9. Final Fight - Poison Gets Her Respect
Starting life alongside her palette-swap friend Roxy in 1989’s Final Fight, Poison was just one of many criminals on the streets of Metro City.
However, anticipating controversy for the male on female violence, developers said that she was “newhalf” - a Japanese term often used in a derogatory fashion to refer to trans women. Ironically, the pair were swapped out for two generic male thugs instead.
Making her worldwide playable debut in Final Fight Revenge, Poison’s gender identity was the topic of debate for a long time. Considered for years as “trans in the US and cis in Japan” by original designer Akira Yasuda, in 2011 he then confirmed that she was a trans woman, but it was more about the extent of her surgery. Although, like any human alive, what she has in those daisy dukes is not really of any significance anyway.
In preparing her for coveted appearance in the Street Fighter x Tekken crossover, the company worked with GLAAD (the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) to make sure her appearance was suitable and inoffensive. Finally, a queen gets the respect she deserves.
Whilst some may say that Poison’s appearance as what appears to be a trans sex-worker is a damaging stereotype, and there is some truth to that, others look to her as a powerful role model of a woman doing whatever she chooses with her own body.