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DJDuffy  avatar 11:04 AM on 09.17.2009  (server time)
“NieR:Replicant” Revealed: Thoughts on Gender Identity in Gaming

Yesterday it was revealed that Square Enix’s upcoming action RPG has a bit of a twist with an intersex character. There has been a lack of respect in some of the gaming blogs about the announcement, to say the least. Gender identity is something that has not been on the radar much in gaming and I would love to see this change in the future.

A little aside; I would just like to say, while I did recently have a rant on the controversy surrounding Shadow Complex, it does not mean I have some sort of LGBT agenda. I just have very strong opinions on these topics and am very passionate about positive activism.

Continuing on with the subject at hand, Gaygamer’s newest writer, VorpalBunny recently pointed out Kotaku’s lack of respect and understanding on the subject. Kotaku was quoted in the article saying “Her, his, its Kaine's attitude and manner of speech are manly -- but she/he/it emphasizes her female qualities through her racy fashion style.”

Like Gaygamer points out, proper use of pronouns seems to be a big issue here. In any case, “it” used as a pronoun is highly inappropriate. The characters should be addressed as they identify, not what’s between their legs. Also, to add to this point, using the term “hermaphrodite” is hardly a fair term to use in the 21st century, even our very own Jim Sterling from Destructoidis guilty of that. To be respectful, the proper terminology in this case would be intersex. I really feel like these are smaller issues and I am being a little nit-picky, but it is all about educating people about these things for the future.

Now that the little stuff is out of the way, let’s talk a little bit about Gender Identity in videogames. As much potential as NieR has in breaking new grounds, it may very well be the “Brokeback” of videogames, or perhaps a better comparison “Trans America” of videogames. What I mean by that is, the character transcends gender because of the fact that she is some sort of demon, where she grows a penis during possession.

Just like NieR’s movie counterparts, there is an underlying reason and explanation as to why she is the way she is. I hope one day we get to a point where characters can be gay, straight, bi, trans, for no other reason simply because they just “are” and not be the single focus of the story. That’s one thing I love so much about the television show “Torchwood”. The character of “Jack Harkness” among others, is bisexual, not because of any magical reason or it is not the centerpiece of the show. He just happens to like men and women equally and that’s all there is to it. There isn’t some elaborate back story as to the why or who’s, it just is.

I'm excited to see what future news on this title brings us. Although it is still up in the air if this title will make it's way to North America, I really think it should. This game is just the visibility our society needs so that this kind of disrespect is not tolerated.

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