One of my first articles with Lady Geek Girl and Friends focused on the announcement that Alan Scott, the first Green Lantern, would be gay in the New 52 comic series.
At the time, I thought it was a ploy by DC Comics to make money off the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a thought that I still have to an extent. While Alan Scott has been a strong character, I felt that the reveal that Scott is gay, when in the main universe he has a wife, was wrong. I felt it would’ve been better to have a new Green Lantern come out from the beginning, so all the pieces on that Green Lantern would be consistent. It’s a general problem I have with New 52.
I also hoped that there would be a wave of new characters living more diverse lifestyles, especially transgender characters.
And, yes, I am aware of SheZow, but I’m discussing comic books right now. SheZow will be tackled once I can find more episodes of the show.
Discussion of transgender characters has always been a hot topic. I know people who support gays and lesbians but are still uncomfortable about the idea of someone living their life as a different gender than that which they were assigned at birth.
For those who identify as transgender, especially in comics, there aren’t many role models out there. In the new Batgirl series, there is Alysia Yeoh. In Sandman, there is Wanda, and in Matt Fraction’s run with FF, there’s Tong. That’s pretty much it.
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me that these particular comics are the ones with inclusion. Friend of the LGG Gail Simone, who writes the Batgirl series, has been very vocal regarding equality for all. Sandman writer Neil Gaiman has also been vocal about equality, and Fraction had an AMA that touched on discussions of transgender characters.
So it comes as a shock to me that, despite some of the more avant-garde comic writers taking steps to make sure that transgender characters are represented in comics, none of the main comic series have jumped on board.
Let’s be honest here: even though Simone has made waves in comics lately, she’s still on the outside. Comic books are written, generally, by white men. And the view that superheroes need to be strong, white, straight men is still alive and well. Simone and Gaiman, among others, simply do not have enough pull at present to get the stink of the past off comic books.
Someone may ask “so how would a transgender superhero work anyway?” Probably the same way any superhero works. Don’t ask stupid questions.
There is no reason that a transgender character would be at any disadvantage solely because the character is transgender. In fact, comic book writers could quash that concept by having a strong, smart transgender superhero. The character would have the same flaws that, really, all superheroes have.
But it won’t happen, because comic book companies are, if nothing else, scared children.
Think I’m wrong, DC and Marvel? Prove it.