A boy with two dads had a heartwarming reaction to Russell Tovey’s gay superhero
Russell Tovey has opened up about playing TV’s first gay superhero in his own series.
Tovey made his debut last month as The Ray, a superhero who has the ability to manipulate light who dwells on an alternate Earth where Nazis won World War II.
In the DC superhero miniseries ‘Crisis on Earth-X’ – which aired across The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow – the character made an appearance, romancing and kissing Wentworth Miller’s character Captain Cold.
Speaking to the New York Times, Tovey shared an amazing message he received from a family who watched the show together.
Tovey said: “Someone sent me a message… they are gay parents.
“Their son was watching the show and ran in to them and said, ‘There are two superheroes who do what you do’, when they kissed each other.
“He was so happy about it. So many people have been so supportive of seeing two superheroes who are gay played by two actors who are out.
“It seems like it became a bit of a moment. I couldn’t be prouder to be one half of that moment.”
The character will be making the transition from live-action to animation for upcoming TV show Freedom Fighters: The Ray, which is launching on CW Seed.
Tovey said the role is a dream come true, saying: “Growing up, I always wanted to be a superhero. That’s always been something I astral projected.
“So when this came up, it was an easy yes — especially for what the character stood for. It magnified my excitement in portraying him.”
He added: “Most of my acting mates — everyone wants to play a superhero. It’s definitely one of the boxes you want to tick. It feels wonderful to be ticking that box in a big way and with a big, pink triangle.”
Of the character’s sexuality, he added: “I’m just so happy that it’s out in the world.
“On prime time TV, you’ve got two superheroes that are gay kissing and who are played by gay actors — hopefully one day that will be normal.
“I want the Ray to become someone that gay kids watching TV — who might feel a bit out there and not accepted or who don’t understand themselves — can relate to.”
Crisis on Earth X saw The Ray team up with superheroes to do battle with Nazis from an alternate universe where Hitler won World War Two.
Tovey’s character Raymond Terrill was pictured wearing a prison uniform complete with a pink triangle – a real-life symbol used by the Nazis to persecute gay people.
The thousands of gay men who were sent to concentration camps under Nazi rule were marked out with the pink triangle.
In DC comics canon, the character is as an ambitious reporter who discovers that government scientists were working on a secret project to transform light into a weapon of mass destruction.
It is during his investigation that Terrill is exposed to a genetic bomb.
Rather than killing him, the experience gives him the power to absorb light as energy, and create illusions by manipulating light rays.
In the first trailer for the show, The Ray and his fellow freedom fighters are seen protecting a group of refugees trying to flee Nazi-controlled Oklahoma.
According to The CW, “Raymond ‘Ray’ Terrill was a reporter who discovered a group of government scientists working on a secret project to turn light into a weapon of mass destruction.
“But before he could report on his findings, the project head exposed Ray to a ‘genetic light bomb’.
“The bomb failed to kill him and instead gifted Ray with light-based powers. With these abilities, Ray realized he could go beyond reporting on injustice – he could take action to help stop it.
“Calling himself The Ray, he was recruited by Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters to fight violence and oppression wherever it exists.”
The shared universe in which all the TV shows take place, known as the Arrowverse, has a number of other out characters – though The Ray will be the first to front his own show.
Caity Lotz plays the bisexual White Canary on Legends of Tomorrow, after a popular run on Arrow.
Lotz previously said it was “important” that the series remained true to her character’s sexuality.
She told Vulture: “That was a big, important thing for me, that she stays bisexual, and [the showrunners] were 100 percent game for that.
“I go to conventions, and I’ve had a lot of girls come up to me and say how much it’s meant to them to have a character representing them on TV, and I think the show does a really good job on that with Sara, where it’s not like, ‘Oh yeah … hot girls, making out’.
“There’s an actual relationship and love there. And Sara is bisexual, so she loves men, too. I think Sara just loves a person for who they are.”
Supergirl also has LGBT representation, with fan-favourite lesbian character Alex Danvers.
Supergirl’s adoptive older sister Alex, played by Chyler Leigh, had a relationship with police detective Maggie (Floriana Lima) on the show.
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Fans became obsessed with the pair, known by the ship name ‘Sanvers’.
Meanwhile comic book detective John Constantine is returning to the Arrowverse – and this time he might not be straightwashed.
Matt Ryan is reprising his role as Constantine for a one-off guest slot in DC’s superhero time travel series Legends of Tomorrow.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Legends of Tomorrow producer Phil Klemmer said: “As for Constantine, we knew that an alienated, chain-smoking, bisexual, world-weary demonologist would feel right at home among our Legends.”
The producers of the original Constantine TV show had insisted their variant of the character was not bisexual.