Playing Gay is OK

“It matters not who you love, where you love, why you love, when you love or how you love, it matters only that you love” – John Lennon

Homosexuality has been a huge feature in the news due to recent events (I’m looking at you Russia) and I found it to be thought provoking as I turned my attention to my gaming ‘hobby’ and gay characters found in video games.

When I played through the Mass Effect games for the first time, I was extremely comfortable choosing to play as ‘FemShep’ and chasing a romantic relationship with a female character. After several attempts to woo Miranda in Mass Effect 2, I took to the Internet only to find out that she was only for male characters but apparently in the early stages of development was available for romance by both genders (oh boo). PC modders have shown what would have happened.

I don’t want a gay character just for the sake of it.

You are welcome.

Disappointment on not being able to sex up Miranda aside, I like how the gay relationships are implemented without fuss, or attention in the series. They are just there, to be used to or not, a choice that is up to the player. Another example is Lieutenant Steve Cortez who mentions he had a husband with no indication that the relationship was in any way unusual in the Mass Effect worlds.

BioWare have also given us same sex relationships in their Dragon Age games. In Dragon Age II I was able to romance Isabela as my female Hawke. The resulting scene was a little awkward but it was the same whether Hawke was male or female. Again, implemented without fuss showing equality in what relationships you can choose to pursue in-game.

Killing mood


RPGs tend to be a lot more flexible for same-sex romance, as you play the character your way and to your style. Even The Sims games have implemented gay marriage and adoption as an everyday occurrence in-game.

There are obvious reasons why openly gay main characters are a rarity, as it is highly possible that those games wouldn’t sell as well but, even so, openly gay characters (main or otherwise) are still scarce. I can understand that, as it isn’t the norm to have a gay main character. Instead, it’s left up to us to see relationships, or to ‘ship’ characters together in games even if that relationship isn’t explicitly part of the story. Take Lara and Sam in the Tomb Raider reboot, certain moments together could be interpreted an entirely different way.


So subtle…

Subtext definitely comes into play and there are entire blogs, fanfiction and even hashtags dedicated to the Lara x Sam ‘Salara’ ship. Maybe not a surprise, since Rhianna Pratchett even wanted to make Lara gay. Which would have been awesome! Just saying.

But I don’t want a gay character just for the sake of it. Discussions erupt online about parts of games and the industry, but why do the LGBT parts need to be discussed? Just make it part of the game, implement it without issue like the few games I highlighted already do.

It’s always fun to discover you can put a little bit of yourself into a character by making them have the same relationships you do, but the lack of it doesn’t prevent me from enjoying a game. Give me a good story, male or female protagonists and straight or gay relationships. I’ll play them all!


6 responses to “Playing Gay is OK”

  1. Hambino avatar

    Fantastically written piece. Forget all the spaceships, alien wars and cities amongst the stars. The most excitingly futuristic thing about Mass Effect was that all types of personal relationships were treated with equal respect.

  2. David_Roberts avatar

    Well done Gemma great read and well writen

  3. Simon avatar

    That and the space hamster!

  4. Scott Griffiths avatar
    Scott Griffiths

    Well written Gemma (as always)

    I’m playing Persona 4 Golden on the Vita at the moment, the emphasis on relationships in game is very well executed. I’ve just reached a storyline where one character is obviously gay but hides behind bravado – I’ll let you know you know how the story develops to see how the japanese have approached the subject!

  5. John Brown avatar
    John Brown

    Nicely done! I had my own thoughts about Lara and Sam.. my Shepard was a girl and found lasting love with Liara (why would you not!) from episode 1 right through until the end. The way relationships are being portrayed in games is showing a growing sense of maturity and acceptance. hurrah for us, it seems we’re an enlightened group!

  6. Gemma Hart avatar
    Gemma Hart

    Thanks you guys 🙂 comments are much appreciated!! John I romanced Liara all the way through! Staying true to the blue!!

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