Ed Greenwood Chimes in on Siege of Dragonspear Controversy

The presence of a transgender NPC cleric in the base camp of the Flaming Fist and a short line from Minsc that references the GamerGate controversy are seemingly the only subject of conversation concerning Siege of Dragonspear, the first expansion for Baldur's Gate since 1998. The complaints have been loud enough to convince the creator of the Forgotten Realms setting, Ed Greenwood himself, to chime in on the controversy on Facebook.

Greenwood's stance is that transgender and LGBT characters have always been part of the Realms, though he was asked to tone it down in the past. Because of that, he argues that, while people have a right to their preferences, there's no cause for the kind of complaints he's seen in the past few days:

I am saddened by what I hear of the current kerfluffle raging about Siege of Dragonspear and the trans character Amber Scott designed and included in it.

Folks, the Realms have ALWAYS had characters (mortals and deities) who crossdressed, changed gender (and not just to sneak past guards in an adventure, by way of shapeshifting magic or illusions), were actively bisexual, and openly gay. How underscored this was by TSR and later Wizards varied over time, and was always softpedaled, because D&D wasn't a sex game, and we generally don't rub the reader's nose in sex unless there's a good in-story reason for it.

But even deities have changed gender, sometimes for good, and the servants of deities (Elminster, in ELMINSTER: THE MAKING OF A MAGE) have sometimes been forced by the deity to "spend time as the other" to learn what life is like.

So it has always been there, and is an integral part of the Realms. With that said, I've never met a gamer yet who doesn't tinker with every adventure to "make it their own" at their own gaming table, so if trans, LGBT, or sexual matters at all don't suit your tastes and needs in your gaming sessions, leave it out or change it.

But D&D has half-orcs, and half-dragons, and half-elves, and has magic items that specifically change gender, right there in the rules. Surely, if you can handle the basic notion of cross-SPECIES sex, having a full variety of gender roles should be something that doesn't blow your mind. If it's not for you, that's fine. I hate wearing certain shades of yellow. But I don't scream and yell at someone I see wearing those shades of yellow, and call them names, and threaten things. My right to dislike yellow applies to me; it doesn't extend to others. Because somehow, through an incredible oversight on the part of the universe that still hasn't been rectified, no one made me a god. (I'm still crushed.)