Oh boy, well if you’re doing it, Frosty, I guess I’m doing it! So… my example is going to be Kainé, from NieR Replicant.
Kainé is an odd example, because being trans is so intrinsically tied to her character it would be impossible to remove without crippling her identity. Usually I want fictional trans characters who are indistinguishable from their cis counterparts, but Kainé was handled generally just so surprisingly well that my brain goes quite dead upon seeing her.
Immediately, you’ll notice one thing about her is she’s wearing sexualised clothing. This is hand-waved by the game as her overcompensating for being trans by trying to pass as the most sexually consumable. While realistic - as I’m sure many trans women will agree - it’s a bad take for fiction especially when so many trans characters are already sexualised, so, ignore this. It’s Problematic™️.
Kainé is the canon love interest in the game. Her status as a transgender intersex woman is stated only in the extra material provided in a second playthrough, though it’s implied in the first. Though transphobia did help to create her furious and defensive personality as well as her outlook on life, being trans isn’t a defining part of her character over her personality and values, and I only assume the game wanted you to experience her without bias before revealing her as trans intersex.
Kainé is viciously angry as well as highly protective of people with self-esteem issues: both traits she picked up while living with transphobia. She bonds very well with the young boy Emil, whose Medusa-like power causes him to live as a recluse, and tells him softly in a tender and surprisingly quiet moment never to be ashamed of himself, for his existence is “not a sin”. It’s a very touching moment that reads differently once you know she’s transgender.
She often wears a rare type of fictional flower called a Lunar Tear in her hair. We later find out this is because this is one of the things her adoptive grandmother, Kali, gave to her along with dresses when Kainé was first adopted and accepted as a girl while surviving as an orphan in the wilderness.
She’s resourceful and pragmatic as a result, but Kainé is also very willing to sacrifice herself to save others, as proven throughout the game. Her no-nonsense attitude kicks the rest of the party into gear and aids them in working as a team. At this point in her life, Kainé shrugs off insults and belittlement like they were mere air. She’s perfectly aware of who she is and of what she is capable, and her worst outbursts are usually left to situations where people are in mortal danger; no present angst or conflict comes from her existence as transgender, unlike most young trans characters in media.
In the loose sequel, Nier: Automata, Emil, still alive after 8,000 years and somewhat mad, has built a replica of her old house and shrine filled with her favourite flowers, the Lunar Tears. At this point, humankind is long dead, but Emil - the sole protector of Earth for a time - still considers her a paragon of humanity: an example of why the world is so important to protect and why he could never give up on life. His memories of her keep him lucid even as he finally dies. It’s entirely platonic - Emil is confirmed gay, and even then, he is a child - but it’s important to see a trans character have relationships outside of being romantically/sexually consumable, especially one so meaningful it spurs the other to live.
Even more so, it’s shocking and honestly touching to see an aggressive, emotional trans woman considered the pinnacle of all humanity had to offer. Where women and trans people being emotional and angry at their experiences is seen commonly as delegitimising them, here it does the opposite. It legitimises them as human. I’ve always thought of that as a very ballsy move.