Alesha, Who Smiles at Death

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Alesha, Who Smiles at Death is a transgender character who appears in the trading card game, Magic: the Gathering. Alesha is the first confirmed transgender character that has appeared in the game.[1]

Brief History of LGBT characters in games

  • Moonmist (September 18, 1986) is recognised as being the first video game depicting a gay character.[2]
  • Birdo is a character in 1988’s Super Mario Bros. 2. In the original game manual, Birdo is given the following description: “He thinks he's a girl [...] He'd rather be called Birdetta.”[2]
  • On September the 27th, 2013 Wizards of the Coast released the card, Guardians of Meletis which is the first Magic: the Gathering card with flavour text that references homosexuality as a part of the fall Magic: the Gathering set, Theros.


The only card depiction of Alesha, Who Smiles at Death is a card with the same name. It is a legendary creature, who is also a human warrior. The card is red aligned and has the flavour text of: “Greet death with sword in hand.”.[3] The art on the card Alesha, Who Smiles at Death was illustrated by Anastasia Ovchinnikova.

She is also depicted in the Uncharted Realms story The Truth of Names which is hosted on the official Wizards of the Coast website, where her status as a transgender character was first revealed.

Guardians of Meletis

The Guardians of Meletis is a depiction of two male characters, on the world of Theros who, as mentioned in the flavour text of the card Guardians of Meletis, were once lovers and thereby being the first reference of homosexuality in the trading card game, Magic: the Gathering.[4]

Public Reaction

There are a number of blog post praising the depiction of Alesha as a transgender character, and is seen as being “refreshing”.[5] The fact that her gender identity is not the focal point of the story The Truth of Names is seen as a welcome change to the way a character’s gender identity is depicted in games and other media.

This comes after an eSports league in the Philippines had attempted to limit the number of gay and transgender players in the league.[6]