Black Panther: Wakanda Forever joins Avengers: Endgame among the Marvel Studios films with LGBTQ representation problems.
The following contains spoilers for the recently released sequel. If you haven’t seen the new film yet, please stop reading now.
Here we go again. They always remove quick moments in countries that do not allow LGBTQ representation. It happened in Avengers: Endgame during the first scene after the cutaway to 2023. What is happening in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is certainly no different. Take Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, for instance. A scene with America Chavez’s (Xochitl Gomez) lesbian mothers was so quick that you could miss it. And yet, it is short enough that you could cut the scene in anti-LGBTQ countries and still have the film make sense. Would you know that America Chavez is a lesbian? Probably not but the character wears a rainbow pin on her jacket. Most recently, Korg (Taika Waititi) was revealed as gay in Thor: Love and Thunder.
What we learn in the film is that two members of the Dora Milaje, Ayo (Florence Kasumba) and Aneka (Michaela Coel), are in a relationship. Their relationship is explicit in just one scene in the film. And again, it is short enough to where Disney and Marvel Studios can cut it out for release in one of the anti-LGBTQ markets. It wasn’t a problem with Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and his husband in Eternals. This is because their relationship is more explicit to the point where parts of the plot would not make sense if scenes are removed. In this film, you could excise it and it wouldn’t make a damn difference whatsoever.
Marvel Studios needs to do better with LGBTQ representation. If a character is going to be LGBTQ, please make it more explicit. All of this is coming on the heels of Disney’s response to Florida’s Don’t Say Gay Bill. I realize that there’s a sort of fantasy aspect to these films but you cannot ignore the real world. In the real world, there are LGBTQ people. We exist, we are real, and we are valid. If you have to remove LGBTQ representation because box office is more important, it speaks to one’s level of allyship and it’s all the more disappointing in the end. Marvel did respond to the Don’t Say Gay bill and yet their films are still having issues. Being an ally is not enough when representation is small enough to excise for a film’s release in anti-LGBTQ countries.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now playing in theaters.
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