Why are there no LGBTQ+ characters in Superhero films?
Superhero film Characters are Usually cisgender, attractive, and Caucasian. Where are the LGBTQ+ Characters?
The outliers, such as Black Panther (2018) and its sequel Wakanda Forever (2022) or Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), tend to be great movies on their own for not catering to hurtful racial stereotypes that predate the Golden Age of Comics many of the movies are inspired from. But, overall, there seems to be a lack of LGBTQ+ characters and representation in superhero films and streaming shows.
The MCU and the DCEU both have alternate universes, an endlessly growing cast of characters, and multiple timelines of events, yet not a single major queer character. In Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness (2022), new character América Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) mentions she has two moms, which can be seen in a flashback. And, Valkyrie, from the Thor movies, is mentioned in the latest Thor, Love, and Thunder (2022).
But, casually mentioning that a character’s queer, or “so and so” is a female who had a girlfriend, isn’t true queer representation, much less if all the characters that do so are minor ones.
Loki from Loki (2021) has even been said to be bisexual, alluding to the mythological Loki’s fluid sexuality, yet he falls in love with a woman in his own show. That was a missed opportunity to show some much-needed LGBTQ+ representation, especially since the person Loki falls for is his own self, except female. What if it had been a male alternate version of himself, as many of which appear later on in the series? Or just another male character altogether?
While it’s great that queer people are slowly being mentioned in superhero franchises, it still doesn’t excuse the lack of LGBT+ portrayals on-screen.
However, unknown to most casual Marvel movie-goers, there was a brief gay moment in Avengers: Endgame. Joe Russo, the director for many of the major MCU films, had a cameo as a grieving gay man in Captain America’s therapy group, who mourns the loss of his partner as part of Thanos’ snap. In an interview, Russo mentioned that they wanted a gay character added to the films, even if as a minor role.
These steps are all small, and not sufficient in 2022, but it’s still better than nothing. And, with an endless cavalcade of spin-offs and new movies, fans can only hope.