Spider-Man fans are convinced Gwen Stacy is trans in Across the Spider-Verse. Here’s the evidence

It’s official: fans of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse are convinced that the character of Gwen Stacy is trans – and the evidence is compelling.

Warning: This article contains major spoilers for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

The animated sequel to 2018’s Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was released on Friday (2 June), reuniting viewers with the first biracial Spider-Man, Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore), and countless Spideys from other dimensions, including Spider-Gwen, also known as Spider-Woman (Hailee Steinfeld).

Fans who’ve seen the film are now theorising that Gwen is trans – or at least an allegory for the trans experience – due to a number of queer-coded (and queer-coloured) clues.

It all comes after Spider-Verse fans noticed a trans Pride flag bearing the words “Protect Trans Kids” in the background of a trailer for the film earlier this year.

A still from the Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse trailer featuring Gwen Stacy with a Protect Trans Kids poster in the background
Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) has a ‘Protect Trans Kids’ poster in her bedroom in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. (Sony Pictures)

Watching Across The Spider-Verse adds some vital new context, with many who’ve now seen the film in full arguing that Gwen’s characterisation, animation and story arc mirror the societal and internal struggles that trans people face on a daily basis.

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First off, there’s that aforementioned “Protect Trans Kids” poster, which is confirmed to be on the wall of Gwen’s own bedroom on Earth-65 during the film’s prologue.

In a film with multiple animation styles, the colour palette used for all of Gwen’s scenes on Earth-65 appear imbued with the pastel blue, pink and white colours of the trans Pride flag.

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This stylistic choice becomes even more apparent during a key scene where Gwen opens up to her policeman father, George Stacy (Shea Whigham), about her hidden identity as Spider-Woman.

A shot of the film Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Gwen Stacy practically covered in shades of pink and blue, similar to the trans Pride flag colours. (Sony Pictures Animation)

Gwen and the environment around her are practically drenched in the trans Pride colours during the sequence, with many seeing the scene itself as a metaphor for coming out: In the film, Gwen is forced to hide her identity from judgemental eyes in a world where Spider-Woman is misunderstood and despised by society.

To top it all off, eagle-eyed viewers noticed that during the same scene, a trans Pride flag badge can be seen pinned to Gwen’s father’s police uniform.

Like Into the Spider-Verse before it, Across the Spider-Verse boasts a diverse array of characters, with the Spider-Verse teeming with different versions of Spider-Man who share many of the same struggles but also the same pride in their identities.

Whether Gwen Stacy is trans, an ally or simply a metaphor for the trans experience, many fans have praised the inclusion of a trans-coded superhero overcoming adversity in a world hellbent on suppressing her.

One user likened the open-ended answer to the question of Gwen’s identity to Star Wars actor Mark Hamill’s past comments that his legendary character Luke Skywalker could be gay if that’s how viewers choose to interpret him.

In an interview with The Sun in 2016, the acclaimed actor said: “[Fans] would say to me, you know, ‘Could Luke be gay?’ I’d say it is meant to be interpreted by the viewer.

“If you think Luke is gay, of course he is,” he continued. “You should not be ashamed of it. Judge Luke by his character, not by who he loves.”

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While Gwen Stacy’s gender identity is not integral to the plot of Across the Spider-Verse, the struggles she faces in her life have resonated with the trans community and cemented her as a trans icon, whether she’s cisgender or not.

Gwen isn’t the only Spidey who’s been embraced by the LGBTQ+ community: Last year, Marvel revealed details about the origin story of its first-ever gay Spider-Man, who made his debut in the fifth issue of the Edge of Spider-Verse comic book.

Fans will find out whether Gwen’s trans mythology is explored further when the third instalment in the franchise, Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse, is released in March 2024.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is in cinemas now.

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