LGBT+ identity has always been a significant, although often hidden, aspect of video games. Resources have appeared in recent years such as the LGBT Gaming Archive and several exhibitions on queer gaming culture; more and more characters from a wide variety of video games are openly on the LGBT+ spectrum.
Here, we have compiled a selection of the most iconic characters.
Lena “Tracer” Oxton
One of Overwatch’s most recognisable characters, Lena Tracer Oxton was revealed to be on the LGBT+ spectrum in December, when a comic about the characters’ backstories revealed that Tracer has a girlfriend, Emily, back at home. In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, the Blizzard team said: “From the beginning, we’ve wanted the universe of Overwatch to feel welcoming and inclusive, and to reflect the diversity of our players around the world.”
Anthony “Gay Tony” Prince
Just as royal as his name would suggest, this fabulous nightclub owner from the Grand Theft Auto’s Liberty City metropolis lives up to his nickname. Bearing similarities to real life club owners from Miami, New York and Toronto, Prince eventually starred in his own downloadable game, The Ballad of Gay Tony.
Dr. Liara T’Soni
The formidable doctor from the Mass Effect series is a member of the Asari, a monogender-pansexual species. She can be attracted to any gender, and can also reproduce with them. The Mass Effect series includes so many LGBT+ friendly characters including T’Soni’s love interest, Commander Shepard, who presents as both make and female.
The farmer’s son Rupert from Fable is a closeted gay man initially, but as the game progresses he reveals that his preferred final quest would be to find a husband rather than a wife. Homosexuality is accepted in the world of the game and it is an option for the player’s Hero character, but the final hurdle that the characters will face is to come out to Rupert’s father Giles.
Ellie from The Last of Us has progressed gradually from 14-year-old to protagonist as she moves through the post-apocalyptic world of the game. In the Left Behind installment of the series, she shares a kiss with a female character, prompting creator Neil Druckman to confirm that he wrote her as a gay character, but left this up to the player to decide.
Massively progressive, 2012’s Mass Effect 3 allowed the protagonist the option to choose a same-sex relationship with the existing character of Kaidan Alenko.
Cremisius “Krem” Aclassi
Krem from Dragon Age: Inquisition is the first transgender male character to appear in any video game, according to LGBTQ Game Archive. Born as the daughter of a tailor, he hid his birth gender for years in the military before coming out as transgender in a firmly unapologetic narrative arc. According to developers, the game is selling fine despite any concerns relating to the hypermasculine world of gaming.
Bridget first appeared in a 2002 instalment of the Guilty Gear series. He was initially described as female before a childhood backstory revealed that the character expresses as female because he was raised that way. Although he often appears clad as a sexy nun, he is polite but firm about his pronouns and your avatar might get bashed by his teddy bear if you misgender him.
In the canonically queer 2015 game Life is Strange, protagonist Chloe admits that she has romantic feelings for Rachel, who may reveal that she reciprocates these feelings in the 2017 prequel, depending on the player’s actions. Similarly, depending on the protagonist’s progression, Chloe and Rachel may kiss (cue ‘oooh’s). The game also features a bisexual character of colour.
Also known as Zach, this original character appears in the Michonne instalment of The Walking Dead. His sexuality is certain from the beginning as he is the boyfriend of Jonas. Refreshingly, his sexuality is not the main talking point, but simply something incidental in his previously established relationship.
The Walking Dead’s Violet has both previous and current female love interests by the time she appears in the game, and although she is guarded and tough she is really emotionally close to them.
Otherwise known as A Dad Dating Simulator, this game gets an honourary mention on the list despite not being a specific character! As one of the only video games to deal explicitly with queer men, it gently and earnestly explores queer identity, fatherhood, and love of all kinds between men. Dating as a father and being a good father is the focus – get ready for all the feels.
Dragon Age’s third instalment ups is LGBT+ focus with both Krem and Dorian Pavus. The storyline focuses on his struggle as a gay magister from Tevinter, a society that values appearances which align with the majority. Best of all: The game also provides romantic options for all genders and sexualities.
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