A 2004 Mario Game Had A Transgender Playable Character With A Subplot About Being Accepted By Her Family.
In the Japanese version of the game Paper Mario: The Thousand -Year Door a Character named Vivian is portrayed as a transgender woman. She is pictured above in the pink and white striped hat.
Vivian played a major role in Paper Mario The Thousand-Year Door. Vivian originally worked as a member of the corrupt Shadow Sirens alongside her sisters, Marilyn, and Beldam. Later, Vivian leaves the Shadow Sirens and joins Mario. Throughout the game she is put down by her oldest sister, Beldam, and has had a poor relationship with both her sisters for quite some time when Mario meets her. She seems to suffer from an inferiority complex throughout the events of the game and as she travels with Mario she learns to respect herself.
In the game, Vivian is referred to as an otoko, “boy”, which is written in red katakana for emphasis.
In the Italian version, the character is female, but we are made aware that she was male before.
The game was released on October 11, 2004, in North America however, any reference to Vivian’s gender was removed. In the English version of TTYD, Vivian receives a barrage of negative comments and cruel insults from her sisters and other game characters.
The game was well received by critics, borrowing elements from its predecessor like a paper-themed universe and turn-based gameplay. Instead of a paper-based version of the Mushroom Kingdom, The Thousand-Year Door takes place in a cursed land across an unnamed ocean far away. Most of the locations are not featured in previous Mario games.
At the end of the game, Goombella’s letter indicates that Vivian’s two sisters make efforts to be nice to her and accept Vivian’s choice to be female. In her Super Paper Mario Catch Card, Vivian is described as 「キュートな オトコのコ」, which could easily be interpreted as “otokonoko“, a term for male cross-dressers in Japanese culture.
Vivian also appeared in Super Paper Mario and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.