The Last of Us in GLAAD's 2013 List of Intriguing LGBT Characters

roseofbattle

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Apr 18, 2011
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The Last of Us in GLAAD's 2013 List of Intriguing LGBT Characters

A survivor in The Last of Us joins GLAAD's list of "most intriguing new LGBT characters of 2013" for promoting the appearance of complex characters who aren't usually seen in media.

The Last of Us is one of 11 pieces of media awarded for including intriguing LGBT characters in a list compiled by GLAAD, a media-monitoring organization promoting LGBT representation. GLAAD notes that while the number of new LGBT characters fell on TV this year, some characters "broke molds and defied stereotypes."

The list is predominately for TV shows and movies, and The Last of Us was the only videogame included in the list. "There weren't many new LGBT characters to be found in mainstream videogames this year," GLAAD stated, "but one of 2013's most critically acclaimed featured a particularly interesting one." Videogames from AAA studios rarely include LGBT characters - whereas indie titles are much more likely to include minority characters - but The Last of Us included an interesting character named Bill, one of the characters the player meets over the course of the post-apocalyptic journey across the country.

Bill is a survivor with a talent for repairs, and he forms an uneasy alliance with main characters Joel and Ellie. Bill had a relationship with his partner, Frank, but at some point Frank leaves Bill. The player learns more about the relationship between Frank and Bill and discovers it was not a happy one by the end. "Both helpful and contentious, Bill is as deeply flawed but wholly unique a gay character found in any storytelling medium this year," the list states.

Well-written characters make stories compelling, and well-written minority characters help promote visibility of diverse characters in media. Bravo to Naughty Dog for creating a game with complex characters.

Source: Joystiq [http://www.glaad.org/blog/most-intriguing-new-lgbt-characters-2013]


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Casual Shinji

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The best thing about it is that it's not in your face, like 'See, we gots us a gay in our game, aren't we progressive and cewl?'

It's only hinted at, and each hint could just as easily be taken differently. Bill and Frank could just as easily be very close friends, and the magazine Ellie swipes could've just been part of a pile Bill picked up once. We know they aren't, but they could be.

His sexual preference gets as much exposure as Joel's or Tess'.
 

anthony87

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Normally I couldn't give a toss about a characters sexual orientation but even I said to myself "There's a gay character done fucking right". Best part is that if you're only half paying attention it's entirely possible to miss that he's gay.
 

superline51

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anthony87 said:
Normally I couldn't give a toss about a characters sexual orientation but even I said to myself "There's a gay character done fucking right". Best part is that if you're only half paying attention it's entirely possible to miss that he's gay.
I must have only been paying half attention then, cause I didn't catch on to that at all.
 

Lieju

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Casual Shinji said:
It's only hinted at, and each hint could just as easily be taken differently. Bill and Frank could just as easily be very close friends, and the magazine Ellie swipes could've just been part of a pile Bill picked up once. We know they aren't, but they could be.

His sexual preference gets as much exposure as Joel's or Tess'.
anthony87 said:
Normally I couldn't give a toss about a characters sexual orientation but even I said to myself "There's a gay character done fucking right". Best part is that if you're only half paying attention it's entirely possible to miss that he's gay.
So, a well-written gay-character is someone you can convince yourself is not gay?

Not that writing character's sexual orientation in a vague way is necessarily bad, but writing your gays so that it's vague enough to argue they aren't gay shouldn't be a norm.

Writing a gay-character (or maybe rather a gay-relationship), doesn't have to be on the nose about it.
Just have a man refer to other man as 'husband', or a woman her partner as 'wife' or something.

Of course, a lot of people consider any acknowledgement that not everyone is straight as 'rubbing it into their faces'.
 

Casual Shinji

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Lieju said:
So, a well-written gay-character is someone you can convince yourself is not gay?

Not that writing character's sexual orientation in a vague way is necessarily bad, but writing your gays so that it's vague enough to argue they aren't gay shouldn't be a norm.

Writing a gay-character (or maybe rather a gay-relationship), doesn't have to be on the nose about it.
Just have a man refer to other man as 'husband', or a woman her partner as 'wife' or something.

Of course, a lot of people consider any acknowledgement that not everyone is straight as 'rubbing it into their faces'.
As I said, it needs to get as much exposure as the sexual preference of a hetero character. Not make a point of the fact someone's gay so that even the thickest person in the audience will get it. A well-written gay character is one where if you hear their name mentioned, you think character first, sexual preference second. Not think 'Oh yeah, that gay character.'

And in the setting of TLoU there's no real room for romantic relationships. There's also something going on between Joel and Tess that may indicate they shack up once in a while when the mood strikes, eventhough there's nothing visibly romantic between the two. And so it is with Bill and Frank.
 

Vivi22

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Lieju said:
So, a well-written gay-character is someone you can convince yourself is not gay?
No. A well written gay character, just like any well written character, is one who's life, personality, and development is shown rather than told. There is never any reason in the game to call attention to Bill being gay. To make it obvious would actually kind of undermine the whole thing, because then you don't get to put the pieces about the mans relationship with his partner together on your own. Moreover, it'd be difficult to make his feelings about his partner as complex as they were while being too overt. As it is, he's angry at him, but you can also tell was still feeling hurt at being betrayed, and still cared about him. If you don't handle that in a subtle way that gradually reveals itself when on its own it doesn't really impact the main story or the events transpiring with Bill at the time then you undermine it by shoehorning it in and trying to shove it in the players face when there's literally no reason for it other than to hint at Bill being more interesting and developed than he otherwise could be.

It would make as much sense to have Bill just come out and say that he's gay as it does to have Nathan Drake come right out and say he likes chicks.
 

Lieju

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Casual Shinji said:
Vivi22 said:
I'm not saying writing a gay character like that is necessarily wrong, especially in a story where heterosexual relationships don't get focus either.

What I'm disagreeing with is that it being so vague about it is what makes it well-written.
 

Baresark

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It was pretty awesome character move on their part. I had forgotten about it actually. It was treated as, "this was a normal person who had a normal dysfunctional relationship and happened to be gay". It wasn't in your face, it wasn't the point of the character to be gay in a crazy post apocalyptic world. They just happened to be gay in a fucked up world. He wasn't flamboyant and didn't come as gay at all because the form of the relationship was inconsequential to both the story and the character.
 

BX3

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Lieju said:
Casual Shinji said:
Vivi22 said:
I'm not saying writing a gay character like that is necessarily wrong, especially in a story where heterosexual relationships don't get focus either.

What I'm disagreeing with is that it being so vague about it is what makes it well-written.
I think what you gotta do is consider the context. In a game like this where the focus is on survival, the vagueness of Bill's sexuality is well written in this instance not because it's vague, but because bringing an unnecessary focus on it would've brought attention away from the matter at hand in the story (getting Joel a car and dealing with Bill's paranoid, mistrusting attitude.)

If it were in another type of game/story, one that centered around discrimination or maybe featured characters that were also cartoon-ish or exaggerated, etc, then the character's homosexuality being all "in your face" (Fucking seriously, guys?) wouldn't be that big a detriment to the game.

I think that's the mentality.
 

Royas

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I can honestly say that I did not pick up on Bill being gay during the game. Not at all. So I'm thinking it must have been approached very subtly and was definitely not "in your face". Add to that fact that Bill was a cool character overall, and I'd have to say this was done well.
 

Lieju

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BX3 said:
I think what you gotta do is consider the context. In a game like this where the focus is on survival, the vagueness of Bill's sexuality is well written in this instance not because it's vague, but because bringing an unnecessary focus on it would've brought attention away from the matter at hand in the story (getting Joel a car and dealing with Bill's paranoid, mistrusting attitude.)

If it were in another type of game/story, one that centered around discrimination or maybe featured characters that were also cartoon-ish or exaggerated, etc, then the character's homosexuality being all "in your face" (Fucking seriously, guys?) wouldn't be that big a detriment to the game.

I think that's the mentality.
There are possibilities between being so vague you could argue the character isn't gay, and making the story all about the gayness.

Think of how heterosexuality comes across in the games all the time; a character who gives you the quest off-handedly mentioning his wife, or the character having flirty dialogue with the characters of opposite sex, or mentioning how their dream is to find a wife, buy a farm and settle down. Or how the characters directly tell you they are in a relationship, or it's a part of the quest. For example you might be asked to deliver a marriage proposal to someone, or find out who killed someone, and learn about their romantic life because you are solving a murder.

The problem I have with this is the double-standard that might be present in handling the homosexual relationships and heterosexual ones.

Being heterosexual is the norm, so people don't notice it when characters (and actual people) mention things about their heterosexual relationships.

But when someone in a gay relationships does the exactly same thing (such as mentions their significant other in a discussion) then people notice it, and you will get the comments that they are 'being in their face about it'.

I have encountered the attitude that you are 'allowed' to be gay as long as you hide it, and don't expect you can do the same things hetero people can (like kissing your spouse in public, or getting married)too often to really like the attitude that a well-written gay character is not openly gay.
 

Robert Marrs

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They did it better than any other developer I have seen. Its somewhat hinted at but never really forced on the story. Its just normal like everyone else and their sexuality. Its not forced in like they are trying to win brownie points and its not so stereotypical that it comes off as offensive. Which is exactly why it deserves zero recognition for it. When you single out something that is supposed to just be a normal part of society you are not really helping. Do we need a list like this at all? Just like I could care less if any of the characters from The Last Of Us are gay or straight I could equally care less about a list of other LGTB characters from an organization that has nothing to do with video games.
 

Supdupadog

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People didn't pick up on it?

Even after Ellie pulls out the big dick magazine? Which was basically so they could take a minute to totally stick it in how they got a gay guy in their game? (well two, but whatever)
 

SKBPinkie

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Everything I hear about this game makes it sound like a movie. And when people do talk about the gameplay portions, it's never good.
 

Grabehn

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Lieju said:
So, a well-written gay-character is someone you can convince yourself is not gay?

Not that writing character's sexual orientation in a vague way is necessarily bad, but writing your gays so that it's vague enough to argue they aren't gay shouldn't be a norm.

Writing a gay-character (or maybe rather a gay-relationship), doesn't have to be on the nose about it.
Just have a man refer to other man as 'husband', or a woman her partner as 'wife' or something.

Of course, a lot of people consider any acknowledgement that not everyone is straight as 'rubbing it into their faces'.
It isn't vague though, it's the details that make you realize that he's gay that make that part of the story kinda well-written, sadly.

Things like the lack of a flamboyant attitude, an all pink/bright coloured attire and no "gay lisp", didn't really surpise me due to the game's tone, but it was kinda weird to see a character lacking those "Here's our gay guy" elements that most videogames usually have. Except for the obvious "look at his gay porn" bit after that part was over. I was actually stranged that some people didn't even realize what his actual relationship was with his "partner".

But still, like most other "sensitive" subjects, I just don't see a reason to make a "list", that's just sad.