It is true that transgendered people can be marginalized. It also true that a lot of violence can come at a person who is transgendered. Even if someone wanted to be dishonest to the highest degree and claim that some transgendered people don’t face discrimination they couldn’t do it with a straight face. However when someone wants to try so hard to inject a transgendered person into a video game that becomes a whole different kind of problem. When something like this goes down one can expect that many gamers will respond and the responses won’t be so kind.
Take Brianna Wu for example. Brianna is a transgender woman. She is known to make splashes online with information that can be factual or just flat out lies. There is no other way to interpret it without being intellectually dishonest. Oh but there are those times where Brianna appears to be mistaken on some issues. Enter Oryx aka The Taken King from the popular Destiny video game. Brianna caused some cheering and also quite a bit of jeering when she made some statements. Polygon also backed her.
When someone goes and criticizes a game like Destiny using Brianna Wu’s tactics such as proclaiming Samus from the Metroid series to be a trans woman (which is an issue that will be later addressed in future blogs) that will almost assuredly create some anger. Now to those of you reading this who aren’t even gamers and never played Destiny it is easy to assume that Oryx is a transgendered male. Of course that person would have to throw out all understanding of what it means to be transgendered but we should include everyone no matter how ignorant they may be on the issue.
To proclaim Oryx as a transgendered woman is to create controversy due to Destiny’s large following. There were numerous accounts of transgendered individuals who were insulted by this. After all it isn’t hard to see why those people would interpret this as someone quite literally comparing them to a hideous space creature who tries to dominate the entire universe. At the same time there were gamers who just didn’t want this kind of identity politics injected into games. But then there were those who were avid followers of the Destiny series and knew the lore of the game that knew better than to believe this Polygon article or Brianna Wu for that matter.
Anyone who has played the game will probably inform you of the “grimoire” which is the in-game bestiary information, character information and general information about every environment, planet, faction and even history within the game. In that grimoire explanations of every species are given and even the Hive race that Oryx belongs to is mentioned. Everything about the hive speaks of evil, darkness and utter despair should someone run into them. So right off the bat the transgendered gamers who were offended are validated with such information being readily available about the species they believe they are being compared to.
The specific claim that Oryx is transgendered is so wrong on so many levels for those of us who are students of the Destiny grimoire that some of us find the suggestion utterly laughable. First, let us read below what the hive actually are.
“Hive are born from pupae, much like colonial insects, and they feed on worms that they swallow whole. Hive show traits of sequential hermaphroditism; All are born biologically female, and gain the ability to metamorphosize into male forms and back again as they reach adulthood.”
Now that would make a lot of sense given what some of us known about the Hive. But notice some of the words that are being used. “Pupae”, “insects”, “worms”, “hermaphroditism” and mentions of changing genders. Now it is easy to understand how someone can misinterpret that as being transgendered. But let us be clear. Being transgendered and being a biological hermaphrodite is in no way the same. If anyone wants to question this then we’ll let Webster decide the argument.
2: a normal condition of most plants and some animals (as an earthworm) in which male and female reproductive organs are present in the same individual
“Night crawlers are so named because they are usually seen feeding above ground at night. They burrow during the day—typically keeping close to the surface—capable of digging down as deep as 6.5 feet (2 meters).
The worm’s first segment contains its mouth. As they burrow, they consume soil, extracting nutrients from decomposing organic matter like leaves and roots. Earthworms are vital to soil health because they transport nutrients and minerals from below to the surface via their waste, and their tunnels aerate the ground. An earthworm can eat up to one third its body weight in a day.
Night crawlers also mate on the surface. They are hermaphroditic but do not self-fertilize. Following mating, each worm forms a tiny, lemon-shaped cocoon out of a liquid secreted from its clitellum, the familiar-looking bulge seen near the first third of the earthworm’s body. The sperm and egg cells are deposited inside the cocoon, and it is buried. After a two- to four-week gestation period, the baby worms emerge.”