Next on the list is Karren. Upon coming to Tokyo after her family’s death in their home of Germany, she adopted a male identity in order to fulfill her father’s wish to carry on the family name in place of her brothers. It is strongly implied that Karren is not actually a trans man - instead she’s a woman presenting herself as a man due to a decision made as a child to honour her dead family. While there’s nothing wrong with having a character who lives as a different gender for whatever reasons without being trans, there is this implicit message Ishida gives - intentional or not - about trans people. First there is Mutsuki, who, as earlier discussed, has gender issues that stem from their trauma and mental issues. Then there’s Karren, who isn’t really trans. There is no portrayal of a trans character who isn’t either mentally unwell or faking it, except for maybe Big Madame whom I will discuss next. Ishida kind of salvages Mutsuki at the end of the series where they are recovered and everyone still treats them as a male based on what they had chosen to continue to present themselves as, but the damage was still done. Mutsuki was only trans because of the abuse they suffered as a child, not because being a trans male was just who they were as a person. And I don’t claim to speak for all trans people, but I’m pretty sure most will tell you that being trans, i.e. whatever their gender is, is who they are, not because someone/thing made them that way - though of course, saying your experiences have shaped your gender identity is very valid and I’m not claiming that there are no trans people for whom experience hasn’t helped alter or determine gender. I just wish that Ishida had included a “normal” trans character whose gender identity was entirely positive to counter balance the extreme, far-fetched example of Mutsuki whose gender variance is based in negativity, and the not-really-trans Karren.
#karrenvonrosewald #mutsukitooru #tokyoghoulre #tokyoghoul