LGBTQ representation in video games is not yet where it needs to be. Has it gotten better since the early days of video games? Yes. But we aren’t quite there yet. That’s why it’s so important to highlight and talk about the LGBTQ characters that do appear in our favorite video games. During this Pride Month, we’re celebrating these five awesome LGBTQ characters and recognizing them for the bad*sses that they are.
Tracer – Overwatch
Tracer’s speed and her ability to take out an enemy before they even have time to react make her pretty awesome. What’s even cooler, though, is that she became one of Overwatch’s first confirmed LGBTQ characters. Her sexuality isn’t discussed much in the game itself, but a companion comic back in 2016 revealed that she has a girlfriend named Emily and revealed a bit about their relationship.
When the comic released, Overwatch writer Michael Chu confirmed in a tweet that “Tracer identifies as a lesbian.” Fans went crazy over the news because Tracer was already such a popular character and often seen as the face of Overwatch – she’s even on the game’s cover.
Anthony “Gay Tony” Prince – Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony
Anthony Prince, also known as “Gay Tony,” is a nightclub owner in Liberty City. He first appeared as a minor character in Grand Theft Auto IV, but then later received his own expansion called The Ballad of Gay Tony.
Unfortunately, Tony’s ballad wasn’t actually told from his perspective, but from the perspective of his best friend and bodyguard Luis. However, fans did see Tony’s life explored further, including his battle with drug addiction and his major debt to a mob family, and watched him overcome his struggles. The expansion has been regarded as GTA IV’s better DLC.
Poison – Street Fighter
With a name like Poison, you’re an automatic bad*ss. This transgender female character first appeared in 1989’s Final Fight arcade game and later in Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact as a non-playable character. However, she became a playable character in the crossover Street Fighter X Tekken, Ultra Street Fighter IV, and Ultra Street Fighter V.
Poison’s identity has been a topic of debate among fans for many years. As Kotaku reported, in the original Japanese version of Final Fight, Poison was a woman. Capcom decided to change Poison’s character to male in North American versions to avoid controversy over violence against a woman. At first, the studio did not regard her as transgender. However, later, Street Fighter IV producer Yoshinori Ono stated that “in North America, Poison is officially a post-op transsexual.”
Ellie – The Last of Us
Ellie has grown to become another fan-favorite LGBTQ video game character. In The Last of Us, Ellie joined protagonist Joel’s side as he worked to smuggle the teenager across the country in a post-apocalyptic America. She moved to a protagonist role in the game’s DLC, Left Behind, which followed Ellie and her friend, Riley.
In the DLC, Ellie kisses Riley, which led fans to question if the character was gay. Creator Neil Druckmann then confirmed to Gay Gamer that, although he didn’t initially plan in the first game for Ellie to be gay, he did take on the idea for the DLC and The Last of Us: Part II.
“When I was writing it, I was writing it with the idea that Ellie is gay, and when the actresses were working, they were definitely working with the idea that they’re both attracted to each other,” he said. “That was the subtext and intention that they were playing with … there’s that chemistry there from the get-go that was important for us so that we earned that moment when they kissed each other.”
Liara T’Soni – Mass Effect
Dr. Liara T’Soni is a majorly powerful asari researcher and biotics user in all three Mass Effect games. Both male and female versions of Shepard can romance Liara, as the asari race are technically mono-gendered aliens. Liara has become one of the more popular Mass Effect romance options, though her sex scenes did become a topic of controversy when the first game was released.