In today’s edition of Rainbow Capitalism, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will give users a third gender option for non-binary players.
Players can pick the gender of their customisable, completely silent protagonist to be a man, woman or, er, “classified”. Does that mean people have to submit an FOI request to figure out their gender? Who knows.
As much as many LGBT+ gamers lauded one of the largest video games franchises making a step, however weirdly written (“classified”, c’mon!), towards inclusivity, the move to let people play as a gender-neutral war criminal pretty much wrote its own jokes.
Especially, as many Twitter users stressed, the player works as a solider under Ronald Reagan, the US president who reacted appallingly to the AIDS epidemic, in 1981.
In 1982, when Reagan’s press secretary was asked if the president was tracking the spread of “the gay plague”, the room erupted in laughter as he replied: “I don’t have it, do you?”
So, send in the jokes.
Call of Duty letting you play as a non-binary soldier under notorious homophobe Ronald Reagan is just *chef kiss* perfect rainbow capitalism. It’s so awful all you can do is laugh. “Press F to tell the war criminal your pronouns.”
— GayStation64 (@GayStation64) August 27, 2020
can’t wait to overthrow democratically elected governments as a non-binary character in new Call Of Duty. pic.twitter.com/zg46lvTeNh
— george washington owned 124 slaves (@onehumangarbage) August 28, 2020
genocide, but make it inclusive! https://t.co/1tRg6DDTGc
— Sana Saeed (@SanaSaeed) August 28, 2020
Gonna murder commies in Call of Duty as a non-binary character. https://t.co/wAz8bejlm9
— ꙋⰔ Mѣd Prꙮphet Ⱄꙋ Зара (vee/vem/veyr) (@deathpigeon) August 27, 2020
Ok call of duty basically including non-binary as a player character option but calling it “Classified” is officially the most bizarre half-measure I’ve ever seen
— from under the dork tree (@lamb_rogan_josh) August 27, 2020
To be clear – I think that gender neutral and gender variant characters are cool and I want more, but with the article saying your character’s an tabula rasa without a voice or personality, this smells to me less of “caring about gender rep” and more “lets get some controversy”
— Just a Jumbled Mess (@just_a_jumbled) August 26, 2020
You can either be a man, woman, or super-secret gender identity so dangerous it’s now labeled a state secret
— Frank Tavares (@frankrtavares) August 27, 2020
New Call of Duty Campaign Will Let You Play as a Non-Binary War Criminal https://t.co/JbeP9QXHHy
— Apples// #BLM (@TheApples_) August 26, 2020
Call of Duty developers felt it was their, well, duty to introduce non-binary gender option.
Indeed, the upcoming first-person shooter by publisher giant Activision will see players assume the role of a single main character who, unlike previous games, can be fully-edited and changed.
This includes their skin tone, birthplace, military background, and gender. Now everyone can commit war crimes as their true, authentic self in a real leap for representation. Yay!
Users can, in turn, set their pronouns as he/him, she/her and they/them.
Raven Software senior creative director Dan Vondrak explained that the move to have a third gender option was a sort of safety valve by the developers for queer players who have long felt unwelcomed by a fandom that, they feel, is hugely dominated by straight white bros.
“So when it came to gender,” Vondrak told the press, “that same thing was thrown out: Why can’t we leave that classified? There’s no reason we can’t do that.
“We were already gonna make it change to he and she so it was easy enough for us to use those different pronouns there as well.”
It all comes as, in the offline world, trans people are barred from serving in the US Armed Forces.
The policy, Pentagon officials were at pains to stress at the time in 2019, does not discriminate or exclude based on gender identity.
Instead, it merely sees trans people being made to disavow their, uh, gender identity by not being able to use the uniforms, sleeping and bathroom facilities or pronouns of their, uh, gender identity.
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