The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been pretty slow to introduce LGBTQ+ characters – although even the most chaste portrayals of queer love get the movies banned in some countries, you can see why they’d be reluctant.
Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness actually breaks the record for the most lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or homosexual characters in an MCU property with three. However, given that two of them don’t speak and one never mentions their sexuality out loud, there’s clearly still work to be done when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation.
The MCU is of course pretty genderless in general, but any mentions of queer sexualities have tended to be very brief, the better to allow Disney to easily carve out these scenes in more homophobic markets. That seems unlikely to change anytime soon – with these movies costing $200 million apiece, Disney can ill afford to alienate a market. However, movies like Eternals and Deadpool 2 showed how more positive changes could be made.
Read on for a (disappointing) list of characters who are confirmed to be LGBTQ+. By “confirmed”, we mean that there is an explicit reference to their sexuality in the film, or that the actor who plays them has confirmed that their character is a member of the community.
In other words, sorry Deadpool: until one of your directors is brave enough to confirm your pansexuality on a movie, you’re not on the list. It also has a character like Valkyrie, who actor Tessa Thompson said was bisexual, yet that wasn’t referenced in Thor: Ragnarok (although apparently will be in Thor: Love and Thunderso we wait and see).
All the LGBTQ+ characters in the MCU
Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio
Although not in the MCU at the time, Disney’s subsequent purchase of Fox (and the announcement that Dead Pool 3 is in development) technically makes these two mutants the first lesbian couple in the multiverse at the very least.
They also get one of the most explicit references to their sexuality – we even see them (SHOCK) holding hands and saying they’re in a relationship.
Avengers: Endgame made the mistake of trumpeting that he had the MCU’s first gay character before the movie was released. It created expectations that were never going to be met by that brief scene where a man in a therapy group talks about his grief at losing his male partner in The Blip. The character, played by the film’s co-director Joe Russo, doesn’t even have a name. That’s not exactly what the community meant when they said “representation matters”.
Loki and Sylvia
Loki had long been bisexual in the comics, but it took until his spin-off TV series to see that confirmed onscreen. This was revealed in a conversation between Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and one of his multiverse counterparts, Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino), where they discuss their dating history.
“You are a prince,” Sylvie told Loki. “It must have been budding princesses. Or maybe another prince?”
“A bit of both,” Loki replies. “I suspect the same as you.” Kate Herron tweeted after the revelation, “It was very important to me, and my goal, to acknowledge that Loki was bisexual.”
Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and her husband Ben (Haaz Sleiman)
Eternals may have been the first Marvel movie to get a “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but it provided the MCU with its first man-man pairing… well, technically a man-eternal pairing, not wanting to speculate on how the kind on Olympia. Phastos is also the franchise’s first gay superhero, and the pair share the franchise’s first gay kiss (and one of the few kisses in general in the MCU).
Although her co-star Ben doesn’t get much screen time, her cast makes a bold statement. Actor Haaz Sleiman is a gay man himself and was born in the United Arab Emirates. Although the film was released in the United Arab Emirates, many neighboring countries banned it, leading Sleiman to say Variety“[Disney] stood their ground and said, ‘No, we’re not going to compromise the integrity of our film. It made those Arab countries so ignorant and pathetic.”
Marvel’s latest superhero, who debuted in Doctor Strange 2, doesn’t mention his sexuality out loud – Disney was probably hesitant about a 14-year-old character discussing his sexuality too openly. However, the character was Marvel’s first lesbian to lead a comic book series, and her sexuality is hinted at in two ways in the film. She wears a Pride flag pin on her denim jacket, which also reads “amor es amor”. This translates to “love is love”, a much used Pride slogan.
parents of america
It may have only lasted 12 seconds, but it was enough to get the film banned in Saudi Arabia. When we found out how America Chavez discovered her powers, we learned that she was raised by both of my mothers. Of course, we don’t know how gender and sexuality works in the universe the characters are from, but we can safely assume that it’s a lesbian couple.