Legends of Runeterra was a big mark for representation in the universe of League of Legends. We already had many diverse LGBTQIA+ characters in the game's launch and, as time went on, more and more of them showed up - from secondary characters to even iconic champions from League of Legends. Some of these are quite known or even, recently, revealed by Riot.
The first officially LGBTQIA+ champion was Varus, the Arrow of Retribution, when his story was recreated in 2017 to adapt to the direction Riot wanted for Darkins and introduced the couple Kai and Valmar creating the body which Varus possesses now. After that, we had many other champions showing off as LGBTQIA+ throughout various interactions in the company's games.
Do you know them all?
Today we count with a bigger group of champions which are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, even though not all of them have been announced by Riot, we have some which give plenty of signs from their interactions with followers and other champions.
There are other champions beyond this list which are not in Legends of Runeterra yet, such as Neeko, Graves and Rell, but which someday will come to the game.
Diana and Leona
In the short story Rise With Me, we see how their relationship started. As a child, Diana became an orphan in Targon when her parents, of an unknown origin, went on an expedition to the famous mountain. She was raised by the Solari, but always questioned their devotion to the Sun. These questions were not well taken, but attracted the attention of Leona, who was a model student.
The two of them ended up getting closer, because they were excellent students with issues in certain topics who could help each other out. Leona was a model Solari who believed in the power of the Solar Goddess whereas Diana opposed herself to the belief that the night was gloomy and dark, as it is lit by the moon and the stars.
It was all going well right before a big Solari festival and the two of them were catching feelings for one another until Leona tried to invite Diana to the festival, but she got offended thinking that the other girl was trying to convert her. Fortunately she realizes this some time later and, on the day of the festival, ends up not going as she didn't want to be with the Solari and she decides to climb the mountain a bit. While she is contemplating the moon, Leona shows up and the two of them spend some time talking and making up. Diana realizes she is keeping Leona away from the festival and asks her if she doesn't want to go down there so that they can dance there together, Leona answers "not yet" and then, they share a kiss.
Unfortunately, some time later Diana climbed Mount Targon in search of answers about the Moon and Leona, worried, came after her. When arriving at the top, the two of them became aspects and were made enemies, with Diana trying to unite the Solari and Lunari tribes in harmony and Leona defending the faith of her people.
Caitlyn and Vi
For years fans had suspicions about Piltover's Sheriff and Enforcer having a romantic relationship. Fortunately, after years we had the show Arcane, which pointed at the relationship between the two of them.
Both have a lot of chemistry in the show and their mutual interest is important so that Caitlyn and Vi take a stand in helping both towns find moderate peace. Caitlyn finds out Zaunites indeed suffer and Vi realizes there are Piltovians which care about other people.
After everything, we didn't see a scene between the two of them. Probably the second season of this series will show a bit more about their relationship.
Irelia has many interactions with Ribbon Dancer and with Blossoming Blade which shows she cares for them very much. Amongst their lines, she mentions something about never forgiving herself if something happens to them and about them being side by side and holding each other's hands. That made a big part of the community believe that Irelia has a relationship with them.
Ionians are an open-minded people which don't hold on to conventional relationships or marriage, so Irelia could be with the two of them casually or even at the same time. I, however, believe that the lines only point to a worry about her students in times of war, but I won't discard the idea that Irelia is part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Though there's nothing confirmed about this champion, she has various interactions in Legends of Runeterra that indicate that Miss Fortune is interested in women.
Marai cards in Legends of Runeterra showed off a side of Nami which wasn't known until then. Her interactions with the other cards reveal that Nami has a polyamorous relationship with Tama and Loto, Marai Songstress and Abyssal Guard, respectively.
They call each other "beloved" and "pele'ai" which means the same thing in their marai language, and Nami cries for them when one of them or she herself dies. Besides that, in her level 2 flavor text we have an interaction between their two lovers talking about her:
"Do you think she's far along in her journey?"
"We can only hope, Tama."
"I can see her now... Beautiful eyes glowing in the light of the moon, the shine of saltwater glistening on her scales."
"This burden... the fate of our people. It should not be hers alone."
"She is doing her part, as we are doing ours, Loto. All we can do is believe in her, and love her with all our hearts."
As it was confirmed by Narrative Editor Meghan Bowe, they did that to show how the various cultures in Runeterra are and to show also one of the biggest motivations that Nami has when she seeks out to help her people.
The newest member of the officially LGBTQIA+ group of champions and the biggest highlight of this month of June is the Card Master, Twisted Fate.
For a long time, fans theorized that he and Graves were more than just partners in crime, but the new cosmetics and the new short story to celebrate Pride Month show that Twisted Fate is, indeed, a member of the community. In his short story, he mentions how nobody, regardless of size, shape or model can resist his charms, being careful to not state any genders in his line. This indicates that TF must consider himself Pan or Bi.
About his relationship with his partner Graves, the short story shows that they don't have a romantic relationship, but they are interested in one another and don't know how to show it and, that's why they never had a fling. But as it all points to, this should happen sometime in the future, when the two of them stop being knuckleheads.
Probably in the future, when Graves becomes a Runeterra champion, we will see more about the relationship between the two of them through the interactions between them.
Besides champions, we also have the followers which are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Some of them became very popular and were extremely inspiring, gaining prominence and love from the games' fans. Others, unfortunately, are still hidden in small text fragments in their cards and interactions. In this list, I'm excluding the followers which I already mentioned in the champion's section.
Legion Veteran was the first open LGBTQIA+ character in Legends of Runeterra. His text describes how he came back from the war at death's door and only survived thanks to his husband, who nursed him back to health, and his apothecary.
Though they didn't come first, Tyari the Traveler is definitely at the top of the list of importance. Tyari is a non-binary trans person (using pronouns they/them or he/him) who starts climbing Mount Targon in search of a purpose.
They grew up believing that they wanted to be a part of the Solari soldiers and to protect the village, but as time went on they realized it wasn't this that they wanted, there was something missing. That they were not who they really were. Searching for answers, they went to their distant cousin, Raduak, Mountain Scryer, who offered help showing them constellations and asking them which message they had for Tyari.
Tyari saw in the skies the constellation of a woman which looked like them, an unknown constellation and felt guided by her, naming her Traveler. And, as so, they start preparing for the journey up the mountain. Beating many challenges with their companions, Haley and Emir, Tyari reaches Targon's Peak, but their friend's destiny is uncertain. At the peak, they are judged by Arbiter of the Peak and ascend, becoming their real form, The Traveler (which uses the pronouns she/her).
Tyari's interactions are very inspiring and talk about their journey of self-acceptance. We can see their joy and expectancy of one day becoming who they really want to be when they talk with Traveler. Traveler becomes a guide and protector to everyone who is in search of something, and reminding them that journeys are also discoveries. She becomes proud of who she is and seeks out to help those in need of this.
Dess & Ada
Dess & Ada is a Sentinels of Light couple. Riot already confirmed that they met in a bar in Entresol, a higher Zaun region closer to Piltover. As with Caitlyn and Vi, Ada is a Zaunite and Dess is Piltovian.
They love each other very much, but love to argue with one another. Both have great senses of humor, so the fights are mostly teasing. In their interactions, they declare their love when they die and play a lot with each other, as with other sentinels.
The girls are called Ophelia and Clara and they get along really well, always being together. In their cards' text, they suggest going to a ball with matching outfits or even without any clothes.
In their interactions, Disciple mentions liking to tease all people, always flirting a lot with everyone and seems very interested in Vladimir. As for Aristocrat it is the opposite, being quite hostile with other people, except with Disciple. Unfortunately, their relationship is only through subtext.
Also known as Shomi, Dropboarder is part of Ekko's crew and is a non-binary person. Their card text was altered in other translations to show their neutrality and their name was also altered in other translations to not state any gender in it.
Lux is not a LGBTQIA+ champion, but her story resembles one of a LGBTQIA+ person.
Lux is a mage in Demacia, a realm which hates mages. There, mages are treated like monsters and are victims of harassment and prejudice. Lux lives in denial about her magic till she is made to confront her reality when she meets Sylas, a revolutionary mage who wants to put mages in power.
Sylas manipulates her to free him and Lux ends up having to reveal her magic side and, seeing that at the same time Sylas is wrong to wish for power and Demacia is wrong to segregate mages, starts to protect and organize mages so that they can live in freedom. The mage metaphor fits any minority's reality.
Though not officially a LGBTQIA+ champion, Aphelios is part of a ship (a fan favorite couple) very famous in the community: Settphelios.
Sett is another League of Legends champion not yet released in Legends of Runeterra. He is half-vastayan, Nami and Ahri's race, and owns a fighting rink. His story has nothing to do with Aphelios', but as they have opposing personalities, the community ended up liking the idea.
Riot recognizes this ship and its size amongst players, and as part of a game skin promotion action put both of them in the theme "Community Ships", so it is quite likely that we see mentions of this relationship in the future.
Taliyah unfortunately doesn't have a happy ending as other characters here do. When she was created, she was made to be a trans woman, but at the time Riot didn't accept this from her creators. As she was accepted and celebrated by her powers, she would have also been accepted and celebrated by being a trans woman.
Unfortunately, this didn't reamin till the end of her development and we only have Taliyah as a cis woman. However, her writer said that Taliyah is still discovering her sexuality, so at least that LGBTQIA+ aspect we have in the character.
Stilted Robemaker is a drag queen who is part of Veigar's crew. Though it is an art form commonly associated with the LGBTQIA+ universe, it is not a requirement, and all that want to are free to participate.
Besides their appearance, the card's interaction and lines contribute to the drag queen style with popular lines such as, "Pout! Strut!" and “What ARE you wearing?”
Legends of Runeterra is a game which is getting a lot of highlights in the matter of representation. We have diverse characters which are part of the big spectrum of the LGBTQIA+ community. Fortunately, Riot has shown itself to be willing to increase the scale of characters and talk with the community about it.
Even though it was denied in the past, it is good to see progress in this aspect and it is good that these characters bring positive messages to the young LGBTQIA+ people who can see themselves well-represented in the game.
Which of these characters did you like the most? Did you miss someone in this article? Tell us.
If you like curiosities about Legends of Runeterra's characters, don't forget to take a loot at Minako's articles about the character's names here. Plenty of them show up here too.