DC Comics Introduces First Transgender Character in Mainstream Superhero Comics


DC Comics this week announced the introduction of Alysia Yeoh in Batgirl #16, who announces she is transgender in a conversation with her roommate Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl), Wired reports:

Taking care to distinguish Yeoh’s sexual orientation from her gender identity, Batgirl writer Gail Simone noted that the character is also bisexual.

Simone attributed the inspiration for the character to a conversation she had with fellow comic book writer Greg Rucka several years ago at the Wondercon convention, after a fan asked why there were fewer gay male superheroes than lesbian ones. Rucka, who co-created (and rebooted) Batwoman as a lesbian character, replied that it would be a real sign of change for a gay male character to appear on a comic book cover — and an even bigger step for a transgender character to do the same.

“I looked out into the audience, saw dozens of faces I knew well — LGBTQ folks, mostly — all avid comics readers and superhero fans and DC supporters,” said Simone. “And it just hit me: Why was this so impossible? Why in the world can we not do a better job of representation of not just humanity, but also our own loyal audience?”

More at Wired


  1. bobbyjoe says

    What’s particularly cool about this is that Gail Simone introduced this character all the way back at the beginning of the “New 52″ about two years ago, so that they know her, (probably) like her, and didn’t just see her first and foremost as the “transgender character.” In this way readers of the comic are less likely to see Alysia as some “token” but (as much as possible in a comic anyway) a more fully-realized person.

    It’s interesting how well many of DC’s “Bat” comics are dealing with GLBT issues– in the flagship “Batman” title, the writer Scott Snyder made a point of a heroic character helping to battle the anti-gay bullying her brother was experiencing, while in “Nightwing” (i.e., the guy who used to be Robin), a story recently featured a detective (who after some misdirection proved to be a good guy) who was motivated by grief at his male lover’s death in the same incidental way they’d do it if his lover had been a woman. The only troubling thing is that there are still remnants of Frank Miller’s homophobic (or more precisely effeminophobic) version of the Joker lurking around (and both Snyder and Simone bought into that version). If they can overcome that, DC’s “Bat” titles will be doing an excellent job.

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