Gay commentary on gay chars.

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Matthew Amster-Burton

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Aug 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/27/97
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Alan Shutko <a...@acm.org> wrote:

>If there's a character in a game who is gay, but we see no evidence of
>it besides a token "I'm gay", how does that advance the plot of the
>story? If yuo could change that character to any other sexual
>orientation at all without affecting the plot one iota, I'd say it's
>pointless to make that character gay.

Can you imagine any writer so dense as to include the following
exchange as the only hint of his character's sexual orientation?

>ask joe about sexual orientation

"I'm gay," says Joe.

Surely, if an NPC's sexuality is germane to the story--as it well
might be if the NPC were going to be an actual character rather than a
cardboard cutout--that aspect of his personality will be revealed
through more than merely a two-word throwaway.

But why, pray tell, is it pointless to make a character gay without
turning it into a key plot hinge, but not--as you imply--pointless to
make them straight?

>Call up the telephone operator. Does it matter to you if he or she is
>gay? Does it matter to you if that person is a he or she? Usually,
>no. In most if these days, there are lots of characters _exactly_
>like that, given the current state of the NPC art.

Yes, and that's a problem to be lamented. Most NPCs are as important
to the PC as the telephone operator: a means to getting a task
accomplished. One means to solving this problem is attempting to
portray NPCs as *people* to whom, like real people, issues such as
sexuality and race are vitally important.

Matthew

Matthew Daly

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Aug 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/27/97
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mam...@u.washington.edu (Matthew Amster-Burton), if that is your REAL
name, said:

>Can you imagine any writer so dense as to include the following
>exchange as the only hint of his character's sexual orientation?
>
>>ask joe about sexual orientation
>
>"I'm gay," says Joe.

I thought that there were writers "so dense" as to handle EXAMINE GENITALS
or some parallel statement for players who want to ascertain the gender of
their character. Do I remember incorrectly?

-Matthew, thinking that someone should offer a prize for the
highest-ranking competition entry that includes an openly gay PC or NPC....
:-)
--
Matthew Daly I feel that if a person has problems communicating
mwd...@kodak.com the very least he can do is to shut up - Tom Lehrer

My opinions are not necessarily those of my employer, of course.

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Alan Shutko

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Aug 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/27/97
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>>>>> "M" == Matthew Amster-Burton <mam...@u.washington.edu> writes:

M> But why, pray tell, is it pointless to make a character gay without
M> turning it into a key plot hinge, but not--as you imply--pointless
M> to make them straight?

I meant that bringing sexual orientation into the game at all without
it having a point is bad. So, I would default to asexual rather than
straight. I have a lot of friends who are effectively asexual, so it
wouldn't surprise me in a game at all.

However, I didn't mean that sexuality has to be a key plot point to be
incorporated, just that it has to be important to the plot in some
way. If it's some subtle nuance which won't affect the main body of
the plot, great... as long as it is there for some reason.

M> Yes, and that's a problem to be lamented. Most NPCs are as
M> important to the PC as the telephone operator: a means to getting a
M> task accomplished. One means to solving this problem is attempting
M> to portray NPCs as *people* to whom, like real people, issues such
M> as sexuality and race are vitally important.

But those issues _aren't_ vitally important to all people, and aren't
important in all venues. I know I have no idea of the sex life of
most of my professors (save those whose partners are also in the
university) and it doesn't affect me at all.

--
Alan Shutko <a...@acm.org> - By consent of the corrupted
Pressure is playing for $50 a hole with only $5 in your pocket.

Miron Schmidt

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Aug 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/28/97
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Neil Brown <ne...@highmount.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> In article <m2203fi...@hubert.wuh.wustl.edu>, Alan Shutko

> <a...@acm.org> wrote:
> >If there's a character in a game who is gay, but we see no evidence of
> >it besides a token "I'm gay", how does that advance the plot of the
> >story? If yuo could change that character to any other sexual
> >orientation at all without affecting the plot one iota, I'd say it's
> >pointless to make that character gay.
>
> Er... but it wouldn't be pointless to make them straight? I'm afraid
> that's blatant discrimination. I'd happily make a character gay for no
> reason other than the fact that I want them to be, in the same way that
> I'd define a character as straight.
>[...]

Um, no offense, but could we all try to get a bit mature about the subject?
I've not seen any fag-bashing posts yet, and as I see the discussion progress
I don't think there will be any.

All Alan said was that he didn't think it would progress the story if you
put in a character's sexual orientation without a cause. He said "gay"
instead of "sexual orientation," because that was the original point.

I don't care the least if you're disabled or not (or whatever minority you
claim to belong to; I keep forgetting). What I care about is when you start
to search my postings for phrases you can, interpreting freely enough, count
as an anti-disabled statement.
There.
I said minority.

If you say what you're aiming at is freedom of thought (and speech), I retain
my right to claim that I'm straight and I want to be straight.
Would you have been offended if I had said "I don't want to be gay" instead?
That's not any less bigot than a "I don't have anything againt gays, but..."
statement.

--
Miron Schmidt <mi...@comports.com> PGP key on request

WATCH TV... MARRY AND REPRODUCE... OBEY... PLAY INTERACTIVE FICTION...


Adam Cadre

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Aug 29, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/29/97
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Neil Brown wrote:
> I don't just *claim* to belong to a minority - I *am* in one, or more
> likely more than the one. (Lets see... Acorn owner, Casualty fan, hay
> fever sufferer, etc.)

You twisted Acorn owners make me sick! It's disgusting and perverted!
It's a sin against God, I tell you!

-----
Adam Cadre, Durham, NC
http://www.duke.edu/~adamc

Darin Johnson

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Aug 31, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/31/97
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>> I am now commited to learning Inform, which I've been doing for a few
>> months now, and writing IF's with only gay lead characters.

But make sure you do this for the right reason. If you do it to be
political or to prove a point, it will be very obvious. This is often
a major factor separating bad literature from the good. If you take
the wrong approach, the IF will be dismissed as "angry gay literature".

I think a big point most people are making, is that IF gets along just
fine without bringing up the background of the lead characters. In
most of the IF out there, you don't even know if the lead character is
male, white, heterosexual, republican, middle class, or whatnot.

>"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
>borogoves..."

So what persuasion were these borogroves anyway? Were they straight
white males, oppressors of the masses?

--
Darin Johnson
da...@usa.net.delete_me

LFrench106

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Sep 1, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/1/97
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>>"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
>>borogoves..."
>
>So what persuasion were these borogroves anyway? Were they straight
>white males, oppressors of the masses?


No, there neither. They're mimsy. Not white. Not black. Not gay. Not
straight. Just mimsy.

Den of Iniquity

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Sep 1, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/1/97
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[Of the 'pointless' inclusion of gay characters where they aren't
necessary to the plot] Neil Brown wrote:

>Miron Schmidt <s59...@tfh-berlin.de> wrote:
>>All Alan said was that he didn't think it would progress the story if you

>>put in a character's sexual orientation without a cause [...]

>'Without a cause', 'without reason': these are phrases I'm having
>problems with. Character A loves character B. It doesn't matter which
>gender either are - the story would work regardless. Would that be a
>good enough cause? I don't know if I'm misreading posts, but some people
>seem to be suggesting that the only way these characters should be gay
>is if there is a gay-specific storyline attached to them [...]

If people are saying that specification of the sexual preference of the PC
or NPCs is not necessary where a plot does not involve the sexuality of
those characters, then I'd agree.

If, on the other hand, people are suggesting that it is _a bad thing_ to
imply a sexual preference in a plot where sexuality is not of importance
(as it appears), well, I'd have to side with Neil. After all, if we kept
unnecessary detail to a minimum, how would we generate atmosphere? Why is
it all right to describe a lamp as shiny and brass (or, for example,
ceramic, dull, dirty or rose-scented) and yet not OK to describe a
character as straight or gay, where it doesn't matter? Certainly a
'detail' like gay has one hell of a lot more effect on the atmosphere than
'shiny', and is much more important, but both can be irrelevant to the
plot and so I'd say they are equally valid 'decorations' to the piece of
IF, just so long as everything is kept consisitent. People don't have such
qualms about why the author decribed a shopkeeper as male rather than
female. Why should they?

On a slightly tangential point, Neil's Character A and Character B may
well fall in love but in any kind of non-fantastic story one would expect
that changing their relationship from heterosexual to homosexual should
have an effect on their interactions with other people. Unless the piece
deliberately restricted interactions to contact with obviously
non-judgmental characters then it would come across as naive. No society
is perfect and there are few environments in which openly homosexual human
beings are safe from discrimination, and that ought to be reflected, sad
though it is. It need not affect the backbone of the story.

--
Den


Chris Marriott

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Sep 1, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/1/97
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In article <Pine.SGI.3.95L.97090...@ebor.york.ac.uk>,
Den of Iniquity <dms...@york.ac.uk> writes

>Why is
>it all right to describe a lamp as shiny and brass (or, for example,
>ceramic, dull, dirty or rose-scented) and yet not OK to describe a
>character as straight or gay, where it doesn't matter? Certainly a
>'detail' like gay has one hell of a lot more effect on the atmosphere than
>'shiny', and is much more important, but both can be irrelevant to the
>plot and so I'd say they are equally valid 'decorations' to the piece of
>IF, just so long as everything is kept consisitent. People don't have such
>qualms about why the author decribed a shopkeeper as male rather than
>female. Why should they?

Perhaps because describing a lamp as "shiny" is a simple statement of
fact, but describing someone as "gay" is something which many people
would find offensive. Everyone's entitled to an opinion, but I
personally would not wish to play a game in which my character" was
described as "gay".

Chris

----------------------------------------------------------------
Chris Marriott, Microsoft Certified Solution Developer.
SkyMap Software, U.K. e-mail: ch...@skymap.com
Visit our web site at http://www.skymap.com

Adam Cadre

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Sep 1, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/1/97
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Chris Marriott wrote:
> Perhaps because describing a lamp as "shiny" is a simple statement of
> fact, but describing someone as "gay" is something which many people
> would find offensive.

You see a man and a lamp here.

>EXAMINE MAN
He looks shiny.

>EXAMINE LAMP
It looks gay.

Lovecraft

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Sep 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/2/97
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>
>Perhaps because describing a lamp as "shiny" is a simple statement of
>fact, but describing someone as "gay" is something which many people
>would find offensive. Everyone's entitled to an opinion, but I
>personally would not wish to play a game in which my character" was
>described as "gay".
>
>Chris

I personally would not want to play a game in which my character was
assumed to be heterosexual, which is the majority, yet I do it. There used
to be an ackowledged element of role-playing in IF, role-playing being
defined as taking on a persona not yours. And I really don't give a flying
fuck if someone finds it "offensive". Your comments are offensive. Would
you say the same thing as readily about playing an african-american? And
please think about that before you answer.

Nick Nova

Nick

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Sep 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/2/97
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On 29 Aug 1997, Alan Shutko wrote:
> >>>>> "N" == Neil Brown <ne...@highmount.demon.co.uk> writes:
> N> 'Without a cause', 'without reason': these are phrases I'm having
> N> problems with. Character A loves character B. It doesn't matter
> N> which gender either are - the story would work regardless. Would
> N> that be a good enough cause?
Well of course, while the story would work, it might well proceed in an
entirely different direction, certainly if it were set in our world, given
socieities differential treatment of sexuality. Not that this makes it
less valid, but the sexuality of the lovers will probably alter the plot.
Nick


Matthew Daly

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Sep 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/2/97
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Chris Marriott <ch...@chrism.demon.co.uk>, if that is your REAL name, said:


>Perhaps because describing a lamp as "shiny" is a simple statement of
>fact, but describing someone as "gay" is something which many people
>would find offensive.

But if a person _is_ gay, then describing them as "gay" is also a simple
statement of fact, isn't it? The way that a character will react to other
characters is as basic as the way that light reflects off a metalic
surface. Indeed, in a curious sense, the gayness of the spa clerk in
Leisure Suit Larry 6 was better realized than the "shiny brassness" of the
Zorkian lamp, because the game would have been exactly the same if the
light was dull but not if the clerk were heterosexual. (And that's the
only good thing that I have to say about that NPC, and I'm surprised I had
that to say.)

Is this a Christian thing? Would you be offended if a pentacle were
described as "bloody" or a crucifix as "defiled"? Were you offended by the
presence of demonic characters in Cursed and Tapestry?

>Everyone's entitled to an opinion, but I
>personally would not wish to play a game in which my character" was
>described as "gay".

As I've said before, I would enjoy playing a gay character as much as I
enjoy playing female characters or villains, which is great fun if the game
is well-done.

-Matthew

Chris Marriott

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Sep 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/2/97
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In article <19970902023...@ladder02.news.aol.com>, Lovecraft
<love...@aol.com> writes

>I personally would not want to play a game in which my character was
>assumed to be heterosexual, which is the majority, yet I do it. There used
>to be an ackowledged element of role-playing in IF, role-playing being
>defined as taking on a persona not yours. And I really don't give a flying
>fuck if someone finds it "offensive". Your comments are offensive. Would
>you say the same thing as readily about playing an african-american? And
>please think about that before you answer.

I'm afraid I'm unfamiliar with the phrase "african-american"; do you
mean an immigrant to the USA from an African country? No - I'd have no
problems with that; I'm not a racist!

If you're asking if I'm bigoted against homosexuals, the situation is
this; I have to say that I find homosexuality personally repugnant, but
equally I believe that everyone is free to make their own choice of
lifestyle, and I certainly bear no ill-feelings towards anyone who
chooses to be homosexual - that's their business, not mine. I find
spinach personally repugnant too, but I have friends who like the stuff
:-).

That's why I said that *personally* I would choose not to play a game
with a gay character, because it would make me very uncomfortable.
That's not a "political" comment or an "anti-gay" comment - it's simply
the way I feel personally. I'm not saying that games with gay characters
are "wrong" in any way, just that I would not personally play one. I
certainly intended no offense to you or to anyone else!

Regards,

Lovecraft

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Sep 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/2/97
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> I believe that everyone is free to make their own choice of
>lifestyle, and I certainly bear no ill-feelings towards anyone who
>chooses to be homosexual -

O.K. One more time. Listen closely. NO ONE CHOOSES TO BE GAY! Until the
general public get this fact into their cranium there is really no chance
at a discussion.

Nick Nova

Adam Cadre

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Sep 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/2/97
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Nick Nova wrote:
> O.K. One more time. Listen closely. NO ONE CHOOSES TO BE GAY! Until
> the general public get this fact into their cranium there is really
> no chance at a discussion.

Gay activist Joe Sartelle disagrees, and finds this position damaging
to the queer cause. http://english-www.hss.cmu.edu/bs/05/Sartelle.html

Nick

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Sep 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/2/97
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On Fri, 29 Aug 1997, Adam Cadre wrote:
> Neil Brown wrote:
> > I don't just *claim* to belong to a minority - I *am* in one, or more
> > likely more than the one. (Lets see... Acorn owner, Casualty fan, hay
> > fever sufferer, etc.)
> You twisted Acorn owners make me sick! It's disgusting and perverted!
> It's a sin against God, I tell you!

> Adam Cadre, Durham, NC
I don't mind whatt computer people own in te privacy of their homes, as
long as they don't use them in public or force their computers on me.
After all, some of my best friends are Acorn owners...
Nick


Darin Johnson

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Sep 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/2/97
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In article <340e1790....@newsserver.rdcs.kodak.com>, Matthew Daly wrote:
>>Perhaps because describing a lamp as "shiny" is a simple statement of
>>fact, but describing someone as "gay" is something which many people
>>would find offensive.
>
>But if a person _is_ gay, then describing them as "gay" is also a simple
>statement of fact, isn't it?

Because you can't tell if they're gay, unless they tell you first.
It's not like gay people get tattoos or anything. You don't have
to ask a lamp if it's shiny, or wait until it starts doing obvious
stereotypical shiny sorts of things.

--
Darin Johnson
da...@usa.net.delete_me

Adam Cadre

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Sep 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/3/97
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Nick wrote:
> Well, I think the point he's making is that sexual preferences are not
> 'chosen' in the same way as breakfasts, they are likened to something
> like skin colour or height, which is not chosen. True, whether or not
> to have a relationship is chosen, but not heterosexuality or
> homosexuality.

One could argue that breakfast preference is just as much out of one's
hands as sexual preference. My taste buds are based on my genetics, my
tastes in cuisine heavily influenced by my culture.

Nick

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Sep 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/3/97
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On Wed, 3 Sep 1997, Chris Marriott wrote:
> In article <fake-mail-020...@van-as-11a11.direct.ca>, "Neil
> K." <fake...@anti-spam.address> writes
> >In article <SBJ98DAp...@chrism.demon.co.uk>, Chris Marriott
> ><ch...@chrism.demon.co.uk> wrote:
<snip>
> > Ah yes - the tiresome fallacy that gay people casually choose to be gay
> >because they perversely like the "lifestyle" or something. (the other one
> >being that they're ill somehow and must be cured of this terrible
> >affliction)
> > Ah yes - let's see... today I'll have Weetabix for breakfast, don red
> >socks, and hey - maybe I'll have a sexual relationship with someone of the
> >same gender as me.
>
> Sorry, Neil, I don't understand your argument.
> If I wanted to have a relationship with someone (which I don't - it's
> far too much hassle), I would deliberately look for someone of the
> opposite gender. If you wanted to have a relationship, presumably you
> would look for someone of the same gender.
>
> We'd both be making a deliberate choice, wouldn't we?
> Chris

Well, I think the point he's making is that sexual preferences are not
'chosen' in the same way as breakfasts, they are likened to something like
skin colour or height, which is not chosen. True, whether or not to have a
relationship is chosen, but not heterosexuality or homosexuality.

Nick


CDKAISER

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Sep 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/3/97
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love...@aol.com (Lovecraft) writes:

>O.K. One more time. Listen closely. NO ONE CHOOSES TO BE GAY! Until the
>general public get this fact into their cranium there is really no chance
>at a discussion.

Mmmmhh. Some gay friends of mine beg to differ (though, not all).
They said they enjoy being gay more than being straight, and I respect their
decision. But this isn't really on topic, is it? :-)

Cameron Kaiser

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