One of the original X-Men will be coming out

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A leaked comic has confirmed a long-held fan theory about the sexuality of one the original five X-Men.

In what are reported to be pages from All New X-Men, due to be released this week, it is confirmed that Bobby Drake, aka Iceman, is gay.

In the comic, which follows the time-travelling adventures of the original five X-Men, Iceman makes a comment about their female professor’s “incredible hotness”, and gets pulled aside by psychic Jean Grey.

She questions why he says things like that – and reveals the she knows he is gay.

They discuss the fact that they have met Iceman’s older self, who is not gay, and Bobby suggests: “Maybe he couldn’t handle being a mutant and gay in a society that had issues with both? And one is easier to ‘put away’ than the other?”

He points out that his older self dated character Kitty Pryde, who was played by Ellen Page in two of the live-action X-Men films, and Jean reminds him: “And now she no longer lives on planet Earth.”

The X-Men franchise has often dealt with issues of discrimination and oppression, with many similarities to LGBT rights struggles. The story of the “Legacy Virus” that only affects mutants is seen by many to be an allegory to the HIV crisis.

In X2, Iceman comes out as mutant to his parents, in a scene that strongly echoes coming out as LGBT.

Out gay director Bryan Singer directed three of the X-Men films, which starred Sir Ian McKellan as villain Magneto. It has been confirmed Sir Ian, along with long-time friend and colleague Sir Patrick Stewart, will not be returning to the franchise.