The 10 LGBT Marvel Characters & Superheroes Already On-Screen

For Pride Month (aka June) of 2018, Marvel fans have a lot to celebrate. Deadpool 2 not only gave us characters who are canonically LGBT in the comics, but the first explicitly acknowledged representation of an LGBT couple in a mainstream superhero movie. While not the central focus of the film, girlfriends Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand, who identifies as gay herselfare an adorable and unavoidable part of the narrative.
The wait for mainstream recognization of LGBT+ couples and people in the majority of live-action Marvel media has been going on for a long, long time. President of Marvel Studio’s Kevin Feige vaguely addressed this in 2015 by saying he could see their presence sometime in the next decade. Since Fox has now beaten the MCU to the punch, some LGBT fans hope Feige’s timetable will now move up somewhat. What makes this delay all the more unbearable is the fact that many characters who are canonically LGBT have already shown up in both Fox and MCU movies, but are either completely unacknowledged or used for queer-baiting.
To show you all what you’ve been missing out on, and to celebrate both Pride and Yukio and Negasonic’s relationship, here are the top ten LGBT character’s you didn’t know you’ve already seen on screen.


Loki

Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Thor: Ragnarok (2017)


If you’re a Norse mythology buff, you might already know or suspect what Loki fans who are primarily moviegoers probably do not: the trickster god is neither cisgender or heterosexual. While long hinted at in the comics through less than positive coding, Loki confirmed his bi/pansexuality and genderfluid identity in 2013’s Young Avengers and 2014’s Agent of Asgard series. Loki’s gender has been more focused on than his sexuality thus far, often switching between male and female forms at a whim and receiving loving acknowledgment from his brother Thor and adoptive father Odin.


Korg

Korg (voiced by director Taika Waiti) in Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
A member of the entirely male Kronan race, Korg was one of the few explicitly LGBT characters from the mid-2000’s. Originally introduced as a compatriot to the Hulk during the Planet Hulk and World War Hulk events, the Kronan was in a devoted relationship with fellow warrior and Sakaaran priest Hiroim.

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Mystique

Rebecca Romijn as Mystique in X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
The slinky and seductive mutant Mystique has been a staple of the XMCU’s character lineup for nearly 20 years, yet has only ever been shown to be attracted to men. In the comics, however, she is firmly established as bisexual, and one of the few people she ever truly loved was the precognitive mutant Irene Adler (yes, that Irene Adler). Their romance began in the 19th century, and their many adventures pursuing Irene’s visions of the future inspired Arthur Conan Doyle to write the Sherlock Holmes series (Mystique being largely disguised as a male private detective at the time). The effectively immortal Mystique remained devoted to her partner even when Irene was old and grey, and her death made the shapeshifter even more brutally ruthless and hardened than she had ever been before.


Rictor

Jason Genoa as Rictor in Logan (2017)


The appearance of a young Rictor in Logan (2017) was a surprise that delighted many X-Men fans. While in the movie he was one of the band of mutant children that had been genetically engineered, in the comics the geokinetic mutant had a more traditional background and became well known for affiliations with the New Mutants, X-Factor, and X-Force. Despite some pretty heavy subtext with X-Force teammate Shatterstar Rictor was heavily in denial about his sexuality until the late 2000’s, where he confirmed he was gay and made Marvel history by kissing Shatterstar on-panel.


Deadpool

Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool in Deadpool 2 (2018)


While Deadpool’s interest in men has mostly been demonstrated in both movies and comics by innuendo and jokes, the mouthy merc’s pansexuality has been well-established by Marvel writers, editorial staff and movie actors. Aside from some (pretty one-sided) flirtation with Spider-Man, Deadpool is best known for his less explicit, extremely subtextual relationship with his enemy/friend Cable. Deadpool 2 shows this dynamic to some degree along with a pretty blatant crush on metallic X-Man Colossus.

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Valkyrie

Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok (2017)


Aside from some good old-fashioned subtext with characters like Patsy Walker Valkyrie had seemingly been heterosexual until 2013’s Fearless Defenders, where she shared a kiss with another woman and mentioned having done so many times in the past. Perhaps in regards to this, actress Tessa Thompson and director Taika Waiti both wanted the MCU’s Valkyrie to be bisexual, even trying to get in a scene with a woman in Valkyrie’s bed (a fight they lost to Marvel and Disney). The current run of Exiles, however, features a version of Valkyrie both modeled after Thompson and explicitly interested in women.


Victoria Hand

Saffron Burrows as Victoria Hand
When Victoria Hand showed up in Agents of SHIELD, many fans were hopeful that she would lead to a more inclusive era of Marvel media. In the comics, Victoria was best known as a prominent lesbian and a SHIELD liaison to Norman Osborn (aka Green Goblin) when he was briefly in charge of both SHIELD and an iteration of the Avengers. In the show, Hand only appeared in 4 episodes before she was murdered by undercover HYDRA agent Grant Ward, with no acknowledgment before or after her death of her sexuality.
 


Ayo

Florence Kasumba as Ayo in Black Panther (2018)


Ayo first appeared in Ta-Nehesi Coates Black Panther run, where she and her lover Aneka led a rebel band of dora milaje allied with the Jabari against the Wakandan monarchy. She made her live-action debut in Captain America: Civil War as a still loyal bodyguard to T’challa, famously telling the Black Widow to “move, or you will be moved.” She has since appeared in Black Panther and Infinity War, and many fans hope to see Aneka make an appearance alongside her in the future.


Shatterstar

Lewis Tan as Shatterstar in Deadpool 2 (2018)
Shatterstar has the honor of having perhaps the single most confusing backstory to ever grace the pages of a comic, involving time travel and interdimensional travel, evil television tycoons, and a lot of genetic engineering. As a teenager Shatterstar managed to escape to Earth and became one of the most popular and recognizable of the ’90s X-Force team alongside Domino, Cable, and his best friend Rictor. Later he joined X-Factor, where he was confirmed to be pansexual and in a loving relationship with Rictor.
Despite generating a lot of excitement with his live-action debut in Deadpool 2, many LGBT fans feel disappointed and betrayed that Shatterstar’s appearance was cut unexpectedly short for laughs.


Iceman

Shawn Ashmore as Iceman in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
One of the original five X-men from the ’60s, Iceman was unexpectedly confirmed to be gay in 2015. While this drew ire from many ‘traditional’ comic readers it essentially gave new life to the character and got him an entirely new fan base and even a solo series. Since Iceman’s last live-action appearance was nearly a year before his sexuality was revealed, we can let Fox off the hook for not portraying him as such. In retrospect, it’s interesting to note a famous scene from X2 (2003) wherein the spirit of the ‘mutant metaphor’ the young Iceman ‘comes out’ to his horrified family.


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