20 superheroes you probably didn’t know were LGBT
The thought of having a power that would make you totally badass is almost unimaginable, but the wonderful illustrators working around the world have crafted superhero characters who can do just that.
Superheroes are an important concept, especially for young people, to feel represented.
Now, we see superheroes of all races, with disabilities and those who identify as LGBT.
The Marvel and DC universes are increasingly working to ensure representation in their comics, but there are some existing characters who you may not have realised already identify in the LGBT spectrum.
Here are some of our favourite superheroes who you might not have known were LGBT:
Batwoman hails from the 1950s and in that time she has come a long way from being the girlfriend of Batman.
The sexuality of the caped crusader was revealed after she was kicked out of the military (as Kate Kane) under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell clause.
Now, she is the ultimate lesbian power mom as she trains the young up and coming superheroes in the Detective Comics.
Like America Chavez, Iceman and The Ray, the Batwoman team also has queer writers and contributors: Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion.
Chalice is one of the few transgender superheroes created by AfterShock Comics.
The series has been criticised for its lack of trans writers and the heavy focus on the character’s struggle with coming out.
However, the character has a strong fanbase as the inclusive storyline is like that not seen in the bigger comic companies like Marvel or DC.
3. Green Lantern
Green Lantern in an interstellar travelling, energy creating, super strength wielding evil fighter who first appeared in DC in 2940.
Using his magic ring which gives him extraordinary powers, the character was rewritten as openly gay in 2012.
He had tackled gay rights issues in 2001 in a storyline which won a GLAAD media award.
The X-Men character Iceman (both the adult and teenage version) came out as gay in 2015 and in the comics, the teenage character has explored his sexuality, often by going to a gay bar, where he received his first gay kiss.
The adult Iceman recently got his own series of comics making the character one of the first gay males in the Marvel universe to have an ongoing comic.
Queer writers and artists including Sina Grace, Kevin Wada and Alessandro Vitti have all worked on the groundbreaking series.
5. Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman writer Greg Rucka confirmed that the Amazonian heroine was “obviously” queer last year. However, fans were disappointed when it was revealed that her sexuality would not be explored in the film that came out this year.
Rucka explained that the leading woman of the DC Universe had been in same-sex relationships as she lived on the island of Themyscira, which is populated with only females.
“When you start to think about giving the concept of Themyscira its due, the answer is, ‘How can they not all be in same-sex relationships?’ Right?” he told Comicosity. “It makes no logical sense otherwise.”
“But an Amazon doesn’t look at another Amazon and say, ‘You’re gay.’ They don’t. The concept doesn’t exist. Now, are we saying Diana has been in love and had relationships with other women? The answer is obviously yes.”
6. America Chavez
America Chavez is a queer, Latina, Nazi-punching hero who has taken the Marvel spotlight for herself.
The queer teenager, who also has lesbian parents, debuted in the comic book world in 2011 but the character became so popular that she became centre stage of her own comic, “America”, earlier this year.
Writer Gabby Rivera, who is herself queer and Latina, described the character as “a foxy, badass, hard femme Latina who dates women and punches into other dimensions.”
The character draws inspiration from the likes of Beyoncé and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Rivera says she is probably strong enough to win a fight against The Rock. Although, the writer thinks Chavez and the Rock would probably end up being best friends rather than enemies.
Deadpool is the ultimate definition of pansexual. The character, who first appeared in the X-men comics, bends any which way in terms of preference.
The comic book version of the character was confirmed to be “not straight” in 2013 by writer Gerry Duggan. Responding to a fan question concerning Deadpool’s sexuality, Duggan said that the character would “…do anything with a pulse”.
In the 2016 film, The anti-hero was celebrated as pansexual by director Tim Miller. Ryan Reynolds, who played the character in the award-winning film, spoke about the character’s display of sexuality before it’s release.
He said: “There is some sexuality in this movie for sure. You kinda think you have moments when you’re shooting where you think, ‘This is, uh, a little excessive. This is a comic book movie. Are we gonna get away with this?’.”
8. Kim and Kim
Kim and Kim are a trans and queer intergalactic duo who were created by Magdalene Visaggio from Black Mask Studio.
The bounty hunters came into the world of comic books in 2016 and have been hailed for their queer-positive narrative.
Vissagio, who is herself trans, created the “fun, heartfelt and meaningful” story during her transition.
9. Captain America
While Captain America’s sexuality hasn’t been confirmed by any creators who work on the character, his fan base has petitioned endlessly for the superhero to have a boyfriend.
The Marvel superhero has long been loved by LGBT comic book community – with fans hoping he may fall for best friend Bucky Barnes or rival Tony Stark.
Captain America: Civil War sibling directing duo Joe and Anthony Russo have said that they remain hopeful that the Marvel universe will likely break the barrier at some point.
“I think the chances are strong,” Joe Russo said. “I mean, it’s incumbent upon us as storytellers who are making mass-appeal movies to make mass-appeal movies, and to diversify as much as possible.”
10. The Ray
The Ray is a news-reporter-turned-superhero who has been part of the DC Universe since 1940 however, he was recently revamped for the CW Seed’s Freedom Fighters.
Queer writer Steve Orlando, who also wrote Supergirl, Midnighter and Apollo, is responsible for The Ray’s revival.
The character has been gifted with light-based powers after a bomb failed to kill him.
11. Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy is one of the perfect examples of a complicated sexuality.
Some fans claim that her sexuality is down to her obsessive personality. For instance, her obsession with plants is similar to her obsession with Harley Quinn.
While she has had an on-off sexual flirtationship with her friend Harley Quinn, their relationship was officially confirmed earlier this year.
Extraño was born into the DC Universe in 1988 and is one of the most mainstream gay characters.
In the past, the hero called himself “Auntie”, is extra flamboyant in his wardrobe choices and has been involved in storylines with an AIDS vampire who infected him with HIV (yes, really).
However, the more modern Extraño has settled down with a husband and a child and is no longer the “token gay” of the comic series.
This heroine was introduced in 1940 and fans speculated about her sexuality for a long time, but in 2015 writer Genevieve Valentine confirmed that she was bisexual.
The nemesis and love interest of Batman met a woman who had who had taken over the Catwoman alter ego and they kissed.
Valentine wrote about the storyline and explained that the character had “flirted around” her sexuality for years.
“For me, this wasn’t a revelation so much as a confirmation,” she explained. “It’s no surprise to Selina that she has an attraction to a woman.”
Apollo is believed to be one of the few superheroes who was originally written as gay as he first appeared in the Stormwatch Comics in 1993.
The character is happily married to the Midnighter, who he adopted a daughter within the series.
He is known for using solar energy as his weapon of choice and his powers are strength, healing, energy projection and heat vision.
Mystique is undeniably one of the most recognisable superheroes.
A product of the X-Men series, the blue-skinned, yellow-eyed character is fluid in their sexuality and gender.
While this is largely assumed because of their status as a shapeshifter, they also have two children with their partner Destiny who has converted from a villainous upbringing.
Gay Wolverine actually exists in an alternate X-Men universe but we feel like he should still make the list.
In X-Treme X-Men, suggestions of gay romance for Wolverine were hinted at but in issue number 10 the heroes true emotions were revealed.
Wolverine embraced the demigod Hercules after they confess their love for each other and share a passionate kiss in a move that was celebrated by LGBT fans.
Karma is yet another character who appeared in the X-Men series and she has been consistently portrayed as a lesbian.
Unlike a lot of superheroes who’s sexuality and gender are toyed with by writers, Karma is sure of what she wants.
So much so that her power is to possess any mind and once she is in there is no way to get rid of her until she has what she wants.
18. Harley Quinn
While Harley Quinn’s most recognised relationship is with the Batman villain, the Joker, her sexuality extends much farther.
The bisexual villain is dating her good friend Poison Ivy, but she has also been known to flirt with other female characters.
19. The Question
We’re not quite talking about the original The Question but before the original character was killed off he acted as a mentor to Gotham City Police Detective Renee Montoya.
The lesbian officer quickly takes on the role of The Question to defeat villains in Gotham using martial arts and detective skills.
She’s certainly not the most famous character, but she definitely deserves recognition for the smooth and carefree transition that DC made to have a lesbian woman take the role of a straight male.
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This character has to be one of our favourites as their bone marrow can literally produce shards of diamond which are expelled from her body as weapons which are probably the most glamorous attack ever.
The superhero first appeared in a 2005 issue of X-Men where she attended the Xavier Institue.
While she is a member of the training squad, her bisexual status is revealed as she crushed on both fellow female students and a male instructor.