SPOILERS AHEAD. DO NOT READ AHEAD UNLESS YOU ARE HAPPY TO READ PLOT SPOILERS FOR THE LAST OF US: PART 2.
Okay, you’re still here?
Just making sure we nest the spoilers a little.
Here we go.
The Last of Us: Part 2 released today on PS4, and considering the game has multiple LGBT characters, its dark and unrelentingly bleak tone has a lot of players unsure what to expect going into the game. This isn’t helped by some misinformation that spread months ahead of the game’s release, which I hope to clear up here.
Hopefully the following post will allow you to go into The Last of Us: Part 2 informed on if it’s the right game for you in terms of its LGBT content.
Is it true the game’s main villain is a murderous trans woman?
So, this is a big misconception, born out of some accurate information leaked before the release of the game, mixed in with some stereotyping and sexism.
There is a character in The Last of Us 2 named Abbie. She’s a cis woman with a muscular build, and small breasts. She’s not as traditionally feminine in her appearance as some other characters in the game. This lead to leaks labeling her as a trans woman, something never supported by the text of the game. Basically, shitlords online saw her in leaks, saw her appearance, and decided she must be trans.
I know I personally fell into this trap. I caught wind of that leak pre release, because anything about trans women in games gets tweeted at me. The reveal never came. She is a cis character.
So, does that mean there are no trans characters in the game?
The game does contain one trans character, a trans man named Lev. He’s young, he’s not long out, and he’s an active part of the story for multiple hours.
How is Lev’s story handled?
I am a trans woman, rather than a trans man, so obviously take any opinion here with a grain of salt. I’ll try to stick to the facts of what happens.
Lev is a capable character, who saves the life of the player character, despite being on different factions. During the story, he is constantly shown to be capable, knowledgeable, and strong.
Lev is voiced by a trans man.
While all characters the player controls, and those they travel with, respect Lev’s name and pronouns, Lev is a religeous cult escapee. The cult are transphobic, willing to kill Lev for cutting his hair. In combat with some of these cultists, Lev’s deadname is used, and he is occasionally misgendered. The player character doesn’t pry, saying it’s not her business.
Lev’s sister talks about initially struggling to accept Lev as male, due to her cult programming. She is convinced to support him eventually, after hearing him explain his feelings.
Lev returns to the cult, attempting to get his mother to leave. By the time the player character arrives, Lev is crying in the corner, and his mother is dead. She refused to accept him as male, and tried to kill him. He killed his mother in self defense, in what is clearly a traumatic experience for him. He is covered in blood and distraught. It is important to note the scene itself where his mother attacks him is not shown, only described afterwards.
Lev survives to the end of the game.
Are LGBT deaths used to progress the narrative?
No, no LGBT character is killed to progress the plot.
Do any of the LGBT characters get killed before the end of the game?
All of the Named LGBT characters we see in The Last of US 2 survive until the end of the game. They may not all get happy endings, but they all survive.
Are there any uses of homophobic language in the game?
The term “dyke” is used by an angry old homophobic man. The incident is refereed to at the start of the game, and shown at the end of the game.
Do LGBT characters undergo violence?
Yes, but in most cases it’s not connected to their LGBT status. With the exception of Lev, and the physical and emotional violence he faces from his mother and the cult, any violence that LGBT characters undergo is part of a narrative about the cycle of revenge.
I will update this if I think of any other information to add. I hope this helps you make an informed choice about if you wish to play The Last of Us: Part 2.
Thanks so much for this, Laura, it’s really good to have an honest explanation of the triggers in this game. I know that this might be a bit much to ask, but would you be okay with adding the stuff about dogs to this article? I’ve seen a lot of contradictory information about the dogs in this game and whether or not you are “forced” to kill them, and it would be super nice to get an honest explanation of that.
So, will try and answer this here. For the most part, dogs are generally technically avoidable, but tough not to kill. They scent track, which means they can tail you longer and force you to keep moving, no hiding out in the grass and waiting them out.
I’ll be honest, I cannot remember if any are forced. My gut says there’s probably at least one forced dog death, but in general gameplay killing dogs can be avoided, but is tough to do.
There is one dog you are forced to kill as an unavoidable Q.T.E
Hi Laura, I heard your appearance on the spoiler cast yesterday and just wanted to pick up on something you mentioned regarding Lev. You stated you were a little uncomfortable with the use of his dead name and felt that it could have been handled better. As a binary straight male? With more good intentions than I have knowledge I just wondered how you felt it could have been handled better? Although wrong the use of the dead name felt correct in context of the characters using it and spoke a great deal to me as the player of his courage and struggle without the need for a lot exposition and explanation Lev as a character may have struggled to provide