This panel went pretty well, though we had a lot of ground to cover: the description included all of gaming (tabletop RPGs, consoles, boardgames and everything else), as well as at least implicitly including every part of the LGBT alphabet soup. We ended up addressing the recent transphobia incident at Penny Arcade, cross-gender roleplay, how to form inclusive groups and more topics.
A lot of the discussion was things that have been covered before in similar panels:
- How do you create characters that are trans, lesbian or whatever else, without resorting to stereotypes? By making sure the character is well-rounded, with their own agency; and by making sure their gender identity or orientation are part of a fuller whole, not just stereotypes.
- When should we educate people about transphobia, homophobia, etc., and when is it okay to walk away? When our energy level allows it, we should educate; but while it may be tactically smart, we don’t ‘owe’ anyone an education about us.
- When is it appropriate to use slurs? When you’re part of the group named in the slur, it may be appropriate; otherwise, basically stay away from it.
So basically, a lot of Social Justice 101. And we got a little bogged down in that, and in Trans 101. It was time that would’ve been better spent on deeper investigations of how to find and form inclusive groups. But at these kinds of large, general purpose cons, we can’t take 101-level knowledge as a given, and sometimes we just have to start at the ground level. So it was probably a necessary and useful conversation, even if not a particularly groundbreaking one.