King of Fighters 95 and 98, specifically. (Throw in Street Fighter as well, because Chun Li is life.)
At the time those came out, I was 6 and 9 and going through what 60% of what little black girls go through in our communities. I always had a great deal of satisfaction when I whooped my rapist’s ass with King, Mai, Yuri and Athena, my dream team for ’95. As I got older, and a lot less interested in fighting games, the aesthetics and bodies of Yuri, Mai, Leona, King and Leona (and Chun Li), I felt lacking in my own “womanhood”. These were strong ladies with bodies of deities. They could fight and still be sexy, especially King, with her low-key androgyny that I wish to aspire to.
I took to Twitter last night because drunk and feeling sad.
Body dysmorphia and gender dysmorphia are new things I struggle with, thanks to me observing other queer black people in my little corner of the internet. These people have validated my existence as being a non-binary queer black person. The fictional characters I’ve used to dream about being as I was being assaulted as a child are the people I want to be.
I want to have King’s wardrobe and body, Mai’s sex appeal, and body when I’m ready to have sex, Athena’s childlike innocence, since I was robbed of mine and Leona’s no nonsense attitude. I feel like I have already accomplished Yuri’s “built for comfort, not speed” attitude and wardrobe.
With games like The Sims and Dragon Age: Inquisition bringing trans people into the gaming medium, I’m hoping for more narratives to pop up for queer folk, especially queer black folk. I’m also hoping that RPGs and MMOs have more body types for players to choose from when they make their avatars. To be able to live in your truth through video games is very empowering for some, myself included. To be able to explore distant galaxies, fight dragons and save the world as what you think you should look like is a very validating experience.
Even though video games get a bad reputation because the more violent ones are gifted to children, even with warnings stating otherwise, and saying that video games are for said children, I am glad that video games have helped me express myself by giving me playable stories that I can control instead of watching it happen in movies or reading about it in the third person in books.
I am very grateful to be living in a time where my existence is being talked about in media, even if it’s not considered mainstream media. I hope more queer black people are able to get their narratives and truths into video games, movies, and books into mainstream media. Even though this timeline is full of uncertainty for my queer siblings because of the rampant queerphobia from other Black people and racism and anti-blackness from non-Black people, I hope the mediums that we consume for entertainment are full our voices and our truths.
Realizing that you are a queer Black person is an amazing act of rebellion against people who want to fit you into a box because of what is between your legs.