From Batwoman to Loki: Characters Bringing LGBTQ+ Representation to Superhero Films & Series

Photo Courtesy: DC Comics

When it comes to LGBTQ+ representation, film, TV and so many other mediums have a long way to go. There’s a lot of queer-baiting — when creators hint at queer characters and storylines to gain viewers but don’t follow through. And there’s a lot of straight-washing — completely nixing a pre-established character’s queerness. These days, so many of the biggest shows and movies are adapted from comic books and graphic novels, and, while big-screen blockbusters may be lacking in terms of representation, there’s hope yet.

This June, DC Comics is celebrating Pride Month with a “parade of LGBTQIA+ characters and creators” via its special 80-page DC Pride anthology. The collection will feature notable queer characters like Batwoman (Kate Kane), Renee Montoya, Midnighter, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and, perhaps most excitingly, Dreamer (Nia Nal), a trans woman superhero making her first comic book appearance in a story written by actor Nicole Maines, who plays Nia on CW’s Supergirl. As pictured above (at left and right), DC has also tasked leading artists like Jen Bartel and Yoshi Yoshitani, with creating Pride-themed variant covers, all nine of which will debut throughout the month.

While DC Pride‘s expansive on-page representation is wonderful, we’re hoping that LGBTQ+ superheroes and comic book characters continue to populate other media, too. For example, with Eternals (2021), Marvel is set to introduce the first openly gay superhero in an MCU movie — Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos

For a genre that prides itself on characters owning their identities — and, in many cases, loudly proclaiming them — it’s great to see queer superheroes proudly living their lives. So, let’s celebrate the superheroes who are bringing much-needed LGBTQ+ representation to the screen — and shoutout a few of our favorite queer comic book characters who we hope will join their ranks soon. 

Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy | “Harley Quinn”

If you need one really good reason to sign up for HBO Max, this is it. Harley Quinn is an adult animated TV series — and very much rated TV-MA thanks to all the blood, drinking, raunchiness, and perfectly-placed swears. In addition to being consistently laugh-out-loud hilarious, the show really lets its leading anti-hero, Harley (Kaley Cuoco), shine. 

The setup is somewhat similar to the recent Birds of Prey film. In the first few episodes, Harley ditches her toxic boyfriend Joker — though, even with the help of her best pal Poison Ivy (Lake Bell), leaving the abusive relationship proves difficult for Harls. The show’s writers — and stellar voice cast — handle this and other threads deftly, creating incredibly nuanced characters in a series that’s packed with a (perhaps) surprising amount of insight. 

Photo Courtesy: HBO Max

One of the best and most welcome surprises in the show? Harley and Ivy’s slow-burn romance. As the show establishes, the two have been friends for years, but, beneath that, there’s a mutual crush. When the two unexpectedly share a heat-of-the-moment kiss post-prison break, their feelings for each other seem to crystalize: Ivy is reluctant to date Harley — “And, the truth is, [Harley], I trust you with my life, but I… don’t trust you with my heart” — and Harley tries to act like that’s fine with her, too. (Spoiler: It isn’t.) 

Without a doubt, it’s one of the most nuanced depictions of a queer romance out there, filled with all the messiness of friends-turned-coworkers-turned-lovers, but a whole lot of heart, too. At the end of season two, the couple literally drives off into the sunset together, and showrunners have promised that their relationship will be explored more fully in the upcoming third season of the GLAAD Media Award-nominated show. Let’s just say, we can’t wait for more of Harley and Ivy’s charming misadventures. 

Nia Nal a.k.a. Dreamer | “Supergirl”

Known by her code name Dreamer, Nia Nal is a character from The CW’s television series Supergirl. Dreamer is an ancestor of the DC Comics character Nura Nal, who went by the alias Dream Girl, and both characters share abilities of astral projection and precognition. Nia is also known for being the first transgender superhero on television — and she’s portrayed by trans actor Nicole Maines. 

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Nicole Maines as Dreamer in

Before her acting career took off, Maines became known as the then-anonymous plaintiff, Susan Doe, in the Maine Supreme Judicial Court case Doe v. Regional School Unit 26, which regarded gender identity and bathroom use in schools. Maines has a lot in common with Nia, whom she describes as having “this ferocious drive to protect people and to fight against discrimination and hatred. She’s the superhero we need right now.”

Just this month, the DC Pride anthology marked Dreamer’s comics debut. In the short, which is written by Maines, Dreamer preps for a date with Brainy — all while contending with the enigmatic League of Shadows. Comic Watch notes that “Date Night” is, at its core, about “the freedom that we can dream when we dream of LGBTQ+ liberation.” 

Anissa Pierce a.k.a. Thunder (or Blackbird) | “Black Lightning”

The CW’s Black Lightning centers on retired superhero Jefferson Pierce, the titular hero, and his family. His eldest daughter, Anissa Pierce (Nafessa Williams), has been written as an out lesbian in the comics, and this new live-action version does right by the character. In the show’s second episode, Anissa is shown lying in bed with her girlfriend, just hanging out — which feels both refreshing and revolutionary at a time when representation has a long way to go.

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As the show progresses, Anissa begins to manifest her own powers of invulnerability and super strength, becoming the vigilante known as Thunder. Eventually, she joins her dad, fighting alongside Black Lightning’s team, and moonlights as another alter-ego as well, the Robin Hood-esque persona Blackbird. Not many shows center on Black lesbian characters — let alone a queer Black character who’s almost completely invulnerable — and that makes Black Lightning pretty darn significant.

Valkyrie | “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Avengers: Endgame” 

Tessa Thompson first donned her Valkyrie armor in Thor: Ragnarok, the third Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) installment about the Nordic god of thunder-turned-Avenger. In the comics, Valkyrie has a relationship with Annabelle Riggs, among others, which led Thompson to portray the character as bisexual. The actor reportedly convinced director Taika Waititi to shoot a scene that would “confirm” Valkyrie’s bisexuality.

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Unfortunately, that moment was cut for the film’s final version. However, at the end of Avengers: Endgame, Thor appoints Valkyrie the new monarch of Asgard. According to Marvel, this means she’ll be spending some of the upcoming Thor: Love & Thunder looking for a partner with whom to share the throne. Thompson, who identifies as bisexual, is excited to finally bring queer representation to the screen as the sword-wielding Valkyire in 2021.

Nico Minoru & Karolina Dean | Marvel’s Runaways

Marvel’s Runaways, a Hulu series based on the superhero team of the same name, follows six teenagers (and one dinosaur) from different backgrounds as they unite against a common enemy: their criminal parents, who are collectively known as Pride. Two of these teens are Nico (Lyrica Okano) — a Wiccan who wields the arcane Staff of One — and Karolina (Virginia Gardner) — a human-alien hybrid who learns she can fly and shoot beams of light from her hands. You know, typical teen stuff.

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What’s unique about this story? It isn’t focused on the teens’ coming-out process. Almost right from the jump, the audience learns that Karolina has a crush on Nico, but she’s not afraid of making a move because of who she is — she’s just afraid of being rejected by her crush, or messing up their friendship. When Karolina does confess her feelings to Nico, the two share a kiss, which marks an onscreen first for Marvel’s queer superheroes. 

Danielle “Dani” Moonstar & Rahne Sinclair a.k.a. Wolfsbane | “The New Mutants”

Marvel’s first foray into silver screen queer representation was more than lacking: in Avengers: Endgame (2019) an inconsequential character offhandedly mentions a date with another man. So, up until very recently, none of the main characters — or even significant supporting characters — in the studio’s blockbusters have been explicitly queer. Before the Disney merger, 20th Century Fox has proven itself to handle things a bit better with the introduction of on-screen queer partners Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio in Deadpool 2.

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New Mutants, which is now Disney-owned, is an X-Men-adjacent superhero film that delivered more explicit LGBTQ+ representation. Danielle “Dani” Moonstar, or Mirage (Blu Hunt), a Cheyenne mutant with psionic/psychic abilities, has an on-screen romance with Rahne Sinclair, or Wolfsbane (Game of Thrones‘ Maisie Williams), a Scottish mutant who can transform into a wolf. The mutants of X-Men have always been thematically linked to the LGBTQ+ community, so it’s great to finally see two queer heroes in starring roles.

Sara Lance a.k.a. The Canary/White Canary | “Legends of Tomorrow”

Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) has had a lot of drama in her life. While having an affair with her sister’s boyfriend Oliver Queen — a.k.a. Green Arrow — she is presumed dead after the pair are caught in a storm. After a brief union with Oliver, Sara’s presumed dead again and then, as happens, is trained in the ways of being an assassin by Nyssa al Ghul, Sara’s mentor-turned-lover.

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After returning to Star City, Sara’s killed — actually killed — and then resurrected, turning her from the Black Canary to the White Canary. Now, she’s the captain of a time-traveling team on Legends of Tomorrow. One aspect of her life that’s been thankfully drama-free? CW’s commitment to her canonical bisexuality, which paved the way for so many queer characters in the Arrowverse. Sara’s bisexuality is made even more significant by the fact that she’s Legends‘ protagonist — not just a sidekick.

Halo | “Young Justice”

A fusion of Gabrielle Daou, a deceased Quraci girl, and the spirit of a Motherbox, or “living computer,” Halo joins Nightwing’s team of heroes in Young Justice. Halo doesn’t view themself as Gabrielle anymore, instead going by the pseudonym Violet Harper. In addition to harnessing their multi-colored aura powers, Halo is dating Brion Markov, a.k.a. Geo-Force, a hero with the ability to control gravity and Earth’s terrain.

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In one episode, Halo and a few other young heroes are asked to join a covert branch of the Justice League. While Ms. Martian is thrilled to have some other non-humans on the team, Tigress announces that she’s glad there are more women. This conversation prompts Halo to say that despite their outward appearance, they don’t know if they are a boy or a girl. Although terms like “nonbinary” aren’t expressly used at first, it’s wonderful to see a genderqueer character take centerstage.

Curtis Holt a.k.a. Mr. Terrific | “Arrow”

When audiences meet him, Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum) is an Olympic athlete-turned-tech employee of Palmer Technologies, the rebranded version of Queen Consolidated — Oliver Queen’s family company that deals in all things biotech and cutting edge. Of course, Oliver is the vigilante Green Arrow on the side, so it doesn’t take Curtis too long to connect the dots.

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Initially, Curtis joins Team Arrow as the group’s tech support guy, preferring to take a backseat and stay off the streets. After getting beat up, Curtis learns how to protect himself and how to fight, so he feels less exposed and takes up the mantle Mr. Terrific. Throughout Arrow, he dates, and marries, Star City police officer Nick Anastas. 

In the comics, the Mr. Terrific codename is held by Michael Holt, a straight man struggling with the death of his wife. That said, it’s great to see this spin on the hero — and we’re thankful they cut the late-partner plotline in favor of a happy queer marriage.

Yukio & Negasonic Teenage Warhead | “Deadpool 2”

Ellie Phimister, more often known as Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), is a mutant with telepathic and precognitive powers — though those abilities manifest a bit differently in the Deadpool series due to deals between the then-separate 20th Century Fox and Marvel Studios. In Deadpool 2, Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna), a skilled fighter and long-standing friend of Wolverine and the X-Men, also manifests electrical powers.

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Photo Courtesy: Joe Lederer/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/IMDb

In Deadpool 2, Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio are portrayed as girlfriends — making them the first-ever LGBTQ+ couple portrayed in a mainstream superhero film. Brianna Hildebrand, who plays Negasonic and is openly queer herself, was particularly excited when the film’s star and producer Ryan Reynolds approached her about portraying queer romance on the big screen.

Kate Kane a.k.a. Batwoman | “Batwoman”

Batwoman, a newer addition to The CW’s Arrowverse — a robust collection of DC shows that includes Supergirl, Arrow, Black Lightning, Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash and a few web series — hit screens in 2019 and starred Ruby Rose. Rose played Bruce Wayne’s cousin Kate Kane, who returns to a Batman-less Gotham and decides to don (her version of) the iconic suit.

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In the comics, the modern Batwoman (circa 2006) is a Jewish lesbian, leading a reviewer at Out to assert that “Batwoman [is] the highest-profile gay superhero to ever grace the pages of DC Comics.” That, of course, made casting the character extremely important. Currently, Rose self-identifies as “fluid in [her] gender, but also [as] a lesbian.” A queer person playing a queer superhero on primetime? It was pretty landmark. After one season, Rose had to leave the show for personal reasons, but The CW has continued to do right by Batwoman. 

Ryan Wilder a.k.a. Batwoman | “Batwoman” 

When Ruby Rose had to step down from Batwoman, the folks over at CW had a tall order ahead of them. Instead of recasting Kate Kane, the creators decided to introduce Ryan Wilder as the show’s new lead, casting Javicia Leslie to play the role — and wear the cape. With her casting, Leslie, a queer woman, has made history as the first Black queer actor to play a title character in a superhero show. 

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One of the most exciting things about Ryan? She’s a new character — not just in the show, but in the DC Comics world at large. After CW announced Leslie as the new Batwoman, Ryan made a brief appearance in an issue of Batgirl, thus saving the character’s big debut for season two of Batwoman.

In the first episode, Ryan finds the Batsuit in some plane wreckage; Kate seemingly dies in the crash. Soon enough, Ryan realizes she can do a whole lot of good for Gotham if she wears the suit in Kate’s absence. And since Ryan is a new character without the comic-based backstory that Kate has, her story is rife with exciting opportunities. 

Alex Danvers a.k.a. Sentinel | “Supergirl”

Although the Sara Lance-fronted Legends of Tomorrow hit screens earlier, Supergirl has made a name for itself by consistently putting the relationships between women first. Namely, the bond between sisters Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist), a.k.a. Supergirl herself, and Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh), an agent for the Department of Extranormal Operations (D.E.O.). In the first season, Alex fails to stay committed to romantic relationships with men, blaming her demanding job.

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Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers/Supergirl (left) and Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers. | Photo Courtesy: The CW/IMDb

But, by the second season, Alex realizes something that scares her: she’s gay. In an incredible coming-out arc not often given to characters who aren’t teens, Alex comes out to Kara and others in her life. Supergirl, who hides her identity behind glasses and a reporter job, gets it in some ways: she’s constantly “coming out” as a Kryptonian to folks she cares about. Although not a one-to-one comparison, these narrative arcs strengthen the sisters’ bond even more. Not to mention, Alex gets some of the show’s best romances — all while kicking a– and taking names.

Loki | “Thor” Series, “Avengers” Series, “Loki”

Loki’s perhaps best known for his shapeshifting abilities, which allow him to take on both masculine and feminine forms. In 2014, Marvel writer Al Ewing posted on Tumblr about Loki’s sexuality and gender identity. “Loki is bi,” Ewing wrote, “and I’ll be touching on that. He’ll shift between genders occasionally as well.” Confirmed: Thor’s brother is both gender fluid and bisexual.*

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In the comics, Loki explains how Asgardians don’t adhere to the same heteronormative standards humans contend with on Earth, stating, “There are sexual acts. That’s it.” In terms of Loki’s gender identity, his father, Odin, calls him “my child who is both son and daughter.” Recently, news leaked that some of Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) queer identity will be expressed onscreen in Disney+’s upcoming Loki series. In a trailer, fans spotted the fact that Loki’s file of personal information stated that his sex was denoted as “Fluid,” thus confirming that the MCU’s Loki is genderfluid, too. 

*Note: Some sources state that Loki is pansexual, not bisexual.

John Constantine | “Legends of Tomorrow”

John Constantine (Matt Ryan), the warlock-detective, has made several appearances on film and TV. (We all remember the Keanu Reeves movie, right?) Since a ’90s-era run in the comics where he mentions having both ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends, Constantine has been canonically bisexual. It’s just taken a while to get that representation onscreen — and made more explicit than an offhand remark. Luckily, fans can thank CW’s Arrowverse — yet again.

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On a 2018 episode of Legends of Tomorrow, Constantine crops up on the time-traveling Waverider ship and openly flirts with various members of the team. Peter Nagy, writing for the Atlantic, notes that throughout the episode Constantine continually asks both men and women to light his cigarette, “calling to mind the old Hollywood trick of using shared cigarettes as an indirect way of suggesting physical intimacy. The message: Man or woman, past or present, this Earth or another, bisexual, gay, or straight — anyone can get Constantine fired up.”

Korra | “The Legend of Korra,” Graphic Novels: “Turf Wars” & “Ruins of the Empire”

Although she doesn’t wear a cape and tights, Korra, from the Avatar: The Last Airbender spinoff The Legend of Korra, definitely has super abilities. She saves the world — well, both the Spirit World and the physical world; she can bend, or control, the elements of fire, water, air and earth; and her eyes go all glowy when she harnesses what’s known as the “Avatar State.” Needless to say, she’s at least superhero adjacent.

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Korra‘s series finale was also a landmark moment for children’s television — and television in general. Despite her on-again/off-again romance with the headstrong Mako, Korra begins to develop romantic feelings for her then-friend Asami Sato during the last few seasons. At the time, fans thought the romantic tension was just subtext that wouldn’t go anywhere. But, in the last few moments of the show, the pair clasp hands and embark on a new journey together — just the two of them. Subsequent comics have gone on to flesh out the pair’s queer romance and Korra’s bisexuality. 

Trini a.k.a. the Yellow Ranger | “Power Rangers” (2017)

The 2017 reboot of Power Rangers, which starred Elizabeth Banks as the villainous Rita Repulsa, didn’t quite get the positive reception producers were aiming for. Rotten Tomatoes’ aggregate review consensus says the film has “neither the campy fun of its predecessor nor the blockbuster action of its cinematic superhero competitors.” Nonetheless, Power Rangers did try for some LGBTQ+ representation, which was more than Marvel could say at the time.

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Despite headlines heralding Power Rangers as the first mainstream film to feature a gay superhero, the queer moment was small — but still a good step. While hanging out with her Ranger pals, Trini (the Yellow Ranger played by Becky G) says she doesn’t want her family involved in her relationships. “Boyfriend problems?” one of her friends asks, and, when she doesn’t quite answer, he asks, “Girlfriend problems?” Trini says she’s never talked about her identity before and, while the moment’s short, it certainly feels genuine for this (super-powered) teen.

Canonically Queer Characters Who Shouldn’t Be “Straight-washed” for the Screen

Comic books are known for exploring multi-verses and alternative timelines, for being remade time and again. Although different iterations of fan-favorite characters exist, it’s always exciting to see a character rebooted in an effort to represent a marginalized or underrepresented group. For the most part, characters — like folks in our very own world — are often presumed straight and cis until it’s explicitly stated otherwise.

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The following characters are ones who, like John Constantine, have, in some iteration, been written as queer. Unlike Constantine, however, these characters are still being “straight-washed” for film and TV adaptations — meaning their queerness is erased, or not spoken of at all. In short, we’d love to see some of these already-established characters represent the LGBTQ+ community in future live-action (and animated) media.

Okoye & Ayo | “Blank Panther,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”

In the same way Valkyrie’s “bisexual moment” ended up on the cutting room floor of Thor: Ragnarok, a queer romance between Dora Milaje warrior Ayo (Florence Kasumba) and Dora Milaje general Okoye (Danai Gurira) was filmed for, but later cut from, Black Panther. Of course, film audiences will remember that Okoye is romantically linked to a man named W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya).

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However, in World of Wakanda, Ayo falls in love with Aneka, the (on-page) general of the Dora Milaje. For Black Panther, Okoye is, in a sense, a combination of her character and Aneka’s. According to Vanity Fair‘s Joanna Robinson, filmmakers cut a flirtatious scene between Ayo and her onscreen general, Okoye. Here’s hoping that future Marvel films provide queer Black folks with the representation they deserve, with these characters and others.

Harley Quinn | “Birds of Prey,” “Suicide Squad”

Harley Quinn isn’t exactly a hero — although Suicide Squad (2016) may’ve angled for that argument. Nonetheless, she’s still one of the most beloved DC Comics characters. Harley really owns who she is, which is admirable; in Cathy Yan’s incredible Birds of Prey (2020), viewers saw Harley (Margot Robbie) ditching the ever-abusive Joker in favor of flexing her own agency and realizing her self worth. 

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In a recent run of comics, Harley is partnered up with Gotham’s most notorious environmentalist, Poison Ivy. Ivy didn’t appear in Birds of Prey, and, unfortunately, Harley’s canonical bisexuality wasn’t really established on the big screen in certain terms — at least not yet. (Though this color scheme really screams bi pride to us — just saying.) 

But in the same way queer people don’t need to “prove” their sexuality, Harley doesn’t need to step out with anyone, regardless of their gender, to establish her bisexuality on-screen. We’re just hoping future films let its queer lead own all of who she is — and Robbie is right there with us. This summer, Robbie will reprise her role in James Gunn’s Suicide Squad (2021). 

Also, special shout to Birds of Prey‘s Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez). Although she didn’t take on her superhero role in the film, she was an openly lesbian character. Long story short, we hope to see her become queer superhero Question in a future film.

Hercules | (Hopefully in) “Eternals” (2021)

Marvel hasn’t given up too many details when it comes to Chloé Zhao’s upcoming Eternals film, which will surely help crack open the newest phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) post-Avengers: Engame. However, there are rumors that the film will star Hercules, the immortal strongman from Greek mythology and long-standing Marvel hero.

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While most of the cast has been announced, there doesn’t seem to be a listing for Hercules. Nonetheless, Marvel did put out a casting call for Eternals specifying their search for an openly gay actor. Later, it was confirmed that another hero, Phastos, would be the MCU’s first openly gay big-screen superhero. Still, fans who are familiar with Hercules’ canonical bisexuality — which includes an alternate timeline high-profile relationship with X-Men‘s Wolverine — are still hoping for Hercules’ inclusion in the film, too. 

Wonder Woman — or Any of the Amazons | “Wonder Woman,” “Justice League,” Wonder Woman: 1984″

Since her debut in the 1940s, Diana, a.k.a. Wonder Woman, has been associated with feminism, agency and empowerment. She grew up on Themyscira, an island paradise inhabited only by women — the fearless Amazon warriors. Since there aren’t any cis men on Themyscira, there are undoubtedly queer relationships, and it would be great to see some of that on the big screen.

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As for Diana herself, her creator, Professor William Moulton Marston, was himself in a polyamorous relationship with his wife, Elizabeth Holloway Marston, and their partner, Olive Byrneboth. Famously, he drew on both of these women for inspiration when creating Diana. After the professor passed, Elizabeth and Olive remained together. Needless to say, Diana was inspired by queer women. Moreover, recent comic book adaptations have put her bisexuality front and center.

Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool | “Deadpool”

Although Deadpool is one of Marvel’s most beloved characters, he technically hasn’t shown up in the MCU yet. But thanks to Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox — now 20th Century Studios — we might see Deadpool and some of the X-Men crop up in future MCU films. And while Fox was pretty open with introducing a queer romance between Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio, they didn’t quite commit when it came to Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) himself.

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In the comics, the fourth wall-breaking mercenary is attracted to a variety of folks — and certainly doesn’t pay a ton of attention to the gender binary. Marvel writer Gerry Duggan said Deadpool is “ready and willing to do anything with a pulse.” Although Duggan is trying to point out the character’s canonical pansexuality, this quote underscores part of the problem. In the films, Deadpool’s queerness is alluded to only in jest — or regarded as just another zany quirk. Here’s hoping filmmakers do right by both the character and his fans in the future.

Midnighter | “Midnighter,” Wildstorm Universe

Midnighter would probably describe himself as more of a super soldier than a superhero as he’s known to go a bit rogue as a member of the team The Authority. Logo has hailed Midnighter as “a gay vigilante who makes Batman look like a pacifist.” Despite being the epitome of a tough-as-nails “masculine” character, Midnighter subverts that paradigm — and its toxicity — by queering it.

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Married to fellow Authority teammate Apollo, Midnighter and his partner even have an adopted daughter together. Steve Orlando, a bisexual writer who helmed the Midnighter series, stated in an interview with Newsarama that, “People were given a queer icon that they deserved, and they connected with him.” This GLAAD Media Award-nominated series clearly needs a silver screen adaptation — pronto.

Carol Danvers a.k.a. Captain Marvel | “Captain Marvel,” “Avengers: Endgame”

In the wonderful wide web that is Marvel, several characters have taken up the mantle of “Captain Marvel.” The MCU has chosen to focus on the Captain Marvel that is Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), a canonically straight character. Other iterations, however, see Phyla-Vell — the artificially created daughter of Carol’s mentor Mar-Vell — take on the code name.

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An essential part of Phyla’s arc is her tragic queer love story with Heather Douglas (a.k.a. Moondragon). While the filmmakers may choose to keep Carol and Phyla’s characters separate, they have been known to take some creative liberties in the past, including casting Mar-Vell — originally a Kree man — as a Kree woman (Annette Bening). Who’s to say they wouldn’t pull from various Captain Marvels to create the MCU Carol Danvers? 

Also, as we mentioned earlier, Thor: Love & Thunder‘s Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) is looking for a queen — just sayin’.

Raven Darkholme a.k.a. Mystique | “X-Men” Series

Raven Darkholme, better known by her alias Mystique, is a mutant with the ability to shapeshift. She’s been portrayed by two actors now — Rebecca Romijn and Jennifer Lawrence — in various film adaptations of the X-Men series. Sometimes a hero, sometimes a villain, and most often an anti-hero, Mystique made her debut in Ms. Marvel before becoming the perpetual thorn in the X-Men’s side.

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Photo Courtesy: 20th Century Fox/IMDb; @CBR/Twitter

In X-Men: First Class, viewers learn of Mystique’s movie backstory — that she grew up with Charles Xavier, a.k.a. Professor X. But, in the comics, her origins go back much, much further and involve a relationship with Irene Alder, or Destiny, a mutant who can see the future. 

At the time, creator Chris Claremont wanted to explicitly show that Mystique and Destiny were lovers, but the comic code didn’t allow for the portrayal of same-sex couples. Only time — and Destiny — will tell if a queer Mystique will appear on the silver screen.

America Chavez a.k.a. Miss America | “America,” “Young Avengers,” “A-Force,” “West Coast Avengers”

A member of the West Coast Avengers, A-Force and more, America Chavez is also Marvel’s first Latinx LGBTQ+ character to star in an ongoing series. Raised by her mothers in the Utopian Parallel, a reality that exists outside of time, America possesses super strength, the ability to fly and the uncanny talent of being able to kick open holes in reality, making multiverse travel a cinch.

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While seeing her powers on the big screen would be incredible, Miss America also offers much-needed representation as a queer Latinx woman. Currently, Xochitl Gomez (The Baby-Sitters Club) is set to play America for her big-screen debut in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) — and we couldn’t be more excited. 

Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman | “X-Men” Series

When X-Men debuted in 1963, Bobby Drake — better known as Iceman — was one of the founding members of the mutant team. For decades, readers and critics alike have noted the parallels between mutants and the LGBTQ+ community. Unlike other Marvel superheroes, who are often suddenly transformed into powerful beings, mutants are born with their powers and struggle with being accepted by society, “cured” of their innate abilities, or even hunted down.

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Needless to say, there were huge reactions when the news broke in 2015 that Iceman would come out in All-New X-Men #40. Thanks to the wonders of time travel, a young Iceman confronts his repressed adult self, who admits that he couldn’t cope with being gay and a mutant at the same time. In the future, we’d love to see filmmakers nix the love triangle mess between Rogue, Shadowcat and Iceman and instead portray this out version of the character.

William “Billy” Kaplan a.k.a. Wiccan & Theodore “Teddy” Altman a.k.a. Hulkling | “WandaVision,” “Young Avengers,” “New Avengers”

Son of Avengers teammates Scarlet Witch and Vision, Wiccan is a Young Avenger with magical abilities. His teammate, Hulkling, is, of course, based on Hulk, with his shapeshifting abilities allowing him to mimic Marvel’s infamous green monster. Although the two were portrayed as close friends at first, readers began writing in to Young Avengers writers; some fans were excited about the idea of the two being romantically linked, while others were against the portrayal of gay superheroes.

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Photo Courtesy: @SciFine/Twitter; Wikimedia Commons

Allan Heinberg confirmed that writers intended to reveal the pairs’ romantic connection in issue #12, and was surprised that readers made the connection so quickly. In Young Avengers Special, the two heroes are asked if the rumors about their romance are true, to which Hulkling replies, “Why should Northstar have all the fun?” With Wiccan debuting in the Disney+ show WandaVision, it would make sense if two of Marvel’s most prominent gay superheroes made it to the big (and little) screen as their teen selves soon.

Jean-Paul Beaubier a.k.a. Northstar | “Alpha Flight,” “X-Men” Series

Northstar first appeared in X-Men #120 as a member of the Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight. As a mutant, Northstar has some uncanny traits, such as superhuman speed, flight and the ability to project photonic energy blasts. But, outside of his incredible powers, Northstar made a name for himself as one of the first openly gay superheroes in American comic books.

Photo Courtesy: @DailyXMenFacts/Twitter

He was certainly the first openly gay character in any Marvel Comics book and, in June of 2012, he continued to make history when he married his husband, Kyle Jinadu, in Astonishing X-Men #51. This issue marked the first depiction of a same-sex wedding in mainstream comics. Northstar paved the way for other queer superheroes and more than deserves a silver screen debut.

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