LGBTQ+ representation in gaming

Hey, Gamers! With pride month coming to an end, I’ve decided to do a post dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community in gaming. Being Pansexual myself, I always love having somewhat of a representation in any medium, but we all know that gaming is my favourite. I will note that this is obviously not all the representation of LGBTQ+ in gaming, it’s only a fraction but I thought it was still worth talking about it. So, without further ado, let’s talk about LGBTQ+ representation in gaming!

Life Is Strange series

So the Life Is Strange series is a bittersweet one because you either love it for its representation or you hate it because Max is cringy. But the series is so much more than just Max and Chloe. In the first game, you can romance either Chloe or Warren as Max, and it is very obvious that Chloe had romantic feelings towards Rachel. This comes to light more in Life Is Strange: Before the Storm as you see how their relationship began.
Life Is Strange 2 is about completely different characters. Sean, the character you play as, can kiss either Finn or Cassidy in the game. Neither options are particularly good in my opinion because this game is primarily about brotherly love and protecting Daniel, so although it isn’t out of place for a Life Is Strange game to have queer representation, the romance in Life Is Strange 2 has always felt a bit off to me.
Life Is Strange True colors is coming out this year, in September! I like going into games knowing the absolute minimum but I do know that Stella is in this game, who was in the first game. Stella is a lesbian and from the original trailer I watched, she might be a romance option.
I do enjoy this series and will definitely be writing more about the new game when it comes out!

Deadpool

I feel like this is cheating a bit because Deadpool is better known for his movie or comic book appearances, but he does have a game and it is pretty cool. Deadpool is Pansexual canonically (at least he was the last time I checked) so that’s why he is on this list. I have played… some of the game and I do recommend it if you’re able to get your hands on a copy and like the character. The company that made the game no longer have the license to sell Deadpool, so it might be a bit hard to come by but I got it at CEX so try your nearest pre-owned game store.
I feel like as representation goes, Deadpool is Deadpool. He’s not always the most likeable dude, but I think what’s important is that his sexuality is never a huge deal. I know in some cases, it can seem like their sexuality is their entire personality and I don’t think that is a good representation. Sexuality is an important part of your personality, but it should never be your whole deal and I think that’s what is good about Deadpool in terms of representation.

Phoenix Wright

Jean Armstrong is a cis man who is openly gay and enjoys non-passing crossdressing in Trials and Tribulations. This came out in 2004, so you can likely imagine the over the top stereotyping that is used here. In 2021, it’s a little painful to watch. However, it is still representation when there could well not be any, and the fact that it is as early as 2004 is pretty cool if you ask me. Phoenix Wright is an anime-style game, which means a whole lot of stuff is exaggerated for stylistic reasons, which contributes to the heavy stereotyping in this character.

Persona 5

I was going to just put the Persona series as a whole, but I’ve been very open about not playing 3 and 4 and I know there would be some people that would be angry at me for writing stuff about those games when I am yet to play them (I’m trying, okay?). But anyone who has read anything from my blog probably knows how much I love Persona 5. It is quite literally the main thing I think about each day. This is why it pains me to write this because the representation in that game is awful. So awful they had to change it in Persona 5 Royal… and even then, it’s really not the best.
First, there has been an outcry for male confidants to have a romance option, which could have been made possible with Persona 5 Royal and there was no such thing. I’ve seen that quite a few people think that Yusuke is gay, but the only real argument for that is him “acting gay”… so that argument is not a good one.
Now to the real tea: the people in the red light district that are portrayed as predatory, beyond stereotypical and… it’s awful. Truly awful. It’s part of the game that I dislike so much it makes me wonder why I like this game so much (the other part being referring to Dissociative Identity Disorder as Multiple Personality Disorder, which is harmful to those who have the disorder and hasn’t been the medical term for it for decades- I know because I have it). These people – I am unsure of their gender or sexuality but it’s clearly meant to be a harmful portrayal of the LGBTQ+ community – are just harmful. It’s such a harmful representation and honestly, one of the worst I’ve ever seen in media. What makes it worse is that they’ve shown that they can do better, that they know better. It’s frustratingly bad, and you should know this because this is the first post I’ve ever written anything slightly negative about this game apart from how hard/annoying Okumura is.


Lala-chan is the exception in this game. Lala-chan is a cross-dresser who runs a bar in the red-light district. They are  very nice to the main character and they put up with Ohya’s drama nearly every day (which is more than most of the fanbase can do). They’re pretty chill. Their image is exaggerated but this is an anime-style game, and a significant amount in anime tends to be exaggerated for a stylised purpose.

Yakuza 0

Okay, to put this lightly, I hate this character with every fibre of my body. This includes major spoilers for Yakuza 0’s main plot, so just a little warning.
All good? Good.
Oda. Jun Oda. Now, this character is said to either be bisexual or gay (the only thing we have is that he loved another male). But, at the same time, you cannot trust an ounce of what this dude says because he claims to love his best friend while massively betraying him in his entire purpose and attempting to kill his long lost sister to try to hide the fact that he’s the reason that she is blind due to trauma (that he is the reason for… because he’s a huge turd). I am going to do a whole post about Oda because I genuinely didn’t think I could hate someone as much as I hated Akechi in vanilla Persona 5 but Oda exists sooooo yeah. But, representationally speaking, he’s fine I guess. Not the best because he is a huge bad guy. Like, it’s a huge thing with Majima about finding the guy who did this to Makoto because he is the reason the girl is blind. And he doesn’t seem remorseful for what he did to Makoto. He’s just upset that his best friend might find out. He literally doesn’t give a crap about her. His being gay isn’t a huge thing to his character which I did like because I dislike it when their sexuality is their whole thing. I like that it was peppered in there, and if you play the game again you can see it more throughout the game (although I must warn you, if you think you’re over the whole Oda thing and you’re not mad… you are mad and you are not over it and you will cry out of anger because he is a douche). It’s nice little details so that you can tell that they didn’t just suddenly decide to make him love Tachibana right at the end, it was never meant to be this huge plot twist or anything like that. It just added more to his character and for that, I would say that’s decent. Like, it’s a good way to have representation. With him being an antagonist, I think it kind of… makes it better? In a way? Because it reminds the audience that this person is a person. That they’re not excused for their bad behaviour just because he’s gay, which is, I think, an important lesson.
There is also the pleasure king. Now, this is hard because it’s never explicitly said what gender or sexuality the pleasure king is. I think someone states in the game that they are a woman born in a woman’s body, but they all refer to them as being male and it’s never actually mentioned by them directly so I’ll use the pronoun ‘they’ as a general either-or thing. Again, the pleasure king is an antagonist during Kiryu’s real estate sub-story thing. There is a huge vagueness of the whole situation which I really did not appreciate as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. I know transgender people and I’ve talked to some of them about this and they said that it could be seen as offensive because if it was the case that they were transgender, people obviously know about it and are refusing to accept or acknowledge it with using the correct pronouns. So not the best in terms of representation, especially when you see what can be done in this game when it came to Oda. That being said, the sub-story was only meant to be a fun addition to the game, and it’s likely that these characters are not fully fleshed out like the main plot characters were, especially if you consider the fact that Oda actually connected Majima’s and Kiryu’s stories together even more (Kiryu spends way too much time with Oda and Majima spends a significant portion of the game with Makoto). However, I have found out that transgender people cannot change their gender markers unless they go through sterilisation, so that might be contributing to the pleasure king’s treatment. Josh actually brought up that there are a lot of cross-dressers in games like Yakuza and even Persona and they might actually be male to female transgender but cross-dressing so that people respect their pronouns. Just another insight to think about.

Yakuza Kiwami

Okay, I am putting myself in front of my blog here by not doing research to avoid spoilers for the game I am currently playing, but I know there is at least one prominent lesbian in Yakuza Kiwami, and I know this because I’ve just started her story. She is a hostess called Rina that is openly a lesbian. She states multiple times that she started her job so that she could see all the cute girls. It’s refreshingly honest and open considering this game is based in 2005. She talks about how she had an ex that left the country to get married because women were not able to marry each other in Japan (still can’t but in March 2021 it was called unconstitutional in a Sapporo court so things might be changing soon), and she talks about picking up girls in the street. That being said, Josh despises her because – to quote – “she is a b*tch”. So I honestly cannot comment much on this, she might change throughout my playthrough but I did not want to leave her out because it’s nice that she’s so open about it.

Fable I, II and III

NPC’s in the Fable series can be romanced and married regardless of gender or sex. With each game, more and more LBGTQ+ NPC’s are available to romance and marry. You do not get a dowry if you marry a male, which you would get if you married a female. I don’t think it’s a deterrent, I just think it’s more to do with world-building and sexism in the society. It’s a decent representation. It’s cool that it is there as a possibility. Obviously these games are not about romance, it is much more about being a hero so the fact that they went out of their way to include non-het couples is cool.

Stardew Valley

Another one that I’m putting myself before the blog because I’m currently playing two separate playthroughs and want to find all the cool stuff out myself but I do know that you can romance eligible bachelors and bachelorettes regardless of the gender you are. I know Leah is not straight (at least in my playthrough) because her ex was female. I’ve heard a lot about Alex here and there, and by the sounds of it, he struggles with his sexuality which I think was a cool thing to include because a lot of people struggle with that. Alex isn’t the best character in my opinion, but it’s cool that it shows the struggle and, I mean, there’s worse characters to be represented by. I like with Leah how she doesn’t even think twice about telling you about her ex once she trusts you enough. It shows how some people can be open about it and some people really struggle with it. Stardew Valley does have the whole ‘older people don’t understand’ thing with George (Alex’s grandpa) who is the typical grumpy old man but he seems to come to terms with it eventually and his wife is wonderful and lovely so it’s clear that it’s not so much showing that old people are homophobic, but rather that some people are stuck in their old-time views and those views can be changed.

Animal Crossing

I am yet to meet someone who dislikes this character: Isabelle! Isabelle is bisexual (or pansexual, or maybe even demi) because she (in New Leaf) has a crush on the player character regardless of their gender. Like I said, I am yet to meet a person to dislike Isabelle so I think it is pretty cool that we have her as representation considering how popular she is. Also, it makes me laugh that a bunch of homophobic parents are probably buying their kids her merch because she’s popular due to New Horizons and they don’t know that they’re buying their kids gay stuff. I don’t know, it just makes me chuckle.

Fallout 3

Greta and Carol are two female ghouls that are suggested to be in a romantic relationship. Now, this next one might shock you. Josh’s favourite Fallout is Fallout 3 and when I told him this, he was mind blown so prepare yourselves: Flak and Shrapnel. They are gay. The game identifies them as partners, they share a single bed and… it’s still only suggested that they’re romantically involved. So, Fallout 3 gets points taken away due to not outright saying it either time, but it is a nice touch in a game that is about survival.

The Last of Us II

This game is one of the more popular ones, and I am a little fed up with hearing about it. I’ve watched a ton of videos about everyone’s opinion and I am yet to come to my own conclusion because I haven’t played the game yet. However, for those who don’t know, the main character in this game is Ellie, who is a lesbian. I think that this game is credited for being ground-breaking in terms of representation of the LBGTQ+ community, which I disagree with. I think if people think this, they’re looking in the wrong places and this list kind of proves that. I have watched many homophobic (or just general right-wing) rants about this. That was a waste of my time, but I wanted to try to be critical and that seemed like the best way to go about it. I think there’s a certain group of people who do hate whenever a minority gets representation in something as big as The Last of Us II. I do also think that there are some, from what I can tell, allies who take the need for representation too far. I think a lot of our community see representation, think it’s cool and move on. We fight for representation when we see fit, but a lot of allies are making us out to be worse than we are and the right-winged homophobes are eating that up. I think it’s good that this game has so much representation, but I don’t think it is a good game just because of that representation and honestly, I think that the representation is the best thing this game has going for it. It gives it a lot of free press, and sometimes even bad press is good press.

Skyrim

You can marry NPC’s regardless of gender in Skyrim. You can even adopt children if you’re a same-sex couple, which is more than a lot of the real world can say. It shows that same-sex marriages are just as valid and supportive as heterosexual marriages, which is cool. Especially when that support means understanding why your significant other has run off fighting dragons and other beings for days, weeks or months on end.

Gone Home

Gone Home is a coming of age story about two lesbians. The whole point of the game is to work out what is going on. The game isn’t very long, lasting between an hour and three hours depending on the player. Fullbright, the developers, made it very clear that the themes of LGBT in this game are very important. Interestingly in this game, you see not only the relationship between two young girls grow, but also a young girl becoming independent and different from her parent’s expectations. I think that this entire game is a positive representation of the LGBTQ+ community. It shows the highs of a good, healthy relationship as well as how parental disapproval can impact their child’s actions.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

I may be biased here, but Ciri is a great representation because Ciri is a great character. Ciri is bisexual, as seen in the scene where she is asked about her sexuality. Ciri is strong, independent and she’s… growing. Ciri’s story is a unique coming of age story because she’s out of control of her powers, on the run and usually somewhat injured. Ciri still has some of that teenage angst, while still having a mature side. I think she’s a good representation, especially for people around the age of 18 who are still working things out.
Joshua also informed me that the hunter that helps you in White Orchard is gay. He has to live away from the village because he had a relationship with the Lord’s son, which isn’t good. This is used more to contribute to world-building, and Geralt’s reaction (if you can call it a reaction because this is Geralt we’re talking about) isn’t negative.

Detroit: Become Human

The Tracis. They are very obviously not straight. This, I think, is also a great representation because it truly emphasises that they can’t help but love each other and that they didn’t want this. They just love each other and want to be happy, which is what all humans want (I know they’re androids, but I’m using it in a way to relate them to the real world). It shows that LGBTQ+ people just want the same thing as everyone else, which is something I think a lot of people (mainly homophobes) struggle to understand.

The Outer Worlds

I told Josh about this and all he said was “I don’t know her sexuality but I set her up with a giiiiirl” so yeah. Parvati Holcomb is an asexual who can apparently be set up with a girl. This girl is killable, and Parvati will be upset and even try to leave the crew if you do kill her romantic interest. Overall, Parvati is really useful to the player. She’s a good companion to have, and an interesting character to get to know. Although she does have a side quest relating to her sexuality, it is not – by any means – the most important thing about her. I think this is a good representation.

So that’s it for this post, Gamers! I am sincerely sorry it is so late. There will be a post up tomorrow, so make sure to check that out too! Happy Pride Month to any fellow LGBTQ+ members out there, and I hope everyone is staying safe! Don’t forget to follow this blog for more gaming content, check out my social medias to keep updated and if you’re interested, check out mine and Josh’s Twitch over at 2nerds_1game. See you next post, Gamers!

2 thoughts on “LGBTQ+ representation in gaming

  1. Interesting stuff here. Especially with regard to Persona. This is also one of my favorite series, but I have to admit you’re right about the two guys in 5. It’s a hard bit to sit through, maybe more a representation of where Japan is culturally at the moment, since I can definitely see a depiction like this in an American work just 10 or 15 years ago. My read on Yusuke is also that he’s not necessarily gay since we have no actual evidence for that. He seems more like he might be asexual if anything at all, since his interests and passions are all for art.

    I don’t think it comes up in Persona 3 at all, but 4 does have a more interesting take on the matter, with a couple of characters questioning themselves (one their sexuality and another their gender with regard to gender roles in society. And a third who might be in deep denial, though that’s a debated topic in the fan communities.)

    There have apparently been a lot of visual novels that take on some of these issues, or at least feature prominent gay or otherwise non-traditional relationships — I played through one I liked last year, The Expression: Amrilato, which teaches the player the basics of Esperanto along with its yuri romance plot, and I just got through an American-made yuri VN, Highway Blossoms. I don’t think VNs are anywhere near the mainstream yet, but they are becoming steadily more popular. It will be interesting to see where that medium goes and what part it might have to play in these issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment! I believe in Persona 3 Portable you can romance two characters regardless of which protagonist you play as which is cool! I wanted to include 4 because from what I read it’s a big deal to his character but since I’m yet to experience it I didn’t want to go there. I completely agree with you with Yusuke!

      Liked by 1 person

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