Does the term "non binary" even apply to fl4k

Hey, i don’t want to get into a discussion about the use of pronouns just the technicality of it in Fl4ks specific case. A conversation with a mod got me thinking about the meaning of certain words and i wondered if TECHNICALLY, any of this even applies. So here i go.

Gender has 2 components, the physical and the social, from what i understand non binary people only refer to the social aspect(leaving a lot to be desired for on the physical). Since fl4k is not a biological life form but AI, created without any kind of sex organs and i assume not raised in any such paradigm, shouldn’t fl4k be completely outside of this all together. Fl4k is not non binary, fl4k is sexless and i don’t mean identifies as, i mean physically is without any sex organs.

What would a robot think about sex anyways. I imagine it would be a gross feature that meatbags like us have to deal with. To a robot it would look like nothing but a weakness, and it would be right.

So answer me this, if you were to write a robot into a story without the non binary stuff, generally you would either assign them a physical form that represents a gender and refer to them as such, or you would just use “it” as their pronoun. So what about fl4ks lore makes (them?) different, why does this robot care to identify themselves on such terms when nothing could be more irrelevant. I imagine if i were a robot gender would just be another term for weak, “it” would do fine.

Leaving a note here to get to this when I have a moment.

Hi! Just to say that a lot of these issues have been debated at length on a different thread which is worth reading.

But I’ll respond to some of your own concerns.

I think you’re contradicting your own argument here. It seems that in the first part of your paragraph you accept that non-binary identity isn’t just about ‘physical’ characteristics. The distinction I think you’re getting at is often described as between sex (physical organs) and gender (a more complex, personally variable and socially influenced identity).

But after saying this you move on to discount ‘the social’ completely, relying on the idea that only physical characteristics below the waist determine whether a character can identify as non-binary. The two arguments undermine each other.

I’m not aware that Gearbox have released any intimate drawings of Fl4k, and I’m not sure the devs think the character’s (lack of) genitalia is relevant to their more complex personal identity.

Well, you acknowledge here that this statement is based on your own imagination. That’s valid of course, but others imagine robotic life forms differently and with much more varied experiences. This could include interest in relationships and personal identities including gender. Goodness, it only takes a cursory glance at sci-fi to see sexuality itself is figured in stories regarding AI, robots and cybernetics - and identification as male, female, or other gender identities is often important too.

I’ll also note that not every human experiences sex as a gross weakness in the way you describe! Heh. So I don’t think the idea that a robot would share that rather depressing view is based on a universally accepted premise. I’m not at all saying your ideas here aren’t valid, but they’re not a given for everyone’s understanding of how a fictional life form can behave.


Let’s get to the simple simple answer. In the Borderlands Universe, Robots have (at the very least the illusion of) free will and thought, along with sentient characteristics like genders and gender roles. As such, an AI that has pondered their space within those paradigms may have come to the conclusion that they do not fit those paradigms, and find being referred to as “it” quite insulting. After all, Robots feel pain intensely and in slow motion.

Now. Do you want some nitty gritty details on why some of these thoughts aren’t necessarily great?

You said gender would be considered a weakness. I don’t think that’s the case. Gender is very often about creating classifications to help us find others like us and unlike us. So we can find people to fill roles in our lives and restrict people who wouldn’t fill them properly.

The thing is. When you’re the minority in a community, it helps to be able to create a space where you can congregate with others of said minority so you don’t feel so deeply alone in your travels. Like, men and masc-non-binary people in make up, women and femme-reading-non-binary people in (this category is probably rather large). Being an oddity in a group draws attention to you whenever you’re there. Being amongst others in said minority makes it so you can enjoy that space without being treated differently.

As such, an AI that has even surpassed their original programming has probably started to search for their kind and, after meeting several male robots decided “I am not with you”.

Re: Sex. Gender isn’t about sexuality, and often, even sexuality isn’t about parts but rather what traits we enjoy in others. But talking about split model attraction and what have you isn’t proper for this thread, so if you wanna know more about that, my DMs (PMs?) are open. But I think @Hattie covered that well enough.

But yeah. I definitely think that in a universe that has gendered robo-people, a non-binary robo-hobo is totally a possibility and properly applied.


“Virtue Signaling” just means “this person shared their World view and I didn’t like it so I’m gonna believe they’re just doing it for clout”

“Virtue Signaling” in this instance is Gearbox saying “hey, non-binary people, we see you, we like you, you’re welcome here”


Except ya made this post. On a forum that loves to discuss


Honestly. Read these threads:

And the forum rules:

And then, please, just try and deal with the fact that non-binary folks exist, that Gearbox promote inclusiveness, and that on this forum, it’s considered polite to use they/them.

If that’s really too much to ask, I can only suggest that you go somewhere else. No-one here cares what you call them in-game or in the safety of another discussion platform.

I’ll take any questions via pm.


For my non-canned response:

Gearbox can write their characters however they like. If their characters and lore conflict with your world view, and cause such offence, you have my sympathy. (You could always, like, not play them).