Animal Crossing: New Horizons Supports Gender Nonconformity, and I'm Here for It

Have you ever read a book, watched a show, or played a video game that made you think, I wish I’d had this when I was a kid? One might feel like this about a piece of media for many reasons. It could teach an important lesson that you wish you had learned earlier in your life, or maybe it could have helped you through a tough time. Only through hindsight can we recognize the things that we needed to hear earlier in our lives. 

Recently, I’ve been getting that feeling about a game coming out for Nintendo Switch next month called Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The premise of the game is that you are a human who starts a new life in a forest town full of animal villagers. The game is very open-ended in that there is nothing you have to do— you can talk to the villagers, work to make money and buy a bigger house, or decorate your town, but all of these are optional. 

Animal Crossing is about living life the way you truly want to. One way the series has solidified this is by breaking down barriers of gender presentation and expression. Previously, the game has been beloved by LGBTQIA+ people for allowing and even celebrating gender nonconformity: for example, the game allows you to get haircuts and clothing normally reserved for the opposite gender.

However, the new game will be taking this even further. In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you’ll be able to change every aspect of your appearance at any time. But most excitingly, you’ll also be able to change your gender and possibly even your name at any time! It might seem like a simple detail, but to transgender people and those who are questioning their identities, this option is a huge deal. It will allow people to experiment with other gender identities, and they can always change it back if they’re in a situation where nosy parents or siblings might be playing too.

I know already that a lot of people will complain about this corrupting the youth or something, but honestly, those people can die mad about it. Steps like this to be more inclusive can only be a good thing as they will make a lot of people feel more comfortable and represented.