BioWare Apologizes For Representation of Trans Character in Andromeda

Naldan

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erttheking said:
Alright, fair point. I still think that they could have solved that if they really had a trans-gender major character who would behave like a normal human being (in comparison to the average LGBT-NPC) with more subtlety and at the same time not making a big deal about it. Then this minor character actually would have come in handy, making it clear that switching sex simply isn't anything big for people other than the person going under that process.

Thank you for your time and the clarification. Sorry for coming across like an ass.
 

TheMysteriousGX

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Karathos said:
Out of everything wrong with the game in its current state, THIS is what they choose to apologize for? Christ, come on...

Why must Bioware continue with this tradition of ham-fisted adding of checklist-characters. I'm fine with having diverse characters, but WRITE THEM PROPERLY for goodness sake. This is an insult to everyone regardless of identities.
That would be what they're apologizing for, yes.
 

Emanuele Ciriachi

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Ukomba said:
How odd, the reaction of the perpetually offended at everything crowd to being pandered to was to be offended. Who could have possibly foreseen that?
100% spot on, I couldn't think of a better way to say it myself!
 

bluegate

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What brought you out here to Andromeda?

Back home, I was filling test tubes in some dead-end lab. People knew me as Stephan. But that was never who I was.
I knew what I could do. And I knew who I wanted to do it as.
"Hainly Abrams, Andromeda Explorer." That's me. Feels good. Feels right.
Going from this conversation, I find it a bit strange that people say that she blurted out that she is trans gender for "no reason", her reason for coming to Andromeda was to escape from her previous job and person, she was stuck in a job as a person that she didn't identify with, what's wrong with mentioning that?
 

maninahat

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Elijin said:
I don't get it. You ask every NPC why they came to Andromeda. This one says they came for a new start, a new life. To be what they couldn't be back home. Then contextualizes it by saying they used to be called Stephan.

Its not like you walk up to them and they go 'HEY BUD, MY NAME IS HAINLY, BUT IT USED TO BE STEPHAN!'
Actually, they basically did - you're just paraphrasing it. This guy has just told a stranger their old identity within a minute of meeting them. That's not how people tend to behave. Its a case of a writer wanting to indicate a minor NPC is trans but not knowing how to naturally work it into a conversation. I've met a few trans people, and surprisingly the third thing they tell me isn't their old name. I have no idea what their old names are, because over the years, they've never tried to work it into conversation.

As to OP: I always find it a bit galling when a person complains, a dev listens, and gamers get pissy about the person complaining and the dev listening. Ideally, a dev accepts criticism and is willing to admit their shortcomings, but in practise we get mad whenever they do. If someone else complains, its offended SJW whining, whereas our own complaints are obviously the only legitimate ones. If a dev resolves to fix their problems, they must have unfairly refused to solve ours! Sure, they may release patches and retrospective fixes for the game to address the things I complained about, but the very idea that they even gave someone other than me the time of day to solve their problem is too much.
 

Elijin

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maninahat said:
Elijin said:
I don't get it. You ask every NPC why they came to Andromeda. This one says they came for a new start, a new life. To be what they couldn't be back home. Then contextualizes it by saying they used to be called Stephan.

Its not like you walk up to them and they go 'HEY BUD, MY NAME IS HAINLY, BUT IT USED TO BE STEPHAN!'
Actually, they basically did - you're just paraphrasing it. This guy has just told a stranger their old identity within a minute of meeting them. That's not how people tend to behave. Its a case of a writer wanting to indicate a minor NPC is trans but not knowing how to naturally work it into a conversation. I've met a few trans people, and surprisingly the third thing they tell me isn't their old name. I have no idea what their old names are, because over the years, they've never tried to work it into conversation.
I mean, 90% of the things the NPC's share with player characters if the PC asks fall under that purview. For some reason, we're treating this particular bit as special because.....drama? Politics? SJW?

The extent that side NPC's require you to earn their trust is to do something that benefits them. When you have the conversation with this NPC, you have established the first successful colony in the Andromeda galaxy and are the spearhead of the 'shit getting done and our lives not being ruined anymore' committee. Prior to your actions, this NPC was almost definitely a popsicle. They, just like everyone else in that same base, have no hesitation to share their deepest secrets if you press the dialogue button. We're just treating this particular one as special because they're trans.
 

maninahat

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Elijin said:
maninahat said:
Elijin said:
I don't get it. You ask every NPC why they came to Andromeda. This one says they came for a new start, a new life. To be what they couldn't be back home. Then contextualizes it by saying they used to be called Stephan.

Its not like you walk up to them and they go 'HEY BUD, MY NAME IS HAINLY, BUT IT USED TO BE STEPHAN!'
Actually, they basically did - you're just paraphrasing it. This guy has just told a stranger their old identity within a minute of meeting them. That's not how people tend to behave. Its a case of a writer wanting to indicate a minor NPC is trans but not knowing how to naturally work it into a conversation. I've met a few trans people, and surprisingly the third thing they tell me isn't their old name. I have no idea what their old names are, because over the years, they've never tried to work it into conversation.
I mean, 90% of the things the NPC's share with player characters if the PC asks fall under that purview. For some reason, we're treating this particular bit as special because.....drama? Politics? SJW?

The extent that side NPC's require you to earn their trust is to do something that benefits them. When you have the conversation with this NPC, you have established the first successful colony in the Andromeda galaxy and are the spearhead of the 'shit getting done and our lives not being ruined anymore' committee. Prior to your actions, this NPC was almost definitely a popsicle. They, just like everyone else in that same base, have no hesitation to share their deepest secrets if you press the dialogue button. We're just treating this particular one as special because they're trans.
So in defence of their crappily written trans dialogue, all their NPC dialogue is crap? It isn't a great defence.

I think there is a difference too. Outside of playing joke characters in comedy movies, trans people have been near non-existent in popular media and entertainment, until as recently as the last few years. So people do have a reason to pay attention when they finally start writing them into stories, because its a bit more significant when a trans character finally turns up, only to be badly written.
 

happyninja42

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maninahat said:
Elijin said:
I don't get it. You ask every NPC why they came to Andromeda. This one says they came for a new start, a new life. To be what they couldn't be back home. Then contextualizes it by saying they used to be called Stephan.

Its not like you walk up to them and they go 'HEY BUD, MY NAME IS HAINLY, BUT IT USED TO BE STEPHAN!'
Actually, they basically did - you're just paraphrasing it. This guy has just told a stranger their old identity within a minute of meeting them. That's not how people tend to behave. Its a case of a writer wanting to indicate a minor NPC is trans but not knowing how to naturally work it into a conversation. I've met a few trans people, and surprisingly the third thing they tell me isn't their old name. I have no idea what their old names are, because over the years, they've never tried to work it into conversation.
Isn't it also the issue of the character specifically saying that they came to Andromeda to escape that name? To basically leave it behind? So what do they do? They immediately tell you the name they didn't want to be associated with, and left a fucking galaxy to escape the name. That seems, a little stupid on the part of the character.

"Hey pal! Nice to meet you! I came here so that people would stop calling me what I used to identify as, I even hate the name so much I left the galaxy. By the way, that name I hate so much? That I never want to associate with? It's Stefan, just fyi."

Laura K. Buzz mentioned this on a previous Podquisition, and it sounded incredibly silly to hear. I'm assuming it's accurate, since I've not played the game, and have no intention of doing so.

And another thing, it's not like they don't have a history of trans representation in their games. That one character in Inquisition was openly trans, and I seem to recall the player base was reasonably positive about the way he was written? Is that correct? I don't really remember any uproar threads about him when that game came out. So you'd think, that they'd have better results, working off a previous character if nothing else. *shrugs*
 

Zydrate

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Kingjackl said:
From what I've read, the issue is with the fact she mentions her old name right off the bat. Laura Dale wrote an article on the subject (because of course she did) basically explaining that for most trans people, the old name (or "dead name") can be very private, painful to recollect and just generally not the sort of thing you blab to a stranger on the first meeting. You could defend it by saying "oh, I guess she's more open about it than most", but the obvious response to that is "then why did she travel to another galaxy to get away from it?"
I'm pretty much on board with this line of reasoning.
 

hentropy

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altnameJag said:
Souplex said:
This seems a little backwards to me.
Sometimes trans people will be background characters, sometimes they'll be major characters.
Not everyone needs to be a major character.
Was there ever a trans major character? I'm blanking.

EDIT: well, I suppose there was that gal in Catherine.
There was a major villain in Shenmue II that was supposed to be... something. It's unclear if they're transgender or just really effeminate gay, it was set in the 80s and all.
 

happyninja42

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hentropy said:
altnameJag said:
Souplex said:
This seems a little backwards to me.
Sometimes trans people will be background characters, sometimes they'll be major characters.
Not everyone needs to be a major character.
Was there ever a trans major character? I'm blanking.

EDIT: well, I suppose there was that gal in Catherine.
There was a major villain in Shenmue II that was supposed to be... something. It's unclear if they're transgender or just really effeminate gay, it was set in the 80s and all.
Was Big Boss in MG 3 trans? I never played the game so I don't really know the context. I just know the big surprise is that she's a woman. Not sure all of the details of this, but if she was trans, then would that count as a "major character" being one? *shrugs*

I can't think of any other examples, other than the afore mentioned character from Inquisition, that was part of Iron Bull's crew. Not sure he would count as a "major" character, but he does figure prominently if you involve yourself heavily with Iron Bull's plot.
 

bluegate

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Happyninja42 said:
maninahat said:
Elijin said:
I don't get it. You ask every NPC why they came to Andromeda. This one says they came for a new start, a new life. To be what they couldn't be back home. Then contextualizes it by saying they used to be called Stephan.

Its not like you walk up to them and they go 'HEY BUD, MY NAME IS HAINLY, BUT IT USED TO BE STEPHAN!'
Actually, they basically did - you're just paraphrasing it. This guy has just told a stranger their old identity within a minute of meeting them. That's not how people tend to behave. Its a case of a writer wanting to indicate a minor NPC is trans but not knowing how to naturally work it into a conversation. I've met a few trans people, and surprisingly the third thing they tell me isn't their old name. I have no idea what their old names are, because over the years, they've never tried to work it into conversation.
Isn't it also the issue of the character specifically saying that they came to Andromeda to escape that name? To basically leave it behind? So what do they do? They immediately tell you the name they didn't want to be associated with, and left a fucking galaxy to escape the name. That seems, a little stupid on the part of the character.

"Hey pal! Nice to meet you! I came here so that people would stop calling me what I used to identify as, I even hate the name so much I left the galaxy. By the way, that name I hate so much? That I never want to associate with? It's Stefan, just fyi."
What does that matter, though?

Her character could very well be that she is comfortable with acknowledging her past self, she used to be Stephan, but now she is continuing her new life as Hainly and that's that. But I guess that she can't be a character with her own personality and traits.

In real life, what are the reasons that trans people wouldn't mention their previous self?
 

Saelune

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Happyninja42 said:
hentropy said:
altnameJag said:
Souplex said:
This seems a little backwards to me.
Sometimes trans people will be background characters, sometimes they'll be major characters.
Not everyone needs to be a major character.
Was there ever a trans major character? I'm blanking.

EDIT: well, I suppose there was that gal in Catherine.
There was a major villain in Shenmue II that was supposed to be... something. It's unclear if they're transgender or just really effeminate gay, it was set in the 80s and all.
Was Big Boss in MG 3 trans? I never played the game so I don't really know the context. I just know the big surprise is that she's a woman. Not sure all of the details of this, but if she was trans, then would that count as a "major character" being one? *shrugs*

I can't think of any other examples, other than the afore mentioned character from Inquisition, that was part of Iron Bull's crew. Not sure he would count as a "major" character, but he does figure prominently if you involve yourself heavily with Iron Bull's plot.
If you mean The Boss, no. She was pregnant and gave birth on the battlefield. If you mean Big Boss aka Naked Snake, also no.
 

Saelune

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bluegate said:
Happyninja42 said:
maninahat said:
Elijin said:
I don't get it. You ask every NPC why they came to Andromeda. This one says they came for a new start, a new life. To be what they couldn't be back home. Then contextualizes it by saying they used to be called Stephan.

Its not like you walk up to them and they go 'HEY BUD, MY NAME IS HAINLY, BUT IT USED TO BE STEPHAN!'
Actually, they basically did - you're just paraphrasing it. This guy has just told a stranger their old identity within a minute of meeting them. That's not how people tend to behave. Its a case of a writer wanting to indicate a minor NPC is trans but not knowing how to naturally work it into a conversation. I've met a few trans people, and surprisingly the third thing they tell me isn't their old name. I have no idea what their old names are, because over the years, they've never tried to work it into conversation.
Isn't it also the issue of the character specifically saying that they came to Andromeda to escape that name? To basically leave it behind? So what do they do? They immediately tell you the name they didn't want to be associated with, and left a fucking galaxy to escape the name. That seems, a little stupid on the part of the character.

"Hey pal! Nice to meet you! I came here so that people would stop calling me what I used to identify as, I even hate the name so much I left the galaxy. By the way, that name I hate so much? That I never want to associate with? It's Stefan, just fyi."
What does that matter, though?

Her character could very well be that she is comfortable with acknowledging her past self, she used to be Stephan, but now she is continuing her new life as Hainly and that's that. But I guess that she can't be a character with her own personality and traits.

In real life, what are the reasons that trans people wouldn't mention their previous self?
You dont go through that effort to then immediately disregard it. Seriously, as ninja said, LEAVING A GALAXY to escape your past life, you wouldnt be inclined to immediately chance throwing that away.

I mean, sure, her character -could- be whatever, but based on my own experiences, no, she is just poorly written and portrayed.
 

Poetic Nova

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Saelune said:
-snipping to keep the clutter out-

You dont go through that effort to then immediately disregard it. Seriously, as ninja said, LEAVING A GALAXY to escape your past life, you wouldnt be inclined to immediately chance throwing that away.

I mean, sure, her character -could- be whatever, but based on my own experiences, no, she is just poorly written and portrayed.
I heard about this character last night, when a friend of mine mentioned that they are going to overhaul her dialog.
And with what I'm reading/hear, I wished it wasn't implemented the way it is. Which is why I quote you, and agree with.
 

Saelune

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Poetic Nova said:
Saelune said:
-snipping to keep the clutter out-

You dont go through that effort to then immediately disregard it. Seriously, as ninja said, LEAVING A GALAXY to escape your past life, you wouldnt be inclined to immediately chance throwing that away.

I mean, sure, her character -could- be whatever, but based on my own experiences, no, she is just poorly written and portrayed.
I heard about this character last night, when a friend of mine mentioned that they are going to overhaul her dialog.
And with what I'm reading/hear, I wished it wasn't implemented the way it is. Which is why I quote you, and agree with.
I just re-said basically what Happyninja said.
 

bluegate

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Saelune said:
You dont go through that effort to then immediately disregard it. Seriously, as ninja said, LEAVING A GALAXY to escape your past life, you wouldnt be inclined to immediately chance throwing that away.

I mean, sure, her character -could- be whatever, but based on my own experiences, no, she is just poorly written and portrayed.
But why? Why would she feel the need to hide it?

Fear of ridicule? Maybe she is perfectly comfortable and confident, or maybe, the world of Mass Effect isn't as petty as to ridicule people who are trans gender. Wouldn't that be a nice Utopian vision for a fiction world, a world where trans people can normally acknowledge their past selves without "chancing throwing it all away"?
 

Saelune

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bluegate said:
Saelune said:
You dont go through that effort to then immediately disregard it. Seriously, as ninja said, LEAVING A GALAXY to escape your past life, you wouldnt be inclined to immediately chance throwing that away.

I mean, sure, her character -could- be whatever, but based on my own experiences, no, she is just poorly written and portrayed.
But why? Why would she feel the need to hide it?

Fear of ridicule? Maybe she is perfectly comfortable and confident, or maybe, the world of Mass Effect isn't as petty as to ridicule people who are trans gender. Wouldn't that be a nice Utopian vision for fiction world, a world where trans people can normally acknowledge their past selves without "chancing throwing it all away"?
Because that is not who she is. A big bother of mine as a trans person is people viewing me not as who I am, but who I "was", because that wasnt really me.

Why must people cling to all these vague hypotheticals to justify a bad character?
 

happyninja42

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bluegate said:
What does that matter, though?

Her character could very well be that she is comfortable with acknowledging her past self, she used to be Stephan, but now she is continuing her new life as Hainly and that's that. But I guess that she can't be a character with her own personality and traits.

In real life, what are the reasons that trans people wouldn't mention their previous self?
As Saelune said, but let me put a different spin on it.

Let's say the character was a neo-nazi. And changed their life, not being that way anymore. But, their past was so hurtful to them, and the associated stigma they got if they ever acknowledged what they used to do in their previous life. So, they get an opportunity to move to a new location, and leave that life behind. Never mention it, never speak of it, never acknowledge it. Why, in all the fictional hells, would they then immediately tell someone that they used to be a neo-nazi? If the stated reason they left, was to leave that life behind, and no longer be associated with it. It makes zero sense to then immediately tell someone about my "dark past", that I am trying to leave behind.

I mean hell, there are countless examples of this in entertainment already. Character with a Dark Past, moves to a new state/country/city to get a New Lease on Life. But of course, their Dark Past tracks them down, now they have to find a way to resolve their Past Sins, while protecting the new life they've created. I'm capitalizing a lot of those phrases, because they are literally tropes of storytelling, they are so ubiquitous in storytelling. So it's not like this is a new trend, it's just a poorly written example of a very common story trope.

In a better written story, this information would come up more organically, in the course of getting to know the character, if it even comes up at all.

Though I will give Bioware at least some leaway on this. If the intent is to introduce a trans character, that information has to be conveyed to the player. And if you make the character's background be where they would likely not provide this information, it clashes. If they had her behave normally, and never mention her trans nature, and past life as a male, (which is the most likely scenario, given her personality), then it would never been made apparent to the player in-game. We would all play the game, just assuming the character is female, without any trans aspect to their story. Which sort of negates the effort to introduce a trans character into the narrative. So they are kind of damned if they do, damned if they don't, based on how they wrote her personality. She is, by nature, written as the kind of person, who in real life, likely wouldn't tell anyone about that part of her past. Just like all those other characters in books/tv/movies, never tell anyone about their secret past, until forced to do so at a later point.

And while I think it goes without saying, since this is the internet, and the escapist to boot, allow me to disclaimer:

No, I'm not comparing trans issue to neo-nazism. It was simply the first example of a similar kind of situation that a person might have. A past they want to leave behind totally. Nothing more.