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Op-Ed: Metal Gear Solid and the progression of LGBT in pop-culture

However all of that seems not to matter to Jake Kivanc when he rode in on his high horse with an opinion piece for Vice, in which he preached down to one of the most iconic gaming series.

The subject is in regards to the theory that in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Quiet is actually Chico had gender reassignment surgery after the events of Ground Zero. However, it should be noted that several people involved in the development of the game have denied this theory.

In the entire opinion, not once does Kivanc acknowledges how the series has introduced many iconic LGBT characters while comparing the presence of a transgender character to the shock value of Custer’s Revenge. Even more insulting are his fears that her presence is going to be nothing less than a joke similar to the character of Lois Einhorn in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

Kivanc’s concerns would hold merit if it was Call of Duty that was introducing a transgendered person; instead his ire is directed towards a series that has done more to push the positive portrayal of the LGBT community than any work of pop-culture.

Metal Gear Solid has always been very progressive regarding the depiction of LGBT characters by giving them strong traits and a significant role. Players have encountered a diverse gallery of major LGBT characters such as Vamp and Strangelove to minor side characters like Scott Dolph.

Screengrab from the TGS 2014 trailer for  Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain  featuring Quiet.

Screengrab from the TGS 2014 trailer for “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” featuring Quiet.
YouTube

Most of the LGBT characters mentioned pale in comparison to the significance of Colonel Yevgeny Volgin, the main villain in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. In the story, he is the most powerful military figure in the Soviet Union and has organized a hawkish-faction in a plot to replace Nikita Khrushchev with Leonid Brezhnev. His actions brought America and the USSR on the brink of war but in the end was defeated by Big Boss.

Unlike most LGBT characters, Colonel Volgin was a complete break from the feminine traits that have been used as a trope in pop-culture. Instead gamers go up against a villain that represents the ideological desire for power who also happens to be gay. Even more surprising is that Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was released a year before the socially progressive content of Brokeback Mountain became a media buzz.

Despite the social changes that have followed, Hollywood has still failed to create a strong and powerful LGBT character like Colonel Volgan. At best one could say that Renly Baratheon or Loras Tyrell from Game of Thrones came closes. However, both of them have failed to have the strong-willed personality that has made Colonel Volgan an iconic character.

At the same time, one should not neglect the popularity of Metal Gear Solid among the LGBT gaming community along with the countless theories that have followed. Many fans have noted the many innuendos with in the series along with theories of other major characters being gay.

If Hideo Kojima is actually planning to introduce a transgender character to the gaming world, he has once again broken stereotypes that has defined a population. There is nothing wrong with introducing a transgender character to the gaming world and there is nothing to fear regarding their portrayal when a progressive artist is responsible for it.

Kivanc should have actually done some research instead of assuming that a thought-provoking and character-driven title like Metal Gear Solid appeals to a juvenile demographic. While his intention may have been honest, but the lack of researched makes this opinion piece come of as the diatribe of a social justice warrior preaching to the choir from an inflated high horse.

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