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CottagecoreKobold

On the Game's Handling of Gender and Sex

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Hi there! I'm not sure what kind of reception this will get, so I'll stress a couple things. First, this is not a critically important issue, and I'm not looking to make it out to be one. As such, while it's fine to express disagreements, let's try to remain civil and avoid turning it into a high-stakes debate. Second, this thread is not intended to be a "debate the validity of gender identities and intersexuality" thread. I am taking it for granted here that that is not a debate the dragcave.net forums are interested in hosting. Sex =/= gender, let's move on.

 

To clarify, I am not suggesting any kind of "let dragons change their sex" option. Mechanically, that would make breeding too much of a mess. This is not something I ever advocated for, but it seems like there's been some confusion, so I'm editing this in here. :)

 

(Sidebar: For the purposes of clarity, "sex" is the term which describes physical characteristics, and "gender" is the term which describes the actual identity. Someone might be born to the feminine sex but find that his identity is that of a man. When he's old enough, that person might take hormones or undergo corrective surgery, at which point his "sex" becomes a little more muddled as well. Intersex people are born with a combination of feminine and masculine characteristics, some of which might be quite impossible to detect without medical examination. Compare it to how some men generate much higher testosterone, and some generate much less, but that doesn't make them "more" men or "less" men.)

 

So, with those disclaimers out of the way, I've been thinking about a couple potential changes the site could make to allow for more variety in dragon collections, which could have the pleasant side effect of making some players feel more represented or of educating the broader playerbase about interesting and useful topics. Because they are closely-related in purpose, and would likely encounter the same kinds of pushback, I am lumping both into one thread here.

 

Differentiate Sex and Gender

Put bluntly, the current use of "Gender" on the bio is misleading and wrong. I'm not saying this is a high-stakes issue, but that doesn't mean it doesn't matter or isn't worth correcting. It also doesn't mean there's no possible harm that could come of it--many transgender and intersex people face discrimination in the real world from people who are not aware that "gender" is actually defined very distinctly from "sex". It's dated, and I think it would be a fine thing if it were changed.

 

This has a simple fix and a slightly more complex one. The simple fix is to simply change "Gender" on the dragon bios to read "Sex", to reflect that it obviously refers to physical sex, since it's about physical compatibilities. A feminine-sexed dragon and a masculine-sexed dragon can reproduce, regardless of gender.

 

The slightly complex fix would actually introduce a "Gender" element, which could be random or the player's choice. Obviously, if random, it would usually "match" Sex, but with some exceptions. If not random, the player could choose it the same way they choose the name or write the description. This could be nice, since it would allow players to have transgender dragons. The options could be presented as "He", "She", "They", "It", or "Other". Alternatively, they could be presented simply as a list of common genders to choose from.

 

Implement Intersex Dragons

This one is a little tricky, since breeding is such an important component of dragcave.net. That being said, as many as 5% of human beings are intersex, and it's a common state of being across numerous real-world species. It would be interesting to see it reflected here.

 

An intersex dragon would be quite uncommon, wouldn't necessarily need its own sprite (such would be a logistical nightmare, I'm sure, unless you confined intersexuality to a particular few breeds), and wouldn't be able to mate. It is possible that the intersex dragon could have some unique benefit that would make it slightly less frustrating for would-be breeders, but the rarity of the dragon might itself help alleviate that frustration.

 

I am interested in people's thoughts on this topic. I am also a little wary, because I've seen how some communities handle these sorts of topics, so please remember to assume good faith! I am not trying to drag "politics" into the game, except in that my own existence is considered political by those who detest it. These are ideas I have on making some cute pixel dragons a little more varied, a little more interesting, and a little more connected to the way I and many others experience the world. Nothing more. :)

Edited by CottagecoreKobold

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For changing the word "gender" to "sex" where it applies to breeding purposes, I support.

 

For the possibility of transgender/intersex dragons you might want to check out this thread:

 

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Political stuff aside, I think it'd be way too complicated to do what you want to the game. Imagine how confusing a randomly-determined-gender-that-might-not-be-the-same-as-this-other-physical-sex thing is gonna be for a new player - even for an old player who is not familiar with these things. 

 

I'm not sure what to think about the intersex dragon idea. From what you said, it sounds like they're literally random and based on probability - and not something we as players determine. I don't suppose you'd want "a special, deliberate action" performed on the egg that cause it to go intersex or to make sure it doesn't go intersex (like how the neglecteds work) since that'd completely undermine the idea that intersex is just a smaller but natural state an egg can develop into, but then just consider the possibility getting a surprise intersex dragon from an unreplaceable egg, like a 2g saltkin or a 2g thuwd that you might have taken ages to hunt down from the AP...the sheer idea make me scream no lol. 

 

I don't mind having the "Gender" label changed to "Sex" to reflect physical sex though since it's a very tiny change, so small support for that part. Overall though I honestly do not think this needs to be a part of a simple, casual, sprite collecting game. I'm curious on what other people think as well but for me personally, it's gonna be way too complicated a mess to untangle if these features are suddenly introduced...

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21 minutes ago, UnicornMaiden said:

For changing the word "gender" to "sex" where it applies to breeding purposes, I support.

So do I - I have referred to sex regularly when describing dragons I am trading etc.

 

21 minutes ago, UnicornMaiden said:

 

For the possibility of transgender/intersex dragons you might want to check out this thread:

 

 

Sorry - while I even have a transgender relative, I cannot support the complications this would make for breeding and lineages. Breeding in a game like this is much like breeding dogs and racehorses - strictly along biological lines. As for the possibility - which has been suggested - of being able to change a dragon's sex - that would be a nightmare; no support.

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With the existence of the description system, as long as your dragons' descriptions are not explicit or offensive, there is really no restriction to how you decide that your dragon should identify romantically or sexually. The main barrier to entry on that is a dearth of description reviewers, which I believe is a real issue that needs to be addressed. If it took a matter of days instead of months or years for a description to be approved, with quicker feedback from moderators when a description has problems, it would be much easier to tell the world "this dragon is gay" or "this dragon is trans" and would require no expansion of the game elements.

Ultimately, though, this is a breeding/lineage game. It was not created with the intention of commenting on gender identity/expression, sexual preference, or romantic preference. The purpose of the game is to collect dragons which you then breed with other dragons to make more dragons. It was not intended to provide ample customization options or a robust system for building and maintaining a personal lore database the way that other games, such as Neopets or Flight Rising, were built from the ground up to support. The absence of these features is not a failure of this game's design, but more a feature of the sort of game that DragonCave happens to be.

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8 minutes ago, Fuzzbucket said:

Sorry - while I even have a transgender relative, I cannot support the complications this would make for breeding and lineages. Breeding in a game like this is much like breeding dogs and racehorses - strictly along biological lines. As for the possibility - which has been suggested - of being able to change a dragon's sex - that would be a nightmare; no support.

 

That's exactly why I linked to the older discussion. As I recall, the conclusion reached in that thread was that having dragons change sex would be too convoluted and would cause too many problems for lineage builders. (I certainly wouldn't want one of my checkers to suddenly have a single altered sprite in it!) However, that thread also put forth suggestions for creating a breed that had some sort of gender fluidity and/or sex transition as its unique hallmark as well as using the Description feature to assign gender identities and sexual orientations to one's own dragons.

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2 minutes ago, Odeen said:


Ultimately, though, this is a breeding/lineage game. It was not created with the intention of commenting on gender identity/expression, sexual preference, or romantic preference. The purpose of the game is to collect dragons which you then breed with other dragons to make more dragons. It was not intended to provide ample customization options or a robust system for building and maintaining a personal lore database the way that other games, such as Neopets or Flight Rising, were built from the ground up to support. The absence of these features is not a failure of this game's design, but more a feature of the sort of game that DragonCave happens to be.

 

This is basically my thinking. On principal I'm *always* for more representation, but this sort of thing would probably be a lot easier to do in places like Flight Rising and such. DC just wasn't built to handle something so complex, especially when it comes to breeding/lineages/etc. I don't pretend to know anything about the code or inner workings of DC, but something like this would almost certainly require a fairly big overhaul of how the game works. (And if we can't get an overhaul of ratios, which we've been asking for for literally a decade, I can't even imagine actually getting this.)

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Swapping "Gender" to "Sex"... yeah, sure, go for it. It's small enough change really.

 

3 hours ago, CottagecoreKobold said:

An intersex dragon would be quite uncommon, wouldn't necessarily need its own sprite (such would be a logistical nightmare, I'm sure, unless you confined intersexuality to a particular few breeds), and wouldn't be able to mate. It is possible that the intersex dragon could have some unique benefit that would make it slightly less frustrating for would-be breeders, but the rarity of the dragon might itself help alleviate that frustration.

As someone who tends to catch CB dragons for lineage purposes, I would be more than just frustrated if I managed to finally catch/breed something rare (like Staterae or Gold/Silver, or anything that has higher demand) only to have it turn intersex and not being able to mate. In fact, I would be furious about such a mechanic and no unique benefit would be able to make it "slightly less frustrating" when I could have been able to have so many options open after raising it. Instead I wasted time and possibly BSA(s) to something that could have been beneficial for multiple projects.

 

Thus, I'd rather keep it simple from breeding point of view. Sometimes breeding can unfortunately be frustrating enough already to not need such mechanic.
I am all about representation of different identities, heck I have someone I consider sister in that regard, but I have to say no to the suggestion from this regard.

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Hi! I'm transgender. 

 

I support changing the language and replacing gender with sex for breeding purposes. +1 from me.

 

What I care about even more than that, though, is removing the requirement that dragon descriptions using the 'wrong' pronouns have to explicitly say that the dragon is trans. Implying that there's ever a good reason to disrespect someone's pronouns is transphobic and "they didn't say they were trans" doesn't make it better. On top of that, some people use pronouns different from their sex without identifying as trans. People (and dragons) can use whatever pronouns they want and shouldn't have to explain themselves. Honestly this is half the reason I don't describe my dragons, because I read the guidelines and just go 'ugh' and click away. 

 

I'll not comment on intersex dragons as I am not intersex. 

 

Edit: Forgot to address the gender mechanic. I don't support adding a randomized gender because I feel like everything 'non-physical' about the dragons should be up to the player's imagination. (I also take major issue with the description requirement that dragons need to act & have personality traits that match their breed, but that's not the topic here.) A lot of people find great joy in giving their dragons personalities and backstories and whatnot.

Edited by w0rmg0d
1st edit: Words are hard. 2nd edit: Added thoughts on gender mechanic.

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33 minutes ago, w0rmg0d said:

What I care about even more than that, though, is removing the requirement that dragon descriptions using the 'wrong' pronouns have to explicitly say that the dragon is trans. Implying that there's ever a good reason to disrespect someone's pronouns is transphobic and "they didn't say they were trans" doesn't make it better. On top of that, some people use pronouns different from their sex without identifying as trans. People (and dragons) can use whatever pronouns they want and shouldn't have to explain themselves. Honestly this is half the reason I don't describe my dragons, because I read the guidelines and just go 'ugh' and click away. 

 

Can you please clarify what you're talking about? I'm not aware of any such requirement. The Description Guidelines do say that descriptions need to be written in the third person, but I don't see anything about gender identification there.

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44 minutes ago, UnicornMaiden said:

 

Can you please clarify what you're talking about? I'm not aware of any such requirement. The Description Guidelines do say that descriptions need to be written in the third person, but I don't see anything about gender identification there.

 

I'm re-reading the guidelines and it looks like they removed this rule at some point (good!), so ignore that part I guess. Sorry for the confusion! 

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For as long as I remember, dragons had the 'it' pronoun in the game. Offensive or not (towards the dragon) it's simple enough and not offensive towards the humans. Even in a context where a dragon's gender / sex is important: "Your dragon uses its knowledge of egg rearing to influence the egg to be male."*

 

Anyway. Think about it like this: here was this egg who identified as male, so the pink dragon helped him to be born in the body of his choice. Now instead of a male-minded female dragon, it will hatch as a happy male hatchie. All the problems are solved!

 

 

 

 

* A trans pink dragon would be a NIGHTMARE if it's marked as male but all the eggs it influences turn female. 

Edited by Darth Krande

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I'll agree with others, as this is a breeding and collecting game at its core:

 

Support for changing gender to sex

 

No support for having dragons (outside of descriptions [which are a user's own personal thoughts on a dragon]) able to change sex, be ungendered*, etc.

 

*I'm fine with the unbreedables [Neglected, paper, dinos, cheese] being the ungendered options

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I support changing gender to sex. I also support pronoun fields for dragons. I won't use them because I have 2000 dragons but. It's a nice idea.

 

In lieu of mechanics, I'd prefer if descriptions were better handled so we can have transgender dragons that way.

 

I am a trans person and while I get the desire for rep, I also just think the pixel breeding dragon game should stay mechanically simple.

 

Also agreeing with no intersex dragons, just to keep the game simple.

Edited by Skadi

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Lots of reasonable points here! I think that adding a pronoun field and changing "Gender" to "Sex" makes the most sense to me. Intersex dragons was just an idea, and I'm far from set on it. :)

 

(I actually kind of like the subtext of pink dragons being able to effectively provide "gender confirmation surgery" in that light--could make for fun description fodder.)

 

Once again, I don't think I ever suggested letting dragons change sex, so I honestly have no idea where people are getting that from.

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Changing gender to sex- support.

 

Pronoun field- I would rather opt to use the description field for this, but there's apparently a gigantic backlog and it would possibly take months for it to show up, so...

 

Mechanical changes/suggestions posed in this thread- no, thank you. Much of it seems a tad convoluted for what is ultimately a fairly simple collection/breeding game, and would likely frustrate a lot of people.

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I thought on it and I think an intersex dragon could be neat for a breed variant that you can randomly get. Maybe a dragon based on an animal that has unique markings if intersex? Like some kinds of birds or butterflies.

 

You could avoid the alt with influence to save the breeders' sanity. Mechanically it works like alt blacks, which just happen rather than needing BSAs. Since it's only for one breed, it shouldn't be a big deal.

Edited by Skadi

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Support on changing 'gender' to 'sex', also agreed with Keileon that descriptions would probably be better than a separate new pronouns field but the massive backlog is an issue w/ that :-/

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Support using "sex" instead of "gender."

 

I'm not so sure about implementing a designated pronoun field since it'd be a lot of work for those with many dragons.

 

Also, I am leaning towards no on the intersex dragon option. I agree that it would be very upsetting to finally get a breed needed for a pairing only to learn that the dragon cannot breed. If this were some new dragon concept with said breeding mechanic, I'd be a tad bit more supportive. 

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I'm fine with using "sex" instead of "gender", but I'm also going to say no on the intersex option.

 

As others have already said, it would be very frustrating to either obtain a highly desired dragon or finally breed a desired lineage egg, only to basically get a "lol, this can't breed, joke's on you" message. A large portion of this game is focused on breeding and collection. Refusal is already a thing. Why add another breeding thing that can cause headaches? I know I'd be furious if I finally got a desired derg, especially from someone else (SAlts, Thuweds, a special lineage, etc.), only for it to be unable to breed and I'm (most likely) unable to replace it, leaving me SOL. I wouldn't care how rare it was because ultimately it'd be just a collection trophy, which I'd have no use for beyond "gotta collect them all". I couldn't do anything with it, I can't "spread the love/lineage" of it, it just...sits there...like my current unbreedables, doing nothing and generally being forgotten about.

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Posted (edited)

I don't mind if you call it sex or gender or izziybizzy or whatever. And if we don't need to fill the pronouns for each dragon individually and can leave them in a default setting at she/he, I don't mind about that, too.

 

But the mechanic itself should remain as it is since everthing else would make it unnecessary complicated.

So no support for intersex dragons from me, sorry.

Edited by Seriva Senkalora

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Posted (edited)

I was just thinking about this and am so glad it's been recently brought up. Empathic support for changing gender to sex. 

 

Fwiw, I'm a communications professional who helps companies create guideposts for inclusive language in their style guides/internal policies. 3 members of my immediate family that I'm aware of are various shades of not cis. I have number of trans friends and know and discuss practical terminology folks with who study and teach feminist and queer theory. On the basis of all that, I am certain the current use of gender on the site is hurting some users, however unintentional that may be - so there's good reason to expedite what I suspect would be a fairly simple change.

 

Even using the word 'sex' can be problematic, but because it's pertinent to the game's mechanics as, among other things, a breeding sim, it's the far more accurate and less offensive option here. 

Edited by Melusina
Left out a word

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I support changing "gender" to "sex" since the context isn't actually based around personal identity but biological reproductive capacity.

 

No support on the idea of intersex for all dragons, however--it'd be a very interesting mechanic if a new breed were created that included it, but as a blanket alteration that's just one more frustration and we already have a number of them for a variety of lineages.

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Definitely switch "gender" to "sex"

 

The dragon's sex is what everyone refers to when they say they want to be offered a male/female/ungendered hatchling in the trades or complain that their hatchling gendered wrong. I see the word "gender" in those examples as fine since I don't see it in any similar context outside of this game, however, seeing "Gender: Female" isn't fun for me.

 

I think if the site started out like suggested in this thread, there wouldn't be this amount of support for switching "sex" to "gender." So I highly recommend making the switch, no change in mechanics needed ^^

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