Look, we can go around and around about this all you like.
The fact is, when D&D stopped, or at least greatly reduced, the use of gratuitous sexualized art - the Caldwells, the Parkinsons', the Elmore's, stuff like that, and started leaning more heavily into more diverse representations, we see a growth in the demographics of gamers. From the late 90's, we have about 20% of D&D gamers being female. Now, we've got around 40%, and, also a heck of a lot larger number of gamers as well, meaning that not only has the diversity grown by nearly double, but, the straight up numbers must have been even more.
THIS is what happens when we reduce the amount of gratuitous inclusion of controversial elements. When we stop just putting in slavery cos we need a reason for bad guys to be bad in need of killing, and actually make slavery the subject, or when we stop putting images of half naked women on the cover of the DMG,
To me, the equation is simple. Which is more important, people or tropes? Is it more important to keep some trope in the game or is it more important to make the game feel more welcoming to more people? To me, I'm always going to come down on the side of more people. If that means I have to give up on some setting or some trope, it's worth it. No setting or theme or trope or art or anything else is ever worth making people not feel welcome in the hobby.