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A discussion on inclusivity

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by beegoratto, May 20, 2023.

  1. beegoratto
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    beegoratto Zakum

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    I want to preface this post with three notes. The first is that I will be using racial stereotypes and insults in this post purely for the sake of discussion and as a comparison, so that people may better understand what makes a statement harmful. The second is that I beg of you to read this post with an open mind; you are welcome to maintain your own beliefs, but please try for a moment to consider an alternate perspective. The final is that this will be a bit of a long read; I apologize I could not make these points in fewer words, but I ask you nonetheless to please take a moment to read them anyways. Thank you for your time.

    Racism, homophobia, and sexism are all well established struggles, even worldwide. While all three exist in disappointingly overt ways around the world, most people in this community have no problems accepting that discriminating and insulting people based off of race, sexual preference, or gender is incredibly hurtful. There is a bit of a disconnect in extending this same level of empathy to transgender and non-binary issues, however.

    It’s become clear to me recently that many people in this community do not recognize the identities of transgender and non-binary people as legitimate. This is, in itself, not necessarily problematic. The struggle with self-identity is relatively new in our zeitgeist and it’s understandable for most people to be either unaware, uninformed, or even apathetic to these issues. If someone begins this post thinking to themselves “you are the gender you were born as, and that’s that,” that is okay. That’s how you were raised and educated, and there was no reason for you to change your worldview.

    However, I would like you to try to take a different approach, one based in empathy if nothing else. Just because something is not important to you, does not mean it is not important to someone else. In many parts of the world, the term “n*gga” does not have the racist connotation that it does, say, in the U.S. People in some countries will refer to their friends casually as “my n*ggas” and this is considered culturally acceptable, and has no racial connotation involved. However if those same people were to use such terms in the U.S., or even here on ML, it would be considered racist hate speech. We ask players around to world to avoid using certain slurs or slang, regardless of how those terms might be viewed in different native cultures, because in some cultures they are considered offensive. I applaud this effort; we hold everyone to the same standard, not because we want to force everyone to think and act a certain way, but because we recognize that some terms are hurtful to some people.

    The same can be said for the act of misgendering, albeit it likely affects a much smaller minority of our server. Misgendering is when you intentionally or unintentionally refer to a person, relate to a person, or use language to describe a person that doesn’t align with their affirmed gender. Most misgendering, from personal experience, is unintentional. Either you don’t realize someone is transgender/non-binary, or have a momentary mental lapse and forget. In many of these cases, it’s not considered harmful, and no offense is taken, as long as the offending party recognizes they made a mistake and makes effort to correct themselves in the future.

    Now, many of you may be asking yourself, why is misgendering harmful? Who cares about what gender someone is? I don’t care when someone calls me the wrong gender, so why should someone else? This goes back to my point about empathy. Just because this matter, and your gender, are not important to you, doesn’t mean that it’s not important to someone else. For many people, their identity is a struggle, negatively affective their self-esteem. According to a 2014 study of transgender people’s experiences being misgendered, 32.8% of them experienced feeling very stigmatized when being misgendered.

    We have reached a point in many social issues where people can recognize it makes others uncomfortable when people make statements like “oh you’re Japanese? What part of China is that again?” or “bro did you style your hair? That’s pretty gay.” These are statements rooted in ignorance and it’s easy for most people to empathize enough with the recipient to be able to say to themselves “this will probably make that person feel bad, and I shouldn’t say things like that.” I’m hoping we can also eventually reach a point like this with actions such as misgendering.

    Regardless what your personal beliefs are, and regardless of how you personally might feel about these terms and actions, I implore you to be able to consider the feelings of others. If you know somebody will have their self-worth negatively impacted by your actions, and it costs you nothing to be supportive, then why not try being supportive? There is no reason to openly say statements like “there are only 2 genders” or “other people can call you whatever gender they believe in” or “I don’t care about what you identify with” unless you are trying to be intentionally callous. Even if you may privately, personally believe these statements, it costs you nothing as an individual to reach out with kindness and empathy and say things like “I recognize your struggles with identity” and “you are free to identify with any gender” and “I do not approve of other people saying things that you find harmful”

    When I first joined ML, and for most of my time here afterwards, I believed ML was a welcoming and inclusive community, and I still believe it can be. But recent events have shown me there is still a lot of discrimination in this community and a surprisingly callous lack of both awareness and caring of transgender and non-binary issues, despite there being quite a significant population of such players among us. If we truly believe in inclusivity as a community, it is our duty to stand with all of our members, especially those who are marginalized, and support them against harmful statements, even if we believe them to be trivial and irrelevant.

    It costs you nothing to say “I’m sorry you feel hurt. What can I do better?” But it means everything to someone in pain.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2023
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  2. fartsy
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    fartsy Zakum

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    not sure how to interpret a zero-tolerance policy on 3.3.2 consistent with ToS and its explanations when there are selective loopholes based on interpretation that may deviate from the text.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. OP
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    beegoratto
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    beegoratto Zakum

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    I would rather this not get into TOS matters, honestly. I’m not looking for anyone to get banned or face a ToS-violation. I’m appealing to the cultural side of the server, how we think about and treat others.
     
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  4. ClowReed
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    ClowReed Mano

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    Thank you beegorattobeegoratto for your refreshingly kind post on the relevant matter.

    Some key takeaways I found in your post was:
    • Not knowing is not a problem in itself. Nobody is born with awareness, but we all have the potential to learn and grow our awareness.
    • How we respond in the face of the unknown is in our control. We could dig our heels into the ground and refuse to acknowledge the current unknown... or we could pause and sit with the potential for a learning opportunity.
    • Being personally unaffected in the face of discrimination does not mean it is not real or does not affect others.
    • It costs nothing to be kind.

    This is something I know both the community AND leadership can afford to pay attention to.


    As for fartsyfartsy 's post about the ramifications of ToS Section 3.3: yes perhaps this could be a separate post, but definitely worth exploring in-depth.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2023
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  5. ryanlights
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    ryanlights Windraider

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    the amount of toxicity in the front of our game, bullying, racism, and intolerance amongst us is sickening.

    We need to be and do better as people and a community. That is fact.
     
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  6. fael
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    fael Nightshadow

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  7. JoylessDevil
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    JoylessDevil Snail

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    It’s very refreshing and very comforting in a lot of senses to see such a well thought out reflection on empathy and kindness in regards to the topics in this post. It can be very alienating to not know if you can express yourself or try to be a part of a community when you carry who you are and what people believe they can say and do to you as a result almost like a burden, rather than an aspect to be acknowledged and understood.
    I have only been playing on ML for about a month but I do have reservations about being open in regards to my gender and race, and about socializing on the server as a result, because it feels as if callous, cruel or intentionally ignorant people and statements are abided by others, however often or not it comes up, even if those people don’t intentionally want to foster that kind of environment here. It only takes one or two bad experiences to sour what’s supposed to be a fun mushroom game where it shouldn’t matter who or what you are, just that you’re all here to play MapleStory.
     
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  8. raggy
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    raggy Red Snail

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    Thank you for the thoughtful post and for raising such an important topic.

    It is shameful and disheartening to know that discrimination exists and is perpetuated in a game many from various parts of the world come to escape such things.

    I stand with the LGBTQIA+ community with humility and compassion. I’m sorry to those who have had negative experiences, for those who have turned away from the game because of such experiences, and pledge to be open-minded, receptive, and empathic to your voices and experiences you feel comfortable sharing.

    No one should have to feel alienated or shamed for being who they are. We can and should strive to create environments where people can thrive being themselves.

    Learning resources for being an LGBTQIA ally:
     
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  9. vampiredio
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    vampiredio Brown Teddy

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    I know this thread is kind of old now, but as a queer/trans person, if anyone ever has legitimate questions I am happy to answer or point you in the right direction. I live in America and it's been a really disheartening and hard year with legislation / a loud minority of people making life infinitely harder for myself and my community, so the least I ever want is to be able to play my little mushroom game with some peace and respect.
     
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  10. PostureCheck
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    PostureCheck King Slime

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    Maybe it's because I don't play as often as I would like but generally speaking ML compared to other online gaming spheres has been pretty accepting of trans ppl and NBs. In fact, I got introduced to ML by someone that's a fucking pansexual deviant who can't stop being horny and when I first made my character I thought I would get a lot more shit for ign but so far most people don't seem to care. I'm not trying to undermine your experience obviously you most certainty play more than me and if you're queer living in America especially now a days your safe spaces are quickly under attack and unfortunately disappearing. That said, if you see blatant homophobia and transphobia in game hit back obviously you don't want to take it too far were you yourself get reported but a simple way I've learned both through irl experiences and some online ones is to call that shit out people aren't a fan of bullies and you would be surprised how quickly come to your aide when it's obvious you're being attacked for who you are.
     
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  11. Kargo
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    Kargo Skelegon

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    The problem is people will never be able to agree with each other. Yes people should be respectful, just as much as adults should be able to have a conversation with a certain risk of offending the other person. I do definitely think this thread is made in good faith, but I also feel like it is slightly one-sided. If you (just like you mention in the beginning of the thread) keep an open-mind, you would also realise that the vast majority of the world either is unfamiliar, uncomfortable or straight up disagrees with anything related to LGBT.

    “I recognize your struggles with identity” and “you are free to identify with any gender” and “I do not approve of other people saying things that you find harmful” as you mentioned are all nice things to say to someone who is identifies as something different than what is generally the 'norm', a lot of people genuinely don't recognize someone's struggle with identity, don't believe you are free to identify as any gender and do approve of the things people are saying which are considered harmful by that person. This is considered a problem for some, but it's just how it is for many. Who is right? Depends on who you ask...

    Live and let live, that goes all ways.
     
  12. fartsy
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    fartsy Zakum

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    right and wrong are moral judgments but rules are meant to be followed
     
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