Press XY: Transgender Issues In GamingAt first I was worried because my brother and cousin were going to be there and I didn't want to suddenly out myself to them by visiting a Transgender panel. Fortunately for me, my cousin never showed up and I was able to give my brother the slip and get into the panel without so much a sign of him.
Whether it’s Street Fighter, Guilty Gear, Resident Evil or Final Fantasy, video games have a long history of transgender characters. You’ll find no shortage of transgender people working in the industry too. Join a panel of game designers, writers, and fans to learn about some of the most interesting characters in gaming, and the impressive lineage of transgender game makers. We’ll also discuss the impact of sex and gender in blockbuster games that let players choose their sex.
Charles Battersby [PC/Xbox Department Lead, Player Affinity], Chris Avellone [Creative Director, Obsidian Entertainment], Rebecca Heineman [Founding Member, Interplay], Jennell Allyn Jaquays [Lead Level Designer (World of Darkness MMO), CCP North America], Morgan McCormick [Owner, Translabyrinth], Eric L. Patterson [News Editor, EGM Media, LLC]
The first thing I noticed was that the line was as diverse as the rest of the event. There were both guys and girls, some younger than myself, others older than myself. There were trans and cisgender persons. Some in and out of costume. It was an interesting collection of people. The other thing I noticed was how many people were there. The Cat Theatre that we were shuffled into was not as small as I'd originally thought, and while there were gaps in the seating, the theatre was very nearly full.
The panel, too, was diverse. Four of the six panelists were visibly trans, two were likely cis. They were older and younger, male and female. Charles was the lead MC, the discussion was good, talking about the transgender characters that we were aware of and not aware of, both good and bad examples of transgender gaming characters. Discussions about the fact that Bridget from Guilty Gear created one of the most annoying memes to knock down (trap.) The panel, unfortunately, ran short, but they got some discussion in about the characters, issues surrounding transgender people, and the impact of being able to choose your gender as well as - with games like Saint's Row and Demon Souls - the ability to choose the degree of your masculinity and femininity.
The panel closed out with Jennell and Rebecca talking about their experiences coming out as trans in the often cutthroat gaming business. Rebecca, waiting til her children were grown, came out to Interplay and found nothing but respect and congratulations from her colleagues. Her major worry, losing her children, was no worry in the end since they both singularly said they'd stick by their mother and that they loved her regardless.
It was an excellent panel, sadly too short to get to everything they wanted to talk about, but it was overall very good and I'm glad I went.