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Overwatch’s Holiday “Outrage” – Tracer’s Gay Christmas

Happy Yule, Overwatchers! Tis’ the season for giving out good will and cheer to your neighbors. Right? Well, at least you’d think that; sadly, some people are acting a little less Overwatch and a bit more Talon.

Earlier this week, Blizzard released another supplemental comic for the game. This year had Tracer in the spotlight during a lovely story about balancing life and the holidays, plus the importance of friends. You’d think people would appreciate this message, not to mention the added backstory and references. One panel (and its revelation) instead sparked outrage among some Scrooge-like players.

tracerpanel

Blizzard finally admitted one fan theory was correct: Tracer is in a same-sex relationship. Although gamers had all sorts of theories (involving a variety of characters), this was the first confirmation by the designers and writers. This story spread quickly and indicated a move toward inclusiveness and representation for the LGBT community, which is important given the current social and political climate. Still, the revelation didn’t sit well with some…

So a very very minor portion of the population needs to have a rep in every medium? I loved it when games stayed out of political and divisive social issues. – Brian F.

Don’t really see the need why the sexual preference of a fictional character should be established or even published. Are we gonna have to go back to older games and establish who’s homosexual or not? – ZeroDante S.

She’s a cool, bubbly character, and the fact that people (the social justice crowd) are parading it around as some kind of “fuck you” to the guys playing Overwatch pisses me off. – the-camp-swordsman

While the overwhelming response is positive, the same tired arguments are being trotted out. Rather than waste hours arguing on social media, let’s just point out the BS in this single article. Don your reindeer antlers and raise a mug by the yuletide fire, while we wade through this…

Why are we catering to a small portion of the population?

First of all, who cares how few or many people are involved in representation and inclusion? There is no cutoff when it comes to human rights and equality; you can’t say that those 10,000 people are less deserving of attention than these other 10 million. If even one person says, “Hey, I’d like the same opportunities as everyone else,” then as long as it’s feasible, why not cater to them?

Not to mention, this concept of “small” is complete garbage, as that’s using semantics to disregard scores of people. The actual number of LGBT individuals is unknown, but polling estimates put them at 3.8% of the population. That’s over 9 million people, which is the same population as the DC-Baltimore metro area. Even if you only want to count Overwatch participants, you’re probably talking at least 750,000 gamers (based on overall players). Pretty far from small, right?

The point is, the number of people this could affect positively is rather significant. Even if the LGBT population were small, individuals still deserve some sense of inclusion and representation. It’s called human rights and thinking about others. You know, those Christmas-y sorts of things?

Why do you have to bring political and social issues into it?

OK, really? As if gaming hasn’t covered political and social issues before? Next thing you know, you’ll be asking why Star Trek is so political or why social justice has invaded your comics.

Moving beyond that, it’s not the LGBT community (and their supporters) who made things political. It was people sticking their noses into LGBT lives and trying to deny them equal rights that did so. If no one had cared about consenting adults’ romantic and sexual behaviors or gender identities, and just let people be people, this wouldn’t be a political or social issue.

Characters that occasionally show up in popular entertainment as LGBT aren’t bringing things “into it”; they’re being whoever the writer decided they would be. A person’s individual characteristics, including race, gender, or sexual orientation, shouldn’t even be an “issue.” Yet, it becomes one when individuals with those traits are excluded or oppressed, to the point that their presence in media is somehow considered “making a statement.”

Don’t want it to be a political or social issue? Then tell the busybodies in government, religion, and other organizations to stop making it a problem.

Why do you have to mention homosexuality/bisexuality? We don’t mention heterosexuality!

I want you to think about this. If you see a character, and their love life crosses your mind (which it inevitably does, don’t lie)… what do you assume they are? If you see two opposite sex/gender individuals holding hands, do you presume they’re in a heterosexual relationship (and not friends)? If you see two same sex/gender people being physically close, does you try to rationalize it as “they’re friends or siblings” rather than being gay?

If you answer “yes” to those (or continue to deny the thought crosses your mind), then you’re the reason it’s necessary.

See, the default assumption for far too many people is heterosexuality (a process called heteronormativity). There’s no need to mention straight characters because, to many people, the characters are automatically straight. Only if a writer points out the difference does anyone realize there’s more to the spectrum of life than the (erroneous) “default.”

You don’t get upset if people mention being dark-skinned or left-handed, so why would the mention of homosexuality warrant outrage?

Why show sexuality at all?!

What exactly are you calling “sexuality”? Last I checked there was no “sex” being had in the comic at all. It was a single panel showing a loved one giving her significant other a kiss after a Christmas present. If that’s “sexuality,” then you’re setting the bar pretty low. Apparently, any affection between two individuals is “sexuality” now. (Also, sounds like you’re rather obsessed with “sex” if you’re labeling everything that way.)

Given that, answer this: Were you mad at the panels in the comic showing Pharah on a date with a man? What about Torbjörn being romantic with a woman? If not, then why would you be upset at Tracer receiving a kiss from Emily? Could it be that “sexuality” isn’t really the issue… it’s the other half of the word?

If that’s the case, then no amount of pointing out garbage arguments is going to help you understand. All I can suggest is that Overwatch, a game that parades diversity with pride, probably isn’t the game for you. In fact, you’ll find less and less games catering to your outdated view on life.

Do you want to adapt to the new world? Or will you be left behind, like the Bastions of old?

About Brook H. (67 Articles)
Generalist, polymath, jack-of-all-trades... what hasn't Brook studied. Knowledge is power, which is probably why he ended up with degrees in Human Behavior and Psychology, not to mention majoring in everything from computers to business while working in theater, security, emergency communications, and human services. He currently resides outside Baltimore where he tries to balance his children, local politics, hobbies, and work. Brook is a major Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing advocate (he's HoH himself), lifelong gamer (from table-top to computer), loves everything paranormal, and is a Horror-movie buff.

1 Comment on Overwatch’s Holiday “Outrage” – Tracer’s Gay Christmas

  1. TheOriginalPhoenix // December 22, 2016 at 1:14 pm //

    Your argument here is amazing. There’s no justification for the hatred towards this.

    Liked by 2 people

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