Kotaku has an extremely thought-provoking op-ed piece up about the representation of minorities in video games. While they don't mention LGBT characters (disappointingly) as well, the parallels they draw can easily be applied to our community too. There's a lot to be made about the lack of LGBT characters in video games, and when they are included they run the spectrum of anything from Grand Theft Auto's "Gay Tony" to Makoto from Enchanted Arms, with subjective opinions on whether or not any of those representations are accurate, fair or troublesome. Just like in regular media it's a challenge to find LGBT characters that don't just play into the stereotypes heterosexuals expect of us, and given the diversity within the LGBT community itself, it's tough to make a broad comment about whether or not those versions ring true or leave people out.
The Kotaku article asks minority gamers what they would like to see more of in video games, and pondering the same question myself I had a hard time putting a finger on it. What would be a fair archetype of a gay character to me might be considered offensive to a different gay gamer who fits into a different paradigm. It's also a juggle to come up with a character that's "realistic" without seemingly thrown in to be the token satisfaction for political correctness' sake. Even if gathered together under a common banner, we are all still distinct individuals distinctly, and it's hard to gauge what should be considered a fair presentation of that diversity. Given that conundrum, and the societal pressures on game developers and TV show writers to be more diverse in the characters they cast, it's not too hard to see why they usually opt for the cliched, time-worn tropes. (Or, more commonly, leave us out entirely.)
Given that gaming as an entertainment genre is primarily dominated by heterosexual white males, there is active hostility to more "gayness" in their games. I noticed this personally in discussion about the recent Shadow Complex drama-- where the conversation was dominated by heterosexual players, sadly the perspective was largely "I'm tired of this PC stuff ruining what I do for fun." In online environments the same attitude can be found, an issue I've lamented myself. And to be fair this is no issue relegated to just minorities or the LGBT segment of the gaming population; female gamers face the same sorts of disproportionate representation (or extremely sexist representation) as well.
On various levels I think that this sort of problem comes as a testament to how far LBGT identity has come recently; this is something that so many straight gamers take for granted, to the point that they fail to see why even the most subtle reference to a gay identity in a popular video game is a powerful affirmation to the segment of gay people playing it. These days representation for gay people is more prevalent than it's ever been, so for a lot of people it's difficult to remember a time when this was not the case.
So, coming back to the original question, I had a very hard time thinking up a concept for a gay character that wouldn't seem trite or forced; it's obviously not enough to just throw "gay!" out there or dress the character up in women's clothes (looking at you, Makoto), so I had a lot of trouble imagining something I would be happy with. It's no small feat either, given that it's hard to find game protagonists themselves that aren't contrived caricatures. What about you? What would you consider an accurate, representative framework to present a LGBT character in a positive fashion?