Persona 5 was really pushing it with their gay panic shit. (For context, Ryuji, one of your character’s friends, who is presented as a sort of anarchist punk kid who wants to stand up for oppressed folks in Japan at large, is used in a joke where two queer men chase him around various locations in an attempt to sexually assault him because of course, they can’t resist due to their sexuality)
The straw that broke the camels back for me though was Futaba Sakura, a shut-in hacker and middle school student who I immediately read as neurodivergent. I don’t think the problem in this case stems from Futaba herself. I think she is, on her own, in the text conversations, in her Confidant, actually pretty well written. But the Protagonists friends. They’re the issue. Almost as soon as you finish her Palace, your crew (despite the player’s potential protests and everyone barely knowing her) decides it’s time high time to “fix” Futaba. This involves you going out to busy places in Tokyo, forcing her to talk with strangers, and having her run the till in her father’s coffee shop.
None of this works for them and Futaba still doesn’t interact like a “normal” person, so the crew decides that she’s is a sort of project to work on. Instead of realizing that Futaba’s experience is valid despite her differences, they decide that because she doesn’t meet the status quo the characters in Persona 5 theoretically seek to quash she must be changed and “fixed”. The only saving grace in this sequence is that you can choose dialogue that implies your Protagonist isn’t okay with whats happening, but it happens anyways. Your friends take the lead on this one, and your friends are assholes.
This, along with Atlus’ historic poor treatment of LGBTQ characters that’s also present in Persona 5, literally made me stop playing the game. It felt like they just got it wrong. Persona 5 is a game ostensibly about kids who are fed up with the oppressive shackles put on them by the police, school, corporations, the government, which is cool! But the game makes it so clear that resistance is for cis, straight, nuerotypical people, and I think this is deeply flawed. Resistance doesn’t exist if it doesn’t include queer and trans folks, it doesn’t exist if it doesn’t include neurodivergent folks, and thats true globally.
Ugh. I kinda just needed to get that off my chest I think.
Edit: I think there are people in the Persona writing room who are trying to push for better representation. Like I said Futaba is well written despite your crew being shitty, characters like Lala Escargot are getting there, and I actually think your protagonist responses in P5 are pretty good, but there needs to be a complete shift in narrative direction for me to really love those games again.