Are American audiences ready for their first transgender superhero to hit the big screen in a movie adapted from comic books?
With the recent release of DC’s Wonder Woman and Marvel’s Black Panther due out next February, this is a question that has been on my mind mostly due to communities that tend to be under-represented in television and film. I’m a writer myself, mostly with a lot of ideas of television and film but nothing is likely to be produced anytime soon without turning to the likes of Indiegogo or Kickstarter (every time that I post about my electrolysis GoFundMe, I get chewed out and that’s never fun but neither was getting laid off when I was set to come out at work). I have an outline for an original sitcom pilot set in Chicago with a trans lead but I still need to get that expanded into a script before submitting the pilot for writing festivals. I’d like to write a limited comic book series some day with hopes of adapting it to film.
This question has been not just on my mind but the minds of many others of late, judging from a late night Twitter conversation this weekend. Granted, the conversation was relating to that of comic books in general. It was sparked by Wonder Woman comic book writer Gail Simone, who tweeted the other day that her Amazons would count trans women.
I got shot down from every company I tried to pitch an honest to God MtF trans superhero title to. Some laughed. Others thought “too soon”.
— GL (@GLKnight83) June 11, 2017
That’s sad, really. It’s never TOO SOON for a trans superhero. If not for Caitlyn Jenner and all the educational awareness in 2015, I’d still be a deeply closeted trans woman. Think about it. Trans role models are the reason why so many people have come out since 2015. Can you imagine how that young trans child would feel to see an actual trans superhero on the small or big screen?
Sure enough, it was Simone who created the first major transgender character when it comes to major comic book publishers like Marvel and DC. Alysia Yeoh is Barbara Gordon’s best friend in Batgirl. She was first introduced in Batgirl (vol. 4) #1 (November, 2011) but it was not until issue #19 until Yeoh was revealed to be transgender and later got married in issue #45. Yeoh is a supporting character in the Batgirl universe and I’ll be interested in seeing what Joss Whedon decides to do with her as he adapts Batgirl for the big screen. Simone did an interview with NewNowNext in 2013 about creating the character.
Bleeding Cool had an article in 2013 when Yeoh was revealed to be trans. They covered many characters with trans histories but a true trans character would not achieve their trans-ness through super powers, science fiction, or magic.
I reached out to a number of notable writers to get their responses and will update accordingly.
There have been quite a few Marvel and DC properties on the small and big screen to include characters who were gay, lesbian, and bisexual but aside from television, there’s been no major television or film character that has been revealed transgender. As prominent as the trans rights debate is right now, this is something that really needs to change.