Welcome to the latest in my Dungeons and Dragons series! This post will be about some ways you can make your D&D world more inclusive to queer identities, and in fact many of these tips can be used in games other than the D&D system! The idea behind this post is creating a world where LGBTQ+ players and characters alike are welcome and feel included.
1. Do you have queer NPCs? If not, make them.
Your NPCs are who your players will interact with, and they say a lot about the world you’re constructing. Your NPCs can parrot the values of the prevailing society, can represent rebellion against the unjust, and will set a precedent for what kind of receptions your PCs will receive in various settings. You need queer NPCs for your world. You need to demonstrate through interactions with NPCs that queer relationships are real and well regarded, that there are a myriad of genders and sexualities available to the PCs, and that queer PCs will have safe allies to interact with. Additionally, queer NPCs give your PCs people to interact with in a new way. Perhaps you have a PC who is a lesbian and has a character trait of being flirtatious; if she never interacts with gay NPCs, how will she be able to fulfill her characterization?
2. Have you built some degree of homophobia/transphobia or other discriminatory social standard into your world? If so, get rid of it.
The only exception I can think of for keeping some form of discrimination against gender and sexuality identities is if you, a queer creator, teams up with queer players and agree to explore this fantasy version of the real struggles of being queer. And as a queer DM who plays with queer players, I can already say I don’t see that scenario happening all that soon. You are creating a fantasy world to play a fantasy game in, it doesn’t need homophobia or transphobia, I can promise you that.
3. Are your players comfortable giving queer identities to their characters?
It’s absolutely imperative that if anyone at your table wants to play a queer character they do not fear doing so at the table. This might not be about your world, but perhaps a member of the table expressing a negative view that makes someone else uncomfortable. This is especially important if you have any queer members at the table.
4. Have you incorporated different interpretations of queer identities into your world?
Have you only presented representation in the form of a few NPCs that are gay? Have you explored how gender and sexuality are viewed in different cultures and done research to incorporate diverse identities? Have you made sure that you don’t represent pan and bi NPCs as overly flirtatious? Are there asexual and aromantic NPCs? Are there poly NPCs? Have you got a list of alternative pronouns to incorporate nonbinary and trans NPCs?
Queer DMs and players, sound off in the comments! What else would you like to see incorporated into D&D and other TTRPG plays that DMs should keep in mind?