Transgender Character and Quest

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    Manga Bottle

    Representation matters. Skyrim allowing same-sex marriage is a huge step forward, but what about a character who feels that he/she was born in the wrong body? Maybe that character could be connected to a quest for a spell that would permanently change their gender.



    Not PRECISELY what you were asking about, but look here.


    Manga Bottle

    Ok, that’s cool and all, but the idea behind the request was that the transgender issue would be the point of the entire quest, ie a character actively seeking to change their gender. It’d take quite a bit of care to pull off, though.



    This is not an attempt to force some “political/gender correctness” into the mod, though, I hope?


    Kris Takahashi

    Well, the gay and lesbian characters I’ve made are mostly interesting for other reasons. Their sexual identity is not a big deal, to the point people get surprised when I mention so and so is gay. Sure, it’s part of their identity, and may have an influence on their actions (Edwayne, for instance, being gay, you can speculate on how that might subconsciously affect his behavior toward a certain Nord) but not to the point where it feels they’re token LGBT people.

    Which is to say, I don’t feel like I’m the person to tell a coming out story, or a transgender identity story, at least not without some very intensive research. I’d much rather make a person who’s genuinely interesting and happens to be transgender, where that identity colors their world view.

    Of course, part of the reason is the topic isn’t as taboo in the TES world. A coming out story is best told when there’s a conflict. Whether it be with their parents, society, or the world at large. The way a person battles that, learns to accept and love who they are, and how their family learns to do the same is something that is poignant and beautiful.

    In Skyrim, LGBT aren’t treated differently from straight people, so I don’t know if it’s as interesting a story to tell. I like the fact that it’s a post-progressive world, if that’s the right term, and we can focus on who they are as people as opposed to making them symbols. Although I guess if racism exists, these types of views might still be prevalent, but Bethesda’s choice to make every marriage candidate bisexual and show examples of same-sex couples has certain consequences – one of which is that the subject is not taboo.

    Still, being trapped in a body not of your choosing might make for an interesting conflict by itself, but again, if I’m the one who’s going to write it, it would require research and care to tell. However, if anyone else wanted to write such a quest and add it to the user section, I’d be happy to mod it. But I do think establishing some sort of culture of hate, from the parents or society, would make it more compelling.




    Actually this brings up some interesting questions about sexuality in the ES universe. Is anyone well versed in this stuff? I am aware that there is a hetero sexual encounter in one of the biographies of B, and then there is all that curved swords/lusty argonian maid stuff. But is there any real, serious cannon discussion/world building about sex/sexuality/sexual orientation?

    Game mechanics suggest that there is pretty wide-spread acceptance of gay/lesbian/bisexual individuals. The ability to marry any marriage candidate regardless of gender seems to suggest that this Nirn is a world of bisexuals. The story, however, would seem to suggest that people still tend towards male/female relationships, as homosexual pairs seem to be the exception rather then the rule among NPCs and in the lore books. Or, perhaps, the Dragonborn is just so sexy awesome that everyone wants him.

    The only specific canonical reference to sexual orientation I am aware of is the dead gay couple on Solstheim.( and )
    While the who killed Bjornolfr were standing over his corpse and making fun of the love letter he wrote, however they don’t drop any specific words/slurs that suggest that they are doing this because he is gay. I therefore interpreted that they were amused by the gushy language of the letter and the fact that they had just murdered half a couple, rather than that they had just murdered one half of a gay couple.

    Eh, but its kind of hard to tell.

    I suppose the big question is whether the acceptance of diverse sexual orientations that is present in Skyrim has been the rule throughout Tamrielic cultural history, or the exception. Or, rather, is Tamriel a post-progressive continent, or one in which sexual orientation was simply never an issue in the first place? There is a historic precedent IRL for cultures that follow the latter philosophy- the Greeks and Edo period Japan come to mind. The European Medieval period that most modern fantasy is based on was not one of these cultures. However, ES lore tends to take that classic setting and then mess with it in delightful ways, so I would place my bets on sexual orientation never being an issue in the first place.

    Hmmmm. Maybe it would be best to approach a transsexual NPC from the gender aspect rather then the sexual orientation aspect of transsexualism? Gender roles seem fairly lax in Skyrim. However, I’m not sure how your average nord would take to someone insisting that their body does not match their mind and that they should use different pronouns.

    Meh, I really wish Bethesda had given us more to work with this sort of thing.


    Manga Bottle

    Well, some Polynesian cultures have a concept of a third gender, who often had a special spiritual role. Maybe you could come across some sort of tribe with such a character, maybe specifically interested in the worship of the Daedric princes because of their fluid gender. Or maybe have a scholar at the Collage of Winterhold who thinks that the Daedra’s lack of defined gender is somehow the secret to divinity?



    @zander It’s interesting that you should bring up Solstheim as something else I noticed about the DLC is that some of the male Dunmer have female walk animations. You tend to see it mostly during the quest Unearthed, when you encounter a larger number of unnamed male Dunmer miners. I suppose this is caused by them having the wrong walk animation, much like female NPCs having that beefy male walk, but I like to think it’s Bethesda adding diversity; these “errors” aren’t “fixed” by official and unofficial patches.

    Just thought I’d point that out. Personally I like it when women walk all buff, and I like it when the males walk gracefully. It’s nice to see them mix it up from time to time.



    i always thought it was some sort of glitch, the way female orcs walk is so masculine-y. then it occured to me that it was probably because of their culture, harsh living, renown for being the muscles of tamriel. so i guess that’s a few reasons why their women dont just ef about.

    it could be a good idea, after all, it’s always fun to try something new and to expand parts that bethesda didnt clear up, but to the point that it wouldnt bust the lore.


    Kris Takahashi

    An orc female born as a male would make the most sense. Gender roles still apply there, with the chief being a man and taking multiple wives.

    If it was the chief’s kid, there would be pressure for her (being the male-bodied heir) to become the chief. It would culminate with her besting her father in battle only to say, “nope, sorry dad, I’m a woman.” Problem would be logistically it would require a whole new tribe. Also it’s kind of cliche.



    will a fully armored character who who appears/sounds like a guy, and turns out to be a chick work? like pulling a samus minus the bikini ending.


    Kris Takahashi

    By the way, I know this thread is like 2 years old, but I did end up making a transgender character for Fallout New Vegas. In the end, making him a Legionnaire felt more like unexplored territory and a more unique premise than what you’d normally find when it comes to transgender identity and conflict, although the Orc idea is a good one.

    It’s a bit riskier since he’s not 100% likable, like say, Krem in DAI. The Legion are horrible people with very misogynistic views, but I felt like those contradictions are what makes him interesting.

    Anyways, I guess what I’m trying to say is, 2014 me can suck it.


    Manga Bottle

    Looking back at this, I’m actually kind of embarrassed. I was a bit too eager to show how ‘enlightened’ I was, and in hindsight forcing in a badly written trans-character would probably worse than no trans characters at all.
    To be fair, I still like the idea, and even have an idea based on official lore regarding Argonians (apparently juveniles are given hist-sap at a certain age to induce the development of sexual characteristics — what would happen to an Argonian who missed out on that?) but trying to force the issue will just make things unpleasant for all involved.
    Anyways, I guess what I’m trying to say is, 2014 me can suck it XD


    Kris Takahashi

    @Manga Bottle
    In your defense, I think any representation is good, and I hate how people use the “forced progressiveness” as an excuse to avoid writing about an LGBT character’s sexual and gender identity. A lot of times it’s code, the same way “All Lives Matter” can mean a whole bunch of sinister things or lump you in with a whole bunch of people you may not want to be associated with, regardless of your actual intention.

    It’s like saying characters like Arcade Gannon are gay characters “done right” because he doesn’t shove his sexuality down your throat. In other words, certain people are fine with gay characters so long as no one points out to them they’re gay. But if you’re writing say, a coming out story, sexuality is an incredibly big and important aspect of their character. A good character doesn’t have to talk about their sexuality (Amalee), but if it’s a large part of their identity, like say, Jolene, then shoving it down your throat is precisely what they should be doing. Sexuality and character aren’t mutually exclusive.

    That’s why I thought a Legion trans character was interesting – because of the interesting paradoxes their gender identity would create. The entire point is to explore those internal and external conflicts, so to make a character that’s “Oh by the way, I’m trans” and is interesting for other reasons would be deliberately avoiding territory that is fun to explore.

    With TES though, the opposite might be true, you probably have to make a trans character more or less just interesting background info since the world is so progressive (edit: although like someone mentioned earlier an Orc trans male or female might be good since their culture isn’t as progressive). Argonians would be perfect because of the lore and facial features. The LGBT characters in the mod are in this vein, because it’s hard to write about a person’s sexual preference or gender identity as a conflict when society encourages it. But I’d still say that representation matters in that regard. I just happened to be done with Skyrim at the point someone asked why I didn’t make an explicitly mentioned trans character, and now it feels like a really bad omission in hindsight. Still I’d assume there already are trans men and women in the mod and in vanilla Skyrim just based on percentages. Most of the NPCs say nothing about their gender identity, after all, and whether it’s the same or different as the one assigned at birth.

    TESVI though I might do an explicitly trans character just because it’s important. Even better if there’s some sort of social conflict brought on in the vanilla game that Skyrim didn’t have – like how FNV was a better choice for Velius than Fallout 4 – but to 2014 you’s point, simple representation does matter on its own.



    As a transman, i am actually rather disappointed that there is nobody like me, and if you’re looking for a conflict to go on, having the wrong…. bits, facial features, etc, in itself is extremely distressing whether society accepts your identity or not. It feels wrong every time you even think about it, and also even deciding to transition is a hard decision to make, not everyone does and that difficulty is in no way based on how you think society will perceive you. Basically what i’m trying to say, is being transgender is a conflict, even without anyone else involved…. if you needed a firsthand account of what it’s like i might be willing to help, just…. i am in no way a writer so i can’t do that sort of thing. A post progressive world does not eliminate the pain and internal conflict of being trans.

    I do love the mod though

    Edit: it’s called dysphoria if you want to look it up to get a better idea on how much of an impact it has

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by  Duncan.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by  Duncan.
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