Queer fears in video games

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Though still sparse, LGBT representation is growing in all aspects of media. Video games are helping lead the way: several large titles like “Overwatch,” “Mass Effect: Andromeda” and “Dragon Age” include LGBT characters.

 

While representation is good thing, we also need to think about how they are presented,  and how they are perceived.

The newest additions to the growing population of LGBT characters in games have sparked criticism within the community.

 

Tracer from “Overwatch” is a prime example of this stereotyping. She flaunts a short pixie cut, a common stereotype for lesbians.

There’s also criticism for straight girls appropriating lesbian culture, and looking, while not actually being, gay. Bioware has a habit of doing this, exemplified in “Mass Effect: Andromeda” and “Dragon Age.”


Another issue is whether or not a character’s sexual orientation should contribute to a story.

 

Tracer being gay isn’t important to the plot of the story. LGBT issues are never brought up and don’t progress the plot of  “Overwatch.”  

 

Meanwhile, in the game “Dragon Age,” side character Dorian, had his father use blood magic to “correct” him into being straight.

 

Dragon Age character Krem is a transgender man who was the kicked out of the military and threatened with death for falsifying military documents by saying he was a man, when he was born a girl.

 

With these two characters you learn a lot about the world of “Dragon Age,” while they also speak volumes about the issues LGBT people face in the world.

 

Hainly Abrams, a transgender female in the new “Mass Effect: Andromeda” game, immediately outs herself to the player. She even includes her dead name, which is the name someone had prior to transitioning.

 

This character was not written with an understanding of transgender people. Transgender people do not normally tell strangers that they are transgender upon first meeting them, let alone their dead name.

 

Bioware later posted an apology on Twitter that “In ‘Mass Effect: Andromeda,’ one of our non-player characters, Hainly Abrams, was not included in a thoughtful or caring way.” They went on to apologize and said they are working with the transgender community to fix Abram’s dialogue.


With LGBT representation becoming more commonplace in games, it comes in many forms, some problematic and others commendable.
Those advocating for LGBT visibility need to keep in mind that not every gay person is the same, as LGBT representation in video games should be as diverse as it is in reality.

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