The Last of Us Part II condemned as ‘trauma porn’ over trans abuse plot

The Last of Us Part II trans character

The Last of Us Part II has been condemned as “trauma porn” by some gamers over its depiction of a trans character. Warning – contains spoilers.

The new game is the eagerly-anticipate sequel to The Last of Us, which was released in 2013 and follows Joel and Ellie as they venture across the United States in a post-apocalyptic landscape.

The original was praised for featuring a queer protagonist, Ellie, and the sequel introduces a new love interest for her.

The Last of Us Part II introduces a transgeder character, but the portrayal in the game, which was released on Friday (June 19), has raised concerns among gamers.

The Last of Us Part II includes deadnaming and violence against a trans boy.

In the game, trans teenager Lev escapes from a religious cult after he shaves his head and risks being killed by his family.

Throughout the game, he experiences physical, emotional, and religious violence and is deadnamed on more than one occasion.

One gamer wrote on Twitter: “It’s completely unnecessary to deadname a trans character in a video game in the year 2020. Trans people are not your inspiration porn.

“I’m so f**king tired of developers writing trans content without involving any trans people.

“I can’t in good faith recommend a game that deadnames, misgenders, and includes violence against a trans CHILD just for ‘drama’. Please STOP THIS we are DYING IN REAL LIFE.”

Another wrote: “I’m not going to pay $60 for a game that mistreats, deadnames, and abuses trans characters.

“It doesn’t matter how ‘dark”/”grim’ a setting is, that’s unnecessary. Developers need to understand what kind of player will feel good about that kind of violence directed at trans people.”

Others had more mixed feelings about the trans representation in the game. One wrote: “Should we have been warned? Yeah probably, though on the other hand, The Last of Us is and has always been about trauma and the horrors of this world, so I find this instance no worse than others.

“It just hits closer to home for me… We need equal representations of transpeople not just as trauma tropes, I agree.

“But I struggle to hold one studio accountable when all studios would need help.

“I think I could commend them on trying to show the rawness of trans suffering, and I’d be disappointed in them otherwise normally, but I don’t think The Last of Us II ever does a good job using any characters for anything more than trauma.”