Year: 1986 (started)
Creator: Shigeru Miyamoto
Platform: Nintendo platforms
The Legend of Zelda series centers on the player-character Link, who often has to rescue Princess Zelda and Hyrule from the antagonist Ganon or other villans. For the most part, each game in the series features a unique incarnation of Link, who possesses “the spirit of the hero” and is chosen by a goddess to protect the land.
Although there is no explicit LGBTQ content in the games, 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 representatives have said that “Sheik is a woman–simply Zelda in a different outfit” (Riendeau, 2014). Nintendo similarly declared that Tingle, who first appeared in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (2000), is not meant to be a gay character (see here, here, and here),despite much speculation.
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 discussions 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), but if they are gay it is very implicit.
LGBTQ Content in this game: Only queerly read characters (see above).
See also QRM’s entry for this game.
- Bautista, C. (2012, February 3). The Legend of Zelda and the Transgender Experience. Christopher’s Blog. http://cristophermarc.blogspot.com/2012/02/legend-of-zelda-and-transgender.html
- BlueKnightNight. (2008, October 6). Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time: Gerudo Fortress (part 1). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLohUXvkR08
- Boccabella, D. (2013, April 3). Link is Gay. Zelda Informer. http://www.zeldainformer.com/news/link_is_gay
- Fruite Brute. (2006, July 26). Top 20 Gayest Video Game Characters #1-Tingle. GayGamer.Net. http://gaygamer.net/2006/07/top_20_gayest_video_game_chara_20.html
- Ganon. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganon
- Garcia, T. (2012, March 26). A Brief History of Transgender Characters in Video Games [Updated]. TransGamerSociologist. https://transgamersociologist.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/a-brief-history-of-transgender-characters-in-video-games/
- Harper, T. (2015, February 19). Dog and Pony Show. ChaoticBlue. http://www.chaoticblue.com/blog/2015/02/dog-and-pony-show/
- Hyrule. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universe_of_The_Legend_of_Zelda#Hyrule
- Jeffries, G. (2015, February 23). Legend of Zelda producer shoots down gay character rumours. PinkNews. http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/02/23/legend-of-zelda-producer-shoots-down-gay-character-rumours/
- [Legend of Zelda] Sheik is either a Trans Zelda or Zelda’s image of strength. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.reddit.com/r/FanTheories/comments/38v7tr/legend_of_zelda_shiek_is_either_a_trans_zelda_or/
- Link. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://zeldawiki.org/Link
- Mangrum, L. (n.d.). Are They or Aren’t They?: Link. Gay-Nerds.com. http://gay-nerds.com/site/videogames/are-they-or-arent-they-link/
- Ortberg, M. (2014, April 8). The Legend of Zelda’s Ocarina of Time: Giving the Gender Binary a Swift Roundhouse Kick to the Face. The Toast. http://the-toast.net/2014/04/08/legend-zelda-ocarina-time-giving-gender-binary-swift-roundhouse-kick-face/
- Princess Zelda. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Zelda
- Riendeau, D. (2014, August 5). Zelda fans debate Sheik’s gender, but here’s Nintendo’s final word. Polygon. http://www.polygon.com/2014/8/5/5948989/zelda-nintendo-sheik-gender-cosplay
- Rumphol-Janc, N. (2010, April 1). Top 5 Reasons Link is Gay. Zelda Informer. http://www.zeldainformer.com/news/top_5_reasons_link_is_gay
- Sheik. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://zelda.wikia.com/wiki/Sheik
- The Legend of Zelda. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Legend_of_Zelda
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Legend_of_Zelda:_Ocarina_of_Time
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Legend_of_Zelda:_Majora%27s_Mask
- Tingle. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tingle
- Totilo, S. (2015, February 18). Nintendo Explains Where Tingle Game From. Kotaku. http://kotaku.com/nintendo-explains-where-tingle-came-from-1686538751