Hello. I have been a MASSIVE fan of the Borderlands franchise since Borderlands 1. I’ve mained snipers in ever game, until Krieg came out in BL2 at which point I mained him. I love this franchise, I love all the characters, even the ones I find insufferable like Pickle. I love the art style, the weapons, the growth between every main entry. Borderlands, as a happening, has changed the face of gaming and pop culture as a whole.
Foreward; sorry for the book. I am an individual who always has WAY too much to say.
I can’t say I’ve agreed with every view expressed by every member of the community or from Gearbox software, but I am a person who believes that the very least I can do is listen to those views and try to understand them. Even if I don’t agree with those views, at least I can say I understand them. FL4K is non-binary. That is the canon fact. I understand that, but I do not agree with it. Because if one is non-binary, that means that they do identify with some level of gender, with a few exceptions. My disagreement isn’t over pronoun use, I still feel like “they/them” still apply, but being I do not feel that non-binary is the proper term. I feel that FL4K should be more accurately described as “Agender.” FL4K does not have a biological sex, or any of the other defining characteristics to relate to gender or identity. They simply exist. They are sentient and conscious.
I feel like, if they were asked “FL4K, what gender to you identify as?” they would reply “I do not understand what you mean. Gender is derived from a correlation of factors such as biological sex, chemical composition in the brain, neurological make-up, and personal identity. I have none of these save for the last, and I identify as FL4K. I am me. There are no others like me. However I appreciate your attempt to come to a better understanding of me.” (My head-canon of FL4K, since we don’t know a ton of their personality, is very level headed, factual, and analytical.)
As I’ve said, I acknowledge the fact that FL4K is canonically non-binary, but, at the same time, that’s not how I am going to choose to play them. To me, FL4K feels masculine. I understand that they aren’t, but that doesn’t change how I feel. When I am playing as FL4K alone, or with others, I am going to refer to my FL4K as he/him. If I am playing with someone else running FL4K, and they want theirs to reflect the canonical non-binary identity, then I will respect that and use they/them. I believe this is fully fair and respectful because this is a role-playing game, and as such each individual should be able to play the game however they choose as long as it does not violate the end user agreement or other terms of service. If you wanna run a Moze who only uses Vladof then ok. If you want to run a Zane who only uses silenced weapons (if those exist) then go for it. If you want to create an elaborate back story for your Amara that explains why she became a vigilante then great, I’d love to hear it. I’ll be over here playing a FL4K who identifies as Agender, but uses he/his pronouns since that’s what everyone else keeps using because of the voice and he’s tired of correcting people. I in no way shape or form wish to show anyone any level of disrespect towards their gender identity, or artistic expression. I just wish to play the game the way I want, and I will show the same courtesy to anyone I interact with.
I understand that for some, the existence of characters like Bloodhound and FL4K is a major source of esteem. They feel ostracized and marginalized by society, so to be able to point at a person (fictional or no) and say “I’m like them.” can be a serious thing. The rest of us take for granted being able to relate to someone in such a way. I in no way want to lessen the feeling of inclusion these people feel, but I do have a small piece of advice. Find more to relate to others than just your gender identity. Yes, it’s great to find others to share that in common with, but that is not all that defines you. Your identity is just one tiny part that makes up who you are as a person. Just like race, religion, culture, nationality, occupation, aspiration, views, values, there are a million things that add up to make you the person you are. I’m happy that you’ve been able to find individuals to relate to in your identity, but there are so many other people you can relate to and identify with in many other ways. So, if you feel like you’re alone in any regard, then don’t worry because one day you’ll find someone to relate to in that. But until then, look for other ways you can relate to people.
I hope that we can all come to a better understanding of one another. At the end of the day, under the explosions, the gore, the profanity (even when it’s censored by a corporate mandated surgical implant), the crazy siren powers, and the mountains of loot and ammo, we’re still a community. I’m certain that nearly any member of this community could sit down with any other member, pick up a controller, and enjoy a fun, explosion filled session of Borderlands. We don’t have to agree on everything. We can’t. But that’s the beauty of different points of view; we can share them, and learn and grow as individuals, as a community, and as a society. We are all here because we all love Borderlands, so by default we all already have something in common. That’s a start.
I hope that nothing I say here results in me being banned. I simply wanted to share my opinions on the matter. I’ve done my best to be accommodating and respectful, and I hope that I haven’t offended too many people. Because that’s the secret; no matter what you do, where you go, or how hard you try, there will always be people that are offended by something you say, do, or believe. It is impossible to avoid offending others 100% of the time. I just hope to avoid it where I can, and lessen it where I can’t.
Addendum; I’ve tried to make this as civil and non-inflammatory of a post as I can. I hope this can be a civil, reasonably respectful discussion. However, if it degrades to squabbling then I’ll just delete the post. I hope to help the situation, not push it further off the rails.