Dystopia Rising’s Gender Pronoun Patches Promote Inclusiveness In Our Hobby

One of the best things about LARP is the ability to be who you want to be, and leave the mundane, terrible, real world behind. And regardless of what organization you play in, players feeling respected and empowered is one constant factor. Dystopia Rising has embraced this in powerful and beautiful ways.

Recently, Dystopia Rising has adopted the use of “Gender Pronoun Patches” as a way for players to further identify, and be identified, with their desired gender pronouns. These patches, bright yellow and about 3″ across, fit in with most DR costuming seamlessly.

The reaction to these patches has been thoroughly positive, and is best described by #ApocalypseFamous LARPer Tyson Hood:

One of the coolest parts of Dystopia Rising that I feel stands out from other gaming atmospheres is how willing the players are to suspend immersion for incredibly specific undesireable realities of life with the entire purpose being to make players feel more comfortable in game, so they don’t have to deal with these specific attitudes during, what is essentially, their vacations.

IMG_1334.JPGFor example – rape doesn’t exist.  It’s never existed in the universe.  You’re not allowed to have it in your backstory.  You’re not allowed to joke about it.  You’re not allowed to threaten it.  The word doesn’t exist and if you say it you’re breaking the rules.

Another example I heard today, a huge event with hundreds and hundreds of players watching a small group fight that apparently was rather stalled.  Someone from the crowd yelled for everyone to throw away their shields and to “stop being faggots” – I guess the entire crowd, hundreds of people, shut the fuck up and stared at this player (who admittedly, probably just played too much CoD and got worked up) and one of the badass participants spoke, staying entirely in character, “We don’t say that word, Vato” and went on with the fight.

Just this week there was some concern from the transgender community within the game that players weren’t making the effort to use desired pronouns – almost instantly national comes out with super affordable pronoun patches that are specifically genre’d for the venue and even encourages cis members to wear them as a solidarity gesture.

Little shit like this makes such a huge impact on me, makes me feel good to be part of the community.

The idea that we can be playing in an absolute hellscape where death torment and sorrow are the bread and butter of existence, and still My Little Pony the fuck out of feelings is so impressive to me.


Luv Luv, Bye Bye


Photos by Dystopia Rising LARP

Part Time Rogue
About Part Time Rogue 83 Articles
Sam Swicegood is a freelance writer, marketing consultant, and actor based in Cincinnati, OH. He has been LARPing for over a decade. He is the author of Sci-fi RPG Cold Start, due out in 2018.

12 Comments on Dystopia Rising’s Gender Pronoun Patches Promote Inclusiveness In Our Hobby

  1. The patches seem a bit overboard. If someone can’t portray themselves as the gender they want to portray, then they certainly aren’t trying hard enough.
    I mean, it’s a LARP. It’s roleplay. Leave the real issues in the real world, that’s like number 2 in the rule list. But they’re not leaving real issues in the real world. They’re dragging them into game and are forcing their gender politics onto the members of the group who may or may not want them.

    • I would say that it is helpful to maintain character by using correct pronouns if someone isnt quite able to correctly portray the character. As an example I know someone who is gender fluid and would happily play male and female characters extremely well, but to ensure the correct pronouns are used a patch would be helpful. However I would say that it should be a purely IC thing, it shouldnt necessarily relate to OOC.

    • Actually, “gender politics” is not being forced on anyone. The patches are something that is offered as an option, and not a requirement. It is no more “forced” on anyone than having a “hi my name is” name tag that people can wear.

      The only thing that is being “forced” is the same thing as before we made the patches an available option… you have to treat people with respect.

    • If you don’t “wan’t them” then do not play. Leave. No one is forcing ANYTHING on you, you do not have to buy or wear them…but go ahead and ignore them in game and see how comfortable the rest of us make you feel as you violate the respect EXPECTED of you. it is the only thing forced on you by the rules.
      Contemplating anything forced on you to me means you are not being tolerant and are not respecting others on a regular basis.

  2. You mean like the real world issue of being called what you want to be called? If you can call someone their character’s name in game and their real name out of game, why would it be so onerous to use the pronouns someone prefers both in and out of game when talking to or about them?

    That’s just basic decency, Anonymous.

    Honestly when I hear what you’re saying, I very easily see comparisons to not allowing same-gender relationships in games, because that’s forcing gender politics on members of the group who may or may not want them. The truth is in that case the gender politics are already in force, and being forced upon those who may or may not want them by utterly denying them to the people who are themselves not straight.

    I seriously have to wonder how it is you or anyone else who is not part of LGBT+ community is actively harmed by patches informing you of the pronouns preferred by the wearer. When you misgender someone, you are belittling them as a person (yes, even someone who you believe isn’t “trying” hard enough to portray themselves as such) particularly if you think it is your right to do so for whatever reason.

    You don’t have to wear a patch if you don’t want to, you don’t have to take up arms for people’s rights, just, you know, don’t be a jerk about it. It’s not that hard. Real social issues work their ways into LARP, gaming, and fiction all the time, be it racism in the original Night of the Living Dead, LGBT issues in X-Men, to the acceptance of all peoples in Star Trek. The idea that recreation and political thoughts or movements be utterly divorced from one another is absurd and unsustainable. World of Darkness is a game about personal horror and by its very nature involves the deconstruction of what some would call a person’s soul, their identity, their relationship with the rest of humanity, and what they give up to continue surviving. Most fantasy games have inherently political plots, with kingdoms plotting and warring against each other, considering each other “Good” or “Evil” for a variety of reasons, often relating to acceptance of others, slavery, freedom, or just plain machinations. While, yes, many of these take a degree of separation (we don’t like them stinking goblins because X) rather than dealing with them directly (we don’t like them stinking minority group because X), they still ultimately exist, and to pretend they don’t is on the face of it absurd.

    This, again, is about basic decency, respect, and courtesy. If you feel you can’t because you don’t agree with their “Politics” of what they preferred to be called, that’s really just on you, I’m afraid.

    But then I suspect you don’t go and do the research to find out the real names of celebrities so that you can call Mel Brooks Melvin Kaminski, or David Bowie David Robert Jones, so why make a fuss here?

    Because this isn’t just a discussion on the internet against nameless, faceless people, Anonymous. These are people who enjoy this hobby just as much as you do, people with feelings and emotions and as much as you might want to play a heroic knight or evil warlord or despondent vampire who can do as they please in their magical fantasy science fiction or whatever world so that you can engage in the power fantasy you enjoy, these people would like the simple ability to also enjoy a place where they can do as they see fit, and be who they really are, instead of having to hide for fear of offending people.

    In short, you’re telling a fairly oppressed group to keep being oppressed in this fantasy space where you can be anything except something that makes you vaguely uncomfortable. Please understand that this is a quite unreasonable request regardless if it’s some fantasy race or the fact that LGBT people exist.

  3. I’m not arguing that LGBT people do not exist.
    I am an LGBT person, and there is no doubt that the identity and community exists.
    However, I would like to say that the LGBT community is not oppressed– hell, if anything we’re beginning to dominate media and most metropolitan areas. The fact that these patches are being sold is beneficial, particularly to many trans people who have trouble passing. My one, and only main concern is that there are many people who do not agree with the “genderfluid” label, as it has not yet been proven by science. The newfounded idea that gender and biological sex are completely seperate is, in my own personal opinion, untrue.
    So does this mean that if I do not call someone by the pronoun “they” due to my own personal beliefs, that I’ll be banned from the game? If so, then isn’t that, to a certain extent, just getting rid of anyone who does not agree with the bandwagon? Or would I just have to avoid anyone with “they” patches in-game?

    • I am so glad doctors with degrees know your “Untrue opinion” is not factual and based on personal feelings.
      The LGBT community is not oppressed? Do you know how many Trans women are killed each year? I’d say MURDER is oppression. Thank goodness that opinion is personal too, and should tell you to open your eyes a bit more and realize these patches mean a lot to OTHERS and your opinion of them does not matter. have you ever spent one day in public with a Trans person?
      I DOUBT IT.
      If you can’t read the patches and respect what others are asking of you…then yes you should probably leave.
      Your opinion is helping others remain uncomfortable and remain oppressed. How you can not see that I have no idea.

    • Anonymous: If the statement being made is that “LGBT people are not being oppressed” then we can shut that conversation down here and now. This is a site about inclusiveness and respect in our hobby and while I love a nice heated debate about LARP, we’re not going to have that conversation because it is disrespectful and ignorant. I appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

      – Rogue

  4. I am writing a small blog article where I’d like to introduce the Patches to German roleplayers.
    Would it be okay to use the quote by Tyson Hood?
    I think it speaks volumes to describe DRs awesome policies regarding inclusiveness.

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