When will we see an LGBT hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Still here? Cool.
Before I start to get a critical, I'm going to acknowledge that what's going on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is awesome. Sure, I should try to come up with a better word than awesome, since that word is incredibly overused -- at least I'm not using the term "amaze-balls" (uuuugh). A television series synching up with a big screen movie, with the former feeding off of the latter and working big developments into the ongoing narrative they've been telling for months? That's more than awesome; it's something I never thought I'd see, and it's exactly what we hoped we'd get when "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." got the go-ahead last year. So anything I say for the rest of this piece, you gotta remember that Marvel's storytelling efforts get a big ol' thumbs up from me.
You know what else gets a big ol' thumbs up from me? The representation in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." I've done a little research into this (research that could lead to a future Jam), and I can confidently say that "Cap: TWS" is the most diverse super hero film that's ever been made. Of the movie's six primary heroic leads, only one is a white dude. One. Remember how "Avengers" had five? Rounding out the cast are three women, all of whom are confident and capable, and two black men with drastically different personalities. No, there's yet to be a single woman of color in the MCU outside of the small screen's Skye and Agent May, but for a super hero movie, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" scores big diversity points. That really gets a big ol' thumbs up from me.
But all of the strides Marvel has taken towards giving women and some people of color meaty and important roles, there's one area that's becoming glaringly overlooked: the LGBT community. And in last night's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," the one glimmer of hope queer comic book fans had for representation got a few bullets through the head -- off-camera, of course. This is a primetime show on a major network!
As a gay man, Victoria Hand's inclusion in the "S.H.I.E.L.D." television show was a pretty exciting development. She was poised to become the first lesbian character in any Marvel adaptation -- including Fox and Sony's offerings. Hand also got introduced as a bad ass, take-charge S.H.I.E.L.D. officer, meaning that the revelation of her sexuality would be handled in the same way it was in the comics: it would be additional information provided to flesh out her character. Unfortunately, we never got that confirmation on television.
To the people that naysay representation, I have two things to explain. First, stop that -- you're helping out no one. Second, representation doesn't mean what you think it means, at least not to me. I don't care to see LGBT representation where every storyline revolves around them being the other to the rest of the cast's default. Good representation looks like Andre Braugher's no-nonsense gay police chief in "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." The show uses him being an out gay man serving in the NYPD in the early '80s as a means to show how tough he is in the pilot episode, and from that point on, he mentions having a husband as much as any other married straight character mentions having a wife. He's given more to do than just be a gay cop, and his romantic life is given the same amount of screen time as everyone else. That's the role Hand should have filled on this "S.H.I.E.L.D."
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