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Birdo as the first transgender video game character. Birdo debuted in the Japanese game Doki Doki Panic in 1987 later released as Super Mario Bros. 2.The Instruction manual says, “Birdo thinks he is a girl and likes to be called Birdetta."
A Brief History of Transgender Characters in Video Games

in JAPAN, 01/01/2013

I realized that maybe not as many people as I thought know about the history of transgender characters in video games. Especially gamers who are not into the fighting game genre. I think the subject has been written about before I but I also believe I can hopefully bring a little bit of a different take on the subject. I am included some characters that aren’t specifically transgender when I think they are relevant.

 Birdo is, as far as I know, the first transgender video game character. Birdo (Catherine in Japan) debuted in the Japanese game Doki Doki Panic in 1987 which was later released as Super Mario Bros. 2. The Instruction manual for Super Mario Bros 2 says, “Birdo thinks he is a girl and likes to be called Birdetta.” That’s the first example of how not to handle a TG character. I don’t like the use of male pronouns. I can’t say for certain but based on what I see, if Birdo was real, she probably wouldn’t like the male pronouns. Most MtF trans people don’t like male pronouns. The description of Birdo for the Japanese version of Double Dash says this: “Catherine appears to be Yoshi’s girlfriend… or does that mean boyfriend!?” I don’t know if there is a cultural difference that makes that statement OK but it doesn’t sound good to me. Birdo continues to be a re-occurring character in Mario spin off games.

The world needs a good transgender character that is handled properly. Personally, I’d like to see a MtF character who isn’t in a fighting game. But that’s just me since I am MtF and am not good at fighting games. Feel free to note anyone I left out.

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