Trends: Female Superheroes’ LGBT Sexuality

Wonder Woman in 'Justice League' (Pink News UK)

Wonder Woman in ‘Justice League’ (Pink News UK)

Last week, DC comics writer Greg Rucka gave voice to what a lot of people suspected for many years: Wonder Woman is queer.

Shocking. (That was sarcastic.)

So far, Rucka is the only person affiliated with DC to speak definitively on Wonder Woman’s sexuality. But he said it’s canon, so…it’s canon. Take it as gospel.

Previous to this “revelation” (if you can call it that), Wonder Woman’s sexuality had been on the table virtually since she debuted in 1941. Think about it: she lived on an island populated solely by women. Audiences can read between the lines.

Wonder Woman isn’t the only strong female protagonist in comics confirmed to be queer. In 2006, Batwoman’s alter ego Kate (also known as Kathy) Kane came out as a lesbian. Batwoman debuted in 1956. (Does this mean it took Kate/Batwoman 50 years to figure out her sexuality?) In 2007, it was announced that Batwoman would be part of DC’s graphic novel series 52, which aimed to depict modern times (relationships included) more accurately.

Batwoman received her own love story with detective Renee Montoya in 2016’s animated movie Batman: Bad Blood. As you might assume, Batwoman is most closely associated with Batman. (Fun fact: Batwoman was originally created to counteract public perception that Batman might be gay.) But thus far, Batwoman (with or without her sexuality) has not been featured in a big-budget live-action movie.

Though she isn’t part of DC or its main rival Marvel Comics, Xena from the TV series Xena: Warrior Princess counts as a superhero in my book. New Zealand actress Lucy Lawless starred as the titular character, a reformed warrior who travels the world doing good deeds for various civilizations. Her friend Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor) usually traveled with her. The two (and the show) quickly developed a cult following, especially amongst lesbians. Xena and Gabrielle were depicted as having a close (emotionally and physically) and mutually supportive relationship that many assumed was more than platonic. (There’s even a Tumblr devoted to this.)

In 2003, Lawless talked to Lesbian News (actually the name of a real publication) about Xena and Gabrielle’s relationship. She felt that Xena was “definitely gay,” and that the character and Gabrielle were married. Lawless gave this interview two years after the show ended. In 2015, it was announced that Javier Grillo-Marxuach, executive producer behind the CW’s The 100, would reboot Xena and explore her sexuality in greater depth than the original show. So that basically confirms the yes, the character, and Gabrielle by extension, is indeed gay.

It’s exciting that we’re seeing more and more superheroes depicted as LGBT+, and that their sexuality isn’t the main aspect of their personality. But I wonder which character will be next: Ms. Marvel? Black Canary? Black Widow?

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Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is Pregnant with Twin Girls

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer (The New Yorker)

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer (The New Yorker)

Last week, Marissa Mayer, best-known as Yahoo’s CEO (one of the most-well known female CEOs in tech, if not the world), announced that she’s pregnant with twin girls. She made the announcement in a way befitting her industry: on Yahoo’s Tumblr.

The twins will be the second and third children for Mayer and her husband, Zachary Bogue. Mayer gave birth to her first child, her son Macallister, in September 2012. (That year was a momentous one for her: She became CEO of Yahoo earlier in July.) Mayer announced her pregnancy the same day that Yahoo announced her as their new CEO.

Mayer has said she’ll work through her pregnancy before her due date in December. She also worked through most of her first pregnancy.

After her son’s birth, Mayer famously didn’t take a break for maternity leave, returning to work only two week after giving birth. She also installed a nursery right next door to her office.

It’ll be interesting to see if having to care for two babies at once slows her down at all, and if she changes her views on feminism and working from home.

 

Siri Corrects Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner

Siri's response to Bruce Jenner questions (Daviesha/Last November 4 Tumblr)

Siri’s response to Bruce Jenner questions (Daviesha/Last November 4 Tumblr)

Happy Friday! Here’s a great example of how technology is adapting to the changing times. Tumblr user Daviesha found that Apple iPhone’s Siri corrects the name of Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner. Daviesha asked Siri, “how tall is Bruce Jenner?” and “What is Bruce Jenner’s real name?” You can see the results in the screenshot above.

This aspect of Siri began gaining attention earlier this month. Jenner came out as a transwoman in April of this year, and debuted her new name and look on the cover of “Vanity Fair” in the publication’s June issue. She recently received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award during the ESPYs this year, and her docuseries “I Am Cait” premieres Sunday night on E! (home to the Kardashian empire).

It’s fantastic that it took Apple absolutely no time to adjust Siri to account for this momentous event. After all, Jenner is now the most recognizable trans person in the world right now. The tech giant is showing they’re capable to changing as societal mores do, and updating their technology to reflect those changes.

Leelah Alcorn Suicide: Transgender Teen Suicide Stats

Leelah Alcorn (Yahoo News)

Leelah Alcorn (Yahoo News)

Leelah Alcorn was a 17-year-old transgender teen who committed suicide Dec. 28 of this past year. Born a boy named Joseph, she came out to her parents as transgender at 14 years old, and felt she was “a girl trapped in a boy’s body” since the age of four.

Alcorn wrote a suicide note on her Tumblr, published after her death, that called for better dialogue surrounding gender education and trans civil rights. She hoped her death (which could’ve been easily avoided) would spark a discussion and changes.

It’s pretty well-known that LGBT teens have a higher rate of suicides and suicide attempts than straight teens. According to The Trevor Project, LGBT youth (defined as ages 10-24) are “three times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers.”

For transgender teens, the numbers get more grim: The Youth Suicide Prevention Program cites national statistics that claim “more than 50% of transgender youth will have had at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday.” There seems to be discrepancy here, as The Trevor Project notes that 25% of transgender teens have attempted suicide, and almost 50% have thought about it. Either way, that’s pretty scary.

Familial (and friends’) support plays a big role in all teens’ lives, but is particularly needed for transgender teens. The Trevor Project cites a stat which posits that LGB teens who have “highly rejecting families” are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide. Though the site doesn’t include trans teens within this stat, it’s safe to say they probably face similar odds.

Leelah Alcorn’s death didn’t have to happen. It shouldn’t have happened at all. But I hope it begins the discussion she wanted and rightfully deserved.