When Avengers: Infinity War comes out to the public this week, with its dozens of superheroes, the lack of LGBT representation will be painfully clear.

After all, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) contains precisely zero queer superheroes.



In fact, whenever the company has the chance to incorporate one of its many, many LGBT characters into a global blockbuster, it baulks at the opportunity.

(YouTube/Marvel Entertainment)
(Marvel)

This even means erasing scenes which reveal a queer character’s sexuality, as happened with Thor: Ragnarok‘s Valkyrie.

Or, more likely, it can mean ignoring canon developed for years, sometimes even decades, in the pages of Marvel’s comic books.

For instance, Black Panther‘s lesbian couple were simply rewritten as straight, their queerness completely erased from the incredibly successful film.

(Marvel)

When the film was announced, fans were excited by the prospect of Okoye and Ayo, two of the title character’s bodyguards, getting together as Ayo and fellow female warrior Aneka do in the comics.

And these hopes were encouraged by reports that an early screening of the film featured The Walking Dead star Danai Gurira’s Okoye staring at Ayo flirtatiously as the two danced.

The enthusiasm provoked by this turned to frustration and claims of LGBT erasure after Marvel quickly denied the conclusions drawn by those who watched the scene.

Disney, which owns Marvel, is currently attempting to finalise a £47 billion takeover of 21st Century Fox, which would mean a myriad of LGBT stars entering into the MCU.

Pansexual hero Deadpool, his co-star Shatterstar and X-Men characters including Iceman, Mystique, Prodigy and Jubilee would all be Marvel’s property – and hopefully retain their respective sexualities.

(Marvel)

But before that happens, and before we’re inevitably disappointed by the lack of LGBT content in Avengers: Infinity War, let’s see the multitude of kick-ass superheroes who could – in theory – be the first queer Avenger on the big screen.

Karolina Dean

Karolina with friend (Marvel)

Karolina is a teenage superhero with a rainbow glow who forms one-sixth of the Runaways, a group of powered and talented kids who find out that their parents are part of an evil conspiracy.

The story has made the leap from comic books to TV, with season one debuting on Hulu last year.

The show has even confirmed that it is part of the MCU – but don’t hold your breath.

America Chavez

(Marvel)

America, a queer Latina teenager with lesbian parents, debuted in comic books in 2011, and with the character winning rave reviews as part of a group, she took the spotlight for herself last year.

The comic, called “America,” prompted an outpouring of support from readers who were overjoyed to finally see an LGBT Latina superhero lead her own comic.

Writer Gabby Rivera, herself a queer Latina, said Chavez is “a foxy, badass, hard femme Latina who dates women and punches into other dimensions.”

Rivera added: “She’s also strong like, ‘could probably win in a fight with The Rock’ kind of strong.

“But they’d probably never fight each other because The Rock isn’t like that, and they’d just end up being best friends.”

A Latinx Avenger would also be pretty wonderful.

Apollo

(Marvel)

Apollo is believed to be one of the few superheroes who was originally written as gay when he first appeared in the “Stormwatch Comics” in 1993.

The character is happily married to 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.

(Marvel)

A gay superhero who’s co-parenting an adopted child? Yes, please.

Hulkling

(Marvel)

As one of the few out gay teen superheroes in modern comics, shapeshifter Hulkling – who mostly transforms into a young version of the Hulk, but is not related – quickly became one of the biggest LGBT icons in the MCU.

He and his boyfriend Wiccan featured together in 2016’s “Lego Marvel Avengers” game.

There are also pre-existing characters whose canonical queerness has been erased from the MCU.

Loki

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10: Actor Tom Hiddleston arrives at the Premiere Of Disney And Marvel's "Thor: Ragnarok" - Arrivals on October 10, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
(Frazer Harrison/Getty)

The most popular character in the Thor series is pansexual and genderfluid, according to Marvel’s anti-hero novel series.

Loki, a shapeshifter who has changed into animals and women in the past – and who features in Avengers: Infinity War without being openly queer – has had relationships with both men and women.

And as Mackenzi Lee, the author of the new three-book historical fiction series, has pointed out on Twitter, “in the comics, Loki is reborn as a woman & uses female pronouns & often takes on female forms like the Scarlet Witch and Lady Sif.

“Odin calls him ‘my child who is both.'”

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That sounds pretty definitive to us.

Valkyrie

(YouTube/Marvel Entertainment)
(Marvel)

Thor: Ragnarok was, by far, the closest Marvel has come to including an LGBT superhero in its gigantic empire of films.

But the MCU’s first explicit gay moment was left on the cutting room floor, and wasn’t even featured in its DVD release.

Following the release of the film, Tessa Thompson revealed that her dashing, flawed renegade of a character was bisexual, faithful to her portrayal in the comic books.

She said: “She’s bi. And yes, she cares very little about what men think of her.

“What a joy to play!”

However, the film itself did not explicitly confirm her interest in women on-screen, deleting a scene which featured a woman walking out of Valkyrie’s bedroom.

If she were to join Tony Stark’s team, she would be a canonically bisexual Avenger, both in the comics and on the big screen.

But for now, we can only dream.




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