FL4K: RP/Head-canon vs Lore Canon & Community Message

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.

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Just address me/you/him/her/it/we/them as I/you/he/she/it/we/they and you should be fine.

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If this was a traditional RPG, nobody would be stopping you. But unlike games like New Vegas, each character surely will come with a backstory. All vaulthunters in 2 did, and I don’t see why that is going to change.

An in-game, lore-canon backstory yes. But there isn’t anything anywhere in the user agreement or terms of service saying that players cannot use headcanon or other homebrews to roleplay the game as they want. So long as the game isn’t tampered with in a way that violates the tos, I don’t see why each individual can’t play the game in any way they see fit.

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This. This is the problem. This is why it matters to me. Because this is what happens in real life. “They look and seem like a man, so I’m calling them a man.”

I’m not gonna argue with you and your head Canon here, because this is your safe space, but I really do ask that you recognize and understand why this exact line of thinking is what’s hurtful to non-binary people.

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But there is a line of separation here. You assume I would do the same to an actual person, which I do not, nor would I. I am saying that while I am playing a character in a game I am going to play them how I feel. But the second another living breathing person (or true A.I. if they ever come to exist) is involved my feelings automatically don’t matter as to their identity. If I meet someone and they say “Hello, I identify as poly and my pronouns are they/them” I’m going to say “Ok, straight to the point. Fair enough.” And proceed to use their pronouns. Because how I feel about someone else’s identity doesn’t change their identity. But how I feel about my video game characters changes how I am going to play them.

You assume I apply the same logic to people in real life as I do to people in games and not only is that wrong, its extremely assumptuous and close minded. I have been fully respectful to those who identify as non-binary. I’m not sure how you came to the conclusion you did and I’m sorry for whatever I said that made you feel that way but you are wrong.

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I wanna point out that wasn’t necessarily saying you would. I just meant that that exact line of thought is the one used to do the bad thing. And I just want that to be recognized by people who see this to just think about that. That’s all.

No-one cares how or what you head-canon.

We’re just asking folks to use the preferred pronouns on this forum, for the sake of good manners and politeness towards non-binary forum users.

It’s really that simple.

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Fair enough. I apologize for my rash reaction. It just came off like I was being called out for thinking that way when I don’t. I agree that if you apply that thought process to real people it would be unfair. I was recently told that, simply because I’m less than the standard of attractive and haven’t been in a relationship lately, that a coworker thought I was an incel. Wasn’t the nicest thing considering his opinion on them.

Regardless, I try to keep a firm line separating reality and fantasy. I think and do things in games I wouldn’t do in real life. I think most people have gone on a rampage in GTA, or Fallout, but like 99.99% of those people would never do things like that in real life. Life is hard enough without people telling you how you feel about yourself is wrong. I just wanna play the character the way I want, and respect other people’s right to do the same.

@Psychichazard Which I have if I may point out. My only mis-identification was when explaining my head-canon. At all other times I have used the correct pronouns. You didn’t say otherwise, I’m just saying.

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I was speaking in general terms, I.e. ‘folks’.

The problem is though that it hasn’t necessarily to do with thinking at all (at least initially). It is a natural reaction of a human being to assign genders to every person they meet. This is not changeable from now to then, as it plays a role in the evolutionary analysis we all do on other human beings. It is unfortunate, but the first impression, which instinctively assumes a gender if possible, is part of the deeper human psyche.
What can be changed however is how we act upon our first impression and our impression in general. It is also an act of respect to treat a person as the Individuum they are/aspire to be. It is basically like a process of going from a tunnel vision into the closed eye that slowly opens itself up to the world of others.
It isn’t easy for everyone to get off their inner impression either. Roughly 80% of all people at least partially act upon their initial impression even if they are proven otherwise, which is a problem in general and not limited to gender. Hell, it’s not even limited to species. But we should try to disconnect us and our personality a bit more from our inner instincts, go into the third person perspective and analyze ourselves. That is however a painful process not many want to go through as it will lead to a person seeing their own flaws.

You put a male giving voice to a character, then its male… you want it non binary? then slack female and male voices at the same time or construct a digital voice without timbre or intonation. Anything else is fuckery. Also if Cl4ptr4p/balex are clearly dudes and veronica/genevi are female… my dear Fl4k is a dude too, seriously.

Canned response to a 6-month-old necro

Honestly. Read these threads, please:

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.

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