In June 2016, Maxis added an update to The Sims 4 that allows the player to customize the gender of their characters. While player must still choose if the character is male or female, they can further choose from a list of gender settings: the physical frame (masculine/feminine); clothing preferences (masculine/feminine); whether the Sim is able to be become pregnant, get others pregnant, or neither; and whether or not the Sim can use the toilet while standing. The update also included a spectrum of six voices for all Sims, regardless of gender, and the ability to turn off filters for masculine or feminine clothing and hair styles, further allowing the player to customize the gender presentation of their characters.
There is not a mechanic for customizing the genders of children. However, the filters for clothing and hairstyle can be turned off for them, allowing players to attire children as they like until the gender customization options become available when they age-up to teens. For non-children, gender specifications can be changed at any time in the course of gameplay by clicking on any mirror and selecting “change sim.” This opens the character design options for customization and alteration, including those pertaining to gender.
As of now, the pre-made characters (those designed by Maxis to populate the neighborhoods) do not seem to be affected by the update, apparently retaining the default binary gender settings unless otherwise altered by the player directly. Also, according to one article gender neutral pronouns do not appear to be available in the game.
LGBTQ references in this game series:
- Boyne, J. (2016, June 6). (Sim)ply Trans: On Transgender Possibilities in Games. Not Your Mama’s Gamer. Retrieved from http://www.nymgamer.com/?p=13928
- Cox, C. (2016, June 2). Sims 4 Removes Gender Restrictions on Clothing, Hairstyles, and Other Character Customizations. Retrieved from http://www.themarysue.com/sims-4-gender-updates/.
- Maxis press release. (2016, June 2). The Sims – The Sims 4 Expands Gender Customization Options – Official Site. The Sims. Retrieved from https://www.thesims.com/news/new-cas-update?cid=6134&sf46255413=1&ts=1464973205332&utm_campaign=sims4_hd_na_ic_soco_fb_ts4-newcasupdate-fb&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.