I recently applied for a job in the games industry, with the biggest company in Scotland and arguably one of the most successful in the world, Rockstar North, creators of the Grand Theft Auto Series. I was even asked to attend an interview, though I can’t talk details for obvious reasons. I was excited, it was a huge possibility for me and could have lead to great things. I didn’t get it. It was a shame, because I really enjoyed meeting them. They were nice and friendly, well except one who seemed to avoid my gaze and not really look at me. I have no idea what he was thinking, but I do worry that it wasn’t nice.
Anyway, as part of the prep for the interview, I was asked to play GTA V. Not really an unreasonable request, but I got a little worried. I was torn between two issues. I really wanted the job, and so I should strive to play the game, but I swore not to buy the game because of its content. I of course didn’t tell them this, it was because I had no money and time as I was undertaking my Honours year at University (which as you should know was met with difficulties).
The reason the content made me swear not to play the game was because it was so insulting to so many groups, and Rockstar had also decided to include Trans characters. Not in a good way of course. Really this is all old news of course, Mitch wrote a brilliant piece on it for Gay Gamer, Bad Trans Jokes covered it in game and beyond and of course there was the Game Spot article in which Carolyn Petit dared to mark down a game for being misogynistic. So the issues were not only within the game, but also the community of fans. It painted a rather nasty picture which I did not really want to get into.
I’ll admit, the game looked amazing, and reviews (including Carolyn’s) all talked about the great gameplay within the game. I even watch videos of some one playing it, and was thankful when they released a video defending the GameSpot review.
So I decided to borrow my sisters copy, and used various sources to avoid problem areas. I did not wish to see the Trans Characters or go to the Strip Club. I successfully avoided them and found myself having fun, with only the issue of Trevor’s introduction. So after the fairly positive experience of the interview, I bought the game when it went on offer for £25, which was almost half its usual price. Then I spotted more issues.
While I had been avoiding the Strip Club, the game started to spawn me in it when I changed characters. Then I went and did a stupid thing. I checked the Fame or Shame Website. “Dancing Trannies,” “She Male Bop” and LGBT ais changed to LBGT so they can crack off the “joke” of it meaning “Lady Boy’s Gigantic Tits.” This is beyond poor stereotypes, this is blatant insults! She-Male and Tranny are insults, and I am no fan of Lady Boy either. I know “Trainnies” also appears on the Gay Bar’s windows, but this is a relatively accurate depiction of how some Gay men think it isn’t a slur (Rupaul for example (TW: to prove a point, the title of the linked article contains an anti gay slur)). Of course the media shares this idia, but to include along side She Male and Lady Boy is less a shout out to poor media representation, its actively taking part, especially considering all the other offenses. Also, the change of LGBT to LBGT for a joke about “Gigantic Tits” sounds like some silly school yard thing, were the very mention of Breasts, Penises, Anuses or Vaginas is funny. This is Carry On levels of puerile and I would know having enjoyed them as a silly young idiot.
Now I suspect that Rockstar does not have a single trans staff member. If they do they are either too spineless to call out this nonsense, too frightened they may loose their job, spoke up and lost their job or was silenced because all this was “too funny.” I don’t know, I certainly never saw any, although I wasn’t looking. I slightly worry if my own Trans Status had anything to do with not being accepted despite my skills from a Games Course. I again can’t know, but my request for reason as to why I did not get a job has gone unanswered, which does not alleviate these fears. Here is the funny thing though, if they didn’t there is a place not too far away were they could have gone to check their jokes, or even talk to some trans people to get some real experience. Rockstar North is situated in Edinburgh, and Edinburgh has a LGBT Centre for Health and Well Being, and pretty much every Month Trans Woman go their for something called Tea Time (there is one in Glasgow too). I have been to a couple, and they aren’t far from the Train Station. Neither is Rockstar North. In fact they are both walking distance away! Here is a map showing each location, with some directions!
With such easy access to Trans People who could have told them that what they would be doing is insulting, why didn’t they use this valuable resource? The could have made some brilliant jokes about Trans people were we are still legitimate people, not things to gawk at or be disgusted by. I’ll give you this brilliant one I found for free:
How do you find the Transsexual in a room full of Drag Queens?
Look for the girl in a t-shirt and jeans.
I just want to point out before signing off, I am not saying Rockstar is a big evil corporation. My fears of not getting the job for being Trans are as yet unfounded, and I would rejoice at being proven wrong. I just don’t like the insulting manner of Trans inclusion and have suggested how they may in future prevent such issues.