Trans representation in video games is rare, and the genuinely good kind? Even more so. Not thereby saying that every title makes as big a mess of trans rep as Cyberpunk 2077, but I do sometimes wonder if developers just don’t care about getting that aspect right and include it still, to check off some box on an imaginary list. Yet I remain hopeful, especially since Trans Representation Jam 2023, which is well underway, is bound to yield a bunch of groovy new games featuring positive trans rep.
It’s a super chill jam, too, with no ranking or other types of pressure. Well, aside from a few rules and requirements, which is quite alright. For example, at least one major character has to be transgender, and if not that then a large part of the story must be about the trans experience. Or both. What, engine? Type of game? Creator’s choice. Submitting a demo is also allowed, so don’t worry if the deadline is approaching and you’re nowhere near the finish line.
One thing to note is how representation is handled in your submission: “Just claiming that a character is trans in a small text in the description without any indications within the actual game is not enough”. It doesn’t mean the character has to face the camera and state that they are trans – somehow referencing or acknowledging it within the game will suffice.
Another thing (or multiple, rather) to note is that certain content is not allowed under any circumstances: racism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia or transmedicalist gatekeeping/bio-essentialism. This is supposed to be a respectful environment, so be sure to keep that in mind during development. Oh, that also goes for AI-generated content. Another big no-no. Adding to all that, NSFW games must be screened by a moderator of the jam; mainly to ensure the content doesn’t fetishize the trans community.
All set? Sweet! Join the Discord if you’re feeling social and/or want to find a team for the jam. Don’t forget to @TransRepJam on Twitter and use #transrepjam when posting about your game(s) and WIP updates.
(Screenshot is from Trans Representation Jam 22 submission An Actually Nice Time at the Beach.)
Trans Representation Jam 2023 is open for submissions from June 24 to August 27.