Transgender Characters in Nintendo Games
Did you know that the character Birdo (left), from the Super Mario franchise is actually transgender? (though some of the dialogue suggest she could simply be a male in drag). Birdo first appeared in Super Mario Bros. 2 in the U.S. (in Japan the game was originally titled Doki Doki Panic). She first appeared as a villain has been featured as a playable character in spin off Mario games like Mario Kart since then.
In the U.S. Super Mario Bros. 2 it is stated that, “He thinks he is a girl and he spits eggs from his mouth. He would rather be called ‘Birdetta.’" The last line was later removed from further publications. Since then not much mention of Birdo’s gender has circulated the U.S. but through translations of various games, Japanese, Spanish and the European releases Birdo’s gender seems to change several times many simply stating that Birdo is male. Several of the games list the characters gender as “indeterminate.”
On the right we have the character Vivian from the game Paper Mario: the Thousand Year Door. Vivian is a character who joins Mario’s team who was often belittled by her sisters Beldam and Marilyn. In the Japanese version she had been described as “One of the Shadow Trio, Vivian appears to be a girl but is really a boy.” Throughout the game Vivian insists she is female only to be belittled by her oldest sister and corrected that she is male, this also happens when Vivian refers to them as the Shadow Sisters. They will correct her to a gender neutral title.
Throughout the journey with Mario, Vivian gains confidence and stands up to her sisters who accept her gender by the end of the game in an effort to be nicer to her. In the English version all references to her gender are replaced with dialogue insinuating she is the simply dumb. And being called dumb is why she is upset. There are no references to her gender identity.