This is a debate that pops up every now and then, especially when a game with a trans character has recently been launched. I don’t have enough space to cover the entire debate in one post, so instead I wish to focus on the single most peculiar argument used against games that contain trans characters.
“There’s no reason for them to be trans”
Effectively this means that the character could just have been a “real” woman instead of a trans woman. Typically this argument comes out when a trans character’s main story line (if they even have one) does not concern their gender identity.
As the Dragon Age fan I am, Krem is the character who comes to mind as someone this argument would be used against. He’s the second in command of a band of mercenaries, a source of side quests, and someone who banters with one of your companions. He just happens to be trans. The player has the option to discuss Krem’s gender with him if they want to but they’re not forced. If you decide not to, his gender is only referred to twice in banter in optional scenes. Krem is trans, but that’s not his entire character, it’s not even the main focus. He could have been a CIS man and you barely would have noticed a difference. So why is he trans?
The entire argument of “there’s no reason for him to be trans” rests upon the assumption that there SHOULD be a reason for him to be trans. Or for anyone to be trans. However, it’s quite bizarre to assume that trans people exist for a reason. Most of us humans are born as a byproduct of sexual activity, regardless of our gender, sexuality, or any other factor that makes us who we are. We’re not designed. I happened to be born physically and mentally female, there’s no reason why. It just happened. I’m not female for a reason beyond chance.
Similarly, there’s no reason why Josephine from the same game happens to be female or Gaspard male. It just happened. The developers haven’t been asked to justify why a woman is the Inquisition’s ambassador when she could have been male. Or why the rival to the throne of Orlais is male when they could have been female. Yet the developers are being asked to justify Krem’s gender. As if he needed a bigger reason to exist than any of the other characters in the game.
Spoiler alert: he doesn’t, nor does any other trans character. None of us, whether we’re cis or trans were born with our gender for a reason. It just happened. To therefor put the burden of only being allowed to exist if you have a ‘reason’ onto a character because of their gender is absurd.
But why include a trans character? Dragon Age has made it a point to reflect the real world when it comes to their human characters. They come in all races, sexualities, and now genders. Trans characters exist because trans people exist. It’s just that simple.