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(Nov 14th, 2014)
Sex and Gender in Furoticon: Paving the Way For a New Generation Embracing Sex Positivity
      by Seppel and Callista and Sigil

When Seppel first came up with Furoticon in 2008, he started with the game basics - game type, resource system, competitive gameplay, and last-but-not-least, the game theme. Employing sexy creatures wasn't the winning strategy in any game he could find at the time, so he decided to develop it himself! Back in 2008 (and to this day) there were incredibly few mainstream sexual games to act as an example.



And thus, Furoticon was brought into being. Back then, none of us expected that Furoticon was going to become one of the most popular games in the furry fandom. Furoticon was a first for many things — the first adults-only trading card game (TCG) to approach a mainstream audience via traditional gaming conventions, and the first TCG to tackle important issues involving sex-, sexuality-, gender-, expression- and body-positivism.

We derive a certain amount of satisfaction that our game showcases us - characters who think and look like we do. We hope that you find that they showcase you too! To that end, we have been updating the scope of the social side of Furoticon.

Furoticon's Goals (click to reveal)

Sex Positive: consent at all levels - every sex act in Furoticon follows the rules: Safe (Risk-Aware), Sane, & Consensual.

     Safe (Risk-Aware): In our stories and art, we do our best to support safe sex acts. While no act of intimacy is without some form of risk, we do not show imagery of or tell stories that involve dangerous practices or intoxication. In Caramel you will even see condom use!

     Sane: We showcase activities that are being undertaken with a sane and sensible frame of mind.

     Consensual: Every sex act in Furoticon is done with the complete willingness of all parties. No coercion or pressure, only enthusiastic consent is allowed within Furoticon!

Body Positive: all shapes and sizes

     We are inclusive of all body shapes and sizes and do our best to show a variety in every set! Muscular, curvy, average, zaftig and everything in between. We do the same with gential size and configuration. It's important to us to show all bodies as attractive and more than worthy of sexual attention!

Sexuality Positive: Straight/Gay/Bi-/Pan-/A-sexual

     Furoticon is completely inclusive of every bit of the spectrum of sexuality! While there are very few characters who could be considered on the extreme of the straight/gay binary just due to mechanical needs for the game, we do try to tell their stories through art and narrative. We will continue to refine our mechanics to allow for our characters to better reflect their sexual preference (especially in the realm of asexuality!), but until then we will continue to tell stories as well as we can!

Gender Positive: Male/Female/Cis/Trans/Nonbinary/Genderqueer

     Just like sexuality, gender is also a spectrum! The physical attributes of a body have little to do with how a person feels about their gender.

     Note: In the past Furoticon has not dealt with this problem well. From here on out, please know that all new characters in Furoticon will be placed in the gender category that suits the character's feelings on the matter, not their physical body.
     As far the gender of a card border is concerned (blue = Male, red = Female, e.g.), there is no longer a difference between cisgender and transgender in Furoticon!

Expression Positive: butch/femme/androgyny

     We are completely supportive of all forms of personal expression. A character can be butch (masculine), femme (feminine) or androgynous without a change to their Furoticon gender. The clothes someone wears is not a reflection of anything but fashion sense!



***



If you're experienced with Furoticon, then you're probably familiar with all of the above in some form or another, either by hearing us talk about it, or seeing it in action. Callista and Sigil, our Creative and Art Directors, work hard to bring both fantastic and inclusive tales to life through both the beautiful art and vibrant stories we have in any given set.

We are the change we want to see in the gaming community. As many of you know due to the events in the gaming industry in the past few months, gaming is no longer a safe space for a significant number of folks. The Furoticon team, however, will always do our best to be a safe space for all flavors of gender, sexuality and expression.

Though we are a small company and our new sets are constantly being imagined and developed, we haven't been as quick to solve some of Furoticon's inclusion problems as we would like. In the years following the original 1st Vanilla (published in 2009), we've made some small changes, but not enough to satisfy ourselves OR our audience.

So how are we fixing the big issues from here on out? Read on!

Problems We're Solving

"Gender" wasn't Gender: Transfolk in Otherkind
     When Seppel began Furoticon, the mechanics were not set up with current knowledge of gender issues. At that point, Furoticon's idea of gender aligned more with assigned sex: a character's body designated their place. And for those bodies that did not align with a character's mental identity (predominantly trans characters in this example), they were placed in Otherkind.

This was wrong of us, and we sincerely apologize for our mistake.

Going forward, we will put characters in the gender category they identify with, and nowhere else.


Otherkin - Otherkind

     Otherkin were originally described as "fantastic creatures and exotic genders." The dictionary definition of "other kinds" is not the only one, we realized, a little too late. "Otherkin" is a spiritual belief — a religion to some. We officially changed the gender name to "Otherkind" in September 2013, rolling it out simply by changing the spelling at that time and going forward. The card spoiler has been completely updated to reflect this change.

Defining Otherkind

     Otherkind has been our sort of "catch-all" for story and characters in the past, and going forward we want to define the gender category further.

Otherkind now covers the following: genderqueer, agender, nonbinary and characters that personally identify as "weird" in either their gender or sexuality. For example, the cultists at ORAL University all are a part of a tentacle sex cult. That's enough to call them Otherkind!


Hermaphrodite

     We would also like to acknowledge our use of the word "Hermaphrodite." When creating Furoticon, we believed that was an appropriate word for someone with both sets of sex organs. Since the printing of Furoticon, we have learned the correct medical term is "intersex". We have chosen to continue using the word "Hermaphrodite" (usually shortened to "herm") as its visual representation and the understanding of the concept in the fantasy of Furoticon is not comparable to the real-life experience of intersex people.

We do apologize for anyone who has felt offended or marginalized by our use of this word, and we hope an explanation of why we have continued to use it shows our intent of respect.



***


So with all those updates, what does that mean for the game?

Other than the name change to Otherkind, no game mechanics will be changing. The majority of our updates here refer to the lore and flavor of the game. However, we want to also highlight a few of our characters that specifically relate to our updates in gender definitions.

Specific Characters

Future Gender Changes:


Lyscilla - Our favorite lizard Domme will be Female from here on out. As we learned in the novel Triskelion's Reign Lyscilla identifies as female.


Remaining Otherkind:

Daeven - Even though we learn in the novel Triskelion's Reign that he's "all man," Daeven also self identifies as "strange," like many of the residents of Algurin (Phebia, Talgurin, etc).

Kris - Kris identifies as asexual and non-binary, though she uses female pronouns out of habit. This puts her solidly in our Otherkind category.

Chessie - A transwoman, Chessie identifies as "strange." Heck, she's in the tentacle sex cult! And so, she's Otherkind.

Osfia - Also a transwoman, Osfia doesn't enjoy having the idea of gender define her. She's also the head of the Kakok cult!

Kuushik - After her initial transformation, she became a fantastic creature worthy of Otherkind status.

Kuushik's Aspriants are on their way to becoming the fantastic Otherkind beasts that make up the rest of her tribe.

Zyla - Zyla is more interested in the pleasure of others than his personal gender expression or pleasure. He is another example of Otherkind!

Glisten - Glisten is more interested in sadism than sex. He's an example of a different style of Otherkind!

No other characters in past Furoticon releases have been developed enough to warrant mention here. Consider them to be as they are described!



***


We have learned so much in the past 7 years since Furoticon was first conceptualized.

We would like to thank everyone who has helped us by bringing up the problematic areas in our lore and handling of these sensitive topics. We hope to continue on our path of being a fun, progressive, inclusive, and socially responsible game, on top of having tons of hot art, lore and story for you all to enjoy.

Sincerely,

Seppel, Callista and Sigil <3

Note: We feel like we shouldn't have to say this, but any comments deemed vulgar, rude, or harassing will not be tolerated on Furoticon.com. We are a safe space!

A Few Articles for Further Reading:

Want to know more?

The Genderbread Person (v2.0)

A Complete Guide to Gender Design in Games

TransWhat? A Guide Towards Allyship

What is "Sex Positive"?

Definitions of Gendered Terms

Otherkin Wiki Article

Feel free to recommend articles that you've found helpful that we could add to this area!

Sorry, comments are closed for this article.

17 comments:

kwratster on Nov 19th, 2014 @ 06:57 PM
hmm very interesting i gotta say

yuko on Nov 17th, 2014 @ 01:40 PM
wow sooo cool and iniformative too!

Taz on Nov 16th, 2014 @ 03:06 PM
@polkakitty: As a fellow linguistics geek I can see where you're coming from--I can't stand when people try to make a plural of "Pegasus," for instance, as it's a proper noun--but in this case I'd have to argue in favor of "herm" as a convenient colloquialism for "hermaphrodite" when used in English. It's shorter, and unless you're talking about Hermes himself (who was the father of Hermaphroditus anyway), it generally doesn't have a heavily masculine connotation associated with it.







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