“in this essay i will” but i actually continued talking: the inherent binary-skewing present in rejecting the all-importance of a Single Truth
minecraft steve + alex and good omens aziraphale + crowley have the exact same canon re: gender. angelstock dont have any particular gender or gender identity- theyre just Angelstock. minecraft inhabitants of any realm do not have a concept of gender, either, as theyre all “the same one”, and procreation is done through summoning, building, or otherwise non-binary-dependent means.
despite this, humans often assume that steve and alex are cis-binary male and female respectively, and both human characters and real-life human consumers assume aziraphale and crowley are cis men (because nothing says “cis man” like embodying the form of a human woman when necessary (aziraphale) or on a whim (crowley) with zero fuss).
steve and alex, skins in more way than one, dont care, as they dont understand what gender is to begin with, and gameplay does not draw a distinction between what you use the player character for and the character itself- like many things in minecraft, your identity is yours to build as much or as little as you want to your own discretion. if you play as steve, you are steve, to as much or as little a degree as you want to be, and the same goes for alex. your story is of your own creation.
aziraphale and crowley also dont particularly care, with neither of them bothering to correct assumptions more than in cheeky rejection of assumed privilege. theyre older than gender, and, as such, only engage with it how and as they wish, with their default being a slightly drunk-looking wave of the hand and the declaration: “nonbinary”.
crowley shifts throughout the ages, presenting both as a man and as a woman, with a few more ambiguous looks as well, reflecting the eternal shedding of a snake and his paradoxically simultaneous concern over, and dismissal of, the idea that he belongs anywhere- he has been on heaven, hell, and earth alike, and nowhere quite matched the status quo. he has plenty of experience in various works, but never found something that he stuck to, so much as it stuck to him. he doesnt mind his work being known, but also refuses personal recognition. his biggest dramatics take place in private, behind closed doors, and he becomes most sincere when noone is looking. fittingly for his relation to humans, he is entirely liminal.
aziraphale, set in his ways as he is and under constant scrutiny from gabriel to not indulge “too much”, sticks to a more specific range of expression, which becomes narrower and narrower as time goes on, and his panic at the idea of losing his everything continues. as his moral claustrophobia increases, the variety of his physical presentation decreases, settling like a dropped coin- shakily, blurrily, but with a definite center (specifically, “gay something-or-other”). however, he consistently tends to blend the aesthetics of various forms of comfort, engaging both the fancy and the humble, shiny shoes in search of a subtle restaurant in a bloody revolution, a dapper coat to a quiet, ill-fated rendezvous, a velvet waistcoat faded around the buttons with decades of age, an extensive library cluttered and dusty. he is a reflection of all the things he has enjoyed over the years, expensive and free.
perhaps it is because of these characters’ lack of concern over assumed gender that they are so often mislabeled as cis-binary, that the mainstream idea of a “default” gender is applied to them, as their relation to gender is not the explicit focus of their stories, and therefore could be missed by those purposefully turning a blind eye to queerness. or perhaps it is because they are so obviously nonbinary to anyone who bothers to look that certain audiences feel the need to push back so hard against the very concept.
either way, their gender reflects their plots- minecraft exists as a literary vacuum for you to build your own stories in, the same way you build your own characters, or redefine presets entirely; the earth in good omens exists as a mix of bureaucracy and chaotic freefall, with gender presentations a combination of necessity and personal exploration, complicated as the people they belong to.
both minecraft and good omens deal with the supposed conflict between all-knowing gods and randomly generated worlds, infinite power and restriction in accordance with personal code, and being both familiar with, and foreign to, another world, but they do so in different ways befitting their respective mediums. steve and alex are singular, monolithic units with blank spaces where descriptions would be, whereas aziraphale and crowley are packed densely with every second of six thousand years on earth, and more from before it. where steve and alex have the exact same possible struggles, crowley struggles with fitting nowhere fully and aziraphale struggles with belonging too much to one thing entirely, and their entire plot revolves around being labeled as opposites.
both perspectives and explorations of this hyperspecific genre are important, and contribute much to the conversation. good omens details a story of particular moments and canonical history, and minecraft faciliates any possible story and history to take place. the overlap in approach lies in their ability to recognize both the variety of experiences, and the importance and inherent power of granting autonomy to said experiences. even saving a realm in legendary battle or performing good deeds can be unwanted if it is forced.