Video games have come a long way. As the years pass, the gaming community has become more welcoming to LGBTQ voices, both within the games and the community itself. Queer video-game characters have been around since the early days of gaming, and bisexual representation has only gotten better. Even adult depictions of sex have become more LGBTQ-friendly, showing that love comes in all forms.
As Pride Month winds down to a close, our LGBTQ staff members reflect on the games in which they saw a bit of themselves.
Reuben Mount, Staff Writer
For my teens and for most of my 20s I identified as a gay man, but a growing disenfranchisement with that identity resulted in my change to seeing myself as queer in my late 20s. As such, my identity doesn't really have accurate representation in games. However, I always look to Greg in Night in the Woods with a sense of nostalgia for how accurate that character is to how I was when I was younger.
As a punk-ish bundle of trouble with a penchant for leather jackets and older, more sensible men, it always puts a smile on my face to see a character so like myself — or a past version of myself at least. I mean, I’m still quite wild in nature and wear leather jackets, but that’s besides the point.
Courtney Ehrenhofler, Staff Writer
I identify as asexual and, to tell the truth, I don't have a favorite asexual ("ace") character in video games. That's mainly because there are barely any out there! The only two decent examples I can think of are Parvati from The Outer Worlds, who's a good representation but in a game I haven't played, and Alvin from Backstage Pass, who is a sweet character but just very stereotypically nerdy.
Usually characters are identified as ace through a mention from the creator — like with Borderlands' Maya being explicitly called asexual by the game's writer. Or, it can be sort of inferred, like with Dusa in Hades, though the interpretation is questionable at best. Everyone wants to be able to identify with characters in the stories they read, hear, and play, but that's still an uphill battle for asexuals. Hopefully by the time we do an article like this again, there'll be some fantastic ones to choose from.
William Worrall, Staff Writer
I'm a bisexual guy, and my first thought was that I should avoid choosing a character that falls into the over sexualized trope that gets thrown around a lot *cough* Fear Effect *cough*. Anyway, that's clearly fallen apart because my choice for favorite bisexual character in video games is Iron Bull from Dragon Age: Inquisition.
If you're not familiar with him, Iron Bull is a Qunari mercenary you pick up pretty early on in the game's story. You can also get into a romantic relationship with him regardless of your gender or species for that matter. Part of the reason that I love Iron Bull as a representation of bisexuality is because he just has such a good time with his sexuality.
It can be tempting to get bogged down in the minutia of sexual representation, but sometimes it's just fun to see a character who really feels comfortable with their sexuality and thrives in it. Iron Bull likes having fun, and honestly, he is an incredibly fun character because of it. Besides, representation means all kinds of characters.
Robert Grosso, Staff Writer
I'm bisexual, but it's such a minor facet of identity to me, it's often minuscule in my day to day. Pride to me is just progress, and making progress in daily life and in policy is where we see good results, I’d argue.
Still, when it comes to bisexuality, one of the major problems you have when it comes to games is the lack of actual representation, mostly because most games tend to focus on "player-centric" mechanics when it comes to romance and subject matter. BioWare and Bethesda are notorious for this for example, where some characters are openly bisexual in the sense that the player character of either gender can become involved.
Still, the best representations come from the most understated — characters like Axton from Borderlands 2, Chloe from Life is Strange, or even Javier from The Walking Dead. Each of these is about men and women comfortable in their own skin and capable beyond their sexuality that allows them to be defined as characters versus a game mechanic. That is much stronger progress than we realize.
Who are some of your favorite LGBTQ characters? Let us know in the comments below.