If one isn’t looking beyond comic book icons like Batman, Superman and Spider-Man, they might miss out on a ton of diversity and incredible characters among superheroes. While the actors and actresses who portray them generally aren’t LGBTQ themselves, today there many LGBTQ superheroes that you probably didn’t even know existed. Read on and discover which characters are out and proud.
Aquaman has just stepped out of the water closet. Not the movie version featuring Jason Momoa, but rather, Aquaman as we know him on Cartoon Network’s Young Justice: Outsiders. The move in this direction has actually been seasons in the making.
The big reveal occurred on the episode entitled “Quiet Conversations”. We see Aquaman fall into a heavy makeout session with Wyynde, a character on Orin’s court. The move was groundbreaking, and caused a massive media response. One person tweeted, “Young Justice beat the Marvel Cinematic Universe for having a gay male superhero?!? And he’s the flippin’ leader of the Justice League!?! Hooray!!!”
2. Harley Quinn
The masses were first introduced to Harley Quinn on Batman: The Animated Series. She was presented as both Joker’s henchwoman and his romantic partner. Later in the series, she developed a friendship with Poison Ivy. For years, it appeared to be nothing more than friendship, but this wasn’t the case.
It was revealed in 2015 by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, Harley Quinn’s writers, that there was more going on behind the scenes between the two. However, we wouldn’t see any sign of that — until Ivy and Harley shared a romantic kiss in the comic Harley Quinn #25. The 2020 film Birds of Prey also gave us a look at Harley’s ex-girlfriend.
The CW broke new grounds when they premiered Batwoman. It’s the first superhero television show to ever feature an openly gay female lead. Many will be shocked to find out that this landmark television event only happened for the first time in 2019.
This was a major win for the comic book industry, as they’ve been pushing for more diversity since the early 1990s. Sadly, for a long time public opinion has kept them from making greater strides for inclusivity. With characters like Batwoman, we’re finally seeing superheroes and comic book culture reach its full potential. Looks like someone is finally going to give Batman a run for his money.
Fans of the movies might not know of Wade Wilson’s pansexuality, but this is nothing new for fans of the comic book series. Gerry Duggan, the writer of Deadpool, has stated that the character would be with anyone with a pulse.
While the movies didn’t hold back in terms of his sadistic behavior or sense of humor, we have yet to see his pansexuality portrayed outright on the big screen. Glimpses of it come in the form of his flirtatious comments with other men, even as he has a girlfriend. With the recent merger between Fox and Disney, one can only guess whether fans might see this side of him anytime soon.
5. Poison Ivy
When it came to Poison Ivy’s friendship with Harley Quinn on Batman: The Animated Series, she seemed more like the responsible friend trying to keep her wild counterpart out of trouble. Most would have never suspected anything but friendship from the two. Heck, she even had mild interest in Robin in 1997’s Batman & Robin.
However, in 2017, fans were treated to an onscreen kiss between Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, which pretty much confirmed any whispering as to whether that the two have been in a relationship. We also saw how heartbroken Harley was when Poison Ivy passed away in the DC miniseries Heroes of Crisis. Thankfully, she’d had herself cloned — and so her vines can continue to ensnare and tangle.
2017’s Thor: Ragnarok introduced us to a slew of new superheroes and one of those just happened to be another figure plucked from Norse mythology, Valkyrie. She was tough as nails, truly a force to be reckoned with. For viewers who hadn’t read the comics, her presence came as a revelation. Little did they know about this character’s history of standing out.
Valkyrie is also a bisexual, as had been shown in the comics throughout the years. Unfortunately, this is something that Disney studios decided to cut from the movie. However, if we’re lucky, maybe we’ll get to see this side of her in the planned 2021 Thor sequel. Sadly, you won’t be seeing her in any modern-day comics, as the character was written out of the story.
7. Leo Snart
Bringing things back to Arrowverse, one wouldn’t usually believe Leo Snart to be gay, and in our modern timeline, he isn’t. That said, DC comics commonly delve into alternate universes and timelines. That’s exactly how Leo Snart’s homosexuality pops into the scene.
Earth-X is an alternate timeline where Nazis won World War II and took over the world. In the CW crossover special Crisis on Earth-X, we are treated to our heroes going into that alternate timeline. They are freed from a concentration camp, and it’s revealed that Leo Snart, known in that universe as Citizen Cold, was tragically incarcerated there in the first place simply for being gay.
8. The Ray
Going back to CW’s crossover special Crisis on Earth-X, we find out that the reason Leo Snart is in a concentration camp is because of a love affair he was having with The Ray. On season four of The Flash, fans are again treated to the chance to know more about the Earth-X version of Leo Snart.
It seemed that after The Flash and other heroes foiled the plans of the Nazi regime, things went back to normal, as Leo announced that he and The Ray were getting married. That’s the last anyone has heard about the two heroes, but seeing as the series is still popping out seasons, nobody should be surprised if the two reappear.
9. Mr. Terrific
Nobody had to find out that Mr. Terrific was gay, as he was perfectly open about it since his very first appearance of the CW’s Arrow. When he first came on the scene, he wasn’t a hero at all. He was called Curtis Holt, a hacker who preferred desk work over actually going out and fighting some crime.
He was usually helping the team with hacks and communicating with them while they were out on their adventure. However, that all changed as the series pushed forward. In the fifth season, Holt was attacked by a group of thugs, and this was the catalyst that saw him propelled into taking on the task of doing some more hands-on work.
CW’s Supergirl really did its part for the LGBTQ community when they introduced the world to Nia Nal, a.k.a. Dreamer. She made history by being television’s first transgender superhero. She isn’t only a trans woman, however. Her identity is even more unique: she’s also a hybrid between a human and an alien race. After her mother passes away, she inherits her power and becomes a superhero.
One of the twists in the show was that this alien race was only able to transfer their power to their daughters. In the beginning, this confused Nia, as she was born a biological male. This caused a lot of ugliness between her and her sister Maeve, who felt jealous of Nia for getting her mother’s abilities.
Back when Fox was in a partnership with Marvel, they were able to release a few memorable and particularly cutting-edge superhero films. One can look at the X-Men films as a perfect example of that. While the series was uneven in terms of quality, they did some groundbreaking things.
Before Disney bought out Fox and decided to take on a more cartoonish feel with the Marvel films, Fox managed an amazing accomplishment — and that was to introduce us to the first same-sex couple made up of Marvel superheroes. One half of that relationship is Yukio. This LGBTQ heroine doesn’t only have amazing hand-to-hand and weapon combat skills, but a strong intellect to match.
12. Negasonic Teenage Warhead
Marvel fans first learned about Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio’s relationship when the prior made an appearance as the only X-Men representative in the Deadpool series. It was there that she mentioned that she was in a relationship with the young mutant we know as Yukio.
The audience doesn’t really get to see any strong interactions between the two, though Yukio does show up later to help save the life of Colossus and put an end to Juggernaut and his evil plans. One has to wonder if we’ll ever get to see the relationship between these two bloom on the big screen.
13. The Green Lantern
The Green Lantern isn’t one man. Many different characters have worn the iconic suit throughout the years. That said, the original Green Lantern who first kicked and punched his way through the comic book pages back in 1940 was called Alan Scott. His story was recently revamped in 2011.
Originally, he took on a life of crime-fighting as a means of avenging his fallen business associate. However, this idea was scrapped, and now, his main motivation for fighting crime is to avenge Sam Zhao, his dead boyfriend. Time would later reveal that Sam didn’t actually pass on, but only lost his memory and became an air elemental.
When it comes to superheroes in the Marvel Universe, it’s likely that Loki is the first ever pansexual or genderfluid hero. With a character plucked right out of Norse mythology, he has the ability to shape shift and become a woman, man, or even animal.
In the comics, it isn’t rare to see him transform into a woman, and as such, share a kiss with another man. He even at one point turns into a mare, gets pregnant, and births a bunch of superbabies. Since the character of Loki is currently set to get his own show starring Tom Hiddleston, we hope that we can see a representation of him in the future that further explores his identity.
If you base Mystique’s character off the way she is portrayed in the X-Men movies alone, you’d see her as a female cisgender hero and nothing more. That said, in the comics, she has been bisexual since 1981. Since her first appearance, there has been a little more than just friendship going on with her partner Destiny.
That said, this aspect of Mystique’s persona was something that the movies refused to touch on. In the comic, she and Destiny can be seen dancing with one another, and are even described outright as lovers by the Shadow King. It is nothing short of sad that the movie industry has robbed one the most popular X-Men characters of something that’s a huge part of their identity.
16. Wonder Woman
In the years that followed Wonder Woman’s debut on the comic book scene, she has become an icon for the LGBTQ community. However, when it came down to Wonder Woman herself, we only ever got hints as to whether or not she herself was part of the community.
When it came to outright romance, she was usually placed together with a man, particularly in the earlier days of the comics. She came from an all-female Amazonian society, and comics always hinted at romance in her past. With time, all the hints turned into statements, as Wonder Woman’s head writers announced that she is indeed bisexual.
Before 2018, Shatterstar’s character had been seen strictly in the comic books. However, that all changed when the superhero showed up on screen in Deadpool 2. He was instantly beloved by the masses, though sadly he didn’t make it through to the end of the film.
While the character was originally thought to be asexual in the comic books, it was later stated by his writer to in fact be a cover-up for his bisexuality. Unfortunately, it seems as though there is very little chance that we will see this character pop up again. However, there is the option of alternate universe versions of Shatterstar. The masses will just need to wait and see.
While Black Panther was a seminal film, critics and fans alike couldn’t help but feel disappointed by how Okoye’s character had been portrayed. If you look back to Yona Harvey’s World of Wakanda comics, she is gay. As the story goes, this tidbit was supposed to be put into the film, but it got ripped out at the last moment.
Vanity Fair described the deleted scene, saying, “We see Okoye and Ayo swaying rhythmically back in formation with the rest of their team. Okoye eyes Ayo flirtatiously for a long time as the camera pans in on them. Eventually, she says, appreciatively and appraisingly, ‘You look good.’ Ayo responds in kind. Okoye grins and replies, ‘I know.’” Imagine how revolutionary this representation could have been.
19. Carol Danvers
Anyone who watched 2019’s Captain Marvel will immediately recall the closeness between best friends Maria Rambeau and Carol Danvers. While there is nothing written about her being gay or bisexual, the nature of the friendship between these two hints at something more throughout the film.
Amid fans and critics alike, there has been talk of the possibility of a relationship between the two. Actress Brie Larson herself said that she is all in favor of Marvel moving more in that direction and shining more light on representatives from the LGBTQ community. The legions of fans have posted their own artworks of the two characters together in a relationship. Larson has even retweeted some of these on her Twitter.
20. Sara Lance, a.k.a. the Canary
When it comes to the CW’s Arrowverse, Sara Lance has pretty much been there since the beginning. It’s on that first season that it’s revealed that Sara and Oliver Queen are lovers. However, once he is written off the show, we later see her enter into a same-sex relationship with Nyssa Al Gul.
Since then we have seen Sara take on both male and female lovers. She has since become a full time character on Legends of Tomorrow. As of where she stands currently, Sara is in a relationship with Ava Sharpe, a Time Bureau contact and a genetically engineered clone from the 23rd century.
21. Tank Girl
When it comes to the late 1980s and early 1990s, no comic book character represents the madness of the era quite as well as Tank Girl. While she made her debut in 1988, it was really the 1995 movie that introduced her on a far larger scale.
Since then, she has become an icon for the LGBTQ community, especially in the United Kingdom. There are even Tank Girl-themed lesbian nights in London. That said, the character herself was a mystery for many years, as her orientation was never touched upon. That said, one more recent note, Tank Girl’s creator finally released a statement saying that the character is bisexual.
22. America Chavez
America Chavez has broken ground as the first LGBTQ person of color in a Marvel comic book. She is a lesbian who was raised by a gay couple and is arguably stronger and more useful than Superman. She made her first appearance in a 2011 issue of Vengeance, but quickly got her own series called America in 2017.
Not only does she possess copious amounts of strength, but she can also fly and run at super speed. While many would say that she has nothing on Superman, Chavez has the additional ability of being able to travel between dimensions and go back in time. Talk about a power house!
It goes without saying that Northstar isn’t the most popular superhero in the Marvel and DC sphere. He has never even been written into any of the X-Men films. That said, the character broke ground in 1992 when he came out — and became the first openly gay superhero.
The character actually came out right there in the comic and caused a media storm within the story. That wasn’t the last time he’d make history. In 2011, when same-sex marriage became legal in New York state, Northstar got married to his partner Kyle. You can read the comic book for yourself to experience this exciting moment — it can be found in X-Men #52.
24. The Question
Much like Harley Quinn, Batman fans were first introduced to this character in the FOX Kids cartoon show Batman: The Animated Series. However, she wasn’t known as The Question at that point, but just a Gotham City detective. It was much later that her character actually developed into a superhero.
It was in 2002, that her character developed into The Question. With the passing of her girlfriend Daria, she becomes fed up with the corruption in the Gotham police force and decides to fight crime on her terms. Her character was finally introduced to the big screen in 2020 in Birds of Prey.
25. John Constantine
Fans of 2005’s Constantine starring Keanu Reeves, or the 2014 TV series starring Matt Ryan, would have never known that the superhero is bisexual. That said, for comic book fans, John Constantine’s identity is actually nothing new. His preferences were first mentioned way back in 1992’s Hellblazer #51.
The line that gave it away was Constantine’s narration, which read, “Girlfriends, the odd boyfriend…They all have the nasty habit of walking out on me.” Given the time period, it unfortunately wasn’t met with the best response by fans of the comic. But Constantine had finally come out of the shadows with his bisexuality. When the character joined CW’s Arrowverse, they worked it into the story, portraying him with both male and female romantic partners.
This story was originally published on DirectExpose: Out and Powerful: Superhero Characters You Never Knew Were Openly LGBTQ
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