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Queer Editorial

lastofus2.jpg Game over for negative tropes?

The largely negative stereotypes that continue to haunt fictional LGBTQ characters are still very prevalent, but could one of the most eagerly awaited videogames of all time help change this tide?

Most of us are familiar with the ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope (whereby queer characters in TV programmes are killed off) along with the ‘Gay Best Friend’, ‘Tragic Gay’ and ‘Murderous Bisexual’. These clichés can be highly damaging, especially for vulnerable LGBTQ youths who are underrepresented in the media - including videogames. But hopefully the recent trailer for Last of Us Part 2 – which depicted Ellie, its main character, kissing another woman (to predictable uproar from some conservative quarters) – can be part of a push back. The original Last of Us was one of the most feted, and biggest selling, games of its generation and featured a 12-year-old Ellie trying to make her way in a post apocalyptic world. In the sequel she is 19 and the game’s co-writer Halley Gross commented: “Ellie was born gay. This is just who she is. And to explore who she is as a teenager and as an adult, it wouldn’t be honouring her character to hide some facet of herself. We want to engage with her as a full character. She’s nineteen, and nineteen is a fun age.” These comments tend to suggest that we’ll finally get a fully rounded LGBTQ character in a mainstream game – it’s about time.

The Last of Us Part 2 will be out later this year (or possibly next given the delays that often befall these releases).