As of right now, Tracer isn’t the only canonical queer in Overwatch. Just recently via the short story “Bastet”, the grumpy Soldier 76, the latter is revealed to be gay and was involved with a man named Vincent.
In the story itself, GMILF sniper Ana and Soldier 76 met for the first time and were in hiding following the destruction of the Swiss Overwatch headquarters. After a fight against his former BFF Gabriel Reyes/Reaper, he ended up wounded and had to be nursed back to health by Ana. Cue a tender and emotional gab session between the two about their past and their predicament.
Here’s the paragraph that makes Soldier 76 the second hero to officially come out of the closet.
“Vincent… I haven’t thought about him in years,” Ana said.
“Still keeping a candle lit for him?”
Jack shook his head. “Nothing like that.”
“You’ve never looked in on him? You must have been curious. All the surveillance power in the world. I bet Gabe would have put a Blackwatch agent on him if you asked,” Ana said.
Jack glared at her.
“Okay, touchy subject.”
Jack laughed. “He got married. They’re very happy. I’m happy for him.”
Ana was unconvinced. In the early days, Jack talked about him often, floating a dream that the war would end quickly, and maybe he’d have a chance to return to a normal life.
But a normal life was never the reward for people like us.
“Vincent deserved a happier life than the one I could give him.” Jack sighed. “We both knew that I could never put anything above my duty. Everything I fought for was to protect people like him… That’s the sacrifice I made.”
“Relationships don’t work out so well for us, do they?” Ana said, unconsciously running her thumb over where her wedding ring used to be.
“At least you and Gabe managed to have families.” The pair lapsed back into silence.
That’s pretty cool since the Overwatch team has always strived to diversify its heroes, even if it may seem like the decision is catering towards a mass demography rather than what Blizzard really wants. So how is the internet responding to this?
Pretty vocal, happy, and/or hilarious, as per usual. At the very least, they’re colourful responses.
It's pretty interesting how Blizzard is diversifying the Overwatch cast's sexuality, but I can't say I'm a fan of the Rowling-style "actually this character was like this all along I just didn't put it anywhere you could see it" style of diversification.
— Imran Khan (@imranzomg) January 7, 2019
Obviously introducing queer lore into Overwatch isn't solving homophobia in gaming or anything but I think the fact that it's happening at all is pretty nice? Overwatch isn't a game with much, if any, actual in game story outside of like, scraps, so queering those scraps is nice.
— Meg Downey (@rustypolished) January 7, 2019
Allow yourself to accept that queerness is depicted in fiction in a multitude of ways, tell your friends, spread that knowledge, and stop waiting around for “confirmation” of the “second queer character IN THE UNIVERSE” bc that’s a horrible existence
— elizabeth "❄️" simins (@ElizSimins) January 7, 2019
soldier 76 more like soldier 69 haha got em
— FOX | SonicFox @ FC (@SonicFox5000) January 7, 2019
me: bye, dad
soldier 76: more like bi dad
soldier 76: what?
— Kyle Gaddo (@kylegaddo) January 7, 2019
love soldier76’s new buff
— twenty noodle-teen (@ejnoodles) January 7, 2019
I know a random nobody ex-boyfriend is not anyone's ideal way to reveal this but soldier 76 being gay gives me so much satisfaction because he's one of the ones that will make the straight men maddest
— solid snake amiibo enthusiast (@darkmayproject) January 7, 2019
me: s76 is the most boring character in overwatch
blizzard: hey check out this backstory
— adri 🌙 (@felandaris) January 7, 2019
— 🔥 Watch Over Me 🔥 (@Legend_of_Mako) January 7, 2019
— Aura / Libby @ CRYING ALL MY TEARS OVER KH3 (@tsukibleu) January 7, 2019
— FoCh (@NaChosOMG) January 7, 2019
We’re not sure if this is Blizzard’s attempt at queer-baiting ala Voltron Season 7 and 8, or if this is a logical and legitimate path they’re taking with one of their iconic characters. What do you think, dear readers?