Nearly 10 years after its original release, Rockstar has quietly removed a handful of characters and jokes from Grand Theft Auto 5 that critics have described as damaging stereotypes of transgender people.
As first reported by Ars Technica, members of the GTA community have noticed various changes to the remastered version of GTA 5 available on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. This includes characters being dubbed “drag queens” and no longer spawning outside of cockatoos, in addition to removing dialogue.
Over on Reddit, another user noted that a Captain Spacetoy with “interchangeable genitalia” was cut.
In the new generation GTAV/GTAO, Rockstar seems to have stopped the trans cartoons or “drag queens” from spawning outside of Kakadus. This could follow a request from OutMakingGames last year. I hope this comforts anyone who felt that these NPCs represented harmful stereotypes 🏳️⚧️
— Kirsty Cloud (@kirstycloud) April 8, 2022
As community members have pointed out, the changes follow an open letter from Out Making Games asking Rockstar Games to remove content that was already described as transphobic when it was originally released in 2013. A follow-up article on Kotaku also called for the removal of content in the new generation releases.
Following the changes, Out Making Games said it was “thrilled” with the removal of the content.
IGN reached out to Rockstar for comment on the changes, but received no response.
Last year we wrote an open letter to @rockstarand urged them to remove transphobic content from the release of GTA 5 Next Gen. We’re happy to say they did. Thank you to everyone at Rockstar for prioritizing this issue. https://t.co/JnPtufcBZq
— OutMakingGames (@OutMakingGames) April 18, 2022
This isn’t the first time Rockstar has chosen to remove controversial content. The Confederate flag was removed from certain locations in Grand Theft Auto 5 back in 2015, where it was replaced by the American flag.
Released in March on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, GTA 5 brings significantly improved loading times and other improvements. Rockstar also quietly announced GTA 6, with more to be revealed at a later date.
Kat Bailey is Senior News Editor at IGN and co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Do you have a tip? DM her to @the_katbot.
https://www.ign.com/articles/rockstar-gta-5-transgender-content-removed Rockstar is silently removing GTA 5 content described as transphobic from new generation releases