Xbox Game Studios publishing has announced that it is giving $25,000 to nonprofit organizations Transgender Law Center and Trans Lifeline in a public statement that condemns "increased transphobic sentiment."
These donations are part of Microsoft and Xbox's larger Pride Month initiatives, which also include donations to other LGBTQ nonprofits. Microsoft is committing $8 million to the effort, Xbox is chipping in an additional $170,000, and asking players to donate as well.
Don't Nod's Tell Me Why (which tells the pair of two siblings grappling with childhood trauma, one of whom is a transgender man) will also be free on Xbox for the next month. The game's Twitter account encouraged players to "give the money you've saved [on the game] to trans communities."
Xbox is also debuting a new Pride-themed controller and rolling out in-game flair in games like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5.
It's a very strong showing for Xbox and Microsoft, as the two companies are using language that specifically calls out cultural and legislative attacks on transgender people, and references the relative economic disparity that transgender communities often face.
2022 has been a crucible for the game development industry when it comes to support for transgender rights. Increased legal action against transgender people across the globe has tested how far companies are willing to go in making statements of support during periods like Pride Month.
It is worth noting that even as some parent companies rise (or fail to rise) to the occasion, developers themselves have been individually stepping up for transgender rights, pushing initiatives forward to improve in-game representation and quality of life at their employers for transgender colleagues.
Conversely, even companies making support for transgender communities still face criticism for how they conduct themselves internally. Microsoft itself is still wrangling with allegations of sexual harassment by high-profile executives, and faces questions about how it will handle its acquisition of embattled game publisher/developer Activision Blizzard, which has faced accusations of homophobia and transphobia among the litany of other alleged abuses laid out by regulators and former employees.