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[UPDATED] Transphobic Joke in Obsidian’s Pillars of Eternity Sparks Legitimate Concern; Jerks Whine Over Censorship

Dragon Age Inquisition‘s Krem set a pretty great example earlier this year of how to respectfully write a trans character into a world where not everyone they interact with will necessarily be understanding, but some backer-submitted content in Obsidian Entertainment’s Pillars of Eternity recently demonstrated the exact opposite.

If you can’t read the text in that screencap, the “joke” reads:

Here lies Fireborn, a hero in bed.

He once was alive, but now he’s dead.

The last woman he bedded, turned out a man.

And crying in shame, off a cliff he ran.

Obsidian has stated that the content was likely overlooked during development, but despite the minor role the joke plays in the game, it still trivializes and validates frequently lethal misconceptions about trans people:

Fortunately, it seems that Obsidian has been receptive to changing the text (The Mary Sue also reached out to Obsidian for comment but has yet to hear back):

As Sterling puts it, for some gamers, “Tim Schafer makes a joke with a sock and it’s an outrage, but a joke about a subject that’s gotten trans people murdered is just lols.” Sadly, that reaction from certain notorious corners of the Internet isn’t at all surprising considering recent tweets from Gamergaters who claim to have outed trans women.

Regardless of whether or not the text was an accidental oversight, hopefully Obsidian will take the issue seriously and rectify it soon. Content that validates the already staggeringly transmisogynistic views held by certain Internet communities isn’t just a matter of poor representation, but a matter of that representation’s IRL consequences and its immediate impact on the safety and wellbeing of trans people.

[Update March 31st, 2:30 EST] Although we were first notified of this story via Brianna Wu’s tweet, multiple Twitter users have since informed us the text was originally discovered by a trans woman who has since been harassed as a result of revealing it to the wider public. That user has had to put their account to private so we will not direct anyone there until we know more. We will update this story as it develops.

[Update March 31st, 6:30 EST] Obsidian has responded to The Mary Sue’s request for comment:

We are going to be talking with our backers about this issue in our next backer update. They are the ones that made Eternity possible, so we feel it is our duty to discuss it with them first.

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