Queerness in Legend of Zelda Series

Although there is no explicit LGBTQ content in the game, some critics have pointed to potential queer characters and themes. For instance, in The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time (1998), Princess Zelda dresses up as a supposedly male but rather gender ambiguous character named Sheik. Although Sheik’s gender is continuously debated (see here, here, here, and here), Nintendo representives have said that “Sheik is a woman–simply Zelda in a different outfit” (Riendeau, 2014). That said, in Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 3DS, Sheik is a playable character and not described as a transformation of Zelda.

Nintendo similarly declared that Tingle, who first appeared in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (2000), is not, despite much speculation, meant to be a gay character (see here, here, and here).

There are several articles asserting that Link, or at least one of the Links, could be gay (see here, here, and here), but none of the arguments are very conclusive. Another article lists the following characters from Ocarina of Time as potentially queer or at least gender non-conforming: Impa, Nabooru, The Gerudos, and The Great Fairies (Ortberg, 2014). However, we haven’t found other articles making similar claims. That article and several forum discussants have said that the carpenters in Ocarina of Time are gay because of their bouncing walk and the fact that they refer to Link as a “cute kid” (see here, here, and here). If they are indeed gay, it is very implicit.


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