LGBTQ+ rep in video games


She’s pansexual. She specifically defines herself simply as “queer”, though, because according to Scott Benson she probably doesn’t know what pansexuality is.
There’s also a part later on when Mae can be asked what her dream date is, and she uses the pronoun “They” stating she’s “not picky” about the person’s gender.


I haven’t played this game so I’m not familiar with Mae’s sexuality but it is not unheard of for lesbians to have had boyfriends :wink: source: me, a lesbian who used to date a guy before figuring stuff out.

ETA: oh, I just read she is pan. Well, shows what I know.


As others have said, she just likes everybody. Shes not picky.


Jack straight up says she’s been with men and women before, but apparently only that magical healing M!Shep dick can enhance her life and get her back on track. Fuck. I had almost forgotten about the worst moment in Mass Effect 2.


The idea of an abuse victim who is written on the page as bi but can only really be healed by a man really struck me deep in the heart because I am a bisexual woman who is an abuse victim. Like I can’t tell you how much just the thought of that wounds me on several levels. It’s not like that’s a fucking can of worms to have to sort through, and a complicated part of my sexuality.


I haven’t had a chance to yet but it’s on my list for sure :3


I read this a lot, and would never want to say somebody’s experience with a text, even if it’s video game in form, is invalid in any way, but the one thing that my brain loops back around to is how… not butch Cass is?

Which, immediately should be thrown out as incorrect, so I guess I’ll expand.

Throughout the relationship with Cass, every, single, thing, you get to learn about her. Every aspect of who she is beneath the hard Seeker exterior, is really repressed femme stuff (So long as we’re following more stereotypical definitions for what gender trait behaviors are/have/)

She acts like a blushy, awkward, almost teenager. She tells you why, and how she became a seeker. Why she was forced to holding absurd ideals, personal standards. Become the mission. Denial of self.

She is absolutely, on the surface, what we all fell so hard for. But the whole romance beneath the top layer of personality was… not that? To me, that was what ultimately defined her as a character. Being multi-dimensional in a lot of ways, which was why, when she told me she wasn’t interested, after initially being crushed, I felt like I could respect that as… a kinda reverse take on repressed identity, which tends to be relegated to male or queer characters? I dunno.

I think I might have been happier on some level with it just being a romance option, but it not quite being one has certainly made me engage with it a lot more, and think about it a lot more. There’s absolutely room for her to just be down with a gay relationship. (I mean, in what fiction isn’t there, really?)


A lot can be said for how we present ourselves to people we don’t yet know, but being butch doesn’t necessarily mean never feeling awkward or never showing emotions that aren’t “stone-cold badass”. Butch is a label used to define a certain set of aesthetics, behaviors, and personality traits, but that doesn’t make it a static label because people are dynamic by their very natures.

Everyone presents a certain way to certain people or in certain situations. I always read Cassandra’s duality as a necessary compartmentalization. She can’t be a blushing, awkward person when she’s supposed to be seeking out the truth and commanding situations. It wouldn’t work. She wouldn’t be able to do her job. She can be a more relaxed person around you when you’re alone because there’s no pressure on her to do her job. Not a lot of people I know act the same way with friends than they do at work, unless they have the good fortune to be working with friends. What I mean to say is that just because someone fits the butch label, that doesn’t necessarily keep them from being a multi-dimensional character or person, so I respectfully disagree with your assessment.

Another issue is that Cassandra doesn’t exist in a vacuum regarding Bioware’s design decisions or the world we live in. The way Cassandra is designed as a character makes her incredibly butch, but she’s unromanceable by Fem!Inquisitors. It’s the same issue we had with Jack from Mass Effect 2 who, despite saying she had relationships with both men and women, was not romanceable by F!Shep. It’s also issue we’re currently seeing with Cora from Mass Effect: Andromeda, another butch woman who is, once again, not romanceable by a female PC.

Speaking from personal experience, none of the women I know who are that butch are straight. Bisexual, yes. Straight, not at all. Compounded onto that is the recent issue that the queer community has been having lately of straight people coming into our spaces, co-opting the coding we’ve used for years to show our queerness, then getting offended when we mistake them for one of us, because they’re in our spaces and using our trends. Once is an accident, twice is coincidence, but three? Three’s a pattern.

After the third time they’ve pulled this sorta thing, I’m really starting to get suspicious about whether or not Bioware actually know what the hell it’s doing in regards to their WLW playerbase. They’ve done okay in some cases, but they’ve missed far more times than they’ve hit. I’m starting to get suspicious about their narrative regarding, specifically, butch women–that they’re just waiting for the right man (which is especially creepy in the case of ME2’s Jack)–and whether or not they want to acknowledge the inherent diversity in their queer audience at all.


I feel like BioWare is largely cishet people genuinely trying to do queer representation right, but just Not Getting It on such a basic level so much of the time, no matter how many times actual queer people tell them “uhhhh, nope.”

They made some massive mistakes with Krem in DA:I, which people talked about a lot … and then ME:A comes along and their trans representation is worse. They do bizarre, upsetting things with Jack and Cassandra, but just repeat it again with Cora.

I appreciate that they try, because so many companies don’t. But trying without listening isn’t good enough.


Absolutely. I wonder if I’ve stumbled on my words harder than anticipated, as I don’t see your respectful disagreement as disagreeing.

I think I just ended up in a place where I was more alright with the final call made with regard to her being straight.

With, I should add, the side note that I didn’t play much Mass Effect 2, and didn’t interface with Jack outside of thinking she was awesome. The vacuum Cass falls in for me, with regard to Bioware games as a whole is, the first woman I’ve… what’s the phrase here? Fallen for seems weirdly oblivious to the fiction… gone after feels gross… attempted to romance feels weirdly impersonal? The first female Bioware character I’ve had a relationship who wasn’t ultimately into it?

There’s no reason she couldn’t be bi, or playersexuality oriented, or gay. Period. I’m not, nor would I ever say that. It’s fiction, in a fantasy world. I circle back around to, I think I would have enjoyed my time with Dragon Age more if she were. But I think I would have engaged with Dragon Age less if she were. I think that’s why… I spend the time trying to tow the thin line of - not 100% agreeing with the writers/designers, but also trying to respect the decision they made with Cass. As a point of examination, as a point of non-abstract specific example for discussion, I enjoyed romancing, or as it turned out, not romancing Cass.

What she represents as a part of a wholistic Bioware universe, of DA:O, DA2, DA:I, ME, ME2, ME3, ME:A, I can’t speak to. I don’t have the requisite experience with their other writing.

I just… and I hate the part of me that even wants to add this paragraph, because I really like your take on her, and it’s already, in my mind moved how Cass was handled from “the best Bioware romance I’ve experienced” into muddier waters of 'hey, hmm…" at the VERY least is… one question, which doesn’t even refute what you’re saying, or what you’ve said. (Unless again, I’m too clumsy with language to articulate thought.)

Why can’t a straight woman be butch? Particularly if we’re talking about a member of the Pentaghast family, in a world where that has a lot of very specific strings attached, and she explains to us a lot of them. A lot about why she became a seeker, why she remained loyal to the chantry when many seekers were jumping ship. (This is also a question I absolutely agree Bioware hasn’t done the… coverage to earn asking?) (Wow, what was that sentence? Let’s try again… That feels like a question Bioware’s universe doesn’t hold the breadth to ask yet. I think?)

Fuck. I just want Cassandra to hold me, and I feel like I’m becoming a villain of some kind in this thread. Perhaps it’s time for me to shush.

To… back out of self-vilification for the sake of discussion, I guess I feel the need to, at the end of this post, re-state a couple things.

Things I believe:

  • I fell for Cass hard. She was my rock, my tank, my moral compass through many hours of exploring a world I didn’t know.
  • If Cass had allowed me to romance her, I would have, no doubt, question, or second thought in my mind.
  • What I think I appreciate/enjoy the most about Cass breaking my heart was, and is, how much it has made me think about Dragon Age Inquisition, Bioware romances, player agency vs. NPC agency, and how romance is portrayed in games, and how, if, that alters characters.

Things I don’t believe:

  • Cass being strictly straight is a good thing.
  • Bioware has done a good job so far.


That’s the part that pisses me off most, re: this is their third time doing this. Like, LGBTQ+ people and abuse victims critiqued their handling of Jack’s issues there and back. Plenty of trans people, transmen specifically, told them what they did wrong with Krem. There was a ton of concrit to take into account in both cases.

And then they did the straight-butch thing again, and people got on them about it again.

And then they did it a third time and had to patch out a transgirl deadnaming herself. That’s such an extreme case of not listening (maybe even not caring) that I don’t even know how to begin fixing that issue.


I would say it’s arguably their 4th time, depending on how you evaluate the queer semiotics of Morrigan. :expressionless:


As I think a little more about this kind of topic, I think about something me and my friend E.K. Weaver (who does a fantastic comic about two dudes falling in love were talking about once.

I feel like the easiest thing to approach in most LGBTQ+ stories is our relation to romantic relationships, considering a lot of that plays into… you know, being us. But there’s a lot of things that I feel aren’t ever really talked about or considered when writing stories for these characters.

For myself, I grew up in a po-dunk middle of effing nowhere town with a lot of people who REALLY loved their bibles and using them as an excuse for non-inclusive behavior. As a teenager, this made High School mostly suck because haha good luck ever finding a boyfriend let alone “a date” that aligned with my preferential spectrum. However what honestly killed me more was not having many friends who could connect with me let alone understand what it was like, and the ones that did, I clung to for dear life to help me survive what was kind of a shitty youth.

There a certain aspects of dealing with loneliness and having trust issues that extend beyond “I don’t have a romantic partner” that I feel could really be demonstrated and executed really well in the video game medium, especially because its one of the few that really allow the player/viewer to spend a lot of time with characters and form a stronger sense of bond and companionship. I think Dragon Age Inquisition touched upon this a little bit with Iron Bull and Krem, though when you meet them it’s more or less old history.

Still, character interactions like that I feel could add a level of depth that could give a much more whole look upon an LGBTQ+ character’s sense of place and relation in their world, and I’d really like to see it explored more.


To answer your question, I’m not saying a woman who comes off as butch can’t ever be straight. When I was a kid, I was surrounded by women who were pretty masculine in that sense, but also dated or married men and had kids. To this day, they talk to me about how straight they are, because I’m queer and I guess they think they need a jumping-off point in regards to that. It’s weird.

However, none of those women ever identified as butch. They’d say they were a “tomboy” or something else along those lines. When they assumed I was straight and cis-gendered, “tomboy” is what they would call me. Butch as a label and a self-identifier is a term heavily associated with lesbians. Straight women calling themselves “butch” can, in many cases, come across as slightly appropriative of queer culture.


I personally really enjoyed how Kaine was handled in the original Nier. In addition to her being a badass intersex character, there were layers to her character. What’s more is that I feel it is one of the few games that justifies the scantily clad outfits designers tend to put women in (looking at you Ivy from Soul Caliber). She uses her outfit to emphasis her feminine traits and while there is an argument to be made for other ways to do that I still think that’s a really cool concept.

In addition Nier spoilers is willing to sacrifice not only his life but his entire existence to save her in ending D. Felt like this was one aspect that Nier nailed right and the game treated her with the freaking respect she deserved.


Curious but I’m only thinking of one event in Horizon: Zero Dawn with an LGBTQ character. It was a side quest where a man wanted access to a temple/shrine so he could say goodbye to his husband. What were some of the others I missed?


Both of the Nier games come off so male gazey to me that I have a hard time taking them seriously. It feels less like any earnest attempt at representation then it does Yoko Taro trying to justify having the player spend a lot of time looking at T&A after the fact


Found this tweet about a article on P5 and how a player didn’t feel right about it LGBTQ view

I can see where their coming from, that we can’t forced things and if we do it’ll only lead to poor designs. However, it side stepping the issue at hand here.


I think claiming a game with such a blank slate protagonist is “a story about a heterosexual character” is disingenuous, at best.

I mean, “branching story arcs”? Is his heterosexuality really THAT integral to the main plot or, would it actually change very little.


finally a game about the str8 experience, there are so very few :unamused: