Hollywood could learn a lesson in portraying LGBT characters from comic books

Name a famous LGBT comic book character. If you’re a comic book fanatic, you can probably easily name a few. If you’re not into comic books, you probably can’t name a single one. Whether you can name a character or not, comic books have been very progressive toward the LGBT community.

Did you know that Wonder Woman, probably the most iconic female superhero, is bisexual? Did you know that Iceman, one of the founding members of the X-Men, is gay? Again, your answer would probably be no, unless you are into comic books. These two characters are just a couple of LGBT comic book characters out of a plethora of them. Comic books have been normalizing being gay and it is fabulous.

Comic book writers, for the most part, have been doing gay so well. They make it seem so natural with the characters. The characters are usually not defined by their sexuality, instead, it is a detail that makes the character unique. Most of the LGBT characters you will read in comic books don’t feel like they’re there to be the token gay person.

Characters like America Chavez (Miss America from Marvel Comics), Kate Kane (Batwoman from DC Comics), and Jean-Paul Beaubier (Northstar from Marvel Comics) are great examples of how being gay doesn’t define who they are. Of course, major comic book publishers like DC and Marvel probably made existing and new characters gay to diversify comic books, but they have done it in way that naturalizes homosexuality.

The only time it felt like being gay was shoehorned was when Brian Michael Bendis, a comic book writer, revealed Iceman was gay. Most of the backlash from the reveal wasn’t even the fact that Iceman is gay, it was how Bendis wrote the “coming out” of Iceman. It felt forced, like how a lot of characters come out in movies and television. However, once the whole coming out of Iceman settled down, his character didn’t change. He is still the young, witty, and comedic character he has always been.

Comic books have shown to mimic what LGBT people want, which is that our sexuality shouldn’t define who we are. Hopefully, movies and television shows will learn from comic books and have LGBT characters that are more in touch with reality than fictional portrayals of how straight people see gay people.