Thanks to censorship, Capcom accidentally created a video game icon. In 1989, when the developer decided to release its brand-new brawler Final Fight in arcades, they had a problem: allegedly, developers worried that one of the enemies, a pink-haired streetwalker named Poison, would draw the ire of feminist groups because "hitting a woman was considered rude." Its solution wasn't politically correct, but for the time, it worked. Capcom made Poison transgender and called it a day.
It was an act of self-censorship designed to call attention away from the character (when Final Fight made its way to the Super Nintendo, Capcom replaced Poison entirely with a new, male character), but the change had the opposite effect. After Birdo, one of the enemies in Super Mario Bros. 2, Poison became the first visibly trans character in video games. Over time, it stuck. While Capcom likes to play coy regarding Poison's gender identity, in 2007, Capcom employee Yoshinori Ono confirmed that Poison is "a post-op transsexual" in America, and a transgender woman in Japan.
While there are a number of issues with how Poison is portrayed—the idea that it's "okay" to beat up a member of a marginalized group, but not a lady, is troubling, and Poison's heavily sexualized appearance feeds the stereotype that transgenderism is about sex, not identity—the character has gone on to become a role model, if a controversial one, for trans gamers. While talking to Kill Screen, trans blogger Morgan McCormick credits Poison for helping her come to terms with her own trans identity, saying "When I first heard about her, I was like, 'So the video game industry has trans people in their games? Then maybe it's okay for me to be trans.'"
Is Poison problematic? Absolutely. Can she be ignored? Given the general lack of trans characters in games, absolutely not.