As a student at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX, as a student of LGBT Studies, and as a supporter of the It Gets Better and Trevor Projects, I recently stumbled upon several positive LGBT characters in the Marvel Universe during my research in attempt to present the first LGBT Studies class at Texas State—characters like Northstar (the first mainstream comic book character to come out of the closet,) and Wiccan and his boyfriend Hulkling—two super-powered teens who become the first mainstream teenage superheroes to form a gay relationship. But older, more established characters who were unable to come out due to certain more heteronormative elements at Marvel and in the comic book industries also inspire: characters like Mystique and Destiny—two characters who would form a relationship, and even though denied by the editor, the head writer (Chris Carter) wished for them to have a biological daughter (he changed the story to make it an adopted daughter) in the character of Rouge.
Flipping through newer comics during my research, I was reminded of my own childhood and how much Marvel comics and their titles, specifically the X-Men, meant to me. Although during much of my childhood, the heteronormative resistance made it impossible for any superheroes to come out as LGBT, and yet I found so much inspiration in titles like the “X-Men.” I learned through their characters and storylines that difference was a cause for celebration with characters like Storm (an African princess,) and Professor Xavier (an MLK-analog who formed a school and taught others to embrace themselves and diversity.) I learned of the power of faith in people and the basic goodness inherent in the human condition, with my teachers being Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde. But most of all, I learned that being different isn’t a bad thing; just because I was different didn’t mean that I was bad or evil, just misunderstood—I could be a good person, a good friend, and even a superhero! The point is that Marvel always tackled real-world problems and ended-up giving us tales that were not only entertaining, but also hopeful and educational.
Now, we have a new generation of superheroes and Marvel has again led the charge in producing LGBT characters with dignity and integrity, characters that are not only in the background, but also in superheroes unafraid to help others. I applaud Marvel for their strong, positive stance in this regard. This is why I want to ask Marvel to join the “It Gets Better” campaign. Think of the positive affect hearing from their LGBT heroes in an animated video that it’s okay to be LGBT would have on a questioning young person. Even better, Marvel could created a one-off, limited edition “It Gets Better” comic for the fans for LGBT youth centers to give out—I know I’d buy several and would proudly give them out to LGBT youth centers. Heck, I’d like to have one just for myself. They’d sell like hotcakes, but they’d also be for a very good cause. I know, and thank Marvel, for their free "Captain America: I Am an Avenger" issue, "A Little Help," but I think they should actually join the campaign full-steam ahead.
Please consider signing my petition and ask Marvel to get involved in the It Gets Better Project! For more about LGBT comic characters, check-out this link to a comprehensive list (http://queersupe.com/a-z-lbgt-comic-book-character-superlist/)