non-binary characters...

Hi all,

I wonder if this happened to someone else too.

I introduced ClassCraft to my classes today (grade 7). Most of my students were really excited about it. But one student refused to set up her character because she said she does not identify as a specific gender, but as non-binary... I don't think it is actually true, I think she was just being defiant. But still, I don't quite know how to react. I told her I would contact the "ClassCraft people" and let them know that she would like a gender-neutral character but that it might take some time...

any advice?

Hi Lyne,

I would say to this student that Classcraft is a game and in this game there is only the choice between male and female. And I would give her time to think about it and she can come to you to tell you her decision. And during this time she can't play with the others with Classcraft. From my experience it takes at the most two weeks and she would play with the others by Classcraft. And she will  choose a male or female character. Be patiently ...:)

Best Angela

Thank you Angela,

you are right, it is a game... when we play Monopoly, we choose the dog or the hat without identifying as a dog or a hat!

Game pieces in Monopoly also offer animals and other options.  This is becoming increasingly more necessary...especially in Middle and High School Classes.  We need a Gender Neutral option asap!

As a nonbinary teacher I would love this option as well. I don't have any trans or nonbinary students this year, but I'm planning around my students' characters as fictional beings separate from them. A gender neutral/androgynous character set would be AMAZING either way! (Also most people who identify as non-cisgender (ie. your parts are typical of society's ideas of gender) are not saying so because they're being defiant. I got doxxed by one of my student's parent after the first day of school because I am "out" as a nonbinary person and use the title of "Mx." I have the support of my admin and colleagues, but I'd rather not have people who don't know me say they won't allow their student in my class because of my gender identity or try to dig up dirt on me on Facebook to try and get me fired.)

I have also had this question come up with students.

My reply has been that this is a game, and, by definition, all games have certain arbitrary rules that do not reflect the real world. I mean, try sitting down in most video games, for instance. This answer has been sufficient so far.

That said, the reality is that nearly all my students pick a character whose gender matches their own. There are a few males who play as female characters, but it is the exception. Because of of this, I can certainly see how it would be off putting for someone who feels that they are not represented, and while it is "just" a game, there is no reason not to make it as inclussive as possible.

I would be 100% in favor of having some form of non-binay option if that is possible.

I really feel this needs to be an option.  If the makers want to be used in classrooms, they need to plan according to the premises of Universal Design for Learning.  They should plan for everyone to be successful and enjoy the game.  This shouldn't be one more obstacle to comfortable participation.

I agree.  I make sure my students know that their character does not have to reflect their image of themselves, but most do want it to.   With students in the past who are non-binary, I generally recommend that they pick a female mage character - many of the costumes are androgynous and the face is never visible.   That's worked, but since there are already only two options for mages (since skin tone never matters), this might be a place you could add a gender neutral option!   

I've noticed that, in setting up characters, it says "Choose Look" instead of "Choose Gender" which I think is a great step in the right direction, especially for my trans* students. But I also noticed that in some cases (such as when a student is about to fall in battle) it says "he / she needs X HP." Perhaps a gender-neutral term, such as "they" (as in "they need X HP") would be more inclusive. I know that making an entirely new line of costumes and looks would be a lot to ask, so, given Classcraft's anti-bullying stance, and the intense bullying many trans* students feel when defending their gender identity to even their friends, at least gender-neutral terms seem like a pretty simple step to create a more inclusive classroom culture.

Hey there - I have two students who are non-binary who love Classcraft. Neither of them brought up the issue, but I think it is a matter of microaggressions and picking one's battles. For what it's worth, I think it would be a fantastic idea to include a non-binary option (or removing the labels?), as John mentioned, for representation. 

Most definitely!   But for now, show them the range of mage gear as they go up levels.  Many gear sets are elaborate enough that body type isn't really visible and their faces are behind masks.   Most of my non-binary students have been pretty happy with being a mage, whether they ended up picking male or female.  

Of all the characters, I could see most with Mages simply eliminating the gender difference and having only one choice that was not labeled as male or female....

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