6 LGBT Superheroes That Deserve Cinematic Representation And Why Captain America Doesn’t Need To Be One of Them
Well another week another nerd cataclysm to deal with.
On the heels of the Angry Video Game Nerd and that whole debacle, we’ve got a new flavor of the week controversy. This time it involves an Avenger’s sexual orientation film representation, and whether or not Steve Rogers/Captain America should come out as gay in the next Marvel film he appears in. Thousands of fans this week petitioned Marvel studios to give Cap a boyfriend. The proposal set Twitter all atwitter (see what I did there?) led by student Jess Salerno’s hashtag, #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend.
When a hot button topic like sexual orientation comes into play there’s always going to be controversy. Couple it with a highly successful film franchise in the MCU, that has thousands of followers (gay and straight alike) and makes billions of dollars, and you’ve got a recipe for a shit tornado the likes of which only a plumber at a Chipotle Burrito Festival can understand. Said tornado’s touchdown point landed naturally on Twitter. Seriously I think Twitter was created by Heath Ledger’s Joker. As much as I love the social media platform, sometimes I want to kill it with fire.
Saying there’s a dearth of LGBT superheroes on the big and small screen, is like saying that the state of Vermont dabbles in the cheese market. It’s an understatement the size of Tony Stark’s ego. So from a certain standpoint I understand where these guys are coming from. I kind of liken it to football. (Yes, I’m a fan of football. Contrary to the stereotype, not all nerds react to sports like a vampire reacts to garlic.) Not to take anything away from Michael Sam, being the first NFL player to come out as gay while actively playing (or at least while trying to make a team), was a big deal. However, it doesn’t have as much impact as say Tom Brady or Adrian Peterson coming out would have. Those two are some of the biggest faces of the sport and future Hall of Famers. People want Steve Rogers/Captain America to be their gay Tom Brady. He’s a well-known global entity.
The problem is that in over seventy years of existence Captain America has never been written as gay. He’s had multiple female love interests and the bottom line is…wait for it…HE’S NOT GAY. Nor should he be. Save that shit for your Captain America/Winter Soldier fan fiction. There’s no real reason after over seven decades to make him gay. What for? How would this advance the narrative or advance him as a character? What purpose would it serve? Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with LGBT superheroes or LGBT characters in general on film. But to just make an already established character gay just for the sake of being gay is pointless. It comes across as disingenuous and makes it look like the people who are pushing it have an agenda.*
LGBT superhero representation on film would be much better served through already established LGBT characters. Here’s six that I think would fit the bill:
Granted we already got Deadpool on the big screen earlier this year, however what some people may not be aware of is that he’s bi-sexual. (Or if you want to argue semantics, he identifies as “pan-sexual.”) For those who saw the movie we obviously weren’t exposed to that side of Deadpool’s identity. I don’t think the creators intentionally left that out. It was more of a “this is a lesser known character so let’s go bare bones superhero origin story here.” However, now that the film has become a huge critical success and made more money than Deadpool has sarcastic quips, there’s no reason not to introduce the sexual orientation aspect of his life. I’m sure there’s an endless amount of gay joke potential there for Deadpool which, given his personality, is right up his ally.
I’m not sure how this one would play out considering the current situation going on with DC Rebirth and the abandonment of the The New 52, but she’s worth a look. DC reintroduced Kate Kane (AKA Batwoman) in 2006 after a long hiatus. Not only is she a lesbian, she’s also of Jewish descent, so double the diversity there. I think she deserves some time in the cinematic sun if for no other reason than she’s the highest profile gay superhero ever to appear in DC comics. That’s not hyperbole, that’s straight from the DC editorial staff. She’s been romantically linked to Renee Montoya before, another well known character in the Batman universe. I could definitely see her character being worked into a solo Batman film.
TEDDY ALTMAN/HULKLING AND BILLY KAPLAN/WICCAN
These two are kind of package deal as their relationship is well established already in the Marvel universe. In fact as of right now they are engaged to be married. Both are members of the Young Avengers which formed after the regular Avengers abandoned. Hulkling and Wiccan model themselves after two prominent Avengers, The Hulk and Thor. However, neither has any affiliation with those more well-known superheroes. Hulkling is actually the offspring of two alien races (the Kree and the Skrulls) and Wiccan was “created” so Scarlet Witch and Vision could have children. It would be very easy to introduce these characters in Phase IV or V or in a Young Avengers film.
XI’AN COY MANH/KARMA
A member of the X-Men, Karma has a rich backstory involving the Vietnam War. Her history is rife with brutality yet she emerges to be a force for good. Like Professor X she has the powers of psychic control and telepathy. It would have been logical to introduce her in X-Men: Days of Future Past as the time frame correlates well, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. However with the X-Men films gearing younger with every passing movie, Karma would fit right in. Additionally, her main love interest is Kitty Pryde, previously portrayed by Ellen Paige in X-Men: The Last Stand. (Incidentally Paige is gay in real life so that works out well. Not necessary of course but a happy coincidence.) I’m sure fans of the X-Men would love to see Pryde return. Additionally, Pryde has also been associated with The Guardians of the Galaxy, so there’s opportunity there as well.
ANDREW PULASKI/APOLLO AND LUCAS TRENT/MIDNIGHTER
Basically an ersatz Superman/Batman homosexual relationship, Apollo and Midnighter are part of a rogue superhero team called The Authority. Both have various superpowers which very much mimic Batman and Superman’s abilities. These two have the distinction of being married in the comics. The problem here is that it might be difficult to introduce them naturally into the DC Cinematic Universe. The last thing you want is to have audiences define these guys as the “gay Batman/Superman power couple” or worse Apnighter. Yeesssh. Regardless they have some intriguing storylines. If the DCEU starts to flourish they could be part of an Authority movie down the line.
Again an interesting combo here as Rainmaker is both a lesbian and of Native American (Apache) descent. She’s basically DC’s answer to Marvel’s Storm. However, I think she’s much less inhibited and much more intelligent. Come to think of it there’s a distinct lack of Native American superheroes represented on film so Rainmaker would fit dual roles here.
I’ve offered six examples (OK eight if you want to split hairs) of LGBT superheroes that could make a cinematic jump here. However, there’s plenty more and maybe even some ones that would fit better. Regardless it’s high time LGBT superheroes had better representation in film. So rather than try to force a sexual orientation on a major comicbook superhero that’s completely unnecessary, why don’t we focus on giving these already established LGBT characters a shot at the big time.
*To be clear I don’t think there’s a “gay agenda” as some right wingers claim. I’m talking about agendas in general. They tend to be counterproductive. At least in situations like this.
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