222: Too Gay for the U.S.A.

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The funny thing about Poison is she actually was supposed to be a woman. Capcom changed her to a transsexual because they were concerned that Americans would be offended by violence towards women.

And i'm tired of hearing about Bridget. Venom's actually gay, dammit!

PaulH:
I mean ... most games are about trial and tribulations ... something bad happens ... player fixes said problem. So is it really appropriate to have sexual orientation to be thrust on the monitor just simply for the game developer to go "look, we're gay friendly!"?

Sexual Orientation is an area ripe for trials and tribulations, as Persona 4 demonstrated.

There was this ps2 JRPG where there was a very weird boss fight sequence but I cannot recall the name of the game. But it was very erhm... suggestive. Anyone who can find me the title gets a cookie.

Found it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZsHIAoTgZM&feature=related

*gives himself a cookie*

In a few generations the 'Haters' will disappear I hope...

Everytime I hear such nonsense as this I get really angry and depressed...
Knowing that we are being hung, given lashes in public and getting our asses glued together while being fed laxation fluids day after day out here on this planet...
Yet the executioners of these acts claim to have their roots in the Divine and think they are intelligent highly evolved beings...
Humanity has got a disease and it's called Power-Obsession...
Of which Religion seems to be some kind of abberation of...

Knowing Homosexuality is even older than humanity itself because it can be found back in nature in many species...
So we're older than the time in which America was still wiping out the original inhabitants of the 'American' landscape and burning 'The Wild Peoples' and 'The Witches'...
Even older than the Religious Tales...
And we are far more then just the stereotype gaypeople...
Like in everything else there is a great diversity...

Hopefully one day people will know true love when they look upon it...

All people have to do is listen to their hearts instead of mindlessly parrotting what their Alpha-People are implanting in their hearts...

Damn... Had to post this...

Gay characters in Gayms...
Why not? It's not like we can't be Heroes and Villains...
And it's not like people won't want to buy this content...

If the parents of America are sooo concerned about their youth?
Then why is it children still are able to shoot each other by accident because their parents own weapons in the vicinity? Having their friends shot and their lives eternally ruined?

Don't forget Yuan in Shenmue 2. In the original Japanese game he is a drag queen in a romantic relationship with one of the (male) villains. He becomes a woman in the PAL and American versions, even though he really doesn't look female.

See, I'd love to see a really psychopathically roid-raged space marine murder wave after wave of alien nazi evil dudes to find his "lost love" that they abducted before the start of the game, only for it to turn out to be a guy at the end. I dunno how many ratings boards would play all the way to the end, especially if they played the first few levels and just saw "generic sci fi shooter".

Personally, I don't have a problem with any sexuality in games, and hell, it's always fun to have a bit of a change, right?

Kanji isn't necessarily gay; he's more likely bisexual, seeing as he doesn't seem to care what gender the other characters are.

Also, Japan is rather homophobic as well; they make fun of it for the most part.

And this may be a controversial statement, but... I can think of one major reason why violence is more acceptable in the Western world than sexuality is: look at the Bible. Compare how much violence it has to how much sexuality it has. There's your explanation.

I'm glad someone's pointing out this issue. (no mention of Lee from Tekken?)

Korth13:
Valkyria Chronicles has characters that gain boosts in the field when they are near a gender they fancy. About half are straight and the other half are gay or bi-sexual.

My copy in the UK has this feature but did America sensor this aspect of the game?

I noticed it in my (American) copy. It must have slipped by them.

I was wondering before this article but I'm wondering what the first reaction over at MS was like when R* announced that the second exclusive dlc pack for gta4 would be called Gay Tony.
I also wonder what will win out for the real homophobes on xbl: homophobia or the schadenfreude of owning exclusive content.

So, what about Maximillion from the third Pheonix Wright game? Yes, he flirts with girls, but his look, manner, and constant use of the word "fabulous" made me wonder if he was more gay in the original Japanese version. Also, it's possible it was a giant Yu-Gi-Oh The Abridged Series joke.

LeonHellsvite:
ugh why is america so anti homosexual? because of it all of north america can't get certain games... accept someones sexuality and get on with it there will always be homosexual people you cant stop that.

Because people have the right to accept and not accept what they want...

About the whole severed head thing, In America, violence is commonplace in fictional TV (obviously) and we (I'm from the US) almost always write it off as an effect, with no one getting dismembered. Obviously though, the two men kissing is obviously a real action taking place. That might explain the cringing.

I honestly couldn't care less about homosexuality in forms of media.

bushwhacker2k:
I recall hearing about Birdo being a guy. Yeah, being homophobic seems to be a popular fad that just won't die in the USA... I wonder why?

wolfy098:

cos they don't get out enough...

Cause the homophobes are homosexual themselves and hide it via overcompensation.

LCP:

LeonHellsvite:
ugh why is america so anti homosexual? because of it all of north america can't get certain games... accept someones sexuality and get on with it there will always be homosexual people you cant stop that.

Because people have the right to accept and not accept what they want...

That wasn't his question. Why is it that seemingly so many more people in the US exercise their "right" to not "accept" homosexuality than anywhere else in the First World?

is that... bad?

It's Birdo so who gives a fuck? Not like he/she has ever mattered in a Mario Game.

Mother Yeti:

LCP:

LeonHellsvite:
ugh why is america so anti homosexual? because of it all of north america can't get certain games... accept someones sexuality and get on with it there will always be homosexual people you cant stop that.

Because people have the right to accept and not accept what they want...

That wasn't his question. Why is it that seemingly so many more people in the US exercise their "right" to not "accept" homosexuality than anywhere else in the First World?

I havent been out of Us much, but I have lived 7 yrs in colombia, and its not something people would consider good there. Hence the word Maricon

LeonHellsvite:
ugh why is america so anti homosexual? because of it all of north america can't get certain games... accept someones sexuality and get on with it there will always be homosexual people you cant stop that.

From the article:
"Tingle may be out in Europe and Japan, but it seems America would rather gay videogame characters stay in the closet."

OK, while this article was a decent one, I take issue with it's [b]broad brush statements[/a] like the one above and Leon's.

"America" isn't one singular entity most of the time and whatever choices our culture vs Japan's might find more objectionable, it isn't Americans insisting that depictions of homosexuality be removed, it is marketers, companies, and higher ups that are making choices about what I see in a game. I didn't ask anyone to change Streets of Rage 3.

This is not to say that there isn't bigotry out there, born of misunderstandings, fear or hate, this isn't to say that in many places in America there aren't places where people just don't understand homosexuality and as a result behave ignorantly or worse, cruelly. There's a long way to go for gay rights in my country.

But by painting us all with the same brush, you're doing the exact same thing as those who oppose homosexual rights. Just sayin'.

You know, as trivial as it might be to some people, the treatment of the 'birdo' character really has gotten to me, especially as this article was apparently about how we're so bigoted towards LGBT people, during which birdo is referred to as 'a guy who thinks he is a girl' and is 'gender confused' Wow, way to be incredibly transphobic whilst decrying homophobia. And then to put LGBT as a tag? Be honest. You apparently only care about LG and B at a push issues, or you wouldn't be so casually hateful towards a trans character, even if the character is -birdo-.

I heard Vivian from Paper Mario was originally a man.
Ash from Streets of Rage 3, the most blatantly homosexual character I've seen, was banned from the US release.

About cross dressing Cloud. I don't care if he was in women's clothing as he's browsing the New Yorker and BAR Reporter while sipping an Americano on a bench in San Francisco's Dolores Park. He's still not queerer than his default look.

And I mean nothing homophobic or offensive in the above statement. I'm a bisexual man who volunteers for the SF Branch of Equality California every Wednesday.

Onmi:
Technically Kanji isn't Gay. He's more Pansexual than anything since he seems to latch onto anything that can comfort him (after all he wanted just as much as eveyrone else to see Naoko in a swim suit)

Don't forget, part of Kanji's massive confusion about his sexuality is caused by Naoto. He doesn't understand why he feels the way he does around this "boy", then comes to grips with it.
Then finds out she's a girl.
A large part of his sexual confusion is the fact that he's slightly afraid of girls at first, after the way they teased him. But you're right: Kanji's sexuality is never openly stated and is more of a message about accepting yourself rather than "HOMOSEXUALITY IS OKAY MMKAY?"
Which is a good thing.

Naoto's character would also have been interesting to look at in this article. A fifteen year old girl who dresses and acts like a boy to the point of binding her chest, so that "people will take her seriously."
She has been doing this so long that everyone actually thinks she's a boy. She doesn't want to be a girl; apart from school, she works as a detective, in a workplace that is predominantly male. She has enough trouble being taken seriously due to her age, so she tricks everyone into thinking she's a boy to stop that also being used against her. This whole fear of not being taken seriously has made her start to hate being born female; she just wants to be a boy. This represents itself in her area in the world in the television, with her shadow being a young boy crying for attention. Who wants to perform a gender reassignment surgery on Naoto.

After saving her from her dungeon, she becomes more accepting of her gender, but she's still a little uncomfortable about it. When completing her social link, she fully accepts the whole "Yes, I'm a girl, but it shouldn't change things" message.

I've noticed the entire game is pretty much a representation of issues that teenagers can go through. Wanting to find their own place in the world, popularity, gender issues, sexuality issues... It's rather deep.

Serenegoose:
You know, as trivial as it might be to some people, the treatment of the 'birdo' character really has gotten to me, especially as this article was apparently about how we're so bigoted towards LGBT people, during which birdo is referred to as 'a guy who thinks he is a girl' and is 'gender confused' Wow, way to be incredibly transphobic whilst decrying homophobia. And then to put LGBT as a tag? Be honest. You apparently only care about LG and B at a push issues, or you wouldn't be so casually hateful towards a trans character, even if the character is -birdo-.

The "guy who thinks he's a girl" line is a direct quote from the SMB2(?) manual. It may explain the usage of that phrase.

wow. something anyone with half a brain would know in article form. entertaining.

Caimekaze:

The "guy who thinks he's a girl" line is a direct quote from the SMB2(?) manual. It may explain the usage of that phrase.

ok, poor quote to explain my point. But then referring to 'his gender confused history' implies that, knowing that birdos gender identity is female, is irrelevant, because birdo only thinks 'he' is a girl. Which is about as neatly transphobic as you can get, because it states that internal gender identity is irrelevant compared to physical characteristics.

A non-transphobic way of acknowledging that birdos transness was completely omitted from the american version would simply be referring to 'her' instead of 'his', though 'gender confused' is both insulting and a poor choice of words. A trans person is rarely confused about their gender. Other people might be, but we aren't.

Another game in the Persona series, Persona 2: Innocent Sin, gave the player the option to have a homosexual relationship with one of the male characters in the party. This game never came to America; only the second half of the two-part game, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, was actually localized. Sure, the first game had Hitler in it, but then again, plenty of American games have him, too, and it wasn't like he was painted as a sympathetic villain or anything in P2, either. Then again, this was back in the mid 90s.

Pararaptor:
Does anyone remember how Fallout 3 was commended for its inclusion of homosexual NPCs in the wasteland, yet of the three gay men, one was a prissy fashion-queen & the other a moustached, hard-voiced rough character with a weaker, dominated lover, & that the two lesbians had hideous rotting skin?

Did I... Did I miss something?

Also you missed a huge Example with Elk/Endrance from the .Hack games.

Here we have a guy who is completely and utterly in love with ANYTHING that shows him the slightest bit of affection, originally it was a frigging computer program (don't ask it's a long story) taking the form of a catgirl, then when the original World was destroyed and she dissapeared all his confidence was shot and he huddled himself in his room. Now the next thing to show him affection was another virus and losing THAT caused him to freeze his character, since he couldn't leave The World R:2 but he couldn't play anymore.

Then Haseo told Endrance that he needed him to fight with him, the sheer fact that Endrance felt NEEDED caused him to love Haseo unconditionally, now consider that Endrance actually is one of the romantic endings by the end of G.U. which means you could return his feelings.

Now lets look at Sakubo who you also passed over, your LED to believe that Sakubo is a brother and sister pair sharing a character but the truth is more disturbing. Bo is the only one alive, during the birth of him and his twin sister she was born still-born and his mother made it ABUNDENTLY CLEAR that she would have prefered him dying instead of her, which caused him to create another personality in Saku.

The game treats them as two seperate characters, you can have a friendship ending with Bo and a wedding ending with Saku (oh yeah and the Saku side is Endrance's biggest Fangirl, start working THAT shit out)

Those are just two big ones you missed.

Andrew Webster:
Unfortunately, the few Japanese games with LGBT characters that actually make it to Western shores rarely explore them in a meaningful way.

what exactly is "meaningful" exploration in sexuality?

meaning would imply purpose, and apart from the need to procreate there isn't an actual purpose to one's own sexuality.

i personally think this entire issue is a storm in a glass of water: why is it that people and designers alike want to care about their protagonist's gender or sexuality? as a designer, would you not want the most people to feel personified in your character, regardless of the above mentioned factors? as a person, would you not feel more content with having a character that you can relate to in other aspects than something as trivial as sexuality?

whenever i put down a character, i make it an effort to create them as asexually as possible. the reason for this is that sexual preference is a personal subject that cannot (yet) be integrated well within a game or narrative. and while sexuality should not be a taboo or in other ways be limited by the public, something as potentially immersive as a game or narrative should focus on the player, the player's entertainment and the player's experience. neither should focus on aspects beyond their range of positive effect; and this too includes sexuality among other things.

I think whats overlooked is that america in undeniably CHRISTIAN society wih the religion growing alot more strength in recent decades.
With one of the most religious societies in the world 80% believing in god 60% in miracles and 50% going to church once a week, i simply dont find this surprising.
i thnk this is a key point in the differance of japan and america and shouldnt of been overlooked in this article >_<

Eoin Livingston:
BIRDO!!!! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

OT: They changed his entire character to fit their homophobia?

I think they "respected her choice". After all, you should refer to a transvestite by their prefered gender. Otherwise people give them strange looks and don't respect their rights.

More recent titles have treated the subject with greater respect, most notably the PlayStation 2 RPG Persona 4. Unlike most depictions of homosexuality in games, we don't immediately know that Kanji Tatsumi, one of the game's main characters, is gay. He's a bad-ass, take-nothing-from-nobody kind of guy, far from the stereotype of the effeminate gay man. This approach is refreshing in its honesty: Kanji isn't just some boy-crazy kid who is laughed at by all the other students, and he doesn't necessarily come to grips with his feelings right away. Instead, his realization of his sexuality is messy and difficult, which is a much more nuanced depiction of homosexuality than, say, a pair of near-nude muscle men fighting a giant penis-shaped monster.

I haven't played the game, so I don't know the details, but I believe he falls more under the category of bi-curious, by virtue of his main crush turning out to be a crossdresser/TV. Besides which, the Shadows are exagerations of the suppresed self.

Serenegoose:

Caimekaze:

The "guy who thinks he's a girl" line is a direct quote from the SMB2(?) manual. It may explain the usage of that phrase.

ok, poor quote to explain my point. But then referring to 'his gender confused history' implies that, knowing that birdos gender identity is female, is irrelevant, because birdo only thinks 'he' is a girl. Which is about as neatly transphobic as you can get, because it states that internal gender identity is irrelevant compared to physical characteristics.

A non-transphobic way of acknowledging that birdos transness was completely omitted from the american version would simply be referring to 'her' instead of 'his', though 'gender confused' is both insulting and a poor choice of words. A trans person is rarely confused about their gender. Other people might be, but we aren't.

Indeed not. While I have no idea why it was changed at all, the irony of the implication in this article is that "Guy who wants to be a girl" is a preferable description for a transsexual over simply being known as a girl.

Why does the UK (and several other countries) grant the legal right to be recognised as a member of the chosen gender to transsexuals? Because that is how they themselves see things.

A transsexual woman (otherwise known as a male to female transsexual. Terminology gets incredibly confusing here, I know) thinks of themselves as a woman, not a man, and wants to be treated as such.

If they're confident enough in themselves they may say they used to be a man.
But there is more difference between being "a woman who used to be a man" and being "a man who thinks he's a woman" than you'd think there is.

Yep. It's truly ironic that whatever the motivations behind it, changing Birdo to being 'she' is more in line with the wishes of the transsexual community than the older description.
It's especially irritating that people miss this so easily. - Which shows they are discussing a subject they barely know anything about.

Honestly, being included in the LGBT group is a mixed blessing.
We are an even smaller minority than the gay community, and while their support can be helpful, it makes a mess of the issues of the trans community itself.

A trans person is NOT automatically gay. (however you hope to define that... I mean, Homosexual means 'attracted to the same sex'. How can you make a meaningful statement about that when people often can't agree what sex you are? Is a MTF transsexual who is attracted to women a lesbian? Or not? That all depends on how you look at it.)

The mess this causes is evident when you consider they're ultimately unrelated issues.
Trans issues are about self-identity. (are you a man? A woman? Or something else entirely?)

Homosexual issues are about who you find attractive. Are you attracted to members of your own sex, or those of the opposite sex? Or some combination? (Or something else entirely).

It goes without saying that the definition of homosexuality and heterosexuality relies on being able to identify the sexual identity of both people involved first.
Which is the problem for the trans community because we inherently deal with an incongruent sexual identity, and prejudices that cause even more confusion.
(not to mention that transitioning is a lengthy process, and from a physical perspective, during this period you most certainly have a blend of physical characteristics of both sexes, which makes the matter even more confusing than it already is.)

Anyway...

To use an stereotype of a southner and say their hatred of the gays are the reason for the censorship

CrystalShadow:

A trans person is NOT automatically gay. (however you hope to define that... I mean, Homosexual means 'attracted to the same sex'. How can you make a meaningful statement about that when people often can't agree what sex you are? Is a MTF transsexual who is attracted to women a lesbian? Or not? That all depends on how you look at it.)

Ultimately the only thing you can do is accept the person in question knows their gender, and you simply take their word for it. It's not confusing at all, it's simply recognising cisgender privelige for what it is, and realising you don't have the right to decide someones gender for them. Once that is accepted, if a self identified woman is attracted only to men, they're straight. Nothing confusing about that.

CrystalShadow:

Which is the problem for the trans community because we inherently deal with an incongruent sexual identity, and prejudices that cause even more confusion.
(not to mention that transitioning is a lengthy process, and from a physical perspective, during this period you most certainly have a blend of physical characteristics of both sexes, which makes the matter even more confusing than it already is.)

I argue that only the prejudices cause more confusion, because trans people can often be rendered unable to pursue relationships due to not being able to gauge the reaction of partners upon 'outing' ourselves. Our sexual identities are no less concrete than the identities of cisgender people, save in the case that a trans person is -also- genderqueer and so rejects the notion of concrete sexual/gender identities. Again, physical transition due to hormones is a matter of confusion only for those not going through the experience, and their opinions, bluntly, aren't relevant.

of course this is quite a tangent from a point we both agree on, and that I've tangented from so wildly as to actually edit out of your response. Simply accepting birdo as female, the 'censored US version' is infact more progressive than the article, which by its language, artificialises birdos gender, and asserts that it's 'really' male. That it's being applied to such a trivial, minor character is of no consequence, because it speaks of a larger prejudice only highlighted in this case, that should be confronted.

It goes the other way around, too.

Anybody remember Poison from Final Fight?

image

She went from female to male during her trip to the US. Well, sorta...

Not only are there limitations in the American game market place for homosexual/transgender characters, but they also have huge problems with male nudity. Take my game for example, "The Adventures of El Ballo": http://www.elballo.com : More bad press for this game was created than good press simply because reviewers and vocal "puritan" gamers couldn't see past the male nudity. Many American editors and reviewers took the male nudity as a sexual marketing ploy in the game, when in reality the story was quite innocent.

There is plenty of female nudity in games, but throw a homosexual/transgender man or a silly penis in the mix and it's utterly forbidden.

The truth is that the majority of kids still use the term "gay" as an insult and California, The captol of Homosexuality, voted for Prop 8.

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