Jul 3, 2014

A Gay's Response to the Dorian Controversy

Seeing as to where Edugaytion is, at it's core, a blog, and not a journalistic endeavor by any means (sure we cover news sometimes, but we're mainly about opinion here), I was conflicted as to whether or not I would even do a gaymer post on Bioware's latest announcement involving the character Dorian in the new Dragon Age Inquisition. These kinds of things are happening more frequently, company announces it is doing something, gamers react, argument ensues.

The last time I jumped into the fray was just about a month or two ago with the whole Tomodachi Life controversy. An issue involving equality comes up, and a great many of the straight gaming community, despite the fact that it is marginalized, oppressed, and stereotyped regularly, responds in some of the ugliest ways imaginable. It's really baffling to me.

So it was no surprise to me that when my colleague Tony Polanco published his editorial entitled In a (Supposedly) Modern Society, Gay Video Game Characters are Still a Cause for Controversy, all of hell broke a loose in the comments section. And, while many of my friends have dismissed the commenting "guests", not only on this particular article, but many others, as "trolls", I think there's something more there. I think that these people actually feel and believe what they are saying.

One user starts:
I have no problem with gay people but I do find it odd announcing a gay character. That is like saying "He look at us! We are being progressive! We are good and you should like the game more because we have a gay character!" I just want characters that have context in the story and world they are representing. I never think of their sexual preference. As long as they have a legitimate role, I don't care. Just don't make different characters to satisfy different groups if they characters have no meaning. If they are not, that itself can be disrespectful.

And someone responds:
I think the Bioware's wording of Dorian being "fully gay" is what really got people upset as if it were describing features on a Honda seemed a little odd. Last I check there is no Gay/Straight tech tree to determine fully gay or straight.

There are multiple problems here:

1) Is nobody reading the source material? No, like seriously, let me copy and paste what is being reported with regards to the character Dorian from Dragon Age Inquisition:

"Dorian is gay—he is, in fact, the first fully gay character I've had the opportunity to write. It added an interesting dimension to his back story, considering he comes from a place where "perfection" is the face that every mage puts on and anything that smacks of deviancy is shameful and meant to be hidden. Dorian's refusal to play along with that fa├žade is seen as stubborn and pointless by his family, which has contributed to his status as a pariah."

That's a quote from David Gaider, writer for the character. This quote is at the center of all of the controversy, and I just don't understand why. It would seem that gamer society at large just waits for opportunities to bitch and complain. This is NOT a "gay agenda." This character is NOT a "token" gay. His sexual preference is NOT the core of this discussion, and there is NO mention of anything inappropriate. Instead, we are told that BECAUSE he is a homosexual, he is shunned by his community. A very interesting story, indeed. It's too bad everyone focuses on the invisible gay agenda. 

2) People are getting offended over the use of "fully gay." I'm sorry (not sorry), but the last time I checked the acronym, it was LGBTQ. Since then, I am sure that there has been more added (another discussion altogether). The point is, the B in LGBTQ stands for BISEXUAL, which is what most of these characters (Bioware games and others that allow for marraige etc) are. That is, the character can choose to either marry a man or a woman. There have also been characters that are solely heterosexual. Kaiden Alenko was not a romance option in Mass Effect 1 for Male Shepard. 

Now, this may blow your mind, but did you know that the "G" in LGBTQ stands for "Gay." I am a fully gay man. I have never been nor desired to be with a woman, and I am 30 years old. So tell me, again, why anybody is upset over the use of "fully gay." 

3) His mustache is a big gay stereotype. No it's not. I know plenty of gays of color that do not fit that alleged white gay image. That mustache is not representative of all gay culture so stop it because now we're treading the line of exclusion. 

I could go on forever about this, but I choose peace. You asked for my two cents. I gave you my two thousand dollars. 

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