By Sydney Bayleigh • Gaming
July 23, 2021 • 6 minute read
Why Do Video Games Need LGBTQIA+ Representation?
Characters from Apex Legends via Respawn Entertainment
The LGBTQIA+ community has been starving for representation in the mainstream media for decades.
Video games that contain strong LGBTQIA+ characters are vital for the acceptance of queer individuals because of the number of children that play video games.
Including LGBTQIA+ characters in video games can encourage heterosexual and cisgender people to understand and support the LGBTQIA+ community and allow young queer kids to realize that they are not alone.
Why Does LGBTQIA+ Representation in Video Games Matter?
Many children who are either closeted or open about their gender and sexuality can feel ostracized.
Scientific research has proven that humans are attracted to those who are similar to them. One of the driving factors behind this science is that it gives the individual an opportunity to express themselves without fear of judgment.
Some children grow up in hostile situations that don't allow them to be their authentic selves. If a queer child sees LGBTQIA+ characters in video games, it can be comforting and create a feeling of hope. It shows them that they are not alone.
Including strong LGBTQIA+ characters in video games can also be beneficial to heterosexual and cisgender children. When someone experiences something different than themselves at a young age, it gives them more opportunities to get used to it and become accepting of it.
If a kid plays a video game that contains strong LGBTQIA+ characters, it increases the chance that they will become an ally for their queer friends.
While many video games do contain LGBTQIA+ characters, few do it as well as Apex Legends.
The Stunning Queer Characters of Apex Legends
Respawn Entertainment’s hit game Apex Legends’ has a cast of unique, hilarious, and sometimes evil characters.
Characters from different cultural backgrounds, too. There is a Hispanic daredevil, Korean hacker, Jamaican healer, A French electrician who is also on the spectrum, and even a couple of robots.
But some players may not realize the amount of LGBTQIA+ representation within the unique group of Legends. Here is a list of characters in Apex Legends that are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community:
Gibraltar, a Gay Polynesian Shielded Fortress
Bloodhound, a Nonbinary Technological Tracker
Loba, a Bisexual Latina Translocating Thief
Valkyrie, a Lesbian Japanese Winged Avenger
Fuse, a Pansexual Australian Explosives Expert
Why are the LGBTQIA+ Characters in Apex Legends Important?
The LGBTQIA+ characters in Apex Legends are beneficial because their sexualities and genders do not define them as characters.
Throughout history, LGBTQIA+ characters have fallen victim to tokenism. Tokenism is when a writer, director, or video game developer will have LGBTQIA+ characters or characters that are people of color to appear inclusive.
Often these characters are created based upon stereotypes. That is not the case with Apex Legends.
These characters are not stereotypical gay characters. They are also not treated like side characters like LGBTQIA+ characters have been treated in the past.
Not only are the characters diverse, but the voice actors playing them are as well.
Gibraltar’s voice actor, Branscombe Richmond, is a person of color. Valkyrie’s voice actor, Eria Ishii, is a queer person of color.
The player learns these characters are members of the LGBTQIA+ community by learning about the lore.
Through reading Gibraltars bio, the player will notice that he is gay. By paying close attention to voice lines, the player will recognize that Bloodhound uses they/them pronouns. The player could recognize the constant flirting that occurs between Loba and Valkyrie. And the player can see how often Valkyrie mentions her love of women throughout her voice lines.
Fuse is different from the other legends because the game itself does not tell the player that he is pansexual.
The developers have confirmed in interviews that these characters are queer.
The inclusion of these characters should be encouraging for LGBTQIA+ children and adults to play Apex Legends. It should also give parents a game to encourage their children to play to raise more accepting children.
Apex Legends shows the gaming world that not every gamer is the same by including LGBTQIA+ characters in their game. Creating these characters influences the gaming community to be more diverse and accepting.
Absolutely amazing! Thank you for writing this piece for the LGBTQIA+ community and for the rest of us as well.