Legalizing gay marriage

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NeoByte
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Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2023 10:55 am
Discord Handle: Neo_byte

Mon Jul 10, 2023 11:20 am

Hey friends, returning player and alphabet mafia hitman Neo here. As someone who's taken a few months break from the game before returning, I'm pretty detached from any ongoing IC events that people might try and attribute to this, but when I was playing prior to my break I also had thoughts and opinions on this topic for a while.

Full disclosure, my character is a Charali codedly (half-charali ICly) and naturally has been exposed to a lot of the less egalitarian sides of TIs roleplay. Which is most of them, I guess.

Despite how that may sound at first I'm not trying to lambast the theme because I know many people find it satisfying to live through and express those struggles in stores, but I did wanna bring up something that think serves as a key difference between what this topic is covering and the rest of TIs Hard Themes.

Namely, while I have seen a lot of struggle due to my character being a 'Savage', I've also had a lot unique growth come as a result of that- and made a lot of strong bonds with certain characters over it as a result. But the key to all of that happening is the fact that whole being a 'Savage' is disapproved of and looked on with scorn, it's not something that on its own will get a PC killed. There has been genocide in the past as part of TIs themes, but at least in this era- being a 'Savage' is not considered a crime, or at a bare minimum is not something they're typically killed over.

Playing a queer character is not the same.

Playing a queer character is not just met with scorn, it's met with death, typically - or some other manner of harsh penalty. I think that the argument that this shouldn't be considered because it would make TIs themes less Hard should be reconsidered and people who believe that to ask themselves if that's actually true. Because the theme can still remain harsh while not also having queer people be an impetus to be executed. There's a lot of soft barriers and penalties that could and do exist for poor people/minorities/disabled characters in game already. Queer folk are in a unique spot where they're the only odd one out who will actually die for these things though, right up there with Mages.

So I think that whole it's definitely the case that there is some precedent for this stuff like getting married in Tubor, it's not been made nearly apparent enough that this is a real and viable option, and I think it should be a bit more explicit and maybe make some kind of official clarification on the matter. Maybe also taking more explicit steps towards making it clear that LGBT folks are tolerated, but perhaps in the same way that other marginalized folk are tolerated, could go a long way.

Anyways that's my thoughts. Thanks chat.

Geras
Posts: 1087
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:50 pm

Mon Jul 10, 2023 4:04 pm

I don't think anti-LGBTQ attitudes are an essential part of the theme, and I think shifting to more acceptance there would be a net benefit by allowing more players to identify better with the characters' stories. There's enough anti-LGBTQ BS going on IRL. We don't need to revisit it in game. It also creates more separation between the Order and the Catholic Church which I think would be good.

There's also precedent with the treatment of women in game both code wise and thematically.

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AlwaysShunny
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed May 31, 2017 6:45 pm

Tue Jul 11, 2023 7:38 am

There are a lot of interesting perspectives shared here! I won't speak on the recent IC Events, but here's a throwback to last year. My character and Lyonie, who was the Justiciar back then, brainstormed the idea of presenting a gay marriage legalization proposal to the Council and Grand Inquisitor. After all, marriage isn't just a religious bond, it's a legal contract too, so it makes sense that some aspects of it fall under secular authority, not just clerical. Why not the aspect that dictates the parameters of gender? The only real counter I've seen IC is that since procreation is impossible under gay marriage, and since Davism is all about procreation, the marriage would just be a temptation and loophole for the sinful and lusty gays. Oh no! :o

This led me to a realization that in-game opposition to such a proposal might be minimal, if the motion was ever brought forward. The justification? The Erra Pater never mentions homosexuality, not even once. Any potential objections seem to be more a product of individual player interpretations of Davism or their character's personal cultural biases, rather than any codified in-game rule or law.
the lord of the springs is king dav father

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

Tue Jul 11, 2023 9:34 am

Erasmus wrote:
Mon Jul 10, 2023 9:30 am
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.
Having given some more time to bake, I do want to address this and how I feel about it.

No, fantasy racism is incredibly painful to play out. People simply don't play it out to the same degree as some people might remember in TI, and they certainly do not treat characters who take their racism too seriously very well. Characters who showcase cultural intolerance beyond casual "Ah, how Vavardi/Vandagan/etc. of you"isms will often receive severe disdain from their fellows, and for reasons that make plenty of sense. Lithmore is the capital, a melting pot, and where the (metaphorical) magic happens, so ideally most characters who come to Lithmore with more severe opinions about cultural differences have already come to terms with the fact that they are no longer in their own country, and as much as others are foreign to them, they are outsiders. Similarly, Lithmorrans by and large carry their sense of moral superiority close to their chest so long as others generally abide by Lithmorran standards, even if just about everyone will refer to Charali and Hillfolk as savages once or twice if a particularly large specimen isn't standing in the room.

I think people mostly stopped doing it because they thought it sucked. Maybe it's temporary, maybe it's just that the IC culture of PCs isn't really tolerant of racial discord, I don't know, but what is clear is that it is not a significantly-representative part of the roleplay currently except when it is mixed with assumptions of sexual impropriety or one's consumption of coffee or vodka. But these cultures in TI have analogies to real-life cultures, and the racism that people experience in TI can be very indicative and meaningfully representative of the social issues faced IRL by people who belong to minorities.

It's just that no one is branded or burned for drinking vodka or 'being a savage'.

The experience of being an overt racist in TI is the experience of being a nationalist whose country has already been conquered and supplanted, and being surrounded by those more culturally diverse than you. It is an exercise in stewing in your own juices as everyone looks at you like there's something wrong with you - because, well, there is. It's wrong (not evil, but certainly wrong) to judge others based on a stereotype of who you think they might be, or at least to do it to such a level that you exclude who and what they actually are.

That form of racism, taken to its extremes, dehumanizes and degrades everyone you come into contact with, including yourself. It makes them and you into caricatures devoid of individuality. It cuts you away from stories and characters with great and terrible traits, with secrets your character would only use in order to hurt them, and which you are only likely to get out of them through violence, subterfuge, or making them up wholecloth.

It seems like people don't want to roleplay that anymore on the basis of race, perhaps because racial sensitivity has massively increased in the English-speaking world over the past ten years or so, and perhaps because cultural sensitivity in general has expanded. I don't know!

But people are willing to roleplay far more violent hatred and oppression of homosexual characters right now - and I say 'right now' because maybe that wasn't the case three years ago, and now that I think about it, maybe it wasn't the case when I played Percy. The focus seemed to be on magic and heresy and megaviolence rather than on making sure the gays aren't touching weenies. But when I played Percy and he got burned to death for being a filthy thoughtreading mage with dubious connections to dubious places, several people were perfectly willing to hear my story, and the Inquisitors who processed my Review roleplayed with me for about sixteen hours over the course of two days, giving me all the time in the world to say my piece and ensure they knew exactly who Percy thought he was and exactly what he thought he was about.

When I was led to the pyre I was gagged, but that was because rather than surrender himself to the pyre, Percy argued with the Inquisitors and accused them of immorality, blaming Davism for the events that led to his arrest and for the moral degradation of Lithmore. I was offered the chance to resist, however feeble it was, and I paid the price of using it. I went to the pyre smiling, proud of who my character was and what he had done despite spending a little over two OOC months alive, far shorter than I have on Jae currently.

I know that I earned every speck of suspicion I had, despite the fact that at the time, a staff member was actively cheating to act against me by sharing metainfo with his girlfriend and using her as a springboard to hide crossover and attempt to get me killed for having spoken to his girlfriend. I know that the roleplay I received was proportionate to what I had done, and though I was very sad, my captors were exceptionally OOCly polite and exceptionally OOCly courteous to me. I left the character feeling like my scenes in Ahalin were the best scenes I had had on the character, and I am endlessly grateful for the people who helped make that happen. I remember vividly how Percy tried to put forth a last token resistance, raising four of his fingers and thinking something about it, hoping that someone in the crowd would hear it before he eventually succumbed to the smoke and burned to ashes.

This result respected me, and what I'd done, and why. Even if Percy lied about much of it.

I think that's the ideal for every pyring. And having played an Inquisitor after Percy, I know that that can't always happen. I only had one pyring, partially because the one I did was so OOCly exhausting that I did not want to continue playing TI. But despite the fact that the characters in question were completely and unquestionably guilty beyond all shadows of a doubt in my case, my roleplay most thoroughly emphasized sympathy for the plights that led them to do the naughty things they did, a desire to provide the necessary penances for the good of their souls and to go no further than that - and even when one of the players attempted to flash her 100 Charisma to mind-control me into not pyring her, I had enough respect for that person, as OOCly caustic as they would prove to be toward me in the time that followed, to have my character burst into tears at the fact that her life had been so tragic, and that she would finally have the ending that would save her from her fate.

When I witness roleplay based on any form of categorical oppression - be it based on race, sexuality, class, or even upon magic - what I look for in authority figures is the intention to change and be changed by the roleplay of those stories they are ending. When I see that the player is not interested in the deeper meaning behind these parts of the setting, when I see that the roleplay is disrespectful to what and who the other character actually happens to be, and especially if I feel like that's what someone is doing to me, I get really sad.

TI means a lot to me, and I think there's no other incredibly-bleak-grimdark-hellscape setting I'd rather play in.

But the emotional BDSM of totally surrendering the safety of my character to someone else's completely falls apart if I stop having faith that they care about me, and my character, and my time. And the last time that I quit, it was actually because I realized that that was the prevailing vibe, the prevailing opinion held by certain staff members, and that it flowed downward. It was by grace and fortune that my Inquisitors were particularly good and happy and nice roleplayers, and the roleplay could instead have had the effect of emotional abuse. Because the power dynamic is such in TI that the person on the other end of the branding rod has an exceptionally higher amount of power over your story than you do of yours, it is exceptionally important that they give over some of their story to yours, or it just sucks.

I think people feel like treating "sexually improper" characters with little OOC respect is more acceptable than treating characters with little OOC respect because they are Vandagan. To a lesser extent, the same kind of OOC disrespect is given to players playing Hillfolk or Charali.

I think that it is easier for people to do things that hurt the other player in those situations, and that that is the real cause for people feeling icky about gay persecution. It happens far less today in cases of people playing Charali and Hillfolk, and so there is far less of a feeling of OOC injustice in those situations.

But in both cases real, living people are afraid that their characters will be boiled down to stereotypes and treated as more disposable than others by the real, living people on the other side of the keyboard. And people are fine with their characters being treated proportionately to who they are. They simply disagree that it should be so severe, and they feel like something must be done about it, but struggle to put their fingers on it. One side looks to legalizing gay marriage, they think that maybe the reason they're so upset is because IRL is bothering them rn and maybe TI should be gentler, but I don't think that that's really it.

I think it's that if you play a character who's gay, your dignity as a player and the value of your story might be discarded for the sake of ensuring you receive a "themely" amount of persecution. And even in theme, it is abundantly clear that this should be a hotly-debated issue... but without people playing priests, there is no actual moral debate to be had. There is only the question of whether your Inquisitor feels like you deserve their time and respect or not. That is why Ghed's reply is of little comfort for me. People are already free to choose whether they will interpret the IC however they want to. They have, and when they do so I rarely feel like it's anything but an excuse to treat someone like garbage because "they opted into 'theme'".

Roleplay which does not respect the character or the player will always blow. People are just more likely to treat you poorly OOCly if your character is gay. There is an OOC feeling that if your character is gay that you in some way deserve whatever happens to them in the end, that people will giggle and hee and haw about you in private, and that your roleplay will be flanderized and slandered for being a constant cum orgy, and that at the end of it all you'll just be the silly little witch who thought it was a good idea to put your parts in the wrong place or vice versa when you inevitably get whipped, branded, and potentially pyred as a heretic for it.

I don't like feeling that way or seeing people feel that way.

Crownling
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2023 2:40 am
Discord Handle: chaperone#3794

Tue Jul 11, 2023 12:46 pm

I haven't considered myself a member of this community for a solid chunk of time now, and I'm willing to bet the cold, distant feelings I have for TI are rather mutual. I live in a middle eastern country where, much like TI, LGBTQ+ individuals are violently discriminated against and stripped of basic rights and priveleges like employment, housing, and even the right to live, sometimes, considering our elected leader is in the process of declaring the LGBTQ foundation a terrorist group within our borders, with myself being a queer person to feel the looming threat over my head. Amidst all that, I play MUDs with my boyfriend to escape from the stresses of my day to day life. You probably see where this post is going already. I draw a lot of parallels between the oppressive government I have to suffer under in real life to the oppressive virtual government of TI's world that I also suffered under for the time I played. An aggressive game culture that nurtures bigoted IC thoughts as a direct result of the game's setting, and the dubious OOC motives of certain players mix together to make it feel as inhospitable as possible for LGBTQ players and characters that could likely begin to change through the suggested addition of... simply legalizing gay marriage. The IC excuses are readily apparent - it's already legal in Tubor, antagonizing and prosecuting this group of people for no good reason only serves to alienate them further, and where they might legally and properly marry, they instead opt to sin with little alternatives left.

Just my two silver coins.

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

Tue Jul 11, 2023 1:01 pm

I don't disagree with you, plague, in that wanting respect and full justice done to your characters is critical.

But I want to be clear that yes, I am confident that what I am asking for is the right path forward in terms of addressing my concerns at least. And I do think it would benefit the game as a whole to have a codified way to be queer and Davite with minimal conflict between the two, because damn it, that is what I would like to play! I'm only more convinced of the benefits of Davist gay marriage after reading this thread. A lot of people have been making really good points about how this makes Davism more sympathetic/less Catholic, that homophobia is neither scripturally supported by the EP nor really necessary to good RP, and also pointing out the particular consequences of homophobia in this theme when compared to racism, etc.

(Again, a mea culpa for my point on that front. It was tossed off as an aside I didn't properly explore and I do not mean for one second to stand by the idea that the racism on TI is 'easier' to live with than the homophobia. That's my bad.)

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

Tue Jul 11, 2023 1:40 pm

Plague, thank you for saying what you did about RPing racism in TI.
plague wrote:
Tue Jul 11, 2023 9:34 am
When I was led to the pyre I was gagged, but that was because rather than surrender himself to the pyre, Percy argued with the Inquisitors and accused them of immorality, blaming Davism for the events that led to his arrest and for the moral degradation of Lithmore. I was offered the chance to resist, however feeble it was, and I paid the price of using it. I went to the pyre smiling, proud of who my character was and what he had done despite spending a little over two OOC months alive, far shorter than I have on Jae currently.

I know that I earned every speck of suspicion I had, despite the fact that at the time, a staff member was actively cheating to act against me by sharing metainfo with his girlfriend and using her as a springboard to hide crossover and attempt to get me killed for having spoken to his girlfriend. I know that the roleplay I received was proportionate to what I had done, and though I was very sad, my captors were exceptionally OOCly polite and exceptionally OOCly courteous to me. I left the character feeling like my scenes in Ahalin were the best scenes I had had on the character, and I am endlessly grateful for the people who helped make that happen. I remember vividly how Percy tried to put forth a last token resistance, raising four of his fingers and thinking something about it, hoping that someone in the crowd would hear it before he eventually succumbed to the smoke and burned to ashes.

I think that's the ideal for every pyring. And having played an Inquisitor after Percy, I know that that can't always happen. I only had one pyring, partially because the one I did was so OOCly exhausting that I did not want to continue playing TI. But despite the fact that the characters in question were completely and unquestionably guilty beyond all shadows of a doubt in my case, my roleplay most thoroughly emphasized sympathy for the plights that led them to do the naughty things they did, a desire to provide the necessary penances for the good of their souls and to go no further than that - and even when one of the players attempted to flash her 100 Charisma to mind-control me into not pyring her, I had enough respect for that person, as OOCly caustic as they would prove to be toward me in the time that followed, to have my character burst into tears at the fact that her life had been so tragic, and that she would finally have the ending that would save her from her fate.
So this was me. Looking back over my logs, I conducted 17 reviews during about 9 OOC months as an Inquisitor. Of those reviews, yours was the ONLY one where I did not have to deal with OOC abuse through tells/osays, complaints of policy abuse to staff, people bringing up how Inquisitors should RP better in OOC chat, or posted forum threads like this after their character's pyring that tied discussion of legitimate theme issues to "Inquis RP bad." I was called a homophobe, I was called a "fucking witch," I was sent death threats over tells, I was shamed in group chats. I was told I pyred people too quickly, I was told I took too long to pyre people. People joked they needed to drug themselves in order to survive a scene with me. It felt like EVERY SINGLE REVIEW turned into long form petitions for changes to policy or theme. People were OOCly angry and blamed me ICly when there were escapes, the same thing happened when the pkills commenced.

I'm glad you felt your scene was fulfilling. I was really trying. I also think your story about choosing to quit playing an Inquisitor after one review is telling, because this is the pattern I saw again and again and again. The OOC strain is enormous. Even I dread the thought of RPing an Inquisitor again. For every person that feels satisfied by a review there are ten who behave badly. I can't help but feel awful for the Order players who are reading this massive thread and seeing it devolve repeatedly into critiques of how well people RP enforcement roles.

If you ask me? There's a legitimate discussion to be had about our theme here. As I've said before, I'm also bi, and while I disagree strongly with what people like Neo and Erasmus said on RPing homophobia vs. racism in our setting, I agree with what Ruby says about IC cultural change over time.

That said, posting this right after IC events and using it the way some people are to insinuate the Order players are homophobic bullies because of their RP is manipulative. Even the nuanced and thoughtful commentary plague has written up, in the context of recent IC events, just feels like we've entered another round of "Inquisitor RP bad."

Maybe I'm biased, because the racism talk definitely clouded my ability to take this in with a neutral lens from the beginning, but I really think having this discussion RIGHT NOW is poor form.

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

Tue Jul 11, 2023 1:52 pm

This thread has served its purpose and now gotten into what I perceive as very distasteful territory. Therefore it will be locked and I will delete any new threads about it for a while.

TI does not foster any sort of anti LGBTQ bigotry, and given our track record of LBGTQ players over the decades, I am confident I am in the right here. I would definitely not play, staff, or own the game if it wasn't the case. Our Order players are not out there to get queer people. I will not welcome any insinuation of the contrary without direct and explicit evidence.

Once again, homosexuality is not prosecuted in Lithmore, fornication outside of marriage is, and being gay is not a death penalty or a penalty of any kind. You have agreed with me in this point in that it does not appear on the Erra Pater. There are openly or subtly homosexual PCs and NPCs known to the Order that either remain chaste, or (in the past) have gone to Tubor to get married. The Order is not monolithic and has regional differences on slavery, homosexuality, culture and history.

I think that this discussion on the heels of a very dramatic set of executions is rough, and what I perceive as an insinuated idea of 'change this or your game is bigoted' or 'change this or I will leave' feels very inappropriate and offensive, especially since it was never discussed (nor the other game-world issues of racism, sexism, ableism, classism) until characters were recently caught, sentenced, and executed, for reasons entirely different from being gay.

Finally, equating "more sympathetic" with "less Catholic" is, at best, disrespectful to our Catholic players.
“What good is power when you're too wise to use it?”

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