Legalizing gay marriage

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Erasmus
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2023 1:30 pm

Mon Jul 10, 2023 9:30 am

So I'm not even going to pretend to not be biased here, considering recent IC events, but - I have been thinking about this topic for a while, and I would like to ask staff to consider legalizing gay marriage in Lithmore.

The thing is, those of us living in America at the least are existing in a really scary time where queer people are watching their rights erode almost daily. On top of that, I'm pretty sure at least half of this game's players are queer in one way or another. I wouldn't dare speak for all of them on that front, but on my own part:

I've found it increasingly difficult over the years to play fully heterosexual characters, as I've stopped denying who and what I am myself. So now I find myself staring down the barrel of a conundrum: I can either try to make myself only play straight in a way that feels really Unpleasant, or I can run the risk of RPing out something that is too uncomfortably close to the real-life fears and anxieties queer people live with every day.

Maybe this just means TI as it is today is not a place for me! If that's the way the majority view trends, I totally get it. Some level of acceptance of bad things happening to your characters is absolutely necessary to play TI, and I may just be too much of a weenie these days for that.

But in my mind, what makes this one worth changing is the parallel to real-life discrimination. If a character gets in trouble for being a mage or heretic, well, those are not so much touching on painful real-life traumas (unless some of you are mages IRL, in which case I have questions). Even the fantasy racism angle is not so painful to play out, because Charali and Hillmen are not real races/cultures.

But many of us are queer, and many of us have felt the pain coming from that in real life.

The best comparison here, to me, is the Decree of Sodality. In the past, we looked at our playerbase and we looked at reality and we said "You know what? We don't want to say people can't play female characters without accepting really serious limits on their agency." So we departed from the medieval theme in order to make the game a more welcoming place, even when it meant making TI more gender-egalitarian than even real-world societies.

And that was a GOOD CHOICE. It meant we did not have to bring the brutality of real-world sexism into the game. It meant we could let people play characters that matched their own identity in important ways to them. And strongly dialing down this one element of prejudice certainly did not deprive TI of danger/drama. Magery and heresy will always still keep that engine going, one way or another. I think this situation is directly comparable. This change would make at least me much, much more comfortable RPing on TI, and I can't imagine I'm the only one.

Beyond the call for why I think this is a good idea overall, I want to note it is not even a radical departure from theme. Gay marriage is ALREADY legal in Tubor, a thorny kettle of fish nobody has ever fully pushed to its limit ICly. (What happens if a couple married in Tubor shows up in Lithmore?)

Gay marriage could easily be legalized in Lithmore as well under a "better you be married than sinful" grudging kind of tolerance, while still remaining illegal in Vandago and Farin, where it is established as especially culturally unacceptable. This could be done by fiat of the Cardinal as a response to recent events, or it could be played out as a plot if PCs were interested in pursuing it ICly.

In closing, I want to be clear that I hold absolutely no ill will against anybody involved in how that RP went down. IBut it was difficult and painful for me in a lot of ways I didn't anticipate before it happened, and the idea of facing it again on every future character is dreadful enough to make me feel I had to write this post. My mental health is Kinda Not Good Right Now so I may not participate fully in any discussion that follows, but I'll do my best to explain my point of view further if requested.

Thanks for reading, folks.

EDIT: Minor edits made to ensure no detailed reference to current IC stuff.
Last edited by Erasmus on Mon Jul 10, 2023 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

plague
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2020 1:43 am
Discord Handle: plague#6022

Mon Jul 10, 2023 10:02 am

I think people hyperfocusing on superficially and arbitrarily "immoral" character traits instead of grappling with the more difficult questions of the game and showcasing an understanding and appreciation for the complex intricacies of Society and Why We Let Each Other Abuse Each Other is one of my least favorite things about TI.

For me, there's a difference between roleplaying the medium and just being disrespectful to the concepts at play and the characters playing them. The game has immensely more protection and respect for certain character concepts, and that is factual regardless of how anyone feels about it. I don't really like that, but... It feels like characters who stray from the norm are considered less important and more disposable than characters who don't, on an administrative and rules level. Working As Intended, I know, but that this includes gay people makes the game worse!

It's another of those things that props up the "I can't afford to be Davite" issue, because hating gay people is in fact a completely arbitrary and evil thing to do, as opposed to, say, arguing for societal unity through autocracy rather than progressive liberalism or democracy or republicanism (that is, Having A Republic) or whatever being a good thing in the Kill or Be Killed status quo of TI's universe. There just isn't a good and meaningful argument for hating gay people that isn't "happened in history". There is no interesting roleplay that can happen around it except for people roleplaying repression and people being killed or oppressed for it.

Which is fine, but we have several other things people can be killed for instead that actually mean something other than "men touched weewees and that's a problem"

Dreams
Posts: 167
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:29 pm
Discord Handle: dreams2410

Mon Jul 10, 2023 10:11 am

I know this is a delicate topic, so please forgive ahead of time. Know that I have no intentions of upsetting anyone.

I'm not sure if this would be the perfect example to use with the Cardinal making a change like this. If they were only pyred for homosexuality, then yes. But, there appeared to be much more to it than that. Also, Lithmore is very 'sex is for procreation', and so making a blanket change to the expectations of the clergy in Lithmore like this, where they would legalize it and perform these weddings, seems a bit of a big change based on current theme.

That said, and this might not be widely known, there are RPA options for marriage. One of the specific reasonings for RPA marriage is "You have traveled to a location where the marriage would be allowed (help policy travel is followed)". People have used this method in the past, and for the most part, the church seemed to leave them alone because they were married by the Order in a place where it was legal to do so. (help marriage rpa)

What I think might help, and where there may be some IC and OOC confusion (and maybe staff could step in here with any clarifications) and a possible compromise, is confidence that if they do travel to Tubor to marry that way, the marriage will be honored in Lithmore and the couple will be left alone - since they were married by the Order, and the Order is the Order everywhere.
Last edited by Dreams on Mon Jul 10, 2023 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
help policy triggers, help policy non-consensual, help sandwich

Philly
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:15 am

Mon Jul 10, 2023 10:14 am

Hello! As a fellow member of the alphabet mafia I feel obliged to chime in here and defend a few things. I want to make clear that none of this actually negates the idea that Lithmore's stance should change but this post pretty directly cites recent IC events and also makes some big claims about other marginalized groups.

1) I want to point out that characters HAVE had OOC years-long homosexual relationships in game. Couples have gotten married in Tubor, returned, and either kept it secret or had it tacitly accepted by the Order. I feel it is unfair to compare **edited out**. I don't think recent RP is fair to bring up as a case study.

2) Charali are pretty hard-coded Native American. I do not know your ethnicity is nor would I want to assume, but I think it is bad form to suggest there are not parallels to real life racism simply because they are made-up names. There ARE parallels, and these are felt. In a similar vein, for those of us who experienced religious trauma and sexism/slut shaming as a result of that, seeing those issues played out IC is also difficult. This might be one of those situations where the intersections with our own identities are more felt.

For me, I don't find it MORE difficult to RP persecution of homosexuality than the suppression of female sexuality overall, I also don't find it more difficult than RPing racism and its impact on my characters. To me they are all poignant things but equal under theme. I honestly find it cathartic at times to intersect with these themes in an imaginary world without real life risk. I know queer folks aren't a monolith-- this is just one person's take..

**edited to remove IC info**
Last edited by Philly on Mon Jul 10, 2023 10:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

Ruby Owl
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2023 10:18 pm
Discord Handle: Ruby#0763

Mon Jul 10, 2023 10:27 am

I feel like focusing on the situation that led up to this is missing the point, but I'll give my opinion regardless. The original branding was purely about their homosexual relationship, without even a hint of sex in the accusation- yet they were not forced to marry and were forced to split apart. The actual pyring was a result of something far greater and completely deserved, but the previous situation shows how homosexual couples would be viewed outside of that light.

Regardless of my opinions on the matter, the biggest question I have is would it even be possible to change this as a part of the theme? We all know that mages will never "win", that Davism and the Order will always win. it would be a different game if they lost. But, if PCs began a movement for the legalization of gay marriage, would it be denied on the basis on not fitting theme, or would they be able to actually change the world?

I think a hard, uphill battle where there is hope OOCly that gay marriage can be legalized would be something I’d want to see. The Hand of God coming in to legalize gay marriage via NPCs feels like a very hard sell. But, telling PCs that it is possible for gay marriage to be legalized in Lithmore if they put in the effort would make it feel less bleak and more hopeful, as well as give player agency in a way that doesn't overturn the game's roots.

plague
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2020 1:43 am
Discord Handle: plague#6022

Mon Jul 10, 2023 10:32 am

For me it's not that I think anyone got killed just for being gay, it's that gay sex being such a representative part of why people can easily be fingered (hah) as being subversive actively makes the oppressive RP to follow less engaging for me. It stresses my suspension of disbelief because it makes it harder to argue that the oppression is justified or "moral".

Killing someone for being a megamage hits different for me. It isn't bleakly, monolithically evil to end the life of someone who has powers over some of the laws of reality and can theoretically bring eldritch abominations into the world that want to kill everyone.

Erasmus
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2023 1:30 pm

Mon Jul 10, 2023 10:37 am

(First section redacted for IC info.)
Philly wrote:
Mon Jul 10, 2023 10:14 am
2) Charali are pretty hard-coded Native American. I do not know your ethnicity is nor would I want to assume, but I think it is bad form to suggest there are not parallels to real life racism simply because they are made-up names. There ARE parallels, and these are felt. In a similar vein, for those of us who experienced religious trauma and sexism/slut shaming as a result of that, seeing those issues played out IC is also difficult. This might be one of those situations where the intersections with our own identities are more felt.
I have typically pushed back hard against coding the Charali as Native American partially for this reason, but I apologize sincerely about that point.

I absolutely, however, did experience religious trauma and sexism growing up as well - it is one of the reasons I am so very glad the Decree of Sodality more or less stripped sexism out of TI's theme to a large part (inasmuch as you can do that when we're all people raised in today's modern world). I do not see the theme as restricting female sexuality any more than it restricts male sexuality, although I've seen some players RP this on an individual basis. It is a choice I don't love, though I recognize some people prefer to engage with these issues.

Ultimately this is about me wanting to have some way, any way, to RP being a good Davite and also potentially a homosexual, in the future. I would be okay if we had an explicit statement that Tubor marriages were accepted; I have never been told this in the past, it was never treated as an actual option. But I think plague's point is a really good one. It adds -nothing- to keep anti-homosexuality in Davism, and it might make rping Davism more palatable to our playerbase as a whole.
Last edited by Erasmus on Mon Jul 10, 2023 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Ghed
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:50 am
Discord Handle: Ghed

Mon Jul 10, 2023 10:45 am

Hey all. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and doing so in a constructive and compassionate manner. This game's theme is HARD. Roleplaying oppression in TI can be hard, particularly when it intersects with who you are outside of it. That said:

1. We do not allow forums posts to argue recent IC events. Bluntly: do not reveal IC information, do not comment on ongoing or recent RP, do not name names. Please edit your posts if you are violating this or they will be deleted.

2. HELP MARRIAGE RPA does facilitate queer and heretical weddings. We do not guarantee characters will accept it, but we provide that option for the very reasons discussed above: to provide one avenue to decouple sex outside of marriage with homosexuality on-grid.

As well: tactfully and respectfully folks: gay marriage is not referenced in Davism; fornication is. We can 'legalize it' (it's legal in Tubor, again), sure, but this theme is one with racism, classism, sexism (different races have very different perspectives on women), ableism (remember, physical defects are a big no-no in Davism), and mageism itself in the end.
“What good is power when you're too wise to use it?”

plague
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2020 1:43 am
Discord Handle: plague#6022

Mon Jul 10, 2023 10:48 am

Ghed wrote:
Mon Jul 10, 2023 10:45 am
We do not guarantee characters will accept it, but we provide that option for the very reasons discussed above: to provide one avenue to decouple sex outside of marriage with homosexuality on-grid.
I do not feel as though most people understood or considered this to be legitimate under Lithmorran interpretations of Davism. I feel that most people considered the minor heresies practiced in the other duchies to be heretical within Lithmore itself.

EDIT: We generally do not have or receive a higher religious authority than that handed down by player characters. There is no IC oversight for the actions of the Inquisition. Personally, I have never considered Tubori marriages to be anything but a minor heresy from Davism, because marriage is primarily a religious structure and Davites in Lithmore have always considered any form of homosexual relationships to be exceptionally shameful, and the Order seems to me like it has historically had a disproportionate amount of Farin characters who would be more prone to interpreting homosexuality as fornication, and therefore sinful.

I have always assumed a Tubor marriage would be seen as in some way sinful or heretical.
Last edited by plague on Mon Jul 10, 2023 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

Erasmus
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2023 1:30 pm

Mon Jul 10, 2023 11:05 am

Ditto with what Plague says. It was certainly not presented as an option to me at any point, unless it was outright moving to Tubor to live as a married couple - i.e., liquidate, lol.

I don't want to strip TI of all of its rough edges, to be sure. But Davism, as you say, Ghed, doesn't even say anything about homosexuality, only fornication without blessing. We could just make that fornication 'blessable' officially in Lithmore and call it a day. It's not a huge change thematically and it would make it possible to play a homosexual and a good Davite, which is awfully hard to do if Tubori marriage exists in this current totally unclear state.

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