Ginger Goat will be publishing our first LARP soon. We plan to Kickstart a game called Dangers Untold by Shoshana Kessock. The game is already playtest ready, and I love it. Shoshana does great work.
But I want some help from the gaming community to address a sticky situation that I've created. I want to add rules to Dangers Untold about how to use Girls Elsewhere and Heroine of Heiankyo as settings for Dangers Untold. These games encourage players to girls from a variety of countries and language groups. Diversity in gaming is something I value. But I'm concerned about how this diversity will translate into a LARP.
Would you feel comfortable dressing and speaking as a character of a different sex and race? In the US, there is a very racist tradition of painting one's face another color in order to play a cheap caricature of a minority. This is called "blackface." I absolutely do not want players to participate in this racist tradition. So how can we respectfully explore LARPing a character of another race or sex?
There is another, more common racist tradition in storytelling called "whitewashing." In this tradition, all characters, or at least all important characters are white. Most are men. This is the tradition that Heroine and its supplements inherently rejects. In a Heroine game, the main character is a girl. If you use any of the supplement books, she is probably not white.
Here is where I want your help. How do you think we can build a LARP that avoids these two extremes? How can we tell stories about characters who aren't like us without playing hateful caricatures? Do you have any positive experiences with cross-race or cross-sex play, especially in LARP? Do you know of any good articles or resources about cross-race or cross-sex play in LARP? I want to avoid the two extremes of whitewashing stories and playing characters in blackface.
Please join the conversation. Talk to me on Twitter or Google Plus. Comment below. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let's tell stories together. Let's tell genuine stories about realistic people who don't all look like me.