Trans representation in gaming

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Addendum_Forthcoming:
And the way they ended it is kind of a nail in the coffin.Sure you could retroactively just call the final 5 minutes 'a dream' ... but at that point I feel lke you're spitting at Bruce Campbell's final 'hoo-rah'.

Not to spoil anything, I will more so say that some people are 'owed' their character and the direction of how they wish to end that character's journey. Bruce Campbell became typecast to a very figure of horror legend, and was hard done by the culture of media despite being a fantastic evolution of method acting (fite me, haters) that deserves far more screen presence over movies and televisions than he ever got ... his retirement, and his persona, is owed the finality of his choice to retire.

IMO he owns Ashley Williams. They could have more Evil Dead without him, but I would hope it's more a spin off when he was younger, etc. Don't take his final moment away from him. Which, you know ... is going to require a new cast, regardless, because of that.

Oh, screw that. They ended Ash's story perfectly. We live in a world where this happened:

As far as House of Cards goes, how is this in any way a controversy or question? They basically already wrote out Frank at the end of season 5, and transitioning to a post-Spacey show would be bloodless. Honestly the whole thing smells more like a pretense for Netflix to slash the budget and close out the show than find "some way to go on". Honestly part of me wonders if, after 2016, Netflix wants the show over and done with before people start looking a bit too close for comfort at it and figuring out the Underwoods are expies of the Clintons, just like Francis Urquhart was an expy of Margaret Thatcher.

The Lunatic:

evilthecat:
How?

A lot of people do not recognize transgendered people and so do not feel comfortable sleeping with them. Your thoughts on the validity of that are pretty irrelevant unless we get into "Corrective rape" territory, which I think we should avoid.

There are a few places that have laws on matter concerning consent after the fact. Rape by deception is the umbrella term it comes under, and cases such as R ? v ? McNally have specifically covered deception on gender and so on.

The case can be found here;
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Crim/2013/1051.html
But to summise:
Justine McNally was sentenced to three years in prison after deceiving her partner into believing that she was actually a man named Scott.

There's already pretty established laws on this, and it's about protecting people. Ultimately, you have a right to privacy with your trans status, but there's obviously a degree of trust that must come with sexual relations in which deception of any kind is not acceptable.

That is some toxic nonsense.

A case with a minor, taking deceptive actions within the actual sex act, while assuming a persona they did not live their life as.

Very different from an actual trans person.

It only serves to create terrible legal foundations for other transphobic bs to point towards, like right now.

The Lunatic:

Saelune:
If I remember correctly, she ends up with the blonde guy who is notably not one of the people trapped in the dream world cause he is a decent guy, and that he and her had been romantically involved since they were in high school before she transitioned, and that the guy who reacted badly is kind of a shitty person the whole time which is the point of the game?

Honestly, I mean, she is not a perfect representation, but who is? Overall I felt she was on the better side. She certainly is not 'in your face' about being trans which is what a lot of bigots complain about.

Well, to be fair, when dealing with those issues, unless it's revealed before romance is a thing, it can quite quickly turn something consensual into non-consensual. You do after all have a duty to inform potential partners to anything that may affect consent, after all.

So, it's a shame they went with the "Surprise, they're trans, hope that doesn't make you feel abused!" thing rather than developing it in a realistic way.

If a person born a "man" gets an operation, and becomes a woman, that person is a woman. They're future partners do not have a right to their private information. And besides, they are a real woman. In fact, inside, they were always a woman. So why is this an issue?

Vendor-Lazarus:

If I was born a "man", but get an operation, and becomes a barbie/lion/napoleon/squirrel, am I that label?
If I was always that label inside, all along?

*Sigh* Don't do this man. The situations are not comparable at all. This is inches away from pulling the attack helicopter card in terms of how disrespectful it is to trans people. Namely that there's scientific research backing up transitioning from one gender to another, and this is just some stuff you made up on the spot.

Transphobic comments will not be tolerated in the forums.

If you see one just report and move on. There is no reason for this to continue, and if it does, this thread will be locked.

Final warning.

Fiz_The_Toaster:
Transphobic comments will not be tolerated in the forums.

If you see one just report and move on. There is no reason for this to continue, and if it does, this thread will be locked.

Final warning.

I don't know why you guys just don't ban these treads from getting started in the first place. They never go good directions and only seem to serve as bait for people to get warnings unless they are extremely careful with words. It doesn't make for good discussion when any opinion that someone doesn't like can be flagged and that user given a warning without warrent. Just the lock the thread and save the needless drama. IMO.

Eacaraxe:

Addendum_Forthcoming:
And the way they ended it is kind of a nail in the coffin.Sure you could retroactively just call the final 5 minutes 'a dream' ... but at that point I feel lke you're spitting at Bruce Campbell's final 'hoo-rah'.

Not to spoil anything, I will more so say that some people are 'owed' their character and the direction of how they wish to end that character's journey. Bruce Campbell became typecast to a very figure of horror legend, and was hard done by the culture of media despite being a fantastic evolution of method acting (fite me, haters) that deserves far more screen presence over movies and televisions than he ever got ... his retirement, and his persona, is owed the finality of his choice to retire.

IMO he owns Ashley Williams. They could have more Evil Dead without him, but I would hope it's more a spin off when he was younger, etc. Don't take his final moment away from him. Which, you know ... is going to require a new cast, regardless, because of that.

Oh, screw that. They ended Ash's story perfectly. We live in a world where this happened:

As far as House of Cards goes, how is this in any way a controversy or question? They basically already wrote out Frank at the end of season 5, and transitioning to a post-Spacey show would be bloodless. Honestly the whole thing smells more like a pretense for Netflix to slash the budget and close out the show than find "some way to go on". Honestly part of me wonders if, after 2016, Netflix wants the show over and done with before people start looking a bit too close for comfort at it and figuring out the Underwoods are expies of the Clintons, just like Francis Urquhart was an expy of Margaret Thatcher.

I don't view the ending of season 5 as them writing Frank out of the series. They wrote him out of the white house but in doing so they were setting up a conflict between him and Claire. ''I'm going to kill her'' he says at the end. And that's a fight we will never be able to see now. Netflix made the right call but its still a bit of a shame.

The Underwoods might have started as expies of the clinton's but I'd argue they evolved into one of Trump. Its his republican rival who seems based on Clinton since he's portrayed as somewhat fake and had the election ''stolen'' from him. The investigation of Hammersmith struck me as inspired by the Mueller one too.

Commanderfantasy:

Fiz_The_Toaster:
Transphobic comments will not be tolerated in the forums.

If you see one just report and move on. There is no reason for this to continue, and if it does, this thread will be locked.

Final warning.

I don't know why you guys just don't ban these treads from getting started in the first place. They never go good directions and only seem to serve as bait for people to get warnings unless they are extremely careful with words. It doesn't make for good discussion when any opinion that someone doesn't like can be flagged and that user given a warning without warrent. Just the lock the thread and save the needless drama. IMO.

It is entirely possible to talk about transgender representation in gaming, as shown earlier in the thread. If someone can't talk about it without resorting to underhanded methods and posting things just to get a rise out of someone then they shouldn't post.

The mod team will not stop topics such as these from showing up as the community, especially those in the LGBT community, want to discuss this.

Fiz_The_Toaster:

It is entirely possible to talk about transgender representation in gaming, as shown earlier in the thread. If someone can't talk about it without resorting to underhanded methods and posting things just to get a rise out of someone then they shouldn't post.

The mod team will not stop topics such as these from showing up as the community, especially those in the LGBT community, want to discuss this.

Right but it seems that suspensions and warnings get issued to people in these threads all the time without any REAL reason. And if someone can just report someone they don't like, to use the mods as their own personal hit squad then real conversation cannot occur because the people on one-side of the discussion must walk on eggshells to not offend people on the other side of the conversation or they might get reported or just get a unknown strike because a comment is taken either out of context, or with context ignored.

Look at both CriticalGaming and ErrtheKing on this very thread. Both these people got warnings/suspensions that left other people in the thread wondering why. Now if people are confused as to why fellow forum posters are getting in trouble, then how can you sit there and possibly say that people can have legit discussions when one wrong point that someone else doesn't like means that you can get completely locked out of that discussion without the chance to defend or possible irritate their view.

The answer is you cannot.

And if these topics are so easily offensive to people, that they cannot handle disagreeing views (so long as the views are civil) then they shouldn't be having these discussions. By striking and reporting people you dont agree with means you are not trying to have a conversation, you are trying to have an echo chamber.

Fiz_The_Toaster:

Commanderfantasy:

Fiz_The_Toaster:
Transphobic comments will not be tolerated in the forums.

If you see one just report and move on. There is no reason for this to continue, and if it does, this thread will be locked.

Final warning.

I don't know why you guys just don't ban these treads from getting started in the first place. They never go good directions and only seem to serve as bait for people to get warnings unless they are extremely careful with words. It doesn't make for good discussion when any opinion that someone doesn't like can be flagged and that user given a warning without warrent. Just the lock the thread and save the needless drama. IMO.

It is entirely possible to talk about transgender representation in gaming, as shown earlier in the thread. If someone can't talk about it without resorting to underhanded methods and posting things just to get a rise out of someone then they shouldn't post.

The mod team will not stop topics such as these from showing up as the community, especially those in the LGBT community, want to discuss this.

Doesn't closing these topics just serve the bigotry though? Like, the point of these topics is to oppose it, so if people come in and start saying terrible things against it, and it gets the topic closed, doesn't that just serve their own purposes?

Commanderfantasy:
snip

The purpose of this thread is quite clear, and stated in the title.

It's a discussion on trans representation in gaming.

If you don't like trans people generally, or disagree with the well established body of medical and psychological knowledge about trans people, this is probably not the place to air it.

The discussion of "should trans people be accepted for their gender identity" is not an issue with two sides. True, some people may refuse to accept the prevailing evidence, just as some people continue to believe that white people are more intelligent than black people, or that gay people cause earthquakes. These are not things we can discuss, however, because you cannot seriously expect people to defend their right to exist, or their right to be the person they are.

If you managed to get to this point in your life believing that being assigned male or female at birth is the sum total of what makes a person male or female within society, then you clearly have some kind of emotional bias towards that conclusion (or just a really sheltered life experience) which you cannot expect someone else to fix for you. You need to fix it yourself. If you're confused about basic information about trans people, I'm sure someone here can help out. But I don't want to "discuss" whether I should be accepted into normal society. That sounds a bit rubbish.

evilthecat:

Commanderfantasy:
snip

The purpose of this thread is quite clear, and stated in the title.

It's a discussion on trans representation in gaming.

If you don't like trans people generally, or disagree with the well established body of medical and psychological knowledge about trans people, this is probably not the place to air it.

The discussion of "should trans people be accepted for their gender identity" is not an issue with two sides. True, some people may refuse to accept the prevailing evidence, just as some people continue to believe that white people are more intelligent than black people, or that gay people cause earthquakes. These are not things we can discuss, however, because you cannot seriously expect people to defend their right to exist, or their right to be the person they are.

If you managed to get to this point in your life believing that being assigned male or female at birth is the sum total of what makes a person male or female within society, then you clearly have some kind of emotional bias towards that conclusion (or just a really sheltered life experience) which you cannot expect someone else to fix for you. You need to fix it yourself. If you're confused about basic information about trans people, I'm sure someone here can help out. But I don't want to "discuss" whether I should be accepted into normal society. That sounds a bit rubbish.

Then this thread can be solved in fairly simple fact then.

Video games are a multi-billion dollar business. They make their money trying to sell to the biggest audience possible.

The LBGTQ community is an incredibly small portion of the market-place in general, even smaller when you factor the people that actually play video games.

Therefore, the isn't going to be great LBGTQ representation in gaming because too much of the main stream audience is sketchy on that subject matter. So until the main stream public (or until the LBGTQ marketplace overwhelms the cis marketplace) accepts these characters with open arms, then you'll not see much representation.

However the continued movement of blasting developers for including LBGTQ characters but not in the "right" way or a way that crosses all T's and dots all the I's in a way that is deemed "Acceptible", then they are going to be less willing to keep trying to create characters for you.

By all means be critical of the characters they make and point out things that can be approved, but do so constructively and without the pitchforks. The fact that there are even LBGTQ characters in games now shows that the industry is at least trying. If everyone is going to always find something objectionable or offensive regardless of what the industry tries, you'll end up finding that the industry will stop trying.

Not to mention because of all the uproar and protesting given characters cause from the LBGT community as well as the feminist and their movement, the "cis-folks" will just call every female/LBGTQ character pandering. If not pandering then they'll be annoyed about it because "reasons" like with BFV and the lady on the cover.

Just tone it down, accept the characters you do get while criticizing where needed in a reasonable fashion, and check the outright at the door. People and the industry will respond favorably and more representation will come.

Commanderfantasy:
Video games are a multi-billion dollar business. They make their money trying to sell to the biggest audience possible.

With you so far.

Commanderfantasy:
The LBGTQ community is an incredibly small portion of the market-place in general, even smaller when you factor the people that actually play video games.

The LGBT+ community is not that small, intersects with a lot of the demographics that play video games and above all tends to be extremely loyal to brands and companies which cater to them.

On the "size" of the community, one survey of 18-24 year olds in the UK found that only around half considered themselves a Kinsey 0 (exclusively heterosexual). Obviously, this isn't a measure of LGBT identification, but it does indicate a bit of a problem with your assumption that there is no market for LGBT+ content. This is also, of course, before we factor in the well evidenced fact that straight or cisgender people do consume and enjoy LGBT+ content.

Even at face value, this is essentially a repeat of that infamous debate on the Bioware forums, and it deserves the same answer. The metrics don't agree with you. That is why we are seeing more and more LGBT+ characters in games, because there is an increasingly sound business decision for adding them. That isn't going to change. Heterosexual cis men do not own video games as a medium, and they never will.

Commanderfantasy:
Just tone it down, accept the characters you do get while criticizing where needed in a reasonable fashion, and check the outright at the door. People and the industry will respond favorably and more representation will come.

Okay, well thanks for explaining that in a way that wasn't at all patronising.

Firstly, can you point to a single incident in which a video game developer or publisher went out of its way to cater to an LGBT+ audience and was met with broad hostility by that audience.

Secondly, explain to me why "pandering" is a bad thing.

Like, the narrative is bizarre. On one hand we are told that companies only put LGBT+ characters in game to win unearned praise. On the other hand, that the audience demanding LGBT+ representation will not praise anything and are impossible to please.

Which is it, really?

Commanderfantasy:

evilthecat:

Commanderfantasy:
snip

The purpose of this thread is quite clear, and stated in the title.

It's a discussion on trans representation in gaming.

If you don't like trans people generally, or disagree with the well established body of medical and psychological knowledge about trans people, this is probably not the place to air it.

The discussion of "should trans people be accepted for their gender identity" is not an issue with two sides. True, some people may refuse to accept the prevailing evidence, just as some people continue to believe that white people are more intelligent than black people, or that gay people cause earthquakes. These are not things we can discuss, however, because you cannot seriously expect people to defend their right to exist, or their right to be the person they are.

If you managed to get to this point in your life believing that being assigned male or female at birth is the sum total of what makes a person male or female within society, then you clearly have some kind of emotional bias towards that conclusion (or just a really sheltered life experience) which you cannot expect someone else to fix for you. You need to fix it yourself. If you're confused about basic information about trans people, I'm sure someone here can help out. But I don't want to "discuss" whether I should be accepted into normal society. That sounds a bit rubbish.

Then this thread can be solved in fairly simple fact then.

Video games are a multi-billion dollar business. They make their money trying to sell to the biggest audience possible.

The LBGTQ community is an incredibly small portion of the market-place in general, even smaller when you factor the people that actually play video games.

Therefore, the isn't going to be great LBGTQ representation in gaming because too much of the main stream audience is sketchy on that subject matter. So until the main stream public (or until the LBGTQ marketplace overwhelms the cis marketplace) accepts these characters with open arms, then you'll not see much representation.

However the continued movement of blasting developers for including LBGTQ characters but not in the "right" way or a way that crosses all T's and dots all the I's in a way that is deemed "Acceptible", then they are going to be less willing to keep trying to create characters for you.

By all means be critical of the characters they make and point out things that can be approved, but do so constructively and without the pitchforks. The fact that there are even LBGTQ characters in games now shows that the industry is at least trying. If everyone is going to always find something objectionable or offensive regardless of what the industry tries, you'll end up finding that the industry will stop trying.

Not to mention because of all the uproar and protesting given characters cause from the LBGT community as well as the feminist and their movement, the "cis-folks" will just call every female/LBGTQ character pandering. If not pandering then they'll be annoyed about it because "reasons" like with BFV and the lady on the cover.

Just tone it down, accept the characters you do get while criticizing where needed in a reasonable fashion, and check the outright at the door. People and the industry will respond favorably and more representation will come.

Ignoring minorities, which is what you are advocating, is a bad thing.

Commanderfantasy:

Not to mention because of all the uproar and protesting given characters cause from the LBGT community as well as the feminist and their movement, the "cis-folks" will just call every female/LBGTQ character pandering. If not pandering then they'll be annoyed about it because "reasons" like with BFV and the lady on the cover.

Something that you can hardly blame on the feminists or the GLBTQ community. That some people can't handle not being exclusively catered to anymore is not the problem of the people being included, nor should they be blamed for it.

For perspective: Would you blame black people for the outrage white people in the US felt when segregation was formally outlawed?

Commanderfantasy:
The LBGTQ community is an incredibly small portion of the market-place in general, even smaller when you factor the people that actually play video games.

The problem I have with this argument is that you're assuming the LGBTQ market is somehow a mutually exclusive audience. Just because a video game has a trans character in it doesn't mean cis people are suddenly prohibited from buying it. Sure you might lose some people who let their views influence them but is that a larger or smaller audience than you might get from not alienating the LGBTQ crowd? Because I think it might be smaller

At the end of the day it's just too of a hot topic to cover in games these days.
Some people will be put off by it and on the other side people will be screaming misrepresentation.
Trans characters are not something you can creatively have fun with but something you have to pussy foot around or fear a back lash.

I'd like to see more trans in video games but when you have doctors being fired in real life for saying "gender is decided at birth" because you know, chromosomes. people ain't going touch that subject with a barge pole.

Commanderfantasy:

The LBGTQ community is an incredibly small portion of the market-place in general, even smaller when you factor the people that actually play video games.

Therefore, the isn't going to be great LBGTQ representation in gaming because too much of the main stream audience is sketchy on that subject matter. So until the main stream public (or until the LBGTQ marketplace overwhelms the cis marketplace) accepts these characters with open arms, then you'll not see much representation.

Uh, the problem with this line of thinking is that it's assuming that only that community wants this. Plenty of people either want this, or wouldn't be bothered by it. I'm in that category of people, hell I'm all for it with open arms and baked goods at the ready. You don't need to be gay or trans to enjoy playing as a character who is in a video game. Sure, maybe people can't personally relate to a character because they're not the same gender, or have a different skin color, or have different ideals, or have different struggles...but does that matter? Someone doesn't have to look like you, talk like you, or be like you, for you to come to understand them and enjoy the character. For example I couldn't even remotely relate to the characters in Life is Strange. The difference between myself and the main characters was polarizing, but I still enjoyed it and they really grew on me. I'm glad I played it. People can grow to like and understand characters who are nothing like them, and personally those are characters that I tend to enjoy the most.

And I understand that focus testing done by the publishers has told them otherwise for decades, but people are starting to openly say otherwise and there has been a reaction to it. Hell we're seeing more female protagonists lately and it doesn't seem to be hurting sales at all despite all the people whining about it. Because it turns out that most people don't give a damn who or what they play as. As long as the game is good or the characters are compelling or well written, people will enjoy it. Due to the subject matter, will there be bumps along the road? Sure, there already have been. But I think developers should keep trying, and not just give in due to fear.

Wakey87:
I'd like to see more trans in video games but when you have doctors being fired in real life for saying "gender is decided at birth" because you know, chromosomes. people ain't going touch that subject with a barge pole.

I mean, do you think doctors should be ignorant or in denial regarding basic medical information?

I don't think doctors should be allowed to tell patients that vaccines cause autism either, or that you can gets HIV from sitting on the toilet.

The idea that chromosomes decide gender is even more absurd than the above. Chromosomes don't even reliably decide sex (at least, not the metric of sex we actually use). There's very little evidence that gender even exists at birth. At best, it is a cognitive response to hormonal factors which are decided before birth, but even this is not particularly well evidenced.

There is no medical "debate" on the existence of trans people. There has not been for many decades now. The only people who still want one are those who want medical science to vindicate their own prejudices in contradiction to the available evidence.

The idea that "having fun" with trans inclusion means revisiting a long-dead debate over whether trans people exist is so out of touch with reality that I've already dignified it too much by even mentioning it. Having gender be mutable and fluid, perhaps even more mutable and fluid than in our real world, is almost automatically more fun than adhering rigidly to weird fantasies about gender being determined by chromosomes.

evilthecat:

There is no medical "debate" on the existence of trans people. There has not been for many decades now. The only people who still want one are those who want medical science to vindicate their own prejudices in contradiction to the available evidence.

If sex is the biological thing and gender just some social construct, i fail to see how medical professionals qualify for gender questions at all.

Of course medical science is pretty useless to answer social questions.

Satinavian:
If sex is the biological thing and gender just some social construct, i fail to see how medical professionals qualify for gender questions at all.

So, there's a third layer between the biological and the social, isn't there, and it has its own discipline.

Biology looks at the physical structure and operation of living organisms.
Sociology looks at the way in which individuals interact together as a society.

But between the two, there is a science which examines the workings of the human mind. It's called psychology, and it's quite important in medicine because we understand that health issues are sometimes due to the way the mind works, rather than just problems with the body. It's from psychology that we get the separate concepts of gender identity, sexual orientation and, ultimately, gender expression.

We don't currently know what prompts a person to develop gender identity. It may be partly to do with sex hormones, or it may just be a very complex cognitive process which takes place at a very early age. What we do know is that it isn't a neurosis or delusion, it doesn't work like one. It is a seemingly natural variation on the way in which all human beings come to develop identity which, in a society with very rigid gender rules, has unfortunate and tragic implications for the individual whose gender identity does not conform (this is the part sociologists are interested in, but their interest is more theoretical and less clinical).

We are born physically with particular sets of organs, but we are not born with an identity. As we develop from screaming babies into human beings with complex thoughts and language, at some point we develop this thing called identity, a sense of who we are, which is very important to us. Most people come to identify strongly with the sex they were assigned at birth, but some people do not. The very existence of those people already demonstrates that gender (gender identity in this case) is not determined by "chromosomes".

Heck, "chromosomes" on their own don't actually do anything. The importance of the Y chromosome is that it normally contains the gene that triggers testis development in humans, and because it's much easier to see chromosomes than individual genes we use the appearance of the Y chromosome as a kind of rough way to estimate the presence of this gene. However, it's not a very good test. At one point, it was common to karyotype test athletes, but we stopped doing that because it's not accurate enough at determining a person's sex when compared to actual medical examination.

evilthecat:

Satinavian:
If sex is the biological thing and gender just some social construct, i fail to see how medical professionals qualify for gender questions at all.

So, there's a third layer between the biological and the social, isn't there, and it has its own discipline.

Biology looks at the physical structure and operation of living organisms.
Sociology looks at the way in which individuals interact together as a society.

But between the two, there is a science which examines the workings of the human mind. It's called psychology, and it's quite important in medicine because we understand that health issues are sometimes due to the way the mind works, rather than just problems with the body. It's from psychology that we get the separate concepts of gender identity, sexual orientation and, ultimately, gender expression.

We don't currently know what prompts a person to develop gender identity. It may be partly to do with sex hormones, or it may just be a very complex cognitive process which takes place at a very early age. What we do know is that it isn't a neurosis or delusion, it doesn't work like one. It is a seemingly natural variation on the way in which all human beings come to develop identity which, in a society with very rigid gender rules, has unfortunate and tragic implications for the individual whose gender identity does not conform (this is the part sociologists are interested in, but their interest is more theoretical and less clinical).

We are born physically with particular sets of organs, but we are not born with an identity. As we develop from screaming babies into human beings with complex thoughts and language, at some point we develop this thing called identity, a sense of who we are, which is very important to us. Most people come to identify strongly with the sex they were assigned at birth, but some people do not. The very existence of those people already demonstrates that gender (gender identity in this case) is not determined by "chromosomes".

Heck, "chromosomes" on their own don't actually do anything. The importance of the Y chromosome is that it normally contains the gene that triggers testis development in humans, and because it's much easier to see chromosomes than individual genes we use the appearance of the Y chromosome as a kind of rough way to estimate the presence of this gene. However, it's not a very good test. At one point, it was common to karyotype test athletes, but we stopped doing that because it's not accurate enough at determining a person's sex when compared to actual medical examination.

Or hell, the recent find of an XY women who's given natural birth multiple times to people who, themselves, can have kids.

Turns out, humans are gloriously messy, and simplified high school biology is, well, simplified.

I like that Animal Crossing: New Leaf doesn't restrict your clothing based on sex. They still make a couple of 'Oh, the dress is for YOU? Uh, no, sure! That's fine...yeah' but I do appreciate the freedom.

Wakey87:
At the end of the day it's just too of a hot topic to cover in games these days.
Some people will be put off by it and on the other side people will be screaming misrepresentation.
Trans characters are not something you can creatively have fun with but something you have to pussy foot around or fear a back lash.

I'd like to see more trans in video games but when you have doctors being fired in real life for saying "gender is decided at birth" because you know, chromosomes. people ain't going touch that subject with a barge pole.

Drawing within the lines rarely breeds creativity. Creativity is boldness. If people make sincere attempts, they will probably be fine. If they end up offending people, maybe they deserve to be punished instead of putting on a fa?ade of decency?

evilthecat:
Secondly, explain to me why "pandering" is a bad thing.

I'll pick this up, since it hearkens back to the point I was looking to make in my OP and subsequent few posts. I say this as someone who supports more and better LGBTQ+ characters in games. I want to get my operating definition of "pandering" out of the way. To me, the word in this context means the insertion of LGBTQ+ characters whose only traits relate to their gender or sexuality, and/or who don't have definable character arcs in the game, for no discernible reason other than to appeal to a certain demographic.

The best way to really explain what I'm getting at, here, is applying a variant of the "Plinkett test". If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's from the RedLetterMedia "Mr. Plinkett" review of The Phantom Menace (link below).

https://youtu.be/FxKtZmQgxrI?t=6m42s

In this case, it's "describe (video game character) WITHOUT saying what they look like, what costume they wore, what their profession or role was, or their gender/sexuality. The more descriptive you can get, the better the character". Run through a list of trans characters in your head, and see if you can find which ones pass the Plinkett test.

Yes, I'm aware most major characters in video games, and pretty much all minor characters, fail the Plinkett test. If there aren't any major trans characters, how can we expect them to pass the Plinkett test?

Eacaraxe:
snip

So, I have a number of problems..

Firstly, as you kind of point out yourself many, many characters in video games are, by this definition, pandering. Heck, I agree, they are pandering. How many female characters can you think of who aren't defined by their sexed attributes and appearance? Heck, most of the early examples of LGBT characters in gaming were hyper-sexualized bisexual women who were stuck in games very blatantly because straight men got turned on by the idea of women fucking.

Games have a much more simple and immediate approach to gratification than most other media, and often, the story (if there is one) is just a way to reward you for gameplay. This means that characters are often a reward for gameplay, rather than being an end in themselves. It's pandering, it's all pandering, so why does pandering suddenly become a problem when anyone other than heterosexual cis men want to be pandered to?

Secondly, the Plinkett test is an interesting idea, but like a lot of RLM's ideas about film it's pretty reductive if taken seriously. Darth Maul is a character who is defined by his appearance and narrative role, for example. He speaks one line, he has no arc, he doesn't grow or change, yet he's one of the best things about the prequel trilogy. If Lucas had added a side plot about Darth Maul being trained by Sideous, it wouldn't have improved his character because it's unecessary. A character's appearance can tell a story, a character's role can tell a story and yes, a character's gender or sexuality can tell a story.

In my opinion, the biggest flaw of the way video games write LGBT characters is not that everything about them is related to their gender and sexuality, but that almost nothing is. In real life, queer people are often incredibly defined by the fact that they are queer, to the point that it touches on every part of their lives. You don't add sexuality or gender to a human being and stir, these things make us who we are. Video games are often so determined to show that queer characters are "just like you and me" that they often seem afraid to make a character's queerness actually matter.

evilthecat:
snip

Sure, there's a lot of pandering in games in general. Not only do I not deny it, I made the point myself by pointing out most video game characters in general wouldn't pass the Plinkett test. So is that acceptable for trans characters, simply because pandering exists elsewhere? If one supports races to the bottom and is overall satisfied with the level of representation across the spectrum, I guess?

But that's where we start getting into really sticky territory. Like I said, I did the Plinkett test myself, I really tried, and the one example I could find of a trans character who unarguably passed it, was a hyper-sexualized, fan service-y trans woman character. What kind of statement even is that? seriously, I'm trying to figure it out myself. That's part of for what I started this thread.

One of the benefits of the Plinkett test specific to women characters, is it allows for cutting a lot of the shit when it comes to "sexualization", and deep diving on characters frequently cited when discussing sexualization in games. Bayonetta, for example, is a frequently-cited character, but on the other hand her characterization is so strong there's really no room for discussion on if she'd pass the Plinkett test.

Likewise, it makes for a really fucking phenomenal tool for bringing up diversity of characterization in women characters, apart from discussion of physicality which dominates the discussion to the exclusion of all else. Funny enough, writing this post I did the Plinkett test on Bayonetta, and my answer was virtually identical to Poison! Did it on Lara Croft, or at least her pre-reboot version...funny enough, same answer.

Male gaze and jiggle physics my ass, let's start a discussion on that shit.

Funny thing about Maul. On the forums here (think it was the Clone Wars season 7 thread) I made a point about how Maul is so much of a non-character, one could cut him completely out of the film without changing the movie's plot (same thing with Qui-Gon, too). You miss a couple fight scenes, but that's it. His only role is to wave a lightsaber around and kill another completely superfluous non-character.

The fact he's one of the "coolest" things about the prequel trilogy isn't a validation of the character, it's a wholesale indictment of how truly bloated, disorganized, and superficial the prequel trilogy was. It took the CG series to do anything with him of note.

Eacaraxe:
Like I said, I did the Plinkett test myself, I really tried, and the one example I could find of a trans character who unarguably passed it, was a hyper-sexualized, fan service-y trans woman character.

Well, there is one possibility I don't think you've considered, which is that the Plinkett test, or at least the way you're using it, is not actually a very good way of judging writing.

See, the way this excercise was brought up in the Plinkett review of the Star Wars prequels was to highlight a specific weakness in the writing, namely the lack of strong characterisation. But even here, I'm going to argue that it doesn't really work. See, Han Solo isn't memorable because he's just such a brilliant, well-written character. He's memorable because he's an extremely archetypal character. Star Wars relies heavily on metatextual information to tell its story, it relies on you making comparisons to other genres and characters, Westerns, war films, martial arts films, samurai films and so forth. Literature and film are full of Han Solos, and that's why his characterisation is so memorable, because we've seen it dozens of times. Now, I'm not saying this is bad. Most films use metatextual information in this way to some degree because it's efficient, but it doesn't allow us to break new ground, it doesn't allow us to tell stories or use characters which aren't already archetypes.

But what you're doing is actually going a step beyond even this and deciding that gender and sexuality cannot be part of characterisation at all, which is completely arbitrary. These things can be hugely, hugely important to characterisation and provide huge amounts of implicit information about who a character is. I'm not sure why you would be surprised that, when you are forced to ignore very important pieces of characterisation, it is hard to describe characters. It's like saying that robocop is badly written if you describe the character while deliberately ignoring the fact that he is a cyborg.

evilthecat:
But what you're doing is actually going a step beyond even this and deciding that gender and sexuality cannot be part of characterisation at all, which is completely arbitrary.

That's not what I'm saying at all. I'm pointing out the only trait proscribed to these characters is gender/sexuality, and that is problematic. If you cannot describe the character -- at all -- without discussing gender or sexual orientation, that is the only trait they have. You're putting words in my mouth, and I'd like to think to this point I've been quite clear about my points.

It's like saying that robocop is badly written if you describe the character while deliberately ignoring the fact that he is a cyborg.

Robocop is a dutiful and humble, but confident, man with a strong sense of justice and empathy, who had a loving family. Due to the machinations of the mega-corporation which owns Detroit, he had his former life, family, and even his memories stripped away. However, his sense of duty and justice remained despite the corporation's best efforts to subvert him to their will, and when he began to regain his memories, he realized the full depth of the betrayal and undertook a mission to bring the conspiracy of criminals and corporate executives responsible to justice. The character, through undergoing a chain of events that involve suffering, sacrifice, and salvation, is a Christ allegory, albeit re-imagined for a dystopian science-fiction film that heavily satirizes post-industrial American consumer, corporate, and media culture.

One paragraph. Not only did I describe the character thereby satisfying the Plinkett test, I described the plot of the whole movie relative to that character's arc and even managed to devote a sentence to the film's themes and social commentary. Didn't even have to go near Robocop being a cyborg. For all it actually mattered to the film, OCP could have healed Murphy and infested him with a memory-erasing alien parasite; it would have had to be called WormCop or something, but that's neither here nor there.

You were saying?

Eacaraxe:

evilthecat:
But what you're doing is actually going a step beyond even this and deciding that gender and sexuality cannot be part of characterisation at all, which is completely arbitrary.

That's not what I'm saying at all. I'm pointing out the only trait proscribed to these characters is gender/sexuality, and that is problematic. If you cannot describe the character -- at all -- without discussing gender or sexual orientation, that is the only trait they have. You're putting words in my mouth, and I'd like to think to this point I've been quite clear about my points.

Okay, sure, but...

Why is this especially bad for trans characters, and a reason to not have they at all when, as you point out, it holds the same for a vast, overwhelming majority of videogame characters in general?

evilthecat:
See, Han Solo isn't memorable because he's just such a brilliant, well-written character. He's memorable because he's an extremely archetypal character.

That and Harrison Ford absolutely nailed his performance, which turned Han Solo from an obnoxious hothead who gets everyone into trouble into a lovable rogue. On the opposite end, Anakin gets a ton of character development in the prequels, but Christiansen's performance turns all that writing into a flat character that sulks constantly about how unfair everything is.

And this is the problem of talking about characters in any media where actors of some kind portrays them (as opposed to purely written characters): A good actor can take poor writing and salvage it into something acceptable, a poor actor can take Nobel prize winning characterization and turn it to shit.

Which is another reason that the Plinkett test often misses the mark, because it is too simple to account for all the things that influence characterization and dumbs it down to a writing issue. Getting good characters is about more than just writing a good script, it also requires a director who understands the script and knows how to translate it to moving pictures, it requires an editor who understands the importance of specific character building scenes and it requires actors who can deliver an adequate performance.

Eacaraxe:
One paragraph. Not only did I describe the character thereby satisfying the Plinkett test, I described the plot of the whole movie relative to that character's arc and even managed to devote a sentence to the film's themes and social commentary. Didn't even have to go near Robocop being a cyborg. For all it actually mattered to the film, OCP could have healed Murphy and infested him with a memory-erasing alien parasite; it would have had to be called WormCop or something, but that's neither here nor there.

You were saying?

Okay, so this gives me a better idea of what you mean by the Plinkett Test (which isn't really the same thing they were doing in the Star Wars review). The problem is, you can do what you just did with almost any character.

Jar Jar Binks is a bumbling, foolish alien with a strong desire to be helpful, which is thwarted by his clumsiness, cowardice and lack of common sense. When his planet is invaded, he is rescued from being killed and his sense of honour compels him to help his rescuers, initially by leading them to his underwater city from which he was previously exiled for crashing a submarine, and then by accompanying them on their perilous journey. His misguided attempt to shoplift on Tatooine leads to a chance meeting with a young Anakin Skywalker, leading to the later being trained as a Jedi. On Corruscant, Jar Jar reveals that his people have a Grand Army, and takes his companions to find them. For his role in cementing an alliance, Jar Jar is promoted to high military rank and accompanies the Grand Army into battle against the invaders. Through dumb luck, he inflicts many casualties on the enemy but is ultimately cornered. Jar Jar surrenders, only to find that the war has already been won by his allies. The character, through the juxtaposition of his foolish, cowardly behaviour and incredible good fortune, serves the role of a Falstaffian fool and comic relief, acting as both a contrast and foil to the hypercompetence and stoic demeanour of the other characters.

Nedoras:

Uh, the problem with this line of thinking is that it's assuming that only that community wants this. Plenty of people either want this, or wouldn't be bothered by it. I'm in that category of people, hell I'm all for it with open arms and baked goods at the ready. You don't need to be gay or trans to enjoy playing as a character who is in a video game. Sure, maybe people can't personally relate to a character because they're not the same gender, or have a different skin color, or have different ideals, or have different struggles...but does that matter? Someone doesn't have to look like you, talk like you, or be like you, for you to come to understand them and enjoy the character. For example I couldn't even remotely relate to the characters in Life is Strange. The difference between myself and the main characters was polarizing, but I still enjoyed it and they really grew on me. I'm glad I played it. People can grow to like and understand characters who are nothing like them, and personally those are characters that I tend to enjoy the most.

And I understand that focus testing done by the publishers has told them otherwise for decades, but people are starting to openly say otherwise and there has been a reaction to it. Hell we're seeing more female protagonists lately and it doesn't seem to be hurting sales at all despite all the people whining about it. Because it turns out that most people don't give a damn who or what they play as. As long as the game is good or the characters are compelling or well written, people will enjoy it. Due to the subject matter, will there be bumps along the road? Sure, there already have been. But I think developers should keep trying, and not just give in due to fear.

Actually the only people who want this are the LBGTQ community. Because if you are indifferent as to whether these characters are there or not, means you don't WANT it. You simply don't care. That's not the same as wanting it, and chances are that even if you don't care one way or another, a game where your protagonist is trans or openly gay will do one of two things:

1. The character is so flagrant that it ruins the game for you regardless of other mechanics and you stop playing the game because the content just doesn't appeal to you. It's easy to say being indifferent, but if the content is targeted towards an LBGTQ audience, you just aren't going to stick with it if you aren't interested or a part of that target audience. It's like if you don't like RTS games, you might try a new RTS, but if RTS isn't your thing you probably wont be playing the game very long.

2. The other possibility is the character is LBGTQ, but the game barely makes any acknowledgement of that fact and the character might as well be Nathan Drake because their gender or sexuality doesn't mean anything in the game's context. Look at Poison from Street Fighter in this case. A trans character with the fact that they are trans having absolutely NOTHING to do with anything in the game. Therefore it's just a character you can pick and doesn't do anything to change the gameplay experience.

Now I will agree if characters are well written, then naturally we will see more diversity in characters that appear in games as a whole. A good example IMO is the gay hunter in Witcher 3, when Geralt offers to help him with his "monsterism" the hunter casual reveals his backstory of loving a noble's son and thus revealing that he is a gay man and there is nothing for Geralt to cure. Geralt's view and the player's view of that character doesn't change and the mission to track some soldier's continues. It's a good piece of writing that we need more of in games.

People have never given a shit about female main characters. There has never in the history of gaming been a game that sold poorly because of a female main character. In fact most female led games tend to sell BETTER than male driven ones. The reason that came up was because some publisher or developer executive at a press conference said some stupid shit.

If you compare Tomb Raider to Call of Duty, then yes the number wont compare. But when you compare something like Quantum Break versus Horizon Zero Dawn. Aloy fucking killed it in numbers. But notice something here when you look at these games. Both are brand new IP's, but one of them is incredible and the other is dog shit. Quality equals sales numbers PERIOD, not the gender of the protagonist. Ellie is apparently a lesbian in The Last of US 2, and I bet that game will sell fuck loads. Because it'll be a good game, with good writing, which is worth way more than anything else.

It is also important to note that Ellie's sexuality will (most likely) be a very minor point in the game, because sexuality and even gender is often the LEAST important thing about a good character.

evilthecat:

In my opinion, the biggest flaw of the way video games write LGBT characters is not that everything about them is related to their gender and sexuality, but that almost nothing is. In real life, queer people are often incredibly defined by the fact that they are queer, to the point that it touches on every part of their lives. You don't add sexuality or gender to a human being and stir, these things make us who we are. Video games are often so determined to show that queer characters are "just like you and me" that they often seem afraid to make a character's queerness actually matter.

If the character's LBGTQ-ness is the most interesting thing about them, then they aren't a good character and don't deserve to be in the story. It's something I spoke about with a co-worker I once had many years ago. I worked with him for two years before he said he was gay and he only said it because girls at the job were hitting on him. Then one accused him of sexual harassment to which he said that was impossible because he was a gay man.

HE told me that the reason he didn't outright say it, was because his sexual preference doesn't define who he is and the people he chooses to sleep with are nobody's business. He said the he didn't agree with the overtness of some people who seem to have to scream their queerness from the rooftops, because if they were doing that then they probably had no other personality or redeeming qualities other than being gay.

Which I agree with his point to this day on.

If you are part of a pride parade, or in a group trying to get gay rights (like marriage or anti-discrimination rules) then being openly gay certainly has merits to present with those arguments.

But when people use their LBGTQ-ness as the only thing that defines who they are, it just means they have nothing else going for them. Why does being male or female or any combination inbetween, or being hetero, bi, homo-sexual, have anything to do with anybody else but yourself and the people that love you? Cis people don't walk around going, "Oh dude, I am so STRAIGHT today it is incredible. I watched some porn, then some football, dude the best day ever." No, of course we don't because it doesn't matter in 99.9% of day to day interactions.

So if it doesn't matter 99.9% of the time, why does it matter in a video game with no sexual or romantic context? What difference would a gay character in Call of Duty make? Shoot the bad guys, blow shit up, that's the only thing that matters. Hell they aren't even doing story modes anymore. How about Tracer in Overwatch, if it weren't for some random comic that many players probably missed, how does her being gay mean anything? It doesn't change any of the characterization she has in game. Poison in Street Fighter is easily missed as a trans character, does it affect her in the game in anyway?

See the only way to make trans and other LBGQ characters in games matter is if you make the SEXUALITY important in the game's context or story. But frankly there is no situation in which sexuality or gender matters outside of games in which romantic options are present. That's why I think the gay options in Bioware games are great because if the player wants to be trans or gay then they have that choice to make the narative include them.

Otherwise I just don't think it matters as much as people want it to.

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