Some pre-made characters in The Sims series are gay, lesbian, or bisexual, although those orientations are rarely implied beyond the mechanics of their gender preference and are largely up to players to interpret as they will.
In The Sims 2: University Life, Mitch Indie and Max Flexor (both playable characters), are college roommates whose bios indicate they are ready to discover new things about their friendship now that they are living together.
Gobias Koffi, a playable character in The Sims 3, is noted in his game bio as preferring the company of men though his homosexuality is less obvious if his story line is not played. He is a reference to the character Tobias in the show Arrested Development, who is also coded as possibly gay.
In The Sims 3 added content, cohabitating friends Viktor Valquist and Jesper Sandstrom (also playable characters) live with Viktor’s adopted daughter Linn Valstrom, whose surname (a mesh of the two men’s names) implies that both men are her parents.
These characters exemplify the subtle inclusion of gay characters in The Sims’ series, scripting imaginative space for gay desire, while leaving these coded relationships up to interpretation.
The only explicitly same-sex relationship for a pre-made character (both playable) occurs in added content for The Sims 3 Store. Dylan Shear and Audrey Shear are a married lesbian couple who live with their adopted son Charlie in Roaring Heights. Unlike Linn Valstrom, both Dylan and Audrey are listed as Charlie’s parents.
While virtually every character in the Sims’ world is romanceable with enough persistence, in The Sims 4, an early update rendered the Grim Reaper off-limits.
While some flirtatious actions are still available with the Grim Reaper, other actions such as “woohoo” are no longer options. In the patch notes that changed the Grim Reaper from a romanceable to an unromanceable character, Maxis wrote “The Reaper still loves ya baby, he is just too busy to go on a date with every lovelorn Sim that vies for his attention.” This opens up a potential reading of the Grim Reaper as an asexual and aromantic character. He is also considered a character of ambiguous gender.
While there are no explicitly trans characters, there are characters that deviate from the game’s normative attribution of sex and gender, such as having a conventionally feminine appearance and a masculine voice. Or they might be marked “male” in their character design, even as they otherwise behave and appear like Sims marked “female.”
These mostly appear in The Sims 2 and its expansions. The Sims 2 Hula Zombies and The Sims 2 Nightlife: Mrs. CrumpleBottom are both female presenting characters who, when viewed in The Sims Package Editor (SimPE), may have their gender listed as male. Other characters are also recognized by the game as male, even though they are female presenting, including Poehina Vaianu, Melissa Sims, and Hannah Keebles. In The Sims 2: Open for Buisness, Jeannie Chen and Elle Rodiek appears to be a female child but can act like an adult and sometimes has the voice of an adult male. A video of Jeannie can be seen here. Other characters come back with male voices if resurrected including Mary Delarosa, Lucy Gieke, Nicole Jeffress, Suzanne Jacquet, Lucy Mole, and Vicki Sims. Finally, The Sims 2 had a character who was not ultimately in the game but whose files were still shipped in the final release: The Big Boss. When summoned (after getting the files activated again) the character’s voice is the opposite of their gender presentation (i.e. a female presenting Big Boss will have a male voice and vice versa).
The occurrence of these characters is typically attributed to a coding error or glitch, particularly given that they are all female presenting characters who may be recognized by the game as male (presuming male as the default assumption of the game. Yet, whether by design or accident, these characters’ existence creates more variability in terms of sex and gender in a world that is otherwise cis and binaristic by default.
LGBTQ references in this game series:
- Audrey Shear. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Audrey_Shear
- Big Boss. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Big_Boss
- Bracken. (2014, September 2). The Grim Reaper Is No Longer Dating In The Sims 4. #egmr. retrieved From http://egmr.net/2014/09/grim-reaper-market-sims-4s-latest-patch/
- Dennis, A. (2008, August 26). Sims 2 Child-acts like a adult. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3tFm7nH2Eo
- Dylan Shear. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Dylan_Shear
- Elle Rodiek. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Elle_Rodiek
- Gobias Koffi. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Gobias_Koffi.
- Grim Reaper. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Grim_Reaper.
- Jeannie Chen. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Jeannie_Chen
- Jesper Sandstrom. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Jesper_Sandstrom.
- Lucy Gieke. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Lucy_Gieke
- Lucy Mole. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Lucy_Mole
- Mary Delarosa. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Mary_Delarosa
- Max Flexor. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Max_Flexor.
- Melissa Sims. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Melissa_Sims
- Mitch Indie. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Mitch_Indie.
- Ms. Crumplebottom. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Mrs._CrumpleBottom
- Nicole Jeffress. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Nicole_Jeffress
- Poehina Vaianu. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Poehina_Vaianu
- Same-Sex Relationship. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Same-sex_relationship.
- Sims with an Ambiguous Gender. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Sims_with_an_ambiguous_gender.
- Suzanne Jacquet. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Suzanne_Jacquet
- Vicki Sims. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Vicki_Sims
- Viktor Valquist. (n.d.). The Sims Wiki. Retrieved from http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Viktor_Valquist.