A UK-based, video game centric LGBT+ advocacy group has called on Rockstar to censor their upcoming remaster of Grand Theft Auto V out of fear that the game’s content will “promote violence against trans and gender diverse people.”
The demand for GTA V’s censorship was issued on September 29th by Out Making Games, a non-profit organization whose declared purpose is “to address and overcome barriers that exist for LGBTQ+ professionals in the industry, both by transforming policies and institutions, and by changing hearts and minds through education,” in an open letter addressed directly to Rockstar and published to the organization’s website.
Stating that they were prompted to pen the letter by a “Kotaku article which recaps specific examples from the original series that are transphobic and connects them to the real-world consequences of transphobia,” Out Making Games suggested that the release of the GTA V remaster was “a great opportunity to remove transphobic elements from the game and have a positive impact on the new generation of players who will pick up a copy.”
“As Carolyn Petit writes in Kotaku,” the letter continued, “unlike for other random NPCs in GTAV, the game appears to purposefully play into extremely harmful stereotypes of trans and gender diverse people to encourage players to be repulsed by them and even to relish hurting and killing them.”
(It should be noted that the cited Kotaku article does not make any argument for a direct connection between the game’s and real-world transphobia, but rather only states that the remaster will release “against the backdrop” of what is on track to apparently be the deadliest year for trans and gender non-conforming Americans before going on to disingenuously suggest that the game’s content will contribute to this violence.)
The organization then declared that they “reject any argument of ‘equal opportunity violence’ against all types of characters in GTAV,” as they believed “that argument is missing the point.”
“Given the cultural impact GTAV has around the world,” they declared, “Rockstar has a social responsibility to your players (many of whom may be LGBTQ+), to your staff and to the world at large to not promote violence against trans and gender diverse people.”
“The 2022 release of Grand Theft Auto V Enhanced & Expanded could be a unique opportunity for Rockstar to correct the problem,” the letter concluded. “We would like to hear back about your plans to address the issue of portrayals of trans and gender diverse characters in GTAV. If you are not sure where to start, please let us know and we can begin a discussion about the changes you can make to in-game portrayals to help save trans lives.”
The GTA V remaster is set to release for the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S on March 2022. As of writing, there is no word on a PC release.
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