After much speculation from players, Celeste creator Maddy Thorson has revealed in a blog post that the game’s protagonist is indeed transgender.
Last year, Chapter 9: Farewell was added to indie platformer Celeste via a free update which added 100 new levels and 40 minutes of new music. Besides that, Madeline (the main character) received something important.
In the chapter’s ending sequence, two flags – one representing gay pride and the other trans pride – can be seen on Madeline’s computer desk along with a pill bottle on her nightstand. From this, many players made the connection that Madeline was trans, which was confirmed today by the game’s creator, Maddy Thorson.
In a post on their blog, Thorson provided an official statement towards Madeline being trans and how the development of Celeste helped them realise their own gender identity. “Creating Celeste with my friends helped me reach the point where I could realise this truth about myself,” wrote Thorson.
Thorson stated that they did not write the base game with the knowledge or conscious intention of depicting Madeline as trans, but then used the post-launch opportunity of Farewell to actively do so.
However, they did acknowledge that doing so was a difficult balance between the reveal not being a “big climactic thing” and it being “a JK Rowling… that might feel insincere or forced“.
I've been wanting to write this forever and today, for whatever reason, I was finally able to https://t.co/YpCOpFT5wH
— Maddy Thorson (@MaddyThorson) November 6, 2020
With this particular reading of the game confirmed to be canon, it’s clear looking back at the game’s plot surrounding Madeline’s battle to accept a second side to herself, Badeline. Other trans creators have revealed their works to contain these personal themes, notably Lily Wachowski with The Matrix.
As the world becomes more accepting of trans people, representation in media has become important to inform people and help those struggling with the important issue.
“We hoped that the general take-away from Farewell’s breadcrumb trail could be that trans people can exist, and their perspectives are valuable,” wrote Thorson.
“And we hoped that our trans and questioning fans could relate to and discuss Madeline’s story on their own terms more easily, and feel vindicated.“