Popular media is making teensy tiny strides in queer representation, but it’s still light years behind where it should be. One of the many issues in today’s portrayal of LGBTQ+ people in media is that their stories are often tragic. Queer characters may exist in a universe, but in all likelihood their relationships, if they’re lucky enough to initiate them, will fail, and they themselves may very well die or disappear.
The ubiquity of this trope occurred to me recently when I was listening to Part 2 of Welcome to Night Vale’s 2nd Anniversary episode. As part of the conclusion of the episode, which wrapped up the recent Strexcorp invasion storyline, everyone and everything that wasn’t from Night Vale was ejected from the town. Unfortunately, this included Carlos, Cecil’s boyfriend, who’s now trapped in an alternate dimension. Their relationship has mostly been smooth sailing up to this point, and I can’t fault the WtNV writers for introducing some new conflict into the storyline now that Strex is gone and a mayor has been elected. But still, I was kind of sad because Cecil and Carlos’s problem-free relationship, while somewhat unrealistic for any humans, queer or not, was a safe space of angst-free queer love. I certainly haven’t found anything like that in other media; in other media being queer is apparently the equivalent of using a black cat to break a mirror underneath a ladder on Friday the 13th.
We all remember DC Wedding-gate, right? When DC’s editorial department decided that Batwoman and her girlfriend Maggie couldn’t get married out of some misguided belief that marriage makes characters boring? When they seemed to believe that forbidding a same-sex marriage had the same weight as forbidding a straight one, and their Eisner-winning creative team walked off the project, citing irreconcilable creative differences? I stuck with the series for a while after that out of a desire to not be unsupportive of DC’s only queer headliner, but it finally broke me. I dropped the ongoing comic a few months ago as the storytelling drooped from fascinating down to mediocre and episodic.
Just recently, however, my birthday rolled around, and I found myself missing Kate Kane. It being my birthday and all, I decided it was time to treat myself: I bought Batwoman: Elegy.