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[SPOILERS] Good LBGT representation/writing in ESO

Dr_Con
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Velsa and Naranhi, Cassipia and Little-Leaf, and Alchemy*

These stories were all done very well, and are examples of the types of LGBT representation people would like to see.
Velsa kept to herself and was cold from everyone, and when Naranhi came back into her life she warmed up. She was hurt all these years when they were going to escape and saw Naranhi kissing her brother, only to learn how it was a misunderstanding. This is a great example of having a character who has their own story arc, then having a sidequest that enhances her character development.

Cassipia and Little-Leaf didn't even need to make a statement about who they were, they simply just are. No one was surprised by Cassipia's reaction in their final scene. People could do mental gymnastics to assume they weren't an item, but the truth is they were written as lovers and it wasn't meant to be a secret.

Alchemy*/Larydel's story was very well-written and self-contained. It is probably an example of identity being the conclusion of the quest as well as the sidequest to that quest. It had a setting that made much more sense and representation, in a community of actors who had to keep their identity an absolute secret. You could feel anxiety of all of the characters and how they only had good intentions.

What are some examples of good LBGT writing you've seen in ESO?


(*edited, for clarification)
Edited by Dr_Con on December 11, 2022 9:27PM
  • TheNuminous1
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    Razum Dar Casually mentioning being Bi is very good representation 💅🌈🧡
  • Katheriah
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    I like the ones you mentioned, but also small examples like Tirlarnar Frozenfox, that's just naturally integrated. Clear and to the point without being wierd or forced. Exactly how I like it:
    She says:

    "My wife told me that I need to move more product, so I took the shields out of a crate and put them in a barrel. I don't know how that's supposed to help our business, but she's always been the brains in the family."

    Questwise I really advice doing Flower of Youth, with Hartmin and Mirilir
  • FluffyReachWitch
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    Among those who haven't been mentioned in this thread at the time of writing:

    Captain Linwen and Faenir in Grahtwood, Sind and Tand in Reaper's March, and of course Alchemy.
  • Dr_Con
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    Katheriah wrote: »
    I like the ones you mentioned, but also small examples like Tirlarnar Frozenfox, that's just naturally integrated. Clear and to the point without being wierd or forced. Exactly how I like it:
    She says:

    "My wife told me that I need to move more product, so I took the shields out of a crate and put them in a barrel. I don't know how that's supposed to help our business, but she's always been the brains in the family."

    Questwise I really advice doing Flower of Youth, with Hartmin and Mirilir

    Yes! I remember this comment now, just because is a town npc doesn't mean they need generic dialogue.

    Flower of Youth was a lovely story
    it's not every day you see couple with one on their deathbed, the other asking for you to get flowers.
    Razum Dar Casually mentioning being Bi is very good representation 💅🌈🧡

    I can't say I agree here. Raz has been a very open character from the beginning, and introducing this so late into the game just seems like a throwaway. It would make sense that he has no preference either way, but developed an attraction to an individual through an interaction, but to develop an attraction to a specific type as a throwaway comment is not a good example of LBGT representation/writing, but this is subjective. If you truly believe this is good writing, I won't be able to change your mind- however I believe some LBGT authors might take my side on this one.

    edit: It would have been within Raz's character to be pansexual, but him fawning over "Druid boys" specifically is a bit out of his character. An interaction where he interacts with a specific male druid for him to develop this attraction toward that individual would have made more sense.
    Edited by Dr_Con on December 12, 2022 9:31AM
  • Katheriah
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    Dr_Con wrote: »
    I can't say I agree here. Raz has been a very open character from the beginning, and introducing this so late into the game just seems like a throwaway. It would make sense that he has no preference either way, but developed an attraction to an individual through an interaction, but to develop an attraction to a specific type as a throwaway comment is not a good example of LBGT representation/writing, but this is subjective. If you truly believe this is good writing, I won't be able to change your mind- however I believe some LBGT authors might take my side on this one.

    Yeah I agree. I know Raz as the kitty with raunchy remarks towards females for years and years. This feels like pinkwashing and we deserve better than that. Plus it feels like every bi char is made super mega flirty towards everyone. I get it, but I don't personally believe it's good representation.

    This game does have some good, original stories though, especially the earlier writing.
  • Soarora
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    I haven’t done many of the iconic quests but cases that stick out to me:
    The wlw couple in the Vvardenfell main quest. I believe it was the first time I saw an lgbtq+ relationship in ESO and how it was just… a woman mentioned her wife offhandedly. That was amazing to see and I still think about it. I unfortunately don’t remember their names, though.

    Alchemy, of course. I’ve had friends comment on how much her story means to them and it’s beautiful to see. A great example of why representation is important.

    The Firepot delve I believe also has a wlw couple. Despite how much I may complain about this season, I liked seeing the care the two women had for each other.

    Isobel I think is also a good case from this season. I haven’t finished all her quests but I think how she is written is a great way to show someone who is absolutely a lesbian, since you can’t assume based off relationships that both members involved are lesbian or gay. Being sure keeps people from stepping on each others toes in headcanons.

    There’s also a mlm couple in Fargrave! One is the innkeeper and the other is in another room. The innkeeper gushes over his beloved, it’s adorable.
    Edited by Soarora on December 11, 2022 9:17PM
    PC/NA Dungeoneer (Tank/DPS/Heal), Trialist (DPS/Tank/Heal), and amateur Battlegrounder (DPS) with a passion for The Elder Scrolls lore
  • boi_anachronism_
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    Overseer Shiralas in the vvardenfall quest line and the casual mention of her taking time to spend with her wife. I really like when characters offhand mention it without it being focal point. That's good representation in my opinion. Also the guards will hit on you no matter what your characters gender.
    Edited by boi_anachronism_ on December 11, 2022 9:58PM
  • AScarlato
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    I spoke with my friend in the LGBT community this morning about Raz, and his feedback was, and I'll quote,

    "he had such bi vibes im shocked anyone is taken off guard".

    I have to agree.
  • TheNuminous1
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    AScarlato wrote: »
    I spoke with my friend in the LGBT community this morning about Raz, and his feedback was, and I'll quote,

    "he had such bi vibes im shocked anyone is taken off guard".

    I have to agree.

    People calling it pinkwashing and forced representation are really grinding my gears. People just have varying sexuality that's all it is lol
  • Katheriah
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    Luckily everyone is allowed to have their own opinion.

    I'd rather see good storytelling and original characters instead of putting the 'bi sticker' on just anyone that likes to flirt with everyone and everything. Not all of us want to do everything with a hole and sometimes some nice badonkers. :)

    ESO has so much better stories in the past. They're getting sloppy. It's too easy to just grab a popular char and throw in a oneliner.
  • Syldras
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    People just have varying sexuality that's all it is lol

    They have. But why not showing in through meaningful interactions and dialogue (or even better: within the context of a well-written quest). instead of just throwing it in randomly for a second? And why does it have to be the bad stereotype of bisexual people basically chasing after everyone? I would feel irritated if people of my orientation would be presented only as an annoying stereotype.
    @Syldras | PC | EU
    The forceful expression of will gives true honor to the Ancestors.
    Sarayn Andrethi, Telvanni mage (Main)
    Darvasa Andrethi, his "I'm NOT a Necromancer!" sister
    Malacar Sunavarlas, Altmer Ayleid vampire
  • TheNuminous1
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    Syldras wrote: »
    People just have varying sexuality that's all it is lol

    They have. But why not showing in through meaningful interactions and dialogue (or even better: within the context of a well-written quest). instead of just throwing it in randomly for a second? And why does it have to be the bad stereotype of bisexual people basically chasing after everyone? I would feel irritated if people of my orientation would be presented only as an annoying stereotype.

    Idk man I'm an LGBT person and I'm saying I w joy this representation. [snip]

    [edited for baiting]
    Edited by ZOS_Icy on December 12, 2022 4:58PM
  • HeavyESO
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    I'd prefer that sexuality, both in representation and discrimination, were left out of entertainment and media unless it bolstered and strengthened a character's plot or purpose. If they are only adding it for the sake of representation, it's generally meaningless and you know it's only being done to please the crowd.
  • Cadbury
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    Well, to lighten the mood...

    Velsa is my favorite character from the Thieves Guild. She's well-written and made the TG questline entertaining. I don't know if anyone else will agree, but I liked Renoit and Draven Leonciele from the Freedom's Chains quest in Bangkorai.

    "If a person is truly desirous of something, perhaps being set on fire does not seem so bad."
  • Syldras
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    HeavyESO wrote: »
    I'd prefer that sexuality, both in representation and discrimination, were left out of entertainment and media unless it bolstered and strengthened a character's plot or purpose. If they are only adding it for the sake of representation, it's generally meaningless and you know it's only being done to please the crowd.

    I think it's fine if some random town npcs or merchants mention same-sex partners (as in "my wife" or "my husband"), just as other npcs talk about their diffferent-sex partner. It seems natural and fits the world of Tamriel where no culture and no religion really cares if couples are same-sex or different-sex. Generally, I still prefer it to be implemented in a more meaningful way if it comes to more prominent or even recurrent characters.
    @Syldras | PC | EU
    The forceful expression of will gives true honor to the Ancestors.
    Sarayn Andrethi, Telvanni mage (Main)
    Darvasa Andrethi, his "I'm NOT a Necromancer!" sister
    Malacar Sunavarlas, Altmer Ayleid vampire
  • Jaimeh
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    Soarora wrote: »
    I haven’t done many of the iconic quests but cases that stick out to me:
    The wlw couple in the Vvardenfell main quest. I believe it was the first time I saw an lgbtq+ relationship in ESO and how it was just… a woman mentioned her wife offhandedly. That was amazing to see and I still think about it. I unfortunately don’t remember their names, though.

    Yes! That's the first example that also comes to my mind, exactly because it was so naturally woven into the story. The characters are Varona Beloren and her wife Overseer Shiralas in Vivec City. I remember thinking how cool it was they wrote an NPC being worried about their spouse, as one would in that situation, and they happened to be both women, and it was an absolutely normal thing, no remarks or eyebrows raised.
  • AScarlato
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    Katheriah wrote: »
    Luckily everyone is allowed to have their own opinion.

    I'd rather see good storytelling and original characters instead of putting the 'bi sticker' on just anyone that likes to flirt with everyone and everything. Not all of us want to do everything with a hole and sometimes some nice badonkers. :)

    ESO has so much better stories in the past. They're getting sloppy. It's too easy to just grab a popular char and throw in a oneliner.

    It’s a reveal for one of the most prominent and beloved male characters in the game. A lot of people I know are very happy about this and it made their day. This is a win.
    Edited by AScarlato on December 12, 2022 4:50PM
  • Syldras
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    AScarlato wrote: »
    It’s a reveal for one of the most prominent and beloved male characters in the game. A lot of people I know are very happy about this and it made their day. This is a win.
    But negativity is popular, so enjoy the support I guess lol.

    Why is it so hard to accept that people have different opinions on how good LGBT writing looks like? How does it affect the people who are happy about the Raz dialogue if other LGBT people utter their opinion that they did not like the way it was implemented? Can't people disagree without ridiculing other opinions anymore nowadays?
    @Syldras | PC | EU
    The forceful expression of will gives true honor to the Ancestors.
    Sarayn Andrethi, Telvanni mage (Main)
    Darvasa Andrethi, his "I'm NOT a Necromancer!" sister
    Malacar Sunavarlas, Altmer Ayleid vampire
  • AScarlato
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    Syldras wrote: »
    AScarlato wrote: »
    It’s a reveal for one of the most prominent and beloved male characters in the game. A lot of people I know are very happy about this and it made their day. This is a win.
    But negativity is popular, so enjoy the support I guess lol.

    Why is it so hard to accept that people have different opinions on how good LGBT writing looks like? How does it affect the people who are happy about the Raz dialogue if other LGBT people utter their opinion that they did not like the way it was implemented? Can't people disagree without ridiculing other opinions anymore nowadays?

    Because honestly this level of negativity always comes up in culture, not just here but in other media, only when it’s lgbt characters involved. A lot of it is disguised homophobia and the needle is moved from one point to another. This is not referring to you but to conversations like this in general. It’s exhausting. It’s fine to have your opinions on what representation is worthy to you. But for me representation involving such a prominent character, as opposed to some characters in this thread whose names are easily forgotten, and in fact were forgotten by one poster, is awesome.

    Seeing two posters here in the lgbt community unable to be happy for others and constantly yell “bad writing” and “pinkwashing” just leads to people saying “you can’t make those people happy so why bother?” And they do say this all the time in responses to posters like you. Would it be great if they do more with this later? Sure. But it’s a start.

    By the way the writers are people too. Maybe you don’t have to ridicule their work if you can’t even handle a comment be viewed as negativity on a forum post. You can keep your sanctimony.
    Edited by AScarlato on December 12, 2022 3:44PM
  • Katheriah
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    We literally gave examples of what does make us happy. I'm happy for people that are happy with this, but the people that want to see better (like me) also come with explanation of why pinkwashing is not good.

    I will not cheer for this, because I don't want to give ZOS a pat on the back for the laziest writing and stereotyping of bi personalities.

    Raz is a character which has literally made several misogynistic remarks towards women he finds attractive. Even to the point where he does it in public and Queen Ayrenn reminds him it's inappropriate. He promised to marry three women, who he was dating at the same time and when he was magically disguised as Queen Ayrenn he wants to 'double check the illusion in private'.

    I'm not sorry for hating the fact that they picked a randy mysogenist to represent my sexuality. If you find him charming then good for you, but there are more than enough people that find him a jerk.
  • FrancisCrawford
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    This thread lists a lot of the quests or NPC dialogues with LGBTQ+ references:

    https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/544713/which-quests-have-gay-references/p1

    Some of my ideas about how "good" the quests are are in there, but I'll leave nuanced discussions of representation to others.
  • TheNuminous1
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    Katheriah wrote: »
    We literally gave examples of what does make us happy. I'm happy for people that are happy with this, but the people that want to see better (like me) also come with explanation of why pinkwashing is not good.

    I will not cheer for this, because I don't want to give ZOS a pat on the back for the laziest writing and stereotyping of bi personalities.

    Raz is a character which has literally made several misogynistic remarks towards women he finds attractive. Even to the point where he does it in public and Queen Ayrenn reminds him it's inappropriate. He promised to marry three women, who he was dating at the same time and when he was magically disguised as Queen Ayrenn he wants to 'double check the illusion in private'.

    I'm not sorry for hating the fact that they picked a randy mysogenist to represent my sexuality. If you find him charming then good for you, but there are more than enough people that find him a jerk.

    In a world were we are given so little to be grateful for as lgbt im glad to see your outrage directed appropriately.

    Your right this is the WORST lgbt atrocity that's ever happened on the face of nirn.

    Certainly there is nothing worse then a misogynistic bisexual feline humanoid anthomorph.
  • FrancisCrawford
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    Jaimeh wrote: »
    Soarora wrote: »
    I haven’t done many of the iconic quests but cases that stick out to me:
    The wlw couple in the Vvardenfell main quest. I believe it was the first time I saw an lgbtq+ relationship in ESO and how it was just… a woman mentioned her wife offhandedly. That was amazing to see and I still think about it. I unfortunately don’t remember their names, though.

    Yes! That's the first example that also comes to my mind, exactly because it was so naturally woven into the story. The characters are Varona Beloren and her wife Overseer Shiralas in Vivec City. I remember thinking how cool it was they wrote an NPC being worried about their spouse, as one would in that situation, and they happened to be both women, and it was an absolutely normal thing, no remarks or eyebrows raised.

    That happens all over the place. E.g., there are lesbian examples in one of the AD zones (a first mate and a cave rescue on the north coast, I forget in which zone) and in High Isle. There's a gay male example in Bangorkai. And I'm surely forgetting or overlooking a bunch of others.
  • AScarlato
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    Katheriah wrote: »
    We literally gave examples of what does make us happy. I'm happy for people that are happy with this, but the people that want to see better (like me) also come with explanation of why pinkwashing is not good.

    I will not cheer for this, because I don't want to give ZOS a pat on the back for the laziest writing and stereotyping of bi personalities.

    Raz is a character which has literally made several misogynistic remarks towards women he finds attractive. Even to the point where he does it in public and Queen Ayrenn reminds him it's inappropriate. He promised to marry three women, who he was dating at the same time and when he was magically disguised as Queen Ayrenn he wants to 'double check the illusion in private'.

    I'm not sorry for hating the fact that they picked a randy mysogenist to represent my sexuality. If you find him charming then good for you, but there are more than enough people that find him a jerk.

    Thanks I do find him charming. I’m sure more do than don’t. Happy to have him batting both ways. Maybe men can be a welcome distraction from all his misogyny.
  • Treselegant
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    Katheriah wrote: »
    I will not cheer for this, because I don't want to give ZOS a pat on the back for the laziest writing and stereotyping of bi personalities..

    It is a bit eye-roll worthy that many of ESO's bisexual characters are portrayed as randy pests who will to sleep with anything. I remember seeing a lot of discourse on this in gaming spaces, maybe ten years ago, with the concensus being being that it does get tiring seeing bi characters pigeonholed as rogue-ish and unable to settle down. Since then it seems to me that quite a few video game companies (who produce rpgs) have taken this on board but for some reason ESO hasn't quite caught up.

    ESO generally has been pretty good with it's handling of LGBT relationships in the past but I do think the writing recently hasn't been as well done. I don't think Isobel was that well handled in High Isle either.

    Edited by Treselegant on December 12, 2022 4:45PM
  • Dr_Con
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    I am glad we are having a civil discussion about this. Art is subjective, and we all have different experiences. Where one person sees Isobel as being wlw based on their own experiences, another person can easily interpret her as being just a really good friend. This is an example of good writing.

    It's dangerous to write an example of bad writing- but for example, what if Sam was revealed as bi only because upon Frodo leaving Middle-Earth forever at the end of LOTR (extended edition), Sam turns to Merry and Pippen and says with a wink that he wants to find himself a boy like Frodo, and as the credits start to roll you see Sam kissing not Rosie, but a guy who looks like Frodo. The inverse can also be written that Frodo leaves Middle-Earth forever because he feels he can't find happiness with Sam because Sam is attracted to Rosie and not him, and it would be equally problematic. Are these good messages? Would this be good writing? I would say no to both, because while hints of their relationship were present, there is no foundation for reveals to happen in this manner to the audience (in fact, evidence exists to the contrary), and it robs everyone of the reaction/response these characters would have to such a confession/possibility of finding happiness together in the Shire. This is almost the same exact issue with Raz, except for the fact that revealing the Hobbits' attraction in this manner makes infinitely more sense due to established backstory and provides "more representation" than Raz's reveal, however if this ending were to have happened- we would have people both applauding and denouncing Peter Jackson for providing this kind of representation. This is what's happening now with Raz- except we lack the awareness that he probably has more people writing him than a copy of Shonen Jump has writing it.

    It's perfectly fine to criticize or applaud the writing either way. Some people think it's good, some people think it's bad. But either way, it's problematic to have casual statements/concrete reveals from long-term characters like this when they are established one way and you control the script and choose not to add in more scenes/dialogue/characters to explore/explain this. It's within their power to have made a side quest to explore this side of a character/quest giver, but at the same time it's better to "show" rather than "tell," and what they did was tell.

    I just hope they start breaking from the established formula and start introducing new characters.


    Edit: Also to the poster below, I was simply trying to state that Isobel is an example of good writing and can be interpreted either way depending on the user's life experience, not that she was an example of good writing because of it. I see how my wording above is problematic. I did write out a whole explanation which basically retold the significance/dynamic that Aurelia and Isobel have in the intro quest, which was literally a contest with Aurelia as the prize, but I feel it is best to leave it at that.
    Edited by Dr_Con on December 12, 2022 6:04PM
  • AScarlato
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    Dr_Con wrote: »
    I am glad we are having a civil discussion about this. Art is subjective, and we all have different experiences. Where one person sees Isobel as being wlw based on their own experiences, another person can easily interpret her as being just a really good friend. This is an example of good writing.

    I disagree that writing LGBT characters in ways where you can easily miss it or ignore it, deciding they are straight and just a good friend, is good writing. Especially when the other characters in her personal series of quests have a very open attraction to one another and start a heterosexual relationship.

    I also disagree that this is how Isobel is written. If you interact with her enough, she is clearly attracted to women.

    EDIT: Thanks to the @Dr_Con for the clarification. I appreciate your taking the time to expand on your thoughts for Isobel!
    Edited by AScarlato on December 12, 2022 6:24PM
  • ZOS_Icy
    ZOS_Icy
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    Greetings,

    We have recently removed some unnecessary back and forth from this thread. This is a reminder to keep the discussion civil and constructive. Please keep our Community Rules in mind moving forward.

    Thank you for your understanding.
    Staff Post
  • kaushad
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    HeavyESO wrote: »
    I'd prefer that sexuality, both in representation and discrimination, were left out of entertainment and media unless it bolstered and strengthened a character's plot or purpose. If they are only adding it for the sake of representation, it's generally meaningless and you know it's only being done to please the crowd.

    Smashing, everyone in fiction is contentedly single and families are groups of close friends who occasionally receive babies from storks or cliff racers.


    For those who think that some of bi characters are excessive, which bi characters do you think are good representatives? I think that bisexuality is inherently subtler than monosexuality. We know that Shiralas is lesbian because she has a wife, but we don't really know that she isn't also attracted to men, because she had no reason to say anything about that. Naturally, the same could said for most characters in straight relationships.

    In real life, I only know that people I've met are bi because they told me directly, but that rarely happens to me under circumstances that would fit into this game.
  • AScarlato
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    kaushad wrote: »
    HeavyESO wrote: »
    I'd prefer that sexuality, both in representation and discrimination, were left out of entertainment and media unless it bolstered and strengthened a character's plot or purpose. If they are only adding it for the sake of representation, it's generally meaningless and you know it's only being done to please the crowd.

    Smashing, everyone in fiction is contentedly single and families are groups of close friends who occasionally receive babies from storks or cliff racers.


    For those who think that some of bi characters are excessive, which bi characters do you think are good representatives? I think that bisexuality is inherently subtler than monosexuality. We know that Shiralas is lesbian because she has a wife, but we don't really know that she isn't also attracted to men, because she had no reason to say anything about that. Naturally, the same could said for most characters in straight relationships.

    In real life, I only know that people I've met are bi because they told me directly, but that rarely happens to me under circumstances that would fit into this game.

    I had thought of this same issue, but if they are bisexual characters that are in relationships and have no reason to tell us they are bisexual, then it's not great representation since it's all speculative.

    I think someone mentioned a quest about a woman deciding between her husband and a female love interest in one of the removed threads. I haven't done that quest so I don't know what quest it was, but that could be an example of a bisexual character that breaks the mold of being viewed as excessive in their sexual activity. Then again, this may still be viewed as bad representation if it involves adultery instead.

    I personally am not of the belief that non-monogamous bisexual characters are even a problem - a lot of people, straight, bi, and gay, have phases in their lives or live their entire lives in this way where they play the field and don't want to be tied down. I think the concern mostly is that the prominent bisexual characters are all portrayed in this way rather than there being variety.

    But again, if a bisexual was in a LTR, how would this even come up in a natural way? IRL, two of my closest friends were a bisexual woman and a bisexual man who were in a committed heterosexual relationship. I only knew they were both bisexual because we were friends, and this isn't something they would have any reason to get into with people they meet on a fleeting basis as we do with most NPCs.
    Edited by AScarlato on December 12, 2022 9:14PM
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