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10 Iconic LGBTQIA+ Comic Characters In Books and On Screen

With Pride Month in its prime, we look at queer representation in the comic book world

Rolling Stone India Jun 17, 2021

Tom Hiddleston in and as 'Loki.' Photo: ©Marvel Studios 2021

Everyone’s favorite chaotic anti-hero from the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Loki — was officially confirmed to be gender-fluid as the trailers for Loki hit the screens. However, the God of Mischief is not the first major comic book character to be a part of the LGBTQIA+ community but embodies the much-deserved representation. With more queer characters coming to screen, it’s a big step for inclusivity and equality. We bring you a list of queer comic book characters who celebrate pride in their own way: 

Mystique (X-Men, Marvel)

The shape-shifting blue-skinned assassin was originally written to be queer and in love with confidante Destiny. They were supposed to give birth to Nightcrawler, with Mystique embodying a male physique. However, Marvel did not allow the portrayal of queer characters when she was introduced, and thus her sexual identity remains a secret. Mystique is also shown to be comfortable as both female and male sexes. 

Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy (DC)

Known to most as ‘Joker’s girlfriend,’ Harley Quinn’s popularity took off with the release of her solo title Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Hot in the City, in 2011 and her stints in Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey. She was originally confirmed to be in a romantic relationship with Batman’s sultry sworn enemy Poison Ivy in her title series. The latter does not label herself and likes to experiment but hits it off well with her partner-in-crime Harley Quinn.

Deadpool (Marvel)

The hyper-sexual Deadpool was shown extremely straight in his live-action movies, but comic book writers had other plans for him. The pansexual character is just as witty, charming and uncanny in his comics. Still, Deadpool is also seen flirting with anyone and everyone throughout the comics, leading to many unofficial ships and fanfictions — even with the grossest of villains. 

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Green Lantern (DC)

In 2012, DC announced that Green Lantern would be one of their most prominent gay characters. The writers introduced his revamped sexuality with the second edition of the DC comic Earth 2, featuring a special scene where Green Lantern comes home from a mission to greet his boyfriend and plants a kiss on his lips, saying, “…God, I’ve missed you.” 

Batwoman (DC)

In 2019, Batwoman was announced to be lesbian in a historic episode of the live-action series titled How Queer Everything Is Today! Batwoman initially weighed her options to come out since it could reveal her real identity, but after meeting a teen whose parents did not accept her sexuality, she decided to come out to the world. She concluded that having an LGBTQ hero in the series will positively impact people in Gotham City. 

Northstar (Alpha Flight, Marvel)

Although Marvel doesn’t shy away from changing with the times, sexual equality was still somewhat taboo until recently. Northstar, the first openly gay character of the Marvel franchise, was first introduced as a part of an all-Canadian spy group Alpha Flight, as a part of the X-Men series. He was hinted at being gay in earlier editions but canonically confirmed to be gay over the years. In the June 2012 edition of Astonishing X-Men, he married his now-husband Kyle Jinadu and had Marvel’s first-ever same sex wedding. To celebrate the occasion, the wedding featured on the cover page of the comic.

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Sasquatch (Alpha Flight, Marvel) 

Sasquatch, originally Walter Langkowski, is one of the only transgender characters in Marvel universe. They were originally assigned male, but due to an accident and subsequent experiment transformed into a female and called themself Wanda. Wanda eventually became comfortable in their body and sexuality and became one of the most integral members of Alpha Flight. Soon, Wanda realized that they preferred to be a male and thus restored their original sex. 

Hulkling and Wiccan (Marvel) 

The Young Avengers writer Allan Heinberg created the openly gay couple Hulking and Wiccan based on actual sexual experiences and reality. Heinberg said that the pair would remind the readers that the Marvel universe is more than the conventional definitions of sexuality and love and transgressed into reality more. Wiccan and Hulkling got married in the series as well. 

Coagula (DC) 

DC took inclusivity to another step by blurring the lines of sexuality and exploring real-life situations of non-conventional identities. Coagula is shown to be a transsexual lesbian in Doom Patrol, written by transwoman writer Rachel Pollack. Coagula is a superheroine who can coagulate liquids and dissolve any solid at will. 

Apollo and Midnighter (DC) 

Apollo and Midnighter were one of the first openly gay couples in the DCU. They dated throughout the series until the New 52 title came to an end in 2015. However, their immense popularity led them to get back together for a special Midnighter and Apollo title, published between 2016 and 2017.