I have been thinking of this topic off and on over the past week, and how to express it in a way that is inclusive to all, including those who would fit under the often used umbrella acronym, allies, and those who aren’t familiar are possibly choose not to be with the community for a myriad of reasons.
I believe we have reached a point where representation within this medium should not be seen as exclusive only to this group or that, but all walks of life, whether it be with characters/ themes/ story-lines that center around those who consider themselves queer or not.
I think that we live in an interesting time and it is through such times that great progress can be made and those who have often felt as if they did not have a voice or an identity or one that would be seen by the majority as other or a negative can rise up in a way and just be happy being themselves without fear of harm in any way.
I am pansexual, and have struggled with my sexuality through most of my life, and for those who do not know much of what that entails, it is hell in simple terms, and it is only in the last couple years where I have grown more comfortable with that aspect of myself. With the latest tirade against a game for including such items, as LGBTQ characters and perceived notions of what feminism is within The Last of Us: Part II, (a game which I have yet to play just simply due to the fact that I have other titles I want to experience at the time), I eel this is as great a time as any to talk about this topic and how it can be shown in a positive light within this medium we cherish so deeply, how it has been shown, etc.
A great example of a character who is seen as dealing with their sexuality (neither confirmed to be gay, straight, etc by the developers, but only inferred as such) and especially society’s views on how they should act and conform to current gender stereotypes is Kanji Tatsumi from Persona 4. Throughout the game from the moment you are introduced to them, they are seen as putting on a front, and it is only later on in the story, and specifically in their arc of the plot, that we as players see the confusion, turmoil and distress that comes with a character being torn apart by society’s depictions of what is correct and normal for a male and how they act, think and so forth. Whether it be their perceived sexuality, or gender roles, the game treads lightly around the topic, providing us with a look into what actual people in the real world may possibly and most likely for some deal with when dealing with such matters.
I for one, do not consider myself ot be the most masculine person by a longshot, and it is through that perception that I have had some pretty horrible experiences and trials in navigating how I feel and am with how society over the course of my life feels I should be. I can see myself in the character of Kanji in certain aspects, and it is through this depiction that I feel this game specifically can bring to light some very interesting concepts that some people might never think about. For a deeper look into this, I would highly recommend reading this quite detailed article on it from VentureBeat. It may older at this point, I don’t think it makes it irrelevant.
I do not intend to make this topic exclusionary in any way as I believe all voices should be welcome to contribute and provide a piece of the narrative. I only wish to start a conversation on a topic that is near and dear to my heart.