So I was thinking about the recent rants from "oh noes, girl cooties in my SF" people. I was thinking about which traits of mine are most crucial to my reading experience when reflected in characters. I do not, for example, find it particularly difficult to care about male characters, or non-white characters, or homosexual characters. But I was pretty sure that if I thought about it, I would come up with some things where I really did want characters to be "like me."
What I came up with is loyalty.
I don't require a character with whom I can identify; caring is enough. But when a character is blithely disloyal to people who are showing them loyalty, I have a hard time not putting down the book and walking away.
How about you? What traits do you want to share--or at least not blatantly not share--with a character in order to care about their story?