The first time I heard someone question whether V was male or female was right after I posted my first strip. A friend of mine asked me about it; at the time, I simply answered. Luckily for me, that friend has not chosen to reveal what I said then to the world.
At the time of the lime green boots strip, there was a thread separate from the main discussion thread where someone said how nice it was to see two women adventurers who were so different from one another as V and Haley. Brief debate followed, but there were very few posters in those days. I don't think it made it to 12 posts.
By the comic with the belt, I was aware enough of the confusion that I had already taken a poll among an IRC gaming group I was in at the time and asked them what gender they thought he/she was, and the results were split: 4 thought V was a woman, 2 thought V was a man. So I decided to swing the perception the other way with my next strip.
Which leads us to...
My biggest mistake was thinking that the majority-view in my 6-person poll was analogous to what the majority of the readers at the time thought or would think in the future. In hindsight, rather than trying to shift the perception the other way, I should have shifted it toward neutral, as I did in later strips. (Incidentally, it's because I now recognize that it is bad writing to have introduced the ambiguity that way that I am bothering to respond to this. It bugs me that I didn't do it more organically than that, and I don't like anyone using the fact that I was bad at doing something as proof that I must not have meant to do it.)
OK, question asked, answer given.
Now I think I may go answer some other threads randomly, because if I've already opened my mouth and spilled stuff that I'll probably regret later, I might as well do it some more.