Although many find it annoying or uncomfortable, video game characters cannot be oblivious to certain everyday aspects of their personality, such as their sexuality. This is how for some time the sexual orientation of some protagonists of classic titles has been addressed, such as Link, who despite the fact that Eiji Aonuma, producer of Legend of Zelda, said in an interview in 2016 that he was a man, there are many who continue to claim that Link is trans and has become a gay icon.
Something that has been commented on again in a column by Polygon, where they say that “Link is a gay icon, and Zelda fans know it.” In the text, editor Samantha Puc indicates that although Aonuma clarified the character’s sexuality in the franchise’s canon, her statement opened the possibility for fans to make their own interpretations.
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Among his arguments, he cites the words of the creator, who said in an interview that “during Ocarina of Time, I wanted Link to be gender neutral. He wanted the player to think ‘Maybe Link is a boy or a girl’. If you were to see Link as a boy, he would have a more feminine touch. Or vice versa, if you related to Link as a girl, he was more masculine looking.”
Something he discarded during the development of Twilight Princess, where he says he took “a different path” and created “a version of Link that was more masculine.” “But after Twilight Princess I went back to the drawing board and decided that Link should be a more gender-neutral character. Therefore, I created the version of Link that you see in Breath of the Wild. Gender-wise, Link is definitely a man, but he wanted to create a character where anyone could relate to the character,” Aonuma said.
In addition, he comments on the character’s appearance, citing Link’s androgyny which also follows a very specific and limited interpretation of the term, saying that most of the time, he is associated with skinny, white people who wear male clothing. However, androgyny is practiced by people of all sizes, races, and body types. Many people who present as androgynous, especially if they identify as non-binary or genderqueer, advocate for fashion to be genderless.
In closing, Samantha says that even if Link never officially identifies as gay or trans, The Legend of Zelda fans will still think he is, backed by “the thousands of fanfiction stories in AO3 to the scholarly articles exploring queer issues.” in the franchise and the fanart depicting Link and Prince Sidon in wholesome and horny but decidedly romantic contexts,” adding that “that’s a powerful thing that can’t be taken away,” not even from Nintendo itself.
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