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10 LGBTQ+ Video Game Characters Making History

The gaming landscape is evolving, and with it, the way we see ourselves reflected in the stories we play. From the sharpshooting sniper Krem in Dragon Age: Inquisition to our favourite madcap girl Tiny Tina from Borderlands, these characters add vibrancy and depth to the games they inhabit. Today’s LGBTQ+ characters defy typical expectations and stereotypes, adding more depth and nuance to every game we play. LGBTQ+ characters in games are emerging as central heroes, complex villains, and everything in between. Here are a few standouts who are redefining representation in the gaming world.

 

Sir Hammerlock – Borderlands

We first meet Sir Hammerlock in Borderlands 2 as a hunter with an unmistakable British sophistication. Despite his upper-crust demeanour and ragged explorer attire, this part-cyborg gentleman is a fierce ally. Encountered initially to repair Claptrap’s eye, Hammerlock becomes a recurring quest-giver, offering his expertise and dry wit throughout the game. His enthusiasm for the thrill of the hunt and his appreciation for a good specimen, regardless of its temperament, make him a memorable character in the Borderlands universe.

In Borderlands 3 we are delighted to learn that Sir Hammerlock is in a loving relationship with Wainwright Jakobs, the CEO of Jakobs Corporation. We have a whole DLC entitled “Guns, Love, and Tentacles” that’s all about their upcoming wedding.

 

Tyler Ronan – Tell Me Why

Tyler Ronan from Dontnod’s Tell Me Why is a transgender man returning to his Alaskan hometown after a decade of separation from his twin sister Alyson. Haunted by the memories of a tragic event that claimed their mother’s life, Tyler wrestles with the complexities of his past and the journey of his transition. Despite the challenges he faces, Tyler possesses a deep well of empathy and a fierce loyalty to his sister. His unwavering belief in the power of their unique psychic bond, the “Twinshot,” becomes a beacon of hope in their quest to uncover the truth and mend their fractured family.

Tyler is the first trans leading character in a major AAA video game. Seeing his journey and how he deals with the general factors of transition feels very grounded in reality, and it never erases how poignant each beat in his story is. His story delves into the complexities of transitioning but it’s not just about that, he is a multifaceted man grappling with family, identity, and the power of memory.

 

Parvati Holcomb – The Outer Worlds

This witty engineer from Obsidian’s RPG is a refreshing take on LGBTQ+ romance. Parvati is a valuable companion, driven by her intellect and a genuine desire to help others. She is arguably one of the best companions you can have in The Outer Worlds. Intelligent, loyal, as well as managing to be a pure and sweet soul that relishes in the world you both explore. Despite the horrible things you can do and witness in the Halcyon System, Parvati remains a positive force that never dims despite being racked with shyness.

It’s rare to see a character who is explicitly asexual but is never portrayed as uncaring or averse to all forms of connection. She tells you that she’s been in other relationships in the past, but that everyone always felt she was “cold” and left her because she had no interest in physical relationships. It’s one of the most heartfelt and honest depictions of an asexual character in a video game ever (so far), and the quest to get Parvati to open up and trust you and Junlei enough to pursue a relationship is extremely rewarding.

 

Fuse – Apex Legends

Walter Fitzroy Jr., better known as Fuse, is an Explosives enthusiast and brings loads of mayhem into Apex Legends. Fuse may only have seven toes, one eye, and only one of the arms he was born with, but that adds to his charm and doesn’t stop him from exuding joy. He’s charismatic, scrappy, and all about having a good time with friends and making things explode. It won’t be just bombs going off on the battlefield because Respawn has confirmed that Fuse is a “Ladies man, man’s man, and all-around manly man.” This means that my boy Fuse is a confirmed pansexual, meaning he’s attracted to people regardless of gender identity.

 

Madeline – Celeste

One look at Celeste may conjure images of a cute pixelated platformer, on the surface. But dive a little deeper and the game quickly reveals itself to be far more than that, the struggle of its main character Madeline is the beating crystal heart at the center of it. Madeline is a trans woman and her journey is one of acceptance as she tries to make peace with the parts of herself that frighten her. It’s a truly touching epic that encompasses internal conflict as well as her struggle with depression and anxiety. Madeline is clever, charmingly stubborn, kind-hearted, and painfully relatable, and her story is a standout part of a game that is already fantastic on its own.

The narrative of Celeste speaks to the hardships that queer individuals must face simply trying to navigate a heteronormative world. Despite that, she is just meant to be human, dealing with all the same tribulations that cis-gendered people go through.

 

Dr. Liara T’Soni – Mass Effect

Liara is best girl and even though her race has not too much use for gender norms she is a queer icon. From when you meet her as the young Asari researcher, all the way to becoming the Shadow Broker. She always has time to give Commander Shepard. Liara can become your romantic interest, regardless of which gender you choose. Her romance with Shepard unfolds organically, blossoming from shared experiences and mutual respect. Theirs is a complex bond that transcends physical attraction, built on trust and intellectual curiosity.

Liara T’Soni is more than just a pretty face or a powerful biotic. She is a character of exceptional intellect and a strong sense of justice, it’s a pleasure to watch her grow with you throughout the games. Her journey of self-discovery and her unwavering commitment to the greater good make her a fan favourite and a shining example of LGBTQ+ representation in gaming.

 

Zagreus – Hades

As much as Hades is a game about trying to fight your way out of the underworld, it’s also a game about relationships. Be that familial or romantic, the conversations you have as Zagreus are just as important as the giant monsters you kill, and his slick but genuinely caring demeanour carries you through them all. While you’re given the opportunity to romance both the Fury Megaera and Death-incarnate Thanatos, the way Zag’s relationship with every character in the game regardless of the situation or societal standing is something truly special to watch.

Zagreus’ charm knows no bounds. He readily flirts with various characters in the House of Hades, from the gruff warrior Achilles to the alluring huntress Artemis. These flirtations are playful and lighthearted, emphasizing Zagreus’ carefree nature and his openness to connection regardless of gender.

 

Damien LaVey – Monster Prom

Damien is the school’s resident jock and star athlete of Spooky High, boasting impressive abs and a confident, albeit somewhat oblivious, demeanour. He’s popular with everyone, and yet underneath the bravado, Damien possesses a surprising amount of tenderness. He can be surprisingly sweet and supportive towards the player character, especially if you cater to his love of muscles and epic battles.

Damien is bold, crafty, and rebellious in the best ways even when he does play into the “jerk but secretly romantic” trope here and there. He is bisexual and has two dads, but these aspects are never brought up in a dramatic way and you simply get to enjoy Damien for being Damien. It’s especially interesting to note how he grows over the Monster Prom series, with later games even introducing his drag persona.

 

Steph Gingrich – Life is Strange

The Life is Strange series is no stranger to LGBTQ+ representation and while we know the main characters, Steph Gingrich is someone we’ve learned more about. In her own prequel DLC Wavelengths, we get a better look at her backstory on her first year living in Haven Springs. She was already engaging in the mainline series, but in the Wavelengths DLC, you get to see the layers and depth underneath it all without the coolness being revealed as a facade. It’s great to see a lesbian character portrayed as fun, skilled, and having some baggage that doesn’t automatically mean they need to be “fixed.”

 

Krem – Dragon Age: Inquisition

In a cosy corner of Skyhold’s tavern, a handsome young soldier quietly sips out of his stein between quick glances at the bard, Maryden. This is the Iron Bull’s Chargers second-in-command, Cremisius Aclassi “Krem”, and he was the first transgender character introduced in a Bioware game.

Gender identity is a big part of Krem’s origin story and how he came to be involved with the Iron Bull, and subsequently, the Inquisition. Krem was raised in Tevinter as a girl but quickly realized at a young age that he was different from the girls he knew. Krem joined the army but his secret was discovered after many years of successfully presenting as male. This led to a battle and him joining with the mercenary group “The Bull’s Chargers” and eventually rose to second-in-command. Krem is a skilled warrior and excellent commander, and his determination to be his authentic self never wavers throughout his entire journey. Krem is confident in who he is and risked everything to fight to help others.

 

These are just a few examples of the many LGBTQ+ characters that are making a positive impact in gaming. As the industry continues to embrace diversity, we can expect even more well-rounded and engaging characters who reflect the richness of the real world.