paid dearly for that: alone in a battle against forces greater than her, she bled, suffered countless defeats, was wounded by the very people that she loved. She was broken by grief and loss, and by seeing all the happiness that she had fought to build, destroyed. Yet, despite all of this, not only she didn't steer from the path that she had chosen to walk for people, but she never let her light fade. No matter her wounds, the struggle, or her sadness, Eilistraee never stoppeed dancing and singing; never stopped healing, creating and finding joy in all that life offers--even in the simple things, like creating music, cooking tasty food, or making someone else happy--and sharing it with others (especially those who are in pain).

She's made her goal to bring joy and make beauty blossom in the darkest places, where no one else would look (especially in her people). To bring it to those who suffer, who can no longer see it, who are alone, who are seen as mosters and feel to not have a place in the world--to those who were broken.
She knows what it is to suffer, and has learned to cherish all people in their entirety, including their scars, their battles and struggles against their demons. Even in those who have fallen to hatred or despair, there's still their forgotten hopes or aspirations, the part of them that was silenced by violence, but that she strives to heal and nurture (and this goes for those who are trapped in a cycle of evil too, because no one deserves to be alone in their pain)

Eilistraee acknowledges that the world is a terrible and violent place. However, she also knows that there's so much beauty in it, and wants everyone to be able to enjoy, create, and celebrate it. All of this is why, while primarily a drow goddess, she appeals to various races (heck, even *dwarves*, of all races, worship her).

Also there's her love and nurturing of arts, because if beauty is the most powerful weapon against fear and resignation, art--in all forms--is one of the best ways to create it. For that reason, not only she delights in performing herself, but she finds happiness in filling artists with bursts of inspiration, and teaches to celebrate life in its fullness, as to bring passion and a sense of wonder to everyone, and make the world a better place for all.

Finally, there's her relationship with the drow, which is, IMO, awesome. She's this mother goddess who has shared the path and struggles of the drow, who has chosen to be one of them, who knows their pain and desire of a better life. It's easy to label the drow as monster, but Eilistraee knows that they are the result of lifelong abuse and neglect from those who should have loved them the most (as even maternal or paternal love are considered taboo and weakness under Lolth), and sees the part of them that was silenced by hatred and strife, their hidden beauty.

The Dark Maiden works to "redeem" the drow by showing them all that they've been missing on in life due to Lolth's oppression, and by taking the role of a nurturing mother. While they were taught that love and affection are weakness, Eilistraee loves them as they are--including vulnerabilities--and shows them the strength in caring for each other. While they were taught that an individual has no value except for the power and favor from Lolth that they detain, Eilistraee shows them that they matter as people. Lolth's society is governed by rigid roles and rules, and every drow is forced to constantly wear a mask and enegage in the perennial strife. Eilistraee, on the other hand, teaches them the freedom of expressing themselves, of casting off their chains, and experience that free joy that too many are denied. With her focus on beauty and freedom, she lures the drow out of their prison (and, weirdly, comfort zone, due to Lolth's indoctrination), to embark on a journey to see and marvel at what life actually is, to open their eyes and make them understand that a different existence is not only possible, but that it leads to actual happiness and liberation.

The Dark Maiden is there in all the important parts of this journey; he tends to her "children" in various practical ways, nurturing, protecting and teaching them about the surface world that is their forgotten home. For example, she often scares off aggressors, sends visions warning of danger, leads an edible animal within the reach of a hungry drow, or provides dancing beams of moonlight that guide lost people to safe places (or lighten childbirths too). Perhaps even more important, she often appears when her "children" need confort and her visible support in difficult moments, in various ways. In this regard, the ritual of the Evensong itself is really cool--the drow let out all the emotions and experience of the day in a worldess message for Eilistraee to listen. Basically, it shows to the drow that they matter, that their experiences do, and are worthy of being considered.

Even then, in all of this, Eilistraee tries to leave the drow free to choose; she is subtle and delicate when offering her help, and careful to never impose herself or to forcefully intervene in people's choices. Her light is always on for when it is needed, but she wishes for her children to find their own path, because their journey is *theirs*, after all.

Elaine Cunninghams shows this very well, if subtly (like it should bem since Eilistraee's MO is subtle) in her novels.

EDIT: Yes, I'm aware that her nude dances can be seen as fanservice. I won't deny that they might have been at least partly designed with that in mind, but nudity isn't inherently sexual, and thos dances (which are oftne the form that he Evensong takes) have their value.
The life in a Lolthite society is based on constructs, falsehood, deceit; conflict is constant and trust and spontaneity are taboos. A nude dance in which the drow let out all their emotions is the act of laying down the mask and feeling free to just be themselves and embrace life. Furthermore, in a society of perpetual conflict, where trust is taboo, vulnerability must be hidden. To be free to dance in the nude with others (or while invoking a goddess) is to be free to show one own's vulnerability—it means that vulnerability is sometimes acceptable, forming a bond of trust, and being accepted as a whole. All of this is surely helpful to "heal" a drow who escapes the abuse of Lolth and her society.

Btw, despite their iconic dances, unlike many seem to believe, the followers of Eilistraee are not nudists. They wear the most practical garb for a given occasion and armor (generally light) in battle.

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Edited by - Irennan on 17 Jan 2020 22:14:55
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sleyvas
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Posted - 17 Jan 2020 :  22:14:23  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So, what I'm hearing you say is that you only want to hear happy things regarding queer culture, because you don't ever want to have a culture that is filled with strife related to this. My viewpoint is straight or LGBTQ, life is not without strife, misunderstanding, and often trust issues. I do find more misunderstandings from the latter in the few ones I've heard about, particularly how they interact with their partners. In most instances, it seems to have to do with them changing preferences on a whim and leaving their partners bewildered or fed up. Both sides also usually have just as many breakups or fights over money issues as well (as an example), so its about as often other factors.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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keftiu
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Posted - 17 Jan 2020 :  23:03:53  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I adore all of that, Irennan. Thank you for the personal anecdote and the lore explanation both - it means a lot! And while the nudism is almost certainly fanservice (at least in original intent), it's not that much of a leap to steer it towards an angle of body acceptance/positivity and gender euphoria; in a world that polices bodies and oppresses people based on them, reveling in ownership and beauty of them is a pretty clear path forward.

Sleyvas, I'm not asking for nothing but sunshine and roses for queer people, I'm simply pointing out that our stories are so often overwhelmingly tragic, especially when written by cishet voices. Your insistence on such merely underscores my point, while your "evidence" - which again, I must point out is two people you admit you don't know, who you understand so little you can't even gender them correctly - hurts your position a fair amount. I encourage you to please, try and listen, fit the aims of the thread, and acknowledge that you aren't coming from a place of expertise on the subject, or otherwise consider bowing out of this discussion.

EDIT: I also strongly urge you to think about what you mean by implying that queer people are mercurial partners that are impossible to get along with, or are especially prone to misunderstandings; it's a hurtful implication to make, especially given that your body of proof is so shallow and second-hand. You might not have intended any harm, but you're painting with an awfully broad brush about people in this conversation with you, and not doing so graciously.

4e fangirl. Here to queer up the Realms.

Edited by - keftiu on 17 Jan 2020 23:11:29
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