Category Archives: Transphobic

I Sold my Soul and Ideals, Only to get Insulted

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!

Map

Not exactly miles away, its not even one!

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.

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“Top 5 Transsexuals?” Not quite.

TRIGGER WARNING! Transphobia and Not Quite Safe For Work.

Being a Transsexual, I pay a bit of attention to Transgender inclusion in the media. It’s only natural that I want to know how we are represented. This is what led to me finding the video “Top 5 – Transsexual Characters in Games” by Zoomin.TV Games on YouTube. At first I thought “Oh, cool. A video that celebrates the inclusion of Transsexuals in games. This will be worth a watch.” Oh how wrong I was. It was poorly researched, misinformed and had a fair bit of Transphobic language. So where do I begin?

Well lets begin before the video even starts. Here is the thumbnail, lets play spot the issues!

If this isn't click baiting, what is?

If this isn’t Click Baiting, what is?

Firstly an issue that isn’t specific to Trans* people. It is blatantly clear that Poison’s ample assets are being use to do what I call “Click Bait.” Using a scantily clad woman (or women) for the Thumbnail will obviously attract straight men (check out this awesome article on the the “Male Gaze” by my mate Mitch on Gay Gamer.net) as they will want to see more. Zoomin.TV Games seems to use this a lot. Misogyny at its best. Now about that text. “Dude looks like a lady” is an insult to Male to Female (MtF) Transsexuals such as myself. It does this by maintaining the idea that MtF Transsexuals are men who simply look like woman, not that we in fact are. So what on earth is it doing here!?! As I said it would seem that this video is celebrating Transsexuals, so why insult them? I can only assume it was a poor attempt at a joke, so perhaps all the other thumbnails poke fun at their subjects.

It would appear not. What could be taken from this? Transsexuals are funny, funnier than funny games, even funnier than toilets (yes, they have a video on toilets).

Now, lets actually talk about the contents of the video. Obviously it includes five characters, but does it include five Transsexuals? Short answer: no. What I will now do is go through the five characters and discuss what my issues are with them as well what is wrong with how Zoomin.TV Games conducts the video.

5. Poison: Final Fight & Street Fighter. Ok, Poison is a Transsexual, at least to a large enough amount of people, including those who make the games she appears in, for me to accept her as such. She also doesn’t follow the horrible stereotypes seen in Grand Theft Auto 5 (again, check out Mitch’s stuff). Of course Zoomin.Tv Games mucks up by focusing on her genitalia, and even imposes a little bit of Trans-misogyny. The Trans-misogyny is basically the suggestion that we MtFs need to tuck away “our business” to look like woman. We should not have to do anything to look like woman as we are woman, and woman come in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes, intersex woman may also be insulted if they have a penis. Focusing on Poison’s genitalia also objectifys her, and completely avoids a very important talking point. You see, the reason not everyone accepts Poison as Transsexual is that she originally wasn’t. She was Cis-Gendered (not Trans)  but this didn’t sit well with Western testers as the main character of Final Fight was a man, so we had a man beating up a woman. Of course the best way to deal with it was to make the woman a man, so let’s make her a transvestite, and later a Transsexual. It is an unfortunate view that a man beating up a Cis-Woman is a no-no but a Trans-Woman is acceptable, or even funny (Bad Trans Jokes covers this here). Thankfully, Poison has moved on from this as she appears in the Street Fighter games alongside other women.

4. Bridget: The Guilty Gear Series. This is where we learn that Zoomin.TV Games has done little or no research into Transexualism or Transgenderism as Bridget is a Transvestite not a Transeexual. As Zoomin.TV Games points out, Bridget asserts that he is a guy, becoming angered when anyone claims he is a girl. He of course wears girls clothes but that is not Transexualism. I think the issue here was not that Zoomin.TV Games is confusing the word Transvestite with Transsexual, but confusing the word Transgender with Transsexual. Why? Well Transgender and Transsexual are commonly confused with each other. As Transgender is Umbrella Term that would include both Transsexuals and Transvestite it would have made more sense for it to be used to include them. If that had been the case Bridget would have been fine. However Bridget has served to show that Zoomin.TV Games has failed to research even the basic terminology, suggesting that this video was based upon personal understanding and a flawed personal understanding at that.

3. Naota Shirogane: Persona 4. Naota is a girl who creates a male persona to become accepted by the police. Whilst it isn’t perhaps common knowledge, there is an actual medical condition Transsexuals (and others in the Transgender community) are diagnosed with. It is called Gender Dysphoria (formally Gender Identity Disorder) and explains that it stems from someones Gender Identity (a persons internal perception of their sex) is not aligned with their Biological Sex (whats between your legs). It also contains some reasons that someone is not Gender Dysphoric. An important one here is that someones Gender Identity  must not be based on any perceived advantages of that sex. Well that is what Naota is doing as she has seen that men are more readily accepted by the police so she acts like on to also become accepted. She is not Gender Dysphoric, so she is not a Transsexual. She is actually rather damaging to the Transsexuals as her character suggests that it is done for purposes beyond our mental wellbeing, that we are all deceitful. If we do accept her as a Transsexual, she can also be talked out of presenting as male. This is highlighted as positive, despite major Psychological groups condemning attempts to change or remove Transsexual thoughts and feelings. So either way she really does not belong here at all.

2. Kaine: Nier. Zoomin.TV Games actually acknowledges that Kaine is a Hermaphrodite, not a Transsexual. I don’t agree with that either but more on that later. Kaine has a penis thanks to a demon possession. Now, I haven’t read much on this as I am playing Nier and don’t want to spoil plot points, but a possession suggests it wasn’t Kaine’s choice. Transsexuals are not forced into Sexual Reassignment Surgery, though they may be coerced. So Kaine is not a Transsexual either (I think we are one out of four so far). I am actually  confused as to whether Zoomin.TV Games thinks she is Female to Male or Male to Female. As previously mentioned Kaine is described as a Hermaphrodite, really the correct term is Intersex, although really I don’t think this should be how she is described. This is magic, and to claim that she is a good example of Transsexuals detracts from the reality of the experiences of those who actually live with it through their lives. Kaine is cursed, that is the best way to describe her.

1. Birdo. Argh, Birdo annoys me (and Mitch) terribly. She is often billed as being the first Transsexual, and I suppose that is correct. However lets look at the manual description brought up by Zoomin.TV Games:

Birdo

See if you can find what’s wrong.

Yep, the best Transsexual character according to Zoomin.TV Games is misgendered in her official description. Yay! If this represents good inclusion, do not show me bad Inclusion. Birdo also looks sort of like a Dinosaur Drag Queen,. Pink with a bow? Seems very stereotypical of girly, and not all Transsexuals want to be girly (my favourite outfit includes a tank top with a pair of skulls squaring off, some knee-high black goth boots and a black skirt). Her Transsexuality has also been dropped so it wasn’t really seen as a good enough thing to remain part of her character. That is likely as it was really all there was to her and probably really for the best. However Zoomin.TV Games gets bad again by stating “We all know her little secret.” This is really the worst issue, Birdo’s Trans* past is a cool little fact, it’s a secret she doesn’t want you to know and so forth. It goes right back to objectifying Transsexuals and suggesting we are deceitful. Why is that the best Transsexual character?

So, Zoomin.TV Games may have attempted to be accepting, but they fall at the start line. Between the Transphobia and lack of research this video is a two and a half-minute insult to those they would appear to celebrate. Perhaps that is actually the intent, it wouldn’t be the first time that a group has acted as an ally to diminish others. It certainly seems to have worked if that was what they wanted as the comments are full of insults to Transsexuals, or reminding us that we are objects of sexual desire, nothing more.

So as to make this fair, here is the video so that you may watch it and draw your own conclusions. I wouldn’t recommend it obviously.

All the images for this post have been taken from YouTube and the Video in question. I do not own any of them.