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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It’s Canon: Wonder Woman Is Queer

Wonder Woman (The Mary Sue)

Wonder Woman (The Mary Sue)

Last week, the bisexual community gained heightened mainstream visibility through a Golden Age of Comics-era character: Wonder Woman.

DC comics writer Greg Rucka said that it’s “logical” that Wonder Woman is queer, given that she comes from an island inhabited solely by women warrior princesses. Wonder Woman’s homeland of Themyscira is supposed to be paradise, where inhabitants can have fulfilling relationships. But Rucka points out that despite the only options for romantic/sexual/emotional relationships, the concept of queerness doesn’t exist.

How would Rucka know this? He writes DC’s Wonder Woman: Year One series. So this revelation is obviously canon. But Rucka says that this revelation will continue to be subtle, and doesn’t feel the need to scream it at readers or make that Wonder Woman’s defining characteristic. (Real talk: I am such a fan of this line of reasoning.)

So far, Rucka is the only DC writer to speak definitively on Wonder Woman’s sexuality. As for whether the character has had same-sex relationships:

As [artist Nicola Scott] and I approach it, the answer is obviously yes. And it needs to be yes for a number of reasons.

Though this is big news, it’s not so shocking: Wonder Woman officiated a same-sex wedding in a story released last year.

The character, who’s also known as Diana Prince in her civilian life and Princess Diana of Themyscira in her homeland, debuted in Dec. 1941. The big-screen movie adaptation starring Gal Gadot will arrive in theaters on Jun. 2, 2017. It will be the first movie centered on a female superhero for the DC universe.

At this time, it’s unclear whether the upcoming movie will include this aspect of Wonder Woman.