Marvel boss on Doctor Strange character’s queerness: ‘Children want to see themselves represented’

A still shot of America Chavez from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Gay Marvel exec Victoria Alonso has opened up about the importance of retaining America Chavez’s LGBT+ identity in the upcoming Doctor Strange film.

Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez, is a hero from the Utopian Parallel – a realm outside of conventional time and the multiverse. The young hero’s home is eventually destroyed, and travels across other universes to fight crime with her superhuman strength, durability and speed. 

She can even create inter-dimensional holes by punching or stomping her foot, which makes sense as to why she’d appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. In the film, Dr Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) confronts a mysterious new adversary as he travels across the multiverse with new and old allies. 

Alonso said in an interview with that she was “so happy” Chavez is making her Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) debut and said “she will be a great addition” to the “family”. 

She also stressed the importance of Chavez’s character in terms of bringing greater representation and inclusivity to the MCU as the hero “represents both the LGBTQ+ and Latinx community”.

“This character was important to me for many personal reasons, but also because it was important that we make the effort to have every kid in this world represented in our universe, and she represents both the LGBTQ+ and Latinx community,” Alonso said. 

“It’s the type of character I’ve been waiting to see us have since we started this journey with Iron Man back in 2008.”

Gomez said it was “so cool” that fans would be able to see a “young person in the middle of big story like this” and will be able to witness how the events of a person’s childhood “shapes who they’ll become when they’re older as adults”. 

“It’s exciting that we will hopefully get to see more of how things play out for America in the future,” Gomez added.

“[America] is a young Latina who is part of the LGBTQ+ community, and has great power,” Alonso said. “Children want to see themselves represented.”

She continued: “There is this level of identity that comes to be a very important moment in an adolescent’s life – to see themselves; to not be invisible.”

Both Marvel Studios and Gomez hinted that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness isn’t Chavez’s origin story as it is barely touching on the hero’s journey in the MCU. Gomez added that “America is living her best life” for now. 

Sadly, Gomez has experienced waves of harassment on social media following reports that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would be banned in some countries over the film’s LGBT+ content

Gomez posted pictures on Instagram from a trip she took with her The Baby-Sitter Club co-star Momona Tamada, and some fans noticed there were a number of vile comments posted on the actor’s social media post. 

Saudi Arabia’s general supervisor of cinema classification Nawaf Alsabhan denied reports that the film has been banned outright. He did confirm that Saudi Arabia requested for Disney to cut a 12-second scene in which Chavez discusses having two mothers

Alsabhan said that it was “very tough to pass something like this” in the Middle East and said that Disney was “not willing” to cut the LGBT+ scene. But he said censors “haven’t closed the door” yet. 

Cumberbatch said he was “emotional” over Saudi Arabia’s response to the LGBT+ scene and described how it was “truly out of step with everything” that “we’ve experienced as a species”. He added that it was also not aligned with “where we’re at globally as a culture”. 

“We’ve come to know from those repressive regimes that their lack of tolerance is exclusionary to people who deserve to be not only included but celebrated for who they are, and made to feel a part of a society and a culture and not punished for their sexuality,” Cumberbatch said. 

He also wished that the inclusion of LGBT+ characters in films wouldn’t be a “politically charged” topic in the future. Until that day, the Sherlock star said “we still have to fight” and “push for inclusion and equality”. 

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will come out on 5 May in the UK.