MU*, Youth, and LGBT+ Identity



  • Hello! There's quite a lot there in the title to unpack so I'll try and keep it relatively brief.

    I'm a young person (23 and some change) who has just recently found their way into the MU* hobby. I'm sure it isn't a secret to anyone that the majority of players and the community are older than that. (Or at least it seems that way!) Generally it hardly ever comes up, though, except when it comes to things like memes or whatever, but there's still this strange feeling of /not quite/ fitting in in some spaces. Is it a matter of age? I see lots of mention of clique and the like around here, so I wonder if this might be a symptom of that as well.

    And further on that, without going into my own personal RL identity, I largely play characters that fall somewhere in the LGBT+ spectrum, though generally in the L and T side of things, with a smattering of non-binary or ace sexuality in there as well. When I'm playing a trans or non-binary character, though, I can't help but wonder - am I having the same experience as what a cisgendered character might? Am I missing out on certain opportunities and roleplaying because of it? I'm not looking at this through the lens of victimhood or anything, mostly a curiosity, as I've only just stumbled on MU and I'm still acclimating myself to the kind of community it has.

    Thank you all in advance and I'm sorry if this comes off as rambly or poorly focused!

    Quick Edit: I'm not saying I've experienced any direct discrimination when playing a non-gender-conforming character -- some people have even expressed that they're happy to see them around -- but just wondering about how different the experience might be from otherwise.



  • @Joyeuse If anything the LGBT community is strongly, strongly catered to in MUs as opposed to real life. The vast, vast majority of us who MU are various degrees of liberal (and quite a few of us are LGBT using MUs as a way to express ourselves) and I have noticed that in games transgendered characters don't really have any of the struggles they do in real life.

    They never get deadnamed. They are very rarely mis-pronouned. There aren't roving packs of NPCs sniggering and talking about them behind their backs if they don't 'pass' enough.

    If anything the only negative I've seen with transgender characters is backlash against people who play fetishized versions of them; which in itself is silly considering how fetishized everything else is.



  • I think the hobby is great for safely exploring various identities and sexual ties, for the reasons Admiral cited. My general experience has been welcoming, barring some setting-based prejudices, but players on the games I have played on have been generally accepting of non-cis identities.

    I mean, I picked my name here very deliberately nearly 20 years ago.



  • @Ganymede @Admiral Maybe it's more my own self-conscious worries than anything else that's got me thinking about it! It's wonderful to know all of that, though, I don't think I'd have worked that out just at a glance. It's all been very welcoming so far and I'm happy to have found it overall!



  • Some games are definitely more positive than others.

    I don't, for instance, discount the experiences people have described about running into people who vomit sexist and homophobic commentary all over the place when they play -- I am just lucky enough to not be in those particular spaces.

    That's one thing you will discover more and more; the cultural 'norms' for any given game are going to vary, sometimes quite a bit. There's very little that's truly uniform. The best bet is to browse around some and find spaces where you do feel the most comfortable. (Even good places will have their 'moments', but that tends to just be life.)


  • Pitcrew

    "Cliques" are a thing, sure. Part of that, as you mentioned, is that a lot of the MU*ers you'll find have been at this a while, and some people have a lot of history in the hobby.

    Part of it's also going to be the general sense of impostor syndrome that's prevalent in online spaces. Everyone has a tendency to feel like everyone else is more 'keyed in' than they are.


  • Tutorialist

    This one is relatively easy:

    RP is hard to find sometimes. Everywhere. People can have a lot of biases.

    But in my experience very few of them revolve around gender identity and orientation.

    You are more likely to miss out on opportunities for bad spelling or poor grammar or times not matching or people being wary of strangers pr people losing interest in a particular game than for a non-cishet character.

    So if it gets to that point, and you find yourself lacking? It's almost assuredly not because the char is trans. That is very, very low on the list of common issues.



  • It's hard to speak to what's prevalent in 'the community' about stuff like sexism and homophobia, since different genres (and different games within those genres) are all kind of their own particular ecosystem. Some staffers and players are good about reacting quickly to bigotry quickly and proactively and shutting it down. Some aren't. Some are guilty of shitty behavior of their own. Also I'm a straight woman so wtf do I know? I don't feel like I regularly encounter anti-LGBT players on the games I'm on. There ARE certain players who become way less interested in RPing with you if you don't have equipment they can bang, but they tend to be just as disinterested in straight characters who aren't the gender they're into, so I kind of think of that as it's own thing and not orientation-based so much.


  • Pitcrew

    10-15 years ago, this hobby had a problem with queer people.

    Trans characters rarely, if ever, existed. Lesbians and bisexual women were usually played by very thirsty old men and gay or bi men were usually played as magical sparkle twinks by thirsty middle-aged women.

    Queer characters played by actual queer players sometimes got some serious pushback for existing. I remember the 'my MU was invaded by gays!' complaints for a couple of different places, back in the day. And I remember my reaction was, 'Bitch, if you don't want queer guys, don't make a game based on a queer-friendly (for the time) show!'

    These days, it's a hell of a lot better. I mean, there are still a lot of people who can't/won't get laid fetishizing queer people. But there are a lot of us playing people like us and not getting any flack for it. Which is nice. Other than the occasional bigoted 'But, but having visible gay people breaks immersion on my game about historical faeries and vampires', it's all good these days.


  • Tutorialist

    @Bad-at-Lurking Even as much as 10 years ago, there was a lot of eyerolling and mockery for openly lesbian and gay characters.


  • Pitcrew

    @Cobaltasaurus I remember. Mushing, like RPG gaming in general, seems to be about a decade or two behind the rest of society when it comes to social issues.


  • Pitcrew

    @Joyeuse Besides what the rest have said, most of which is pretty spot on, mentions of things like "cliques" or even "The Clique" and other community-specific (in the latter's case) jargon is less an issue of us being older than you (jfc you're a baby, no I'm kidding, but yikes, I am old now, when did I get old) and more just an issue of us having been in the community more time. I mean sure, that's a byproduct made possible by our advanced age (we're old, so old) but I don't think there's a difference in mentality based on age.

    That said, did you eat your vegetables? Vegetables are important. (I'm kidding. I'm sorry.)


  • Tutorialist

    @Bad-at-Lurking said in MU*, Youth, and LGBT+ Identity:

    Mushing, like RPG gaming in general, seems to be about a decade or two behind the rest of society when it comes to social issues.

    Not... really?

    I mean, this has been a frequent assertion by a few, but I've really yet to see any evidence of this. I started in 200...4-ish? (Jesus, we are old.) I've always played openly gay characters. Never once have I had an issue with that. I've always felt supported. Nor have I seen the flagrant sorts of misogyny that people claim to have seen either.

    I don't want to discount their experience, by any means, but I think that saying this is a problem 'with the community' and not 'just a few random assholes' is vastly overstating how widespread this is.

    The only times when I have seen any sort of pushback on LGBT or female characters is when they're played up as a trope turned up to 11, to the point where it's clearly, eye-rollingly ridiculous. Which is not because they're LGBT, but because they're about as deep as a raindrop crater.



  • It looks like @Joyeuse has been on MSB since 2016 (lurking, I suppose! and nothing wrong with that. I lurked the entirety of WORA and SWOFA), so it may well be their concept of the community has been warped by us, here. (Especially to have witnessed us at 20-years-old!)

    Which I wouldn't recommend taking us as indicator of the MU community as a whole.



  • @Auspice I joined Fallcoast for maybe a week in 2016 at the request of the friend. (Didn't quite stick around, but ended up coming back 3 years later to give it another shot anyways.) And - despite what I've seen in the Hog Pit - most people here seem decent enough! I actually forgot I had an account here until I tried to sign up again last night and my email was taken.

    @Coin Hey! I'm an adult. I chop my own vegetables and pay someone else to do my taxes.

    I get what you're saying, though! This medium has been around for a long time and I guess most folks in it have had a long time to make themselves a part of it. Just that feeling of being the new kid trying to wiggle their way in.

    The one thing that's made me feel any sort of directly unwelcome or pushed away is mostly just the overly-thirsty TS hounds on non-sex MUSH's that only seem interested in doing exactly that. The rest of it, I suppose, is just being self-conscious and anxious in a new space!



  • @Joyeuse said in MU*, Youth, and LGBT+ Identity:

    @Auspice I joined Fallcoast for maybe a week in 2016 at the request of the friend. (Didn't quite stick around, but ended up coming back 3 years later to give it another shot anyways.) And - despite what I've seen in the Hog Pit - most people here seem decent enough! I actually forgot I had an account here until I tried to sign up again last night and my email was taken.

    Gotcha. Please forgive me- after the baiting attempts we've had around here by people who will start something that seems innocuous or even constructive, the disparity stood out to me.

    Fallcoast would've been a rough place to start, IMO!

    The one thing that's made me feel any sort of directly unwelcome or pushed away is mostly just the overly-thirsty TS hounds on non-sex MUSH's that only seem interested in doing exactly that. The rest of it, I suppose, is just being self-conscious and anxious in a new space!

    Unfortunately, this is a Thing. It's more common on big games than small ones (they're more easily ousted on small ones / lose their pool to try to fish in). I think people want the challenge of finding TS/their kinks on a non-sex game. At least that's what I tell myself.

    I, personally, don't deal with it very much, but I know people who do and I have dealt with it here and there. Usually because I've chosen the 'right' (or is that wrong?) PB or because something in my RP captures their attention. But most of the time, I'm using PBs outside of the 'insta/super model or top 10 actresses' range (not dissing anyone who does these things: they just aren't my personal go-to!) and that seems to be what the TS-stalkers go for.



  • @Auspice said in MU*, Youth, and LGBT+ Identity:

    what the TS-stalkers go for.

    Often, aye. They want the "experience" of banging the PB rather than the character. Which is weird, but whatever.
    The only time I've really, really seen pushback against characters that are LGBT+ is when those characters are tropes, as @Derp mentioned. It's easy to assume, from the peanut gallery, that this pushback is because they're not het-cis, but it's usually that they're hilariously stupid concepts - the lesbian Asian teenager 'archetype' exists for a reason.

    Of course, some people are going to hate anything different, sexism and racism are still a thing as well as various types of queer-phobia disguised as seeking realism, or other such things. It's going to be something you run into if you hang around any hobby long enough. Ours makes it feel more... personal, I suppose, because identity is such a key part of our experience as RPers versus model train collecting, for instance.


  • Pitcrew

    @Joyeuse said in MU*, Youth, and LGBT+ Identity:

    @Auspice I joined Fallcoast for maybe a week in 2016 at the request of the friend. (Didn't quite stick around, but ended up coming back 3 years later to give it another shot anyways.) And - despite what I've seen in the Hog Pit - most people here seem decent enough! I actually forgot I had an account here until I tried to sign up again last night and my email was taken.

    @Coin Hey! I'm an adult. I chop my own vegetables and pay someone else to do my taxes.

    I get what you're saying, though! This medium has been around for a long time and I guess most folks in it have had a long time to make themselves a part of it. Just that feeling of being the new kid trying to wiggle their way in.

    Man, at least you were born in the 90s. I've been doing this for almost fifteen years. I remember when I felt exactly like you do.

    Wtf. Fifteen years? Jesus fucking Christ.

    The one thing that's made me feel any sort of directly unwelcome or pushed away is mostly just the overly-thirsty TS hounds on non-sex MUSH's that only seem interested in doing exactly that. The rest of it, I suppose, is just being self-conscious and anxious in a new space!

    The faster you can spot them the better so you can just dodge early. Unfortunately there's no actual solution, especially since most staff refuse to actually crack down on that sort of behavior (if they aren't already the perpetrators).



  • @Coin said in MU*, Youth, and LGBT+ Identity:

    Wtf. Fifteen years? Jesus fucking Christ.

    21 in November for me.
    My MU career is almost old enough to drink (and it needs it).

    And I know a few people who are at the 25+ mark.


  • Pitcrew

    roars in dinosaur

    28, here.


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