It’s Pride Eve in Boston! Tomorrow is the city’s 46th Pride Parade, and the downtown area will host over 20,000 people (both LGBTQ and allies) to celebrate loving who you love. The whole weekend is beautiful and fun and powerful and I hope to see some of you there or at the various block parties. I remember my first parade fondly as it was the year Queer As Folk came out, and the summer after the Gay Straight Alliance started at my high school. I think I held onto my “Lipstick Like Lindsay” paper fan for months afterwards, and I was glued to HBO to watch the messy but loving relationships of the entire Pittsburgh gang. Soundtrack was also banging (Crying at the Discotheque was on heavy iPod Shuffle rotation).
Because it’s been on my mind, this week I’m talking about the love lives of comic book characters. Specifically, the call for gay characters and the #GiveCaptainABoyfriend movement, which came out of the #GiveElsaAGirlfriend hashtag. I’m not even discussing the latter, because it’s an obvious yes. Let heteronormative storylines go Elsa. Do it!
As someone who loses her mind whenever a Black female character is brought up that isn’t Storm, I understand how much it means to have someone relatable on the page. I also get the pain of seeing someone that you really care about get rewritten into something completely different *cough*HailHydra*cough*
One of the best arguments for a MCU* Cap and Bucky and/or (<–see that? I’m being greedy) Sam ship* happening in the next movie is that the timing is pretty choice. His letter to Tony about not feeling like he has ever really belonged could segway wonderfully into a slow-burning coming out story. And for all of those who keep bringing up his two female love interests, I would like you to think very hard about that justification in the context of actual life. The world is acting as if gay people sprang into being sometime in the 60s and 70s, denying that non-heterosexual humans existed because they were not necessarily openly expressing their love. More than Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, that kind of thinking is more like Bigfoot reasoning: If this [Cap’s possible homosexuality] really existed I would have seen concrete evidence by now. Many gay adults have spent the better part of their lives hiding their true feelings because of a world that does not accept them as they are.
There are thousands, if not tens of thousands, stories of men and women who have dated, gotten married, and had kids all the while burying their actual identities deep inside. Basically, they were living secret double lives which any comic fan should be able to both understand and sympathize with. Also, any decent human. If you are a decent human you stand a pretty good chance of getting this too. Simply stating that Captain America cannot possibly be written as gay because he was romantically linked to both Agent Peggy Carter and her great-niece Sharon Carter (shudder) is asinine. And a realllllly weird place to draw the line of acceptable romance.
With that foundation laid, I don’t personally think Steve Rogers is the best choice for our first MCU openly gay or bisexual character. Still going to root for the character to be male, as we need more strong gay male characters in general, and a debut in the next Civil War would be timely. There are plenty of characters that still need to be folded in. And let’s give a go at a bisexual storyline at some point, because this all-or-nothing drama really makes bisexuality even more invisible than it generally is. On the other blockbuster comic franchise side, I’m certainly hoping that Iceman will be allowed to explore his recently revealed homosexuality on the big screen. Shawn Ashmore is already on board with the idea.
Besides, if MCU picks up pieces of the current Cap storyline, why would I want an America-obsessed gay Nazi mouthpiece?
Yes, yes, working on the glossary page…
*MCU – Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is somewhat different from the story arcs in Marvel comics (particularly with regard to crossovers due to licensing restrictions)
*Shipping, derived from the word relationship, is a term used to describe when fans take previously created characters and put them as a romantic pair. Can be a noun or verb.
ex. “Man, Regina and Hook are dark, beautiful, and mysterious on their own but they’d be great together. Yeah, I’d ship that.”