It is not a factor in how I pick the books, though in games, the ability to play as a female and have a choice of romances is a huge deciding factor for me.
Gender doesn’t play a role in what I choose to read, genre does.
When it comes to writing, I tend to end up with mostly male MC’s even though I’m a woman.
So long as the characters is interesting I really don’t care what gender the character is.
If I am writing of course I am more likely to chose a Male MC because of my own gender, thus making the internalisation of that character easier for myself to write. But that is only if I needed to write something NOW like for a writing prompt or something similar.
If I am going to write in earnest then character gender is irrelevant, I care more about what fits the narrative I am constructing and the personality I am creating. Ultimately when I think about this character and their actions what gender do I see them as.
For reading, I don’t really care about the MC gender.
For writing, I generally write female MC. Since I’m more comfortable with my own gender. Stories with a male MC are rare. There are also some where it’s a group, so I can’t say if the real MC is a male or a female.
All my Mains are male and bi, but they all have a predisposition towards the opposite gender. Ironically, most of my female leads/love interests are straighter than a plank and even mildly homophobic (they don’t care about two guys being together or find it nice but don’t gush over it, yet the idea of being with another girl themselves grosses them out). It’s a nice change from the whole issue regarding how females are so comfortable with one another to have the guys be comfy around each other and get physically close with no issues, whereas the girls find other girls icky.
Given how I write girls, feminists will either despise me, lynch me, or be very confused, as they are very strong and independent, yet they seem to despise their own gender/distrust other girls/don’t believe in “sisters”.
For writing I do not care that much about the MCs gender. I write mostly females though.
For reading … Honestly by now I often stay away from male POVs. Mostly just because I kinda feel oversaturated with it, as basically most stuff in certain subgenre is mainly written from a male POV. shrug
For reading, I prefer… smart MCs? Also cool ones. If they have a dragon, that’s a bonus.
I write whatever character walks onto the page and takes over.
I agree with most people on here, the protagonist’s gender doesn’t really matter to me. When reading I don’t care about it as much as I look at the concept and plot and how interesting it sounds to me; when writing I prefer multiple protags/ensemble casts so multiple genders can and will pop up among my main characters. I do admit there’s a disproportionate amount of female MCs in my stories so far, but I think that’s more of a coincidence. (Or maybe I’ve just written so many gay fanfics with male MCs that in my original works I need to compensate, haha.)
In mine, I started out always having the main protagonist a female, I have since started using males more and also using them with females more often, lately I seem to be having a lot of male main protagonists