If, like me, you have a profuse fascination with all things comicbook, movies, or videogame storytelling and have always wanted to see more gay characters in these stories. I mean I can clearly remember how I loved the not so subtle hints from Final Fantasy’s Kuja and how his elusive sexuality was an accent of his persona rather than the contributing reason of his villainous ways. But seeing a well developed gay characters like that are rare in general and even more so as a villain.
But are we beginning to see more diverse characters in our geek world? well we may be seeing changes in that department. With characters like Dexter and Skyfall show rich development as their sexuality is just that. We have to reiterate that often because when we look back as an examination into how gay villains were once perceived it was quite different:
“In the early days of LGBT characters on screen, it was often the case that a character’s sexual orientation or gender identity was directly tied to their villainous nature as things like lecherous prison guards, blackmailers, or even psychotic killers. Though that’s almost never the case now, it’s still something writers and directors should be conscious of. What this also highlights, however, is that there are still too few LGBT protagonists and leads in popular media, particularly in genre film and television. Where is the gay equivalent to James Bond?”
No there is still no character that has been made a true lead, either protagonist or antagonist that can be compared to the level of Bond. But characters like Fring from Sons Of Anarchy are seen as progress. And it can be argued that immaculately written character Omar from HBO’s The Wire is a sign of changing times:
As played by Michael K. Williams, Omar holds up drug dealers for a living, sometimes with a pretty younger man by his side. Like Sirko and perhaps Fring, he longs to avenge a lover’s death, which makes him more sympathetic than the usual bad guy motivated by greed.
Omar’s homosexuality, in other words, brings out the best in him. And it does nothing to make him less of a man. Even as his enemies denounce him as a “cocksucker,” they fear him as much as they fear anyone.
Is this enough? Of course not. We need to be cognizant of how LGBT characters are portrayed even more than ever as we are at the precipice of change, It’s necessary to question today because of past misconceptions of gay being weaker or less than in the past just as racial and ethnic minorities must do as well. We want to see representation everywhere.
If like me, and you enjoy role playing games (RPG) like Skyrim, Mass Effect 3, and others that provide a rich full life experience into expansive worlds, then you want those games that allow you to create your own character, you often want that character to reflect you. Having the options to customize the experiences by customize the character’s attributes like height, eye color, are natural. Shouldn’t sexual orientation be a factor as well? I mean if a marriage option is included in the main story arc or the result of a side quest or just to make the experience richer, there should be a way to do so.
Now some games have made progress in this. Both Skyrim and Mass Effect 3 allow you to do this and there are rumors that the new Dragon Age game will also share this feature. And despite this refreshing evolution, there are still some game manufacturers and creators that feel that marriage equality is still “too controversial”.
And unfortunately, one of my favorite game franchises still feels marriage equality is controversial. Final Fantasy by Square Enix, a game franchise that expands decades long that has provided thousands of hours of rich full characters and story plots will soon be releasing the next chapter in their gaming experience. “Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.” recently had a Q and A in which they frankly said that in their new game that will now have a marriage feautre will only have opposite sex “traditional” marriage:
As for same-sex marriage, this is an extremely controversial topic that has been under discussion in the MMO world for the past few years. First we would like to start out with opposite-sex marriage, and then consider the feedback from our players in order to make a careful decision. I can’t say whether or not it will be possible at this point in time. I’d like to keep dialog open with our players as we deliberate the matter.
Of course my question is, why not just include same sex marriage in the game to begin with? It isn’t a requirement of the game and just something you can do if you choose to do so. So why not just already have that available for the LGBT gamers like me that regularly buy these games along with their overly priced downloadable content (DLC). What about our experience?
If the option exists t\for a character to marry, then that should reflect all gamers not just the majority demographic. At best this is lazy and shoddy of them to leave it out and at worst showing a prejudice bias towards LGBT gamers. And to those hecklers in the gaming world saying we’re asking for too much, you’re wrong. All we want is to have the same experience in our characters as you and this takes nothing from you. Square Enix, your bias is showing.