I'm a twenty year old art student living with my parents. I have anxiety and depression which makes it hard for me to leave the house unless it is for therapy or classes. When I am at home, I'm drawing, I'm surfing the net, and I'm playing video games. Video games have been an outlet for me all my life and roleplaying games especially were helpful in letting me create an alter-ego who can be something more heroic or productive than I can ever be.I'm also queer and trans*.
The inclusion of bisexual love interests in Origins shocked me and made me still happy. When all the love interests were available to all genders, it made me even happier, because I could play myself without limitations. I could play out people like me in relationships. So, you did good on that one.
But there's one thing I do not like. One thing that is a big part of me that I constantly see treated negatively or as a punch line in media.
I'm trans*. I was assigned female at birth and I have spent a long time struggling with my identity. There are days of extreme discomfort and dysphoria. There are days when I want to kill myself, because I think I can never be who I want to be. My family is still coming to terms with it and most of my friends at school insist on misgendering me. Every day I have to deal with the prospect of people seeing me as someone I'm not. Every day I have to live with the fear of being hurt for beng who I want to be.
Video games are my outlet as I've said before, but while queer characters are becoming more prominent, trans* characters are still being pushed back into stereotypical and harmful roles. I would kill to have a trans* main character or party member who kicks ass and isn't treated as a joke. However, from playing your Dragon Age series multiple times, the only trans* characters I see are stuck in brothels and with disgusting harmful portrayals meant to shake a few laughs out of the cisgendered people playing your game.
I'm not laughing.
I'm frustrated. I'm frustrated, because while you are making big steps in being more queer friendly, you are taking giant steps backward when it comes to your trans* audience. I don't want the only representation of people like me in fiction to be prostitutes that are treated disrespectfully and as a joke. You think we don't have enough ridicule in our lives? You think we don't go through each day, having to bite our tongue when someone throws around the word tranny or purposefully misgenders us or hurts us or humiliates us? You think we like the pain, the humiliation, the frustration?
Bottom line is, it's not a joke. I don't care whatever excuses you might have for your behaviors. I'm not hearing it. There is no excuse to treat someone disrespectfully when they face such hardships in their life.
And it isn't just a game. Media is powerful. Fiction is powerful. When people see these negative portrayals, they carry it into their every day vocabulary. It gives them permission to treat other people with that same disrespect you show for your trans* characters.
I don't want to feel unsafe in one of the few things that helps me through the days.
I hope you actually listen to this. I hope that some changes can be made, but I'm not holding my breath. Why? Because I have learned disappointment from the privileged people in society. The ones who can feel comfortable with the gender and sex they were born with, who don't have to live in fear of being hurt, who have a whole pool of fictional characters to relate to.
That is all.
P.S. If you're wondering where this came from, it has been a problem I've been noticing for a while, but a scene from the Mark of the Assassin DLC just ignited something in me and I had to write this out. Enough is enough. Do something about this.
I'm going to ignore anyone who doesn't have anything productive to say. Thank you.
EDIT: Mary Kirby has come on to apologize and had this to say:
“To the OP and others offended by this scene:I am deeply sorry. It wasn’t my intent to make Serendipity the punchline of that conversation or to depict her in a negative light. But my intent as the writer doesn’t matter. What I was trying to do failed, and ultimately, what came across to you was hurtful, and that does matter. And for that, I cannot apologize enough. Again, I’m very sorry.”
“The scene plays differently if Hawke has slept with Serendipity. In that version, she greets Hawke familiarly, and hints that everyone at the Blooming Rose is looking forward to Hawke’s next visit. That’s what Tallis and Hawke are responding to, because I thoughtlessly did not write an alternate version of the middle or end of the conversation in the event that the player hadn’t slept with Serendiptiy. I just linked around the familiar part of the conversation to the same ending. So yes, in this version, the most reasonable assumption would be that the source of the awkwardness is not a discussion of Hawke’s popularity at the Rose in front of both their dates, it seems to be Serendipty herself, because no conversation has occured in this version of the scene. Tallis’ line doesn’t even make sense in this case, because there’s no topic to change. There’s nothing else for Tallis and Hawke to be reacting to. It’s an absolutely terrible scene, and I can see why it offended.Again, I’m very sorry.”
Edited by MsKehoe, 09 October 2011 - 11:45 PM.