All of the LGBTQ Characters in the MCU So Far
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been making strides in diversity and representation. One place it has previously fallen behind is in LGTBQ+ representation. It wasn’t until 2021 that an MCU film featured an openly gay superhero, Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry). While the MCU had previously been notoriously subtle when it came to its LGBTQ+ characters, Eternals introduced Phastos’ husband, Ben (Haaz Sleiman), and son, Jack (Esai Daniel Cross). Though brief, it was a big step in the right direction for the MCU.
The MCU has also featured several others LGBTQ+ characters. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Jessica Jones, which are technically considered part of the MCU, actually led the way in representation. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. introduced the MCU’s first openly gay character, while Jessica Jones featured the MCU’s first openly lesbian character. Meanwhile, more recent MCU TV shows and films have also introduced several more LGBTQ+ characters. The Deadpool film series also featured LGBTQ+ characters, but Deadpool and Deadpool 2, unfortunately, aren’t considered part of the MCU.
Here are all of the MCU’s confirmed LGBTQ+ characters.
Joey Gutierrez (Juan Pablo Raba) is the MCU’s first openly gay character. He was first introduced in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in 2015. Gutierrez was a young Inhuman whose powers were unleashed by accidental exposure to Terrigen Mist through fish oil pills. Upon exposure, Gutierrez realized he had the power to manipulate metal, but he struggled to control his powers. This put him on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s radar and they ended up protecting, training, and recruiting Gutierrez. His sexual identity was revealed by Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki), who knew of his social media activity. Gutierrez briefly opened up about how he had learned to embrace his sexual identity instead of hiding it.
Gutierrez ultimately decided S.H.I.E.L.D. wasn’t for him, though, and his character departed the show after six appearances.
Jeri Hogarth, Kith Lyonne, Gillian, and Eddy Costa
Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) made her debut as the MCU’s first openly lesbian character in Jessica Jones, just a few months after Gutierrez’s debut. Hogarth is a gender-swapped version of Marvel comics’ Jeryn “Jeri” Hogarth. In Jessica Jones, she is a high-profile, no-nonsense lawyer who frequently represents Jones (Krysten Ritter). She provided queer representation in Jessica Jones from its onset, as her affair with her secretary, Pam (Susie Abromeit), and her divorce from her wife, Wendy (Robin Weigert), were explored in the series. However, Hogarth wasn’t the only queer representation in Jessica Jones.
By season 3, Jessica Jones introduced three more LGBTQ+ characters: Gillian (Aneesh Sheth), Kith Lyonne (Sarita Choudhury), and Detective Eddy Costa (John Ventimiglia). Sheth’s Gillian was the MCU’s first transgender character, and the show handled her presence beautifully by normalizing trans individuals and refusing to explicitly reference her gender identity. Meanwhile, Lyonne was a bisexual character who engaged in an affair with Hogarth, and Costa was an openly gay man who worked for the NYPD as a detective.
Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) made history as the first bisexual MCU superhero to appear in a film. Valkyrie is also a notable bisexual character in Marvel comics. Though Thor: Ragnarok chose to cut out a scene confirming Valkyrie’s sexuality, Thompson confirmed it outside of the film. Kevin Feige promised that Valkyrie would have a significant LGTBQ+ storyline in Thor: Love and Thunder in 2022. However, aside from subtle flirting between Valkyrie and a handmaiden of Zeus (Russell Crowe), the film failed to deliver on its LGBTQ romance for Valkyrie. Given that the character has been confirmed to be bisexual, though, there is hope that the MCU will still deliver on its promise in the future.
Loki & Sylvie
Loki (Tom Hiddleston) had a long stint in the MCU before it finally confirmed his sexuality. Loki premiered in 2021 and follows Loki as he comes under the scrutiny of the TVA after the events of Avengers: Endgame allowed him to create a new timeline. In episode 3 of the show, Loki meets a variant of himself named Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino). The two get to know each other and, when the topic of sexuality comes up, they both admit to being bisexual.
When discussing Loki’s sexuality, Hiddleston praised the MCU for making his bisexuality canon. In the ancient history of Loki, the god has always been fluid in gender and sexuality. Hence, his sexuality in the MCU was in line with the character’s mythical history.
Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos was introduced in Eternals, making him the first openly gay MCU character to star in a film. Phastos is an Eternal who specializes in creating advanced technology and weaponry. However, by gifting humanity advanced technology, he indirectly led them to the creation of the atomic bomb. In the present day, though, Phastos is found to be living a quiet and happy life with his husband and son. Eternals handled his sexuality well, approaching it in a natural scene that normalized his identity. Though brief, the scene led to the film being banned in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar. That retaliation, though, only further confirmed the necessity of featuring and normalizing queer representation in film.
Near the end of Thor: Love and Thunder it was revealed that Korg (Taika Waititi) is another queer character in the Thor film series. Korg, who belongs to a species known as the Kronan, revealed that on his home planet, reproduction occurs when two male Kronans hold hands over molten lava. The film further explored his sexuality when they revealed he was in love with another Kronan named Dwayne (Dave Cory). In the end, Korg and Dwayne do end up procreating together. This was in line with Marvel comics which also portrayed Korg as gay.
Xochitl Gomez made her live-action debut as America Chavez in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in 2022. In the comics, Chavez is a prominent bisexual character. However, in the film, her sexuality is not mentioned nor confirmed. Feige defended the decision by explaining that he didn’t want her sexuality to solely define her character. Since the film made no mention of her sexuality, it is uncertain if she is, indeed, bisexual in the MCU. Given her comic book history, though, and the MCU’s effort to stay true to the comic book characters, Gomez’s Chavez sexuality will likely be confirmed if she returns.
Ayo and Aneka
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premiered on November 11, 2022, and introduced its newest queer couple, Ayo (Florence Kasumba) and Aneka (Michaela Cole). Kasumba made her MCU debut back in 2016, but Black Panther: Wakanda Forever marked Aneka’s first appearance. In the comics, Ayo and Aneka are romantically involved and are members of the Midnight Angels. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever confirmed that Ayo and Aneka are a couple in the MCU, as well. Though only Aneka and Okoye (Danai Gurira) are Midnight Angels in the film, Aneka and Ayo’s relationship is subtly hinted at as Aneka drops a kiss on Ayo’s head and Ayo refers to her as her “love.”
(featured image: Disney)
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