A Baldur’s Gate expansion features a side character with no real significance to the plot, who has an optional bit of dialogue in which they reveal the origin of their name–they constructed it out of necessity because they transitioned. GamerGate responds predictably, so predictably you could punch out a bigot bingo card:
Content Notice — transphobia, misogyny, hate speech, nasty slurs, NotAllMen, etc. etc.
vacuous timewasters meaningful contributors are two Steam user reviews–as far as I know, these can only be accessed if you also have Steam. They are quothed thusly:
Look, I have no problems with LGBTQ. None.
But please keep your ideology out of a classic game. Don’t force us to buy into controversial topics. We are trying to escape that crap.
Look, guys, he can’t be a bigot. HE SAID HE WASN’T A BIGOT, ERGO PROPTER HOC. Or something like that. That’s how logic works, right?
Also my existence is apparently ideology. Now taking applications for the Church of Siobhanism! And don’t get me started on buying into controversial topics. When your life is the “controversial topic,” you don’t get to fucking escape it, you’re glued to the front row. You can whine to me about having shit shoved down your throat when every character creator assumes you’re trans, motherfucker.
I would like to start out by saying I don’t hate gays or transsexuals in any way. They do them, I do me. I really don’t care, because it doesn’t affect me. What I do care about is when this is shoved down my throat and I am forced to mingle with it instead of letting me discover it for myself.
I would like to start out by laughing uncontrollably.
You want to “discover it for yourself”? Sweetie, I could host a gender variance workshop for my local kink community and get an audience of maybe 4 or 5 people, 3 of which would be other trans folk. I’d be a lonely bitch if I fucking sat down and waited for cis folk to “discover it for themselves.”
You know most of those trans murders I discussed in my last post were a result of some scumbags “discovering it for themselves”?
Here’s my personal favourite review, colourfully titled “Tranny’s Gate: The Siege of Bumdong” by one “invisiblejim” on GOG.com
I feel sorry for the transvestite character in the game.
Be born a man into a medieval fantasy universe; be warped by a crap writer into a tranny that doesn’t fit the lore; crap writer makes you blurt out ludicrous sex change story to the player on the first meeting: Virtue signalling to the max; gamers make videos of gibbing you and post them to youtube for laughs; game sales plummet as gamers sick and tired of SJW politics being shoehorned into games; attempt the soggy knees, her-ass-mint defence; it’s ineffective: Kraptaku is dead; Rip Bumdong :); Rip Baldur’s Gate ip :(
- I thought this was about a “tranny,” not a transvestite. Get your shit together, invisiblejim.
- “Trannies” don’t fit into the lore, but a magical belt that permanently gender swaps* you is acceptable. Oh, and ogres, and dragons, and potions that heal your wounds instantly, and gods that not only exist but can actually affect the world, and arrows that can explode or change trajectory to hit their intended target, and wizards who can break physics by speaking a special language, and, and, and…
- If it’s a joke to post videos of you killing a trans character, I’m not sure I get it. Explain how that’s funny. I’ll wait.
- Game critics who aren’t noxious shitheads pointed out the production quality was poor and buggy (this review also mentions the trans character–just long enough to say “what the actual fuck is the problem?”). I don’t know how the game actually sold, but that’s a legit criticism that would make me hesitate to purchase a game.
There it is folks. Ethics in video games journalism. Actual journalists focus on things like game-breaking bugs or the pacing of the narrative, but GGers are savvy to the real problem: a side character with an optional piece of dialogue about the origin of her name.
But wait, I do have concerns over the way this character represents trans folk!
Aka, “how do you criticize queer characters without being a tool.”
The character in question spews out the typical binarist narrative of being “a woman trapped in a man’s body.” This is a tired old trope that trans folk are mostly taught to repeat to medical providers so that our insurance covers us (assuming we even have potential insurance providers for transition services in the first place). The trope is problematic because it assumes gender dysphoria manifests consistently–which might be the case for those trans people who are binary, for whom the concept of a gender “swap” even applies–but it’s a narrative that fails to capture the diversity of experiences within the gender variant community.
For starters, D&D and its various derivative materials have always handled the aforementioned gender swap belt with a cisnormative standard: conventionally attractive “male” characters with chiseled bodies and luscious beards put the belt on to turn into conventionally attractive “female” characters with sleek, pale-skinned waif bodies and a flawless mane of hair. It assumes that all gender variant people want to be perceived as cisgender–which is sometimes the case in real life, if only because it means a reduction in harassment and violence–but the idea that a person might be comfortable deliberately straddling the line between man and woman is seldom, if ever, discussed. Or, more importantly, that a person might be entirely secure in their wo/manhood whilst also being openly trans.
I also reject that gender is simple enough for it to be treated as a single object, that the notion of a “swap” implies one must surrender one’s existing gender self-concept in order to take up another, as opposed to building up on it or adding to it. Gender should instead be seen as a set of china, one in which certain pieces of the set can break or require replacement, where we have options in what we choose to take the place of a piece we no longer want or need, or where we can simply add & remove pieces because we want to.
So I also dislike the character as it was written because of its unintentional effects in non-binary erasure. Yet, somehow, this still doesn’t seem to warrant the sort of spastic outrage exhibited by cishet male gamers. Maybe they’re salty about something else.
brb, I have to go find my eyes because at some point they rolled out of my head.