This is technically missional, since it focuses on the crank ideas behind trans erasure.
A bit of background
is a character from the game . No mention is made of any sort of gender nonconformity or gender transition in the English or German versions of the game, but the Japanese version and other localizations allude to her status as transgender. It actually handles this subject with a remarkable amount of tact for a Japanese game from 2004. However, gamers are incapable of doing the same with minorities, and caused a huge ruckus on the MarioWiki talk page about whether she's trans or a crossdresser. This essay is intended to prove, once and for all, that Vivian is trans (at least in the Japanese version).
In the first player encounter with the Shadow Sirens (the group that Vivian initially belongs to), Vivian refers to the three as the "Shadow Sisters." This earns her a chastising from Beldam, her cruel older sister, who calls her a man. Because calling a woman a man is considered insulting in conservative Japanese culture, this could be considered a mere insult or mean-spirited joke. However, Vivian becomes saddened when Beldam calls her this, a hallmark of being misgendered (whether she's cis or trans).
In 's tattle log, Vivian is referred to as a "boy who looks like a girl," and in the sequel , she is called a boy on her catch card. Considering this alone, this could mean she's a transvestite, but do remember that this is a Japanese game by people likely unfamiliar with the correct terminology for referring to a transgender person as opposed to a transvestite, so this doesn't mean that she isn't transgender.
Vivian frequently uses the very effeminate first-person pronoun あたい atai, which is used almost exclusively by girls and young women from Shitamachi, Tōkyō. Drag queens are sometimes referred to using female pronouns as well, but this is likely related to her female identity.
Putting it together
So, let's put a list of bullet points here:
- Vivian is referred to as male by many, but heavily dislikes this.
- She uses the very feminine personal pronoun "あたい," something unused by people who identify as male.
- She refers to her and all her sisters as female, indicating that she considers herself female.
This means that she can't be a crossdresser because she's very hurt by the use of masculine terms rather than merely aggravated, she can't be cis because Goombella and her catch card call her male, and she can't be a trans guy because of her preference for feminine pronouns. It's also unlikely that she's nonbinary, since she uses such a feminine personal pronoun even though there are more gender-neutral options in Japanese. Thus, she must be a trans woman.