The Effects Of Video Games On The Way Society Perceives Individuals Who Are Either Transgender And Or Non Binary?

The Effects Of Video Games On The Way Society Perceives Individuals Who Are Either Transgender And Or Non Binary?

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How does the role and representation of gender in video games influence the way society perceives individuals who are either transgender and/or non-binary?
The representation of transgender and/or non-binary individuals within video games has dramatically changed over the course of the past three decades along side with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights movement. In saying that, due to the fact that I have already discussed the topic of the representation of the sexual orientation of individuals within the media who are not heterosexual. Through this chapter, the themes of how transsexuality, being transgender and/or non-binary individuals are represented in the video game industry and how this affects all levels of society.
Though homosexuality has been hidden within the history of video games, any ideas of transsexuality or being transgender has a topic of which has not been thoroughly explored within the industry. Underrepresentation of the LGBT community is demonstrated within Super Mario Bros. 2, by gaming company Nintendo, by providing one of the first transgender characters in video gaming history. The character, Birdo, is a pink creature who wears a red bow on her head and is described in the official gaming manual as a male who “thinks he is a girl [..] and would rather be called Birdetta”. Despite this, within later instalments in the Super Mario franchise her identity is disclosed by Nintendo as they are still conservative in their references to gender and sexuality in modern times. In her future appearances in the game franchise up until 1999 she was removed from the franchise as an antagonist of the series. In saying that, Nintendo then recognised her gender as female and as stated by Andr...

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...ompanies in the attempt to appeal to the ‘mainstream’ audience. In doing so, stripping away any way that queer individuals can relate to such characters. This is supported in a quote from my questionnaire that I conducted, a respondent stated that they “don’t see enough games with gender neutral characters.” This exemplifies that the majority of video game characters are either masculine or feminine dependant on the characters’ sex and that not enough gender neutral characters appear in video games. In addition to that, 100% of non-binary respondents to my questionnaire stated that they are not pleased with the way their gender is being represented in video games. In summary, transgender and/or non-binary individuals have little to no positive representation within the media and therefore including the video gaming industry, which can lead to a lack of individuality.

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