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Pelagos, WoW's First Transgender Character, On His Identity in Shadowlands
2020/07/16 at 10:33 PM
Pelagos is a prominent transgender character in
, serving as one of the Kyrian soulbinds and main characters in Bastion questing. Recently,
Blizzard clarified on the forums
that they were updating Pelagos' pronouns to be respectful of his identity, a decision which pleasantly surprised players.
Now, in recent
updates, Blizzard has added an in-game dialogue option where Pelagos discusses his identity with the player. It's encouraging to see Pelagos' identity clear in the actual game instead of relegated to supplemental material or a forum nod. And while Bastion as a zone has some problematic elements like losing your memories and turning into a human when you chose a new life, more diverse representation in
is only a positive step. Hopefully in the future, diverse characters will be regularly added to Azeroth, so we can reach a place where the introduction of each character no longer feels like an isolated newsworthy event.
Credit to Portergauge for discovering and tweeting out the dialogue.
Do you remember your past life?
Precious little, in recent times.
The memories fade naturally as my former life draws ever more distant, and many others I have let go of willingly to fulfill my duties here.
Except for one.
It can be difficult to think about. I know I should let it go but...I want...maybe need...to remember it.
It is too much a part of who I am to forget.
I appreciate your listening. Truly. As soulbinds, I know I can trust you.
<Pelagos takes a deep breath, then exhales slowly.>
I had a female form in life. I don't recall my former name, or even my race, but I...never felt like my physical form represented who I was inside.
It never felt as clear to me then as it does now. I struggled with that identity for my entire life... But when I arrived in Bastion I became an aspirant that looked like, well...
<Pelagos gestures to himself.>
This! A male form!
I felt...comfortable! Excited! Like who I was inside matched what others saw for the first time!
All of those feelings in my life finally made sense.
I may not reach ascension as fast as some, but I am truly happy on the path I follow.
Not many kyrian discuss their pasts, or even remember them! I believe we have much to learn as a people in that regard.
When I told Kleia, she listened--just as you have. And she has been as steadfast a friend as I could have hoped for--just as you have.
Thank you. I am glad that I was able to share my story with you.
Thank you for sharing it, Pelagos.
While Blizzard has been criticized in the past for lack of representation, they have taken steps recently to be more inclusive in
World of Warcraft
changing your gender at the barbershop
improving queer representation
in the latest novel
diverse character customization options
updating guards and city NPCs
to reflect more diversity.
When Wowhead asked
Lead Narrative Designer Steve Danuser about Pelagos
, here's what he had to say:
is a character that we encounter in Bastion. Previously he used they and them pronouns, but in a recent update this has been changed. It was explained that while he presented as a woman in his mortal life, he chose to be a man in the Shadowlands, and that the change from they/them pronouns to he/him pronouns is a result of listening to feedback. There's also being a few other things that we've seen, there's
/Flynn – and a few other inclusions of LGBTQ+ storylines and characters - the first Night Warrior as well - and I just wanted to ask you about this direction in Shadowlands.
Well, I think that one of the one of the things that we've done in Shadowlands in a lot of different ways is try to really show that Azeroth as a whole represents the inclusiveness of the real world - the diversity of the real world. We've spent a lot of time creating the character customization options that you've seen go into the game and, you know, humans in particular.
It's really awesome now that players will be able to create characters that more represent themselves, or the diversity of the world, and we'll see that woven into the populations of places. And part of that also includes the representation for other perspectives on gender or sexuality. And while Warcraft is not a game that's about those things - it's a heroic adventure - we want players to be able to see themselves reflected in these characters, and a lot of different perspectives, and maybe it's an opportunity to see the world through someone else's eyes, rather than just your own.
Pelagos is a great example of a character that we think people will like, regardless of what you know about his background. He's hardworking. He's determined. He's lovable. He tries really hard to do the right thing - and those are noble qualities no matter how you identify or how you look at the world. But it is also an opportunity to tell a really cool story about him, and we'll be delving into that more through the patches and things like that through our content updates.
I think it's a valuable thing that we show these different perspectives on Azeroth and want to really make clear that, you know, there's people who sometimes say, “Well, Warcraft is this medieval fantasy game and those kinds of things weren't talked about in medieval times, so they shouldn't be in Azeroth,” but I disagree with that.
I think that Azeroth is a world of magic and a world of possibilities, and one of the things that's really important to know is that, in Azeroth, you can love who you want, you can identify yourself the way that you want, and all of those things are possibilities. We just want the game to be able to reflect that through it storylines, and through its character customization options, and we're really excited about that.
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