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Last of Us Part II Deadnaming Prompts Outcry From LGBTQ+ Community and Allies

brap

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Jan 9, 2018
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I have to agree here. Maybe they should've had a trans person on staff to consult with this sort of thing. Is bad representation better than none at all?
i didnt mean to capitalize the title idk how that happened

The Last of Us Part II is a controversial game, and much of that controversy has been fueled by bigotry toward developer Naughty Dog’s foregrounding of LGBTQ+ and gender non-conforming characters. However, the game’s decision to deadname a transgender character — Lev, played by trans actor Ian Alexander — has also prompted condemnation from members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community.
WHAT IS DEADNAMING?
GLAAD Director of Transgender Representation Nick Adams has defined deadnaming as “To reveal a transgender person’s birth name without their explicit permission,” to The New York Times. This practice is harmful because it constitutes “an invasion of privacy that only serves to undermine the trans person’s true authentic identity, and can put them at risk for discrimination, even violence.”
HOW DOES DEADNAMING COME UP IN TLOU 2?
Lev is an adolescent who befriends Abby during her treacherous adventure in Seattle. Lev has been kicked out of his religious community known as the Seraphites for shaving his head and identifying as male. The game drops some pretty clear contextual hints about Lev’s identity, but during a confrontation with some Seraphites, they angrily refer to Lev by their deadname.

Lev asks if Abby heard what the Seraphites called him, and she confirms that she did. Abby doesn’t press the issue, only saying that he can tell her more if he feels like it. Lev declines.
HOW PLAYERS HAVE RESPONDED — “I'm not going to pay $60 for a game that mistreats, deadnames, and abuses trans characters,” translator and RPGSite and Silconera contributor Kazuma Hashimoto said on Twitter. “It doesn't matter how "dark"/"grim" a setting is, that's unnecessary. Developers need to understand what kind of player will feel good about that kind of violence directed at trans people.”

While The Last of Us Part II likely aims to shed light on the difficulties of being transgender, it does so clumsily. Hashimoto points out that some gamers might even get pleasure from seeing transgender characters beat up or deadnamed. Even if the game portrays actions like deadnaming in a negative fashion, should it really be portraying them at all?

The game clearly explains that the Seraphites expelled Lev for defying the group's traditional gender roles, so deadnaming the character comes across as an unnecessary “saying it louder for the people in the back” moment. It’s hard for the game to present itself as progressive while pandering to ignorance.
Critics suggest cis white male writers like Neil Druckmann are out of their wheelhouse on this issue and disappointingly rely on queer identity as a mere setup for conflict and abuse. This widespread sentiment is apparent through just a simple Twitter search. Deadnaming characters and dramatizing their abuse isn’t “representation”, it’s bad writing.
 
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Northeastmonk

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Mar 18, 2013
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I feel like that’s stretching a coin to the size of a football field. How mad can you get? Some of these things I’ve never even heard of before. I can’t imagine someone at Naughty Dog going into the design table and saying “let’s deadname our character”. Those two words don’t even sound right when combined together.
 

TissueBox

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Nov 10, 2015
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Yeah, even though ND is trying to make a noble point, this will probably be looked back on in the future as a bit crass -- like using the 'f' word (ie the homophobic slur) or 'n' word is now. Even if it is painted as 'bad' and vile-natured, the usage of deadnaming is still something that probably shouldn't be realized outright in the dialogue, especially considering the demographic here, and its real life context. Something to take away and learn from, as with all missteps. ;/

I still believe ND did a quite-good job on making this story both ambitious and accordingly empowering, nevertheless. There will always be a blindspot or two in the early stages of understanding particular social issues and their certain nuances.
 
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Kagey K

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Dec 18, 2013
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I feel like that’s stretching a coin to the size of a football field. How mad can you get? Some of these things I’ve never even heard of before. I can’t imagine someone at Naughty Dog going into the design table and saying “let’s deadname our character”. Those two words don’t even sound right when combined together.
Deadnaming has been an issue in the Trans community for a while now and is a very real thing that greatly upsets some of them. I‘m not going to pretend I understand the nuances or the reasoning behind it, but if you are going to focus on themes such as these in your games, you should make sure you are well versed on the does and dont’s in those communities.

Maybe it’s out of context and meant to show what an asshole the person deadnaming the other person is?

Either way, it’s up to the writers to understand the sources for the material they are writing.
 

Northeastmonk

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Mar 18, 2013
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Deadnaming has been an issue in the Trans community for a while now and is a very real thing that greatly upsets some of them. I‘m not going to pretend I understand the nuances or the reasoning behind it, but if you are going to focus on themes such as these in your games, you should make sure you are well versed on the does and dont’s in those communities.

Maybe it’s out of context and meant to show what an asshole the person deadnaming the other person is?

Either way, it’s up to the writers to understand the sources for the material they are writing.
Thanks for explaining it to me.
 
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SlimySnake

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Feb 5, 2013
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Deadnaming has been an issue in the Trans community for a while now and is a very real thing that greatly upsets some of them. I‘m not going to pretend I understand the nuances or the reasoning behind it, but if you are going to focus on themes such as these in your games, you should make sure you are well versed on the does and dont’s in those communities.

Maybe it’s out of context and meant to show what an asshole the person deadnaming the other person is?

Either way, it’s up to the writers to understand the sources for the material they are writing.
the people deadnaming her are literally trying to fucking kill her for shaving her head to be more like a boy. these arent nice people who are going to worry about getting gender pronouns right.

its like getting upset over tarantino using the n-word in Django. How dare these slave owners use the n-word... dont they know thats racist?
 
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Yoboman

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There is a thread on Ree where they are going back to the 3 year old Uncharted Lost Legacy to cry about Nadine (black) being played by Laura Bailey (white).

Never ally yourself with these Resetera cretins, they don't care about social justice, they are just about one upping eachother on the SJW ladder
 

Kagey K

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Dec 18, 2013
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the people deadnaming her are literally trying to fucking kill her for shaving her head to be more like a boy. these arent nice people who are going to worry about getting gender pronouns right.

its like getting upset over tarantino using the n-word in Django. How dare these slave owners use the n-word... dont they know thats racist?
Thanks for the context.

I know next to nothing about the story, nor do I care to and thought that might be the case.
 

jaysius

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Oct 3, 2019
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Congrats, after seeing how toxic the community is, nobody will touch it with a 40 foot pole for years to come, I’m guessing this will replace shoehorned mental health issues in indie games.
 
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Collin

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Jun 17, 2014
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god, what do these people want.

For the record, Lev is a cool character and he’s likable. I feel like it’s a win for trans characters as a whole. The deadnaming stuff happens literally once in the game. He doesn’t get brutally beaten or tortured because of his identity either, so it’s clear the person who wrote that tweet hasn’t even played the game.
 

MayauMiao

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Feb 14, 2018
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Doesn’t it make sense, from a narrative standpoint, that the homophobic, religious cult calls lev by his real name? Isn’t that what would happen in real life?

Also, imagine getting this upset over the treatment of someone that’s not even real. Jesus.
Chopping heads, cutting guts out, the gore, the violence, dog killing, all is fine but deadnaming is just too much.
 

Dev1lXYZ

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Sep 1, 2017
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At this point, I’m for increasing the draft age to 40 and starting a war with someone like China. This country needs a big palette cleanse and nothing does it better. People got bored with life and are looking for anything to fight about. Problem solved.
 
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ruvikx

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Jan 12, 2018
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yawn. both sides are annoying
Yawn. One side has been the backbone of normal human civilization for thousands of years. Men & women, mother & father etc. It's science fact. The other side is a by-product of the sickly descent into madness of the (former) social justice movement. "Deadnaming" as a concept is a joke, a farce, an insane concoction of sickly perverse minds who arbitrarily create a stick to beat their "oppressors" with in order to make themselves feel special.

After reading the quotes in the OP, those "people" belong in a lunatic asylum.
 

Kagey K

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Dec 18, 2013
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I thought they'd be happy with the direction of this game...but it's fucking unreal, they'll never be satisfied.
Its a case of give an inch, they pull a mile.

It’s never enough. They want you to always be taking steps towards them, but they will never take a step toward you in return.

There has to be a give and take, but right now they aren’t much into giving and only taking.

There’s only so much good faith before the rope snaps and the pendulum swings, and they are pulling it extra hard lately.
 
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