Is Samus Trans?

On Tuesday, the Mary Sue, to whom I will link when they pay their writers, posted an article that asserted in very strong terms that Samus Aran is trans, based on 20-year-old interview the translation of which is somewhat contentious, but boils down to a member of the development team probably saying that Samus is trans. This produced a howling outcry of rage from the regressive morass that is gamer “culture,” as was probably at least part of the intent–if nothing else, the original post must be hailed as a masterpiece of trolling as a tool for exposing, rather than advancing, bigotry.

So, is Samus trans? There are basically two approaches we can take to that question.

The first is to accept authorial statements as being at least somewhat authoritative. In that case, there is at least one statement that may be saying that Samus is trans, and no statements that she is cis.* The preponderance of evidence, therefore, is that Samus is trans.

In the second view, which if you’ve been reading a while you’ll know is the one I strongly prefer, authorial statements are irrelevant except when they make things more interesting, and only the text must be taken as authoritative. And there is zero evidence in the text that Samus is cis, but zero evidence that she is trans. (Yes, even if we expand the text to include that comic about meeting Ridley when she was a little girl. All that says is that she identified as, and was accepted as, a girl at a young age; it says nothing about whether she was cis or trans.)

So we again have one of two options. We could decide to accept the authorial statement on the grounds that it makes Samus more interesting. Which it clearly does: powerful, badass video game heroines are rare; powerful badass video game heroines who don’t constantly dress in ridiculous outfits designed to appease the fragile masculinity of loser nerdboys** even rarer; trans powerful badass video game heroines virtually unheard of–and hence interesting.

Or we could say that there is no evidence either way, and thus the question becomes whether Samus should be considered cis or trans. There’s no real Samus to weigh in on the matter or whose feelings need to be considered, so all that really matters is which is a better world, one in which Samus is cis or one in which Samus is trans. To which, again, the answer is obviously the world in which she is trans, because cis people have tons of positive representation in media and trans people don’t.

So, in short: Samus is trans.

Deal with it.

*One statement by Yoshio Sakamoto claims that she isn’t a [slur referring to crossdressers], but that is (a) irrelevant to the question of whether she’s trans, and (b) coming from the guy responsible for Samus’ gradual cheesecake-ification from Zero Mission on, and in particular her Other M characterization. Whatever we might say about creators in general, Sakamoto has pretty thoroughly proven he should not be considered an authority on Samus.

**In case the previous footnote was insufficiently clear: Fuck you, Yoshio Sakamoto.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s