Three Years Ago, Korra and Asami Came Out and Went to the Spirit World
Three years ago, The Legend of Korra broke barriers by giving us the first canon bisexual Nicktoons characters. And they were both women of color. Good times. Good times.
I remember sitting in front of my computer slowly freaking out as the Korra and Asami scenes began to play. At first, I was like, “They aren’t going there, but thank goodness they aren’t gonna try and have some Mako bullshit on my screen.” Then the scene kept going, and I was like … could it be? The hug was already a lot for me, and I was like, “Look at these two beautiful women who get to be friends.”
Then, Korra said the line that made me damn near fall out of my seat: “Let’s go on a vacation, just the two of us, anywhere you want.”
Gay. As. Hell.
And the rest is history. They went to the spirit world together on a vacation, even though the series ended without them kissing a la Kataang. The comic series, however, has given us the kiss we deserve, focused on building their relationship, and has also made Kya (Aang and Katara’s daughter) canonically a lesbian and Avatar Kyoshi canonically bisexual.
Post-finale, one of the things people debated was whether Korrasami were a well-written couple or just used for “shock value.” Firstly, I think there is something to be said about queerness and coming out being seen as a “shocking” thing. Are Korra and Asami a “shocking” couple because their characters don’t make sense as a couple, or because the audience is so used to reading characters as straight that when a character is revealed not to be it’s automatically treated as a “reveal”?
While neither Korra nor Asami was shown explicitly to be queer before the “reveal,” there was nothing that suggested they couldn’t be, either. They both dated the same person, and really, there were no major relationship options for either of them outside of (sigh) Mako.
Putting aside the fact that we never know whether Korra and Asami are bisexual, the entire third season is dedicated to developing the friendship/relationship between the two women for the better. In retrospect, you realize that this is where the relationship development for them happens. In the first two seasons, they were friends only through Mako; in Book 3, they are friends because of each other. And fans caught onto that.
Korrasami was one of the biggest fandom ships before it became canon, and it was repeatedly shot down in fan discussions because Korra was a kids’ show, and a kids’ show wasn’t going to go there.
Well, it did. And children’s television shows like Korra and Steven Universe have managed to give younger audiences (and older ones) positive representation of characters who are different colors and sexualities than themselves. For me, Korrasami was the ship that showed me that the only thing holding creators back from making their leads gay was their own fear.
I think of popular bisexual fandom ships like Sleeping Warrior, or SwanQueen, or SuperCorp, which never happened and probably won’t happen because the writers are afraid, or don’t feel like they can do it without facing a massive backlash. And those are adult shows. It’s also important to note that Korra was the main character and heroine who was bisexual. While it is great to have supporting characters with queer identities, it is also great to have the gay characters as the protagonist. To be the one who saves the world and also gets the girl and the boy if they want.
No matter what, we will always have Korrasami and the impact that show will leave, not just on grown-ass women like me, but on young girls and boys who saw two strong, bad-ass women date a boy and save the world and then date each other.
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