* It is not my bloody job as a GM to dictate to any player the gender and sexual preference of a character. Period. Full stop.

* It is my job to provide - and portray - the NPCs with whom the PCs interact. These will be male or female, straight or gay, romantically interested or not, as circumstances dictate.

* Screw the squick factor. If a PC wants to murder someone else, do I go all squeamish on him and tell him he can't do it? If he wants to torture someone else, do I go all squeamish on him and tell him he can't do it? Beatings, theft, torture, racism, genocide, slavery, sacrilege, arson, drug use, maiming, murder retail or wholesale, I can set the table for all of it. Torch a village, desecrate a temple, debauch virgins, kick puppies, slit throats, most of us are cool with all of that, but almost uniquely, tabletop gamers draw the line on portraying male-on-male romance? Screw that.

I was born and raised in an area so vanilla and conformist that I was all of five years old before I saw my first black person in the flesh, which led (as you can well imagine) to an embarrassing incident; most everyone in my neighborhood were Irish Catholics. Growing up in the 1960s, the worst thing you could be was a 'faggot,' except if you were a 'Commie faggot' instead. Doesn't matter that we had no clear idea what that entailed ... just that it was wicked and evil and we were indoctrinated to be reflexively against it, whatever the heck it was.

What happened? I grew up. I got to know black people. I got to know gay people. I even got to know Communists. Hell, I married a socialist whose father was gay, and my wife and I got a boffo full body massage each from a dear old gay male friend of mine who visited a couple weeks ago. Somehow I managed to survive, for an hour and a half with a gay guy oiling me up, with my masculinity intact.

And my masculinity is likewise intact when I play a gay NPC. Or a female NPC having a relationship with a male PC. Or a female NPC having a relationship with a female PC. Whatever. Nor am I threatened or outraged that (for example) Paizo, in a couple of works with a couple hundred NPCs, almost all hetero, dared to put in four explicitly gay NPCs.

Because I'm not six years old any more.

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