DC reveals transgender character in first for mainstream superhero comics

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The most recent issue of DC Comics’ ‘Batgirl’ features a supporting character revealing that she is a trans woman to the hero. The series’ author added that DC planned to introduce a transgender hero in the near future.

Batgirl #19, released yesterday, includes a scene in which the character Alysia Yeoh reveals to her roommate Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) that she is a trans woman.

In an interview with Wired, Batgirl writer Gail Simone said she had made the decision to include a trans character as she felt the comics ought to reflect the diversity of their audience, which includes many LGBT people.

“Why in the world can we not do a better job of representation of not just humanity, but also our own loyal audience?” she asked.

Writers had gone to lengths to make sure Yeoh’s gender identity was presented as simply part of the character rather than the basis for a “public service announcement”, said Simone.

“Being trans is just part of her story,” she said. “If someone loved her before, and doesn’t love her after, well — that’s a shame, but we can’t let that kind of thinking keep comics in the 1950s forever.”

The revelation that a character as transgender marks a first in mainstream comics. Simone revealed that she wants to go further than having a trans side character, saying “It’s time for a trans hero in a mainstream comic.”

She added: “I’m sure it’s controversial on some level to some people, but honest to God, I just could not care less about that. If someone gets upset, so be it; there are a thousand other comics out there for those people.”

DC Comics’ Batwoman, not to be confused with Batgirl, proposed to her girlfriend in February’s installment of the comic strip.

Batwoman was reintroduced as a lesbian by DC Comics in 2006, in a new title which aimed to reflect modern society more accurately than previous comics.

DC Comics have been heavily criticised recently for its decision to hire anti-gay writer, Orson Scott Card, author of Enders Game, to write the first two installments of its new digital-first comic, Adventures of Superman. Illustrator Chris Sprouse pulled out of the project over the controversy. 

Last month, DC’s competitor Marvel included a love story between Wolverine and Hercules.

Marvel‘s Northstar, the first openly gay hero, tied the knot with his boyfriend Kyle Jinadu in an issue of ‘Astonishing X-Men’, last year, and recently the creators of Judge Dredd suggested that he could be gay.