Diversity in Sexuality


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Yeah, I'm gay and amazing! Check me out!

 

Okay fine, there’s not much diversity per se because we fall into one of three categories: Straight, bi or gay. Well, before I continue, I figured that another article about how diverse characters on Guild Wars 2 will be based on traits/races/professions/weapons/skills/play styles or any combination of the six will just be rehashing what everyone is saying and it doesn’t really contribute much for discussion. We’ve already established that very well, thank you very much, so let’s move on.

I decided on a topic that’s rather personal to me because being gay and a gamer, I was very pleasantly surprised with the way ArenaNet decided to handle this controversial issue. Drawing your attention to Ree’s interview with Wartower during Gamescom 2011, she was asked about the relationships between sylvari since everyone was making a mountain out of a molehill regarding the fact that the sylvari don’t have the ability to reproduce despite having the proper physical parts and the fact that Caithe and Faolain were hinted at being lovers.

When commenting on the obvious homosexual relationships between sylvari, she said:

“They fall in love with the person that inspires them, or that brings joy to them, and they don’t think ‘Does this person have the same biology as me?’ any more than they would think ‘Does this person have dark skin?’ or ‘Does this person have pale hair?’ or ‘Does this person have blue eyes?'”

And when giving an example of you chasing away a bully and the victim’s partner coming over to offer his gratitude:

“We don’t mention that they are both male because it doesn’t matter. We’re not trying to promote homosexuality or put it out there like it’s a surprising thing. It’s just part of life. There’s no reason to call it out. You’re going to see sylvari in various places throughout the world in heterosexual relationships. We don’t say anything about them. It’s completely normal, and that’s how we’re treating the other relationships in our game as well. Just normal. Why would we call it out or make it a big thing? That’s love.”

While reading through Ree’s answer – god, I love her even more now – what struck me was how true it was. I always thought it was normal to make a big deal out of being gay – equality and all – but her very objective reply made me look at it in a different way. Ree sits in her ivory tower, carefully observing the field and calling out people on both sides.

On one hand, why discriminate against gays? People have the freedom to love who they want to love. We were born this way. Let freedom ring!

On the other hand, is it always necessary to kick up a big fuss and plaster a ‘discrimination’ tag over everything that’s vaguely homophobic? If it’s really a social norm as you say, why purposely call it out?

Yes, we won’t be able to form a relationship, get married and have cute McDreamy babies but I appreciate ArenaNet’s gesture in offering us gay gamers an “option” to feel included. And though it’s a very subtle thing and we’re not going to be sucking the faces of same-gender NPCs but at least I know I’m accepted because the game has defined it as such.

On a side note: I won’t roll a male sylvari because I only create gorgeous characters so it’s definitely going to be a female. If I ever were to RP anything – which is never – it’s going to be on my male human. Sadly, he’s probably no Patrick Dempsey – GORGEOUS! – but ANet, if you can give us Gong Li (screenshot – see below – /Google image) in Factions, you can definitely try to sneak in Patrick. Or maybe Darren Criss, or Joel McHale (obligatory Community reference) perhaps? They’re both so very good looking. Pretty please?

I could have asked for the silver fox of Hollywood a.k.a George Clooney… just saying.

 

Gong Li is immortalized on Guild Wars! *gasp*

 

And shame on you BioWare, I’ve been waiting for same-sex relationships in SWTOR since it launched and it hasn’t seen the light of day. Shame on you.

Back to the topic, to be fair, I haven’t had any bad experiences in MMOs regarding my sexuality. Mostly because it didn’t come up; the first time I actually told anyone was to a lesbian friend of mine on WoW (my first MMO) but that was it. And the most recent examples were in SWTOR where I just told a guy that I “didn’t swing that way” when he was talking about girls and I admitted it when another guy asked me point-blank after I blatantly gushed about Ewan McGregor. In case you’re curious, they were very cool about it.

Honestly, I think I might have been scared back then. And the community in WoW aren’t a bed of soft, rosy petals either. But in retrospect, I realised that yeah, no one knows who you are so why does it matter if some ignorant prick starts slinging homophobic slurs at you? Just be the better person, shrug it off and walk away.

But I still can’t help but feel that the gaming community is dominated by bigots/testosterone-pumped douchebags and that there is still a stigma on female/gay gamers. I know the world is changing and so is the community but stereotypes exist for a reason; although the ones that prove it right are probably just a minority now.

In any case, major props to ArenaNet for not only trying to change the landscape of MMOs and innovate the genre but also for providing a haven and a place of acceptance for us. Thank you also for promoting the fostering of close bonds between the community and creating a place where we feel safe, accepted, loved and welcomed.

I may sound presumptuous because there may be other groups of people that you guys are advocating for but they haven’t been called out yet but just know that I have nothing but respect for the work and the piece of art that you guys have created. Let me raise a goblet-ful of pink sparkle ponies and six-colored rainbows to the success of Guild Wars 2.

Now, if you will only please sell your Collector’s Edition at a local retailer in Singapore so I can throw my money at you. You guys deserve it.

To The Readers: What are your views on this manner of diversity? Do you like the subtly of it? Do you think people will notice / be bothered at all? Do you think same-sex couples will be limited to just the sylvari or will we see them in the other races? 

About the author: A self-proclaimed geek, Damagedself constantly straddles between the two very different worlds of gaming and entertainment. While not slinging fireballs from his sexy female Elementalist, he’s swooning over Darren Criss on Glee. He loves watching television and enjoys the witty dialogues of Grey’s Anatomy. Constantly fantasizes on how the hospitals of Singapore would be more enjoyable if the doctors were as gorgeous as the fake ones on Grey’s.

Edit: Check out LadyVerene’s post on the same subject here: http://paletree.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/guild-wars-2-not-as-straightforward-as-it-seems/ !!

Further reading:

This entry was posted in Food for Thought, Guild Wars 2, Tyria and tagged , , , by damagedself. Bookmark the permalink.

About damagedself

Hey guys hey! I'd like to think I have the personality of a quaggan even though my articles might suggest otherwise. Hehe. And the only straight I am is a straight up bitch and a geek. But I hardly unleash my inner little monster (get the Gaga reference?) on people unless severely provoked. Relax, I don't bite. Much. ^^ Currently, I'm playing LoL and DCUO and I spend the rest of my time watching television series and obsessing over pop culture. My absolute favourites are Castle and Grey's Anatomy. That is why I constantly fantasize about how happy I'd be if the hospitals were stocked full of gorgeous doctors. P.S. I love McDreamy. And Darren Criss. Oh, and you're more than welcome to talk TV shows with me!
  • AngerinaGW2

    Oh you so will see same-sex couples of the other races, too, I’m so going to make that happen. 

    • izziebot

      if anybody can find them, I know you will be the one.

      You should totally do a post about it. That’d be pretty cute / awesome! Maybe for V-day next year

      • AngerinaGW2

        I already have a roleplaying project for a host club planned, welcoming all sexualities 😉

        • Honest opinion

          The “normalization” of homosexuality agenda is being pushed aggressively all over. No media is exempt of it. While I understand this might be something good for homosexual players and for the “progress” of our world, I believe this will only piss off people who would just like to play a game for fun without stuff that could easily be dismissed from it, building a scenery for posshahahaible backlashes for the LGBT community in the close future.

          • Gryndyl

            The only “homosexual agenda” is them wanting to be treated like everyone else. If someone has an issue with homosexual relationships being depicted as normal then that’s their own personal issue and not something that ArenaNet should care in the slightest about.

    • I know Ree said in the same interview that homosexuality exists in the other races but not as prevalent so I don’t know if that’s just a lore explanation or whether we’ll actually get to see NPCs from other races in homosexual relationships. I’d be stoked to see NPCs from other races too though!

  • izziebot

    I’ve actually been working on a huge community-post that touches upon this subject. Guild Wars’ community has always been awesomely progressive. I’ve played a LOT of games and sooo many of them are full of racist / sexist / homophobic assholes. 

    Although no comm is perfect, GW’s has always been both accepting and defensive of people of different backgrounds and walks of life. It’s awesome.

    I think it’s really important that same-sex relationships are represented just as they are; subtly, no-big-deal, hey we exist but not in your face.

    While I’m all for gay rights and pride, I think (as with any group), the extremists sometimes cause backlash from those they hope to convince to accept them. It is, unfortunately, a really touchy subject for a lot of people and having it thrown in their face just causes them to shirk away more. 

    I think it’s importantly to represent these people as just a part of life; because that’s just how it is. Likewise different racial tones (for humans) are highly represented in the same “no-big-deal” manner. 

    I love it. GW2 is evolutionary in more ways than just game-play, but socially as well.

    I hope the community continues to uphold our great background, too. 

  • MrHoot

    I like the fact that they’re not tryint to be “in your face” about it, unlike Mass effect 3/bioware. I am not gay, but I tend to hang out with a nice circle of homosexual friends and most of what they say is also what I think, as in: It’s nice to be respected, but not worth to make a whole fuss about it just for the attention, for good or worse. So I appreciate aNet’s take on it. Although I dunno if it’s actual homosexuality for the sylvari since, in their eyes, they don’t see it as such, but I like the philosophy behind it.

    On the other hand I’m not a fan of ANY kind of romance in video games, especially in MMOS or RPGS as they tend to be rather poorly done and mostly unconsequential. But it doesn’t seem as the focus here

    •  I totally agree with the subtlety point. I find it to be a rather refreshing take on advocating for something and in fact, it’s a rather classy way of doing it. I’m extremely proud of ANet for it.

  • Odellx

    Seeing
    as how most gamers are still heterosexual males, I think that the community in
    the majority of games will have at least some type of homophobic
    element/unnecessary discrimination. Or at least here in North America can’t say
    much for other places. But this just goes to show that that is the society that
    we live in, and not to say that heterosexual males are threatened by
    homosexuality. I think it’s more of since it’s what we are used to- the status
    quo as it were- it’s looked on as what is normal and nobody will call you out
    for it. The fact that people can’t move on from this fact shows just how
    backwards we as a “western society” really are even if we’re not willing to
    admit it. I think the fact that they put this in their game shows that they as
    a company are aware of what is going on in the real world are ballsy enough to
    draw real parallels to their own game world.

     I
    was reading through the EoD book and came to the part where Caithe’s love and
    her partner were talked about and was interested to see where it would go, and
    I still am interested to see where it will go. The fact that it’s subtle makes
    it more realistic because while seeing a pride parade swinging down one of the
    streets of Divinity’s Reach would be quite over the top I think something more
    personal between two characters is better for exploring all possible routes.
    People will notice and those who will be bothered will inevitably try fight
    against it but we can only wait and see how ArenaNet goes through with this.

    TLDR

    Oh
    and I think that standing up to someone who is bad mouthing should be done and
    done in a way that isn’t fighting them or being aggressive, and if anyone feeds
    you something about sticks and stones try their logic and see if words don’t
    hurt them.

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  • Gomez

    No matter how much you guys try to “normalize” homosexuality, it’s still a against the nature of things. Nowadays, media is trying hard to “normalize” pedophilia too. Many under-aged artists are being photographed in “sexual appealing positions” just for making the society accept it. Will you consider this as the nature of things too?

    • AngerinaGW2

      Right, because falling in love and pleasing your perfectly-of-age-same-sex-partner is the same as traumatizing underage children. Riiiight.

    •  I didn’t want to make a disclaimer because I understand that there’re people who’re not for homosexuality and I wanted to hear *constructive* comments. But when you come onto my turf and tell me that I’m not “normal”, you’re not welcomed.

      If the “pedophilia” example is the best you can give, sorry, I suggest you go brush up on your general knowledge.

      And FYI, I don’t think the media is doing anything because such photographs can’t be taken without any sort of consent. And I can assure you that for the party giving consent, trying to “make society accept it” is the furthest thought from their mind as opposed to say “making money”. So get over yourself.

    • First of all, if you are sharing your opinion about homosexuality, please tell us that is the case so we can treat it as opinion. If you have research to support this statement, please post a reference or a link so we can play along and read about your statement. If your opinion is based on the Bible (capitalized out of respect), then let us know that also so we know the strength of your convictions. 

      Secondly, changing your topic after only one sentence does little to strengthen your original point. Using statements about pedophilia and child pornography to leverage your opinion is at the very least rude, at most: offensive and antagonistic; and is generally inaccurate. Also, I’m almost certain you’re referring to hebephiles rather than pedophiles, as the children being photographed are often teens. Here is a link that should put your homosexual=pedophilia argument to rest: 

      http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_molestation.html 

      Finally, regarding your original point about homosexuality being “against the nature of things,” I submit to you that this is also not the case. I recommend you take time to read a book or do an internet search on gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, pansexual, asexual, queer, questioning…the list goes on…to learn more about what we’re talking about. Or, feel free to visit a local gay friendly organization, such as a community center, a university LGBT student alliance, or even a gay bar. You can, of course, talk to someone you know to be gay as well, though, given your comment about all of this being “against the nature of things,” I would wager many of these options are likely to be outside of your comfort zone.

      I will leave you with a link providing education on your original point (homosexuality being against the nature of things), as well as a polite piece of advice:

      Link about homosexuality and nature: http://bit.ly/x4fTR8

      Advice: If you are going to post comments like this in the future, please back them up with fact or reference if your intent is to begin a conversation and/or defend a view point. If your intention is more malicious (e.g., to start a fight or libel others), please resist the urge to post here (or post anywhere), as we will, in the future, simply delete such comments, as they are not constructive to the conversation.

      Thank you and have a good day.

    • Verene

      How is it against the nature of things when it’s seen frequently in nature itself?

      Also, if you cannot see the difference between a relationship involving two mature, consenting adults, and sexualizing children who are not 1) not always even through puberty yet and 2) have no way of consenting willingly and knowingly…you have some bigger issues than your homophobia.

      I am just as normal as everyone else around me thank you very much.

    • Nature of things? Please.. Homosexuality is NOT a new thing. It’s been around for thousands and thousands of years, in hundreds of different species. I do believe that makes it pretty damn natural itself, not to mention the other aspects behind it. Love is a natural thing, bigotry is NOT a natural thing.

      You using pedophilia as an example to compare to homosexuality leaves me to believe that you are ill informed with much to do about life and the real world. If you can not tell the difference between love between two people and a sick and disturbing actions towards innocent children, then I wouldn’t trust your input on anything. 

      Humanity wouldn’t succeed and we would of killed ourselves years ago if we didn’t have a loving and caring nature. Love between people of the same sex, opposite sex,  race, religion, etc etc is completely natural. The want for love is something everyone desires in all walks of life. Bleh.. I’m giving off topic, so I’ll stop here. To the Author, thank you for the great article and a look at a perspective often controversial and never addressed. Thank you for bringing up this subject. On a side note, I’m disappointed in BioWare for back-peddling and beating around the bush on homosexuality in SW:TOR when it has been in their prior games simply so they don’t offend the “vocal majority” and can keep sub’s up and sales high.

    • Gryndyl

      Unless you live in a cave eating raw vegetables then the majority of your life is “against the nature of things”. Homosexuality, however, is completely natural and found in many species. As far as trying to drag pedophilia int it, feel free to look up the “apples to oranges” logic fallacy. 

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  • This is the kind of thing that keeps winning me over to ArenaNet, and makes me glad I even decided to see what all this “Guild Wars hoopla” was all about! Love does not discriminate, and we could all probably learn a great deal about the sylvari view of life, such as it is.

    This is yet another reason why I cannot wait to get my hands on this game.