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Custom Pronouns in the Sims 4 with Momo Misfortune (Safe Space Podcast Season 2, Episode 2)

In this episode, Rosie and Sky chat to Momo Misfortune. Momo is a Twitch partner who is known for streaming The Sims, as well as campaigning for pronouns in the Sims, and a founder of YOUphoriaTV which is stream team focused on uplifting the voices of Nonbinary and Gender Non Conforming creators on Twitch.

We discuss the incredible causes such as Able Gamers, Trans Women of Colour Collective that they have supported, and the Change.org campaign Momo made for adding pronoun options into The Sims 4 which had almost 25,000 signatures before it became a reality.

Momo talks about It Gets Better as an Ambassador and their connection with The Sims 4, and also about their experience with chronic illness and how it affects their mental health.

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The Beginner’s Guide – A Subtle yet Powerful Trans Allegory by Ruby Modica

The Beginner’s Guide (TBG) is an environmental narrative game written by Davey Wreden and tells of his experience with a friend who used to make games.

TBG is a tightly written venture that poses many questions but answers only a handful of them by the end, leaving much of the story open for interpretation. Despite the overarching themes of game design and creator burnout, there is also room for an allegory that focuses on one of the characters being transgender and their difficult journey of self-discovery. 

The term “transgender” refers to an individual who lives as a different gender to the one they were assigned at birth. This Pride Month, where many will be proudly celebrating their right to be themselves and love themselves despite oppression, it is important to remember that trans people have come under serious attack in recent years. Therefore, examining this trans interpretation of TBG is important for those who may be unaware of the difficulties a trans person typically goes through, or even for someone who is unsure of their gender identity. 

Davey tells the story of his friend who uses the nickname Coda. Since the entirety of TBG is narrated by Davey, we are only given access to Coda’s life through another person’s perspective, which is why the conflicting story details might not accurately portray Coda’s gender identity. Hints at Coda’s true identity are revealed in subtle ways all throughout TBG, something that can be easily overlooked on an initial playthrough. 

a screenshot of an empty room with cream coloured walls, one wall is open and there are bars across the length of it

Firstly, Davey uses he/him pronouns when talking about Coda, initially suggesting that they are a cisgender male (that is, assigned male from birth and living as a male). However, this simple detail becomes less credible as the game progresses, since most of the games Davey shows feature multiple sound clips of a woman’s voice guiding the player directly, such as The Whisper Machine’s announcer. Davey’s voice is recognisably male, but if Coda is assumed male then the voice’s origin becomes unclear. 

Other examples of female-gendered dialogue are found all throughout TBG. The second game Backwards reveals several pieces of short text, using the pronouns “she” and “her” throughout. The Island and Machine levels also portray the player as female, and other minor references appear in the Notes level that have all seemingly been written by Coda. 

4 images within corridors inside a building. There are words on the walls: "The past was behind her", "when she stops and looks it becomes clearer", "but if the future is always behind her" and "how will she find strength"

Based on other interpretations seen in TBG, each game created by Coda simulates something personal and experimental. Despite Davey’s attempts to connect them and add meaning, it is clear that Coda’s games are a safe creative space. In turn, it would make sense that these private thoughts would better depict Coda’s desired mental state, one where they use female pronouns and exist as a female. 

If Coda is indeed a trans woman, then the continued use of he/him pronouns by Davey could add another disheartening layer to the allegory. Refusing to acknowledge a trans person’s identity can cause trauma and dysphoria, both of which lead to psychological damage if unchecked. 

However, if Coda is a trans man (female-to-male) then this would be the inverse: Davey is respecting Coda’s new identity. The timescale for Coda’s games takes place over several years, so it is possible Coda begins transitioning during the course of their game development. That would also explain why Coda becomes more detached from their older games due to featuring an outdated version of themselves. Artefacts like their old username and voice clips can easily trigger dysphoria, which would parallel most trans people’s experiences. 

Additional signs of Coda’s female presence include the small number of NPCs appearing across TBG levels. One NPC model is seen in the Theatre level, where the disembodied narrator states that this person embodies everything the player wants to be. The deliberate gender choice is expanded upon when the game forces the player to recede back from the stage, followed by prison gates closing in. 

The only realistic female body seen in TBG comes at the end of Island, which depicts a crying woman behind a prison barricade. It is possible that all of these factors depict Coda’s thoughts of being trapped in the wrong body and unable to escape. 

An animated character with long brown hair is sat in the corner hugging their knees, with 3 dialogue options in the corner: 1. Hello?, 2. Where am I?, 3. What is this?

Coda’s happiness occurs in the House game where a male-bodied NPC is portrayed in a feminine manner. This could symbolise Coda’s desired gender identity, which contrasts heavily with the Theatre game where the player is told to hide themselves away instead. With this in mind, both of these levels could simply be a portrayal of Coda’s euphoria and dysphoria respectively.  

Of particular note is the final message to Davey, where there are certain lines that refer to distrust and insecurity brought about by Coda’s games being shared publicly. Coda states that this is “violating the one boundary that keeps [them] safe”, a potential allusion to having their gender identity publicly outed against their wishes. This has resulted in numerous upsetting instances in real life where kids are disowned by parents and/or suffer bullying, which would serve as a more impactful reason for Coda to cut contact with Davey. 

an animated tree on a series of grassy islands suspended in a white background/space

This trans allegory portrays the everyday difficulties that trans and non-binary people face on a daily basis, from finding their identity to a lack of help. Thankfully, despite all the attempted attacks, the world is gradually becoming more accepting of trans people. Deltarune and Tell Me Why are just a few gaming examples that feature trans/non-binary protagonists who are presented as independent and strong, a proud depiction that LGBTQ+ individuals and allies can empathise with.  

Additionally, there are many charities at hand such as Mermaids and GLAAD specifically designed for reaching out to trans individuals with support and guidance. There is hope for the future that the tragic trans allegory from The Beginner’s Guide will soon be a thing of the past, and this Pride Month is a good opportunity to show support where possible. Even small actions like respecting one another’s pronouns and helping those dealing with dysphoria can go a long way to making the world a better place. 

Ruby Modica is an independent content creator, editor and writer.

She loves sharing insight into video games and discovering new things, with a desire to work in the media/gaming industry full time. Most days she is busy at her computer working on her next big project.

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LGBTQ+ Representation In Games, Organisations and Support for Pride Month

Happy Pride Month everyone! 

We’re proud to spotlight a variety of different things for Pride month, including games with LGBTQ+ representation, organisations and charities doing brilliant work for the LGBTQ+ community, specific resources and helplines.


Support

We have a list of LGBTQ+ specific resources available at our Find Help page, or at our information page.

Albert Kennedy Trust – The Albert Kennedy Trust supports LGBTQ+ young people aged 16-25 in the UK who are homeless or living in a hostile environment.

LGBT Foundation – The LGBT Foundation provides advice, support and information for LGBT people via their helpline.

London Friend – A support group for LGBT mental health and wellbeing. They offer specific trans and intersex support.

MindOut – A LGBTQ+ dedicated mental health service. Phone – 01273 234839

TransUnite – TransUnite is a great resource which can help you find your nearest trans support group.

Stonewall – Service Stonewall is a leading LGBTQ+ charity which provides a helpline for any LGBTQ+ person seeking support. Phone – 0300 330 0630 – 10:00am – 10:00pm

Trevor Project – A charity providing dedicated support to LGBTQ+ under 25’s. Phone – 1-866-488-7386 – 24/7/365


Organisations, Groups and Charities

Out Making Games – Out Making Games (OMG) are here to connect and empower the LGBTQ+ community working in the games industry across the UK, by addressing and overcoming the barriers that exist for LGBTQ+ professionals in the industry, both by transforming policies and institutions, and by changing hearts and minds through education. OMG are a partner and friend of Safe In Our World, and we’re delighted to support each other.

Gayming Magazine – The Gayming Magazine is a global magazine for the LGBTQ+ video games community, with games features, news, reviews and events including Digi Pride 2021!

Ukie’s Raise The Game Pledge – #RaiseTheGame is designed to inspire meaningful, cultural and behavioural change in all games businesses, companies and organisations – whatever your size and wherever you are in your journey. We’re proud to work alongside Ukie and be a partner of this pledge.

Trans Lifeline – Trans Lifeline provides trans peer support for our community that’s been divested from police since day one. Run by and for trans people.

Peer2PeerLive – Peer2Peer.Live is an opt-in discoverability tool for marginalized streamers and viewers to find each other through robust identity-based tagging.

Represent Me – A not-for-profit helping marginalised communities through resources, training, and support. Represent Me also has a huge database detailing representation in games here where you are able to search by keywords for to find games based on multiple LGBTQ+ representation options.

LGBTQ+ Representation in Games

As part of Pride Month, we wanted to collate a wonderful list of games, stories, themes and characters that are representative of the LGBTQ+ community.

If you’re looking for a new game to play, it could be in the list below. Having characters to connect to, resonate with or be able to shape to be any identity is incredibly important. Below, we have collated different examples of existing LGBTQ+ representation across a variety of genres of games, and we’d love to hear your favourites too. 

Whilst there are a number of games that feature LGBTQ+ NPCs and protagonists, such as Borderlands, Persona, Overwatch and Valkeryie Chronicles (and lots more), we wanted to highlight a handful below!

If you’re looking for a specific representation and role that they play, Represent.Me as mentioned above is a fantastic place to start!


Coming Out Simulator

Coming Out Simulator 2014 is an interactive fiction video game made by Canadian developer Nicky Case. The semi-autobiographical game was released on 1 July 2014 as a submission for the Nar8 Game Jam. Inspired by real-life events, Coming Out Simulator 2014 is intended to help LGBT youth to understand their sexuality.

Joe Donnelly discussed Nicky Case’s other games which all deliver powerful messages.


The Last Of Us 1 and 2

The Last Of Us features Ellie’s love life which delves deep into her relationship with Dina. Lev identifies as Trans, and Bill and Frank in the first game were in a gay relationship.  


Life Is Strange 1 and 2 

Max identifies as bisexual, with the game featuring other characters within LGBTQ+ as-well. 


Mass Effect   

Mass Effect lets you romance any of the genders and also has LGBTQ+ characters.


Dragon Age 1, 2 and Inquisition

Dragon Age lets you romance any of the genders. It also features LBGTQ Characters.


Ace Attorney 

Jean Armstrong from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations is revealed to be a gay cis man who likes to perform non-passing drag. 


Baldurs Gate 1, 2 and expansions

Dorn II-Khan is Bisexual, Mishena is a Trans Woman.


Destiny

Osiris Saint-14 is gay, the game designer Robert Brooke wrote the two characters as a couple. Despite it being initially vague, in Destiny 2 there was a lot more detail released about their relationship. 


Divinity Original Sin 

Ifan Ben-Mezd, Red Prince, Lohse, Fane, Beast, Sebille and Butter present as Pansexual/Bisexual.  


Fable 1, 2 and 3 

Fable lets you marry, or get in a relationship with NPC townspeople of the same sex.  


Fallout Series

LGBTQ characters with advantages to choosing same sex relationships in New Vegas and other titles within the franchise.


Final Fantasy Series 

  

The game features a lot of LGBTQ+ representation. Final Fantasy 14 also has Gay Marriage.


Shadow Hearts Series

Gay characters with backstories.


The Sims 

The Sims lets you identify who you want to identify as.


The Walking Dead Telltale Series – Features characters that identify as LGBTQ+ 


Stardew Valley – LGBTQ+ you can romance and marry same sex characters.  


Assassins Creed Odyssey – You can romance same-sex characters.    

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