I was quite a bit of pain yesterday & Robyn has a stressful day tomorrow & will need me to be functional when she gets home from school so rather than go to sleep like a god damn adult I caught up on Age of Ultron & all its’s tie-ins & now I’m never going to sleep again ever because HOLY FUCK SHIT IS SO UNBELIEVABLY REAL THAT I DON’T EVEN HAVE WORDS
So if you follow me on any other Social Media and/or follow comics news at all, you probably know that Barbara Gordon’s housemate, Alysia Yeoh, came out as Trans in issue 19 of Batgirl. Yay! In honour of this (and to counter some really shoddy reporting) Gail Simone posted asking people to talk about other Trans characters in comics. I’ve actually written this post once already, but Tumblr ate it because it hates me, Trans people AND freedom. However, I shall soldier on & write it again because its the middle of the night & therefore it feels like a great idea!
The first Trans and/or Trans-adjacent characters that come to mind for me are Xavin (Runaways, Marvel), Mystique (X-Men, Marvel) & Coagula (Doom Patrol, Vertigo). I was reminded of Sir Ystin (Demon Knights, DC) after writing my originally post & I begrudgingly acknowledge that an argument could be made for Loki (Marvel). I also have a very strong head canon in which Bucky Barnes (Marvel) is Trans, but I am well aware that stems much more from self-indentification with him than from any realistic interpretation of the text. (A friend of mine drew me an amazing piece of Trans!Bucky art once, which you can see here with some great commentary [slightly nsfw])
So once upon a time, Mystique had a girlfriend called Destiny & they wanted a baby so Mystique shape-shifted in to a male form & impregnated Destiny and thus Nightcrawler was born. Except really Mystique & Destiny were just “very good friends” because of the fucking comics code. While Destiny & Mystique’s relationship has been confirmed in comics since (they raised Rogue together) the Mystique-as-father storyline was abandoned completely (I love the concept to much though that you will never convince me it didn’t happen in almost every other universe. Especially Earth-58613. I love that wacky place!). Now, I realise in almost no real world terms does “shapeshifting into a man so you can have a baby with your girlfriend” count as Trans but we’re talking about a functionally immortal, blue-skinned mutant! We’ve left “real world terms” far behind! I do think of this storyline whenever I think of Mystique, so I suppose that’s why she sticks in my mind with the other Trans characters and really, who can say what gender identity means to a shape-shifter?
One person who probably CAN say what gender identity means to a shape-shifter is the Runaway’s Xavin (I should warn you, if you try to tell me Xavin isn’t Trans I will cut you). When we first meet Xavin, she presents as a brown-skinned human male who has come from space to marry Karolina (a rainbow skinned alien lesbian). After a while she reveals that she’s actually a male Skrull and a shapeshifter. When Karolina tells Xavin she can’t marry her because she only like girls, Xavin shifts both her Skrull & human appearnces to being female. While at first it seems Xavin is only maintaining her female appearance to please Karolina - she returns to a male appearance when facing the team’s enemies as she believes it makes her seem more intimidating - it becomes obvious that Xavin is far more comfortable as a woman. In the Runanway’s third volume Xavin is shown to be increasingly frustrated that the team (with the exception of Karolina & Molly) keep misgendering her & in a moment of post-fight exhaustion, when she no longer has the energy to shape-shift, she remains in her female (and Skrull) form. That moment is really powerful to me, and I want to wave it in the face of everyone who’s like “but she’s a shape-shifter! It doesn’t count!” Do we need Trans superheroes who don’t have shape-shifting powers? Yes! But that’s not a reason to discount the heroes we have! Basically, I really love Xavin & I loved her relationship with Karolina & I just want the, to be together forever. (Julie Power can come too)
Sir Ystin is complicated for me. I mean, he’s definitely Trans & definitely a great character but I just want keen on how he was talked about in the book. It just felt like every scene with him in it had a “lol Trans” joke in it, and that most of them were at his expense. I actually stopped reading Demon Knights because of the treatment of Ystin, but I’m well aware that lots of other people have very different views on the matter. Go look him up anyway! He’s super cute!
Also in the “complicated” box for me is Loki. If I’m going to count Mystique as Trans I HAVE to count Loki, but I just don’t like him & I find the whole taking up residence in Sif’s body thing to be super creepy and I really want nothing to do with him. Norse myth’s Loki is DEFINITELY genderfluid & queer but I’m not so sure about Marvel’s. Really, I’m just bigoted against Loki so don’t listen to anything I have to say. I’m definitely not one to try and claim all queer representation has to be positive, but this is just something I’m irrational about.
Last but certainly not least - Coagula! I’ve never read any of Coagla’s books - the run of Doom Patrol she was in hasn’t been released in trade -but Robyn knows a bit about her & I’ve glanced at Wikipedia. Not only is Coagula a Transwoman but she was created by a Transwoman (Rachel Pollack) & her civilian name (Kate Godwin) pays homage to two Trans activists (Kate Bornstein & Kate Godwin). She was a sex worker before she was a superhero, she’s bisexual & her powers came from a “radioactive hermaphrodite”. Her nemesis was a villain called Codpiece who seems to be kind of like Machine Man but just with his crotch. She has the power to dissolve solids & solidify liquids. The Justice League turned her down & she died after telling a teammate that she was adopted (the teammate didn’t take it well). There you go! That’s as much as I know about Coagula! (I have my eye on an EBay Auction for most of Pollack’s run on Doom Patrol though, so watch this space!)
If I could snap my fingers & make any character Trans, it’d be Bucky. I think it would be a super easy retcon & pretty much his entire storyline could stay the same. Also Iron Man, but that is so far beyond the realm of things which would be allowed to happen that I don’t really think about it. At least not as much as I think about Bucky.
I know there are other Trans characters out there in comics, but these are the ones who I’m most familiar with. While Aysia Yeoh obviously isn’t the “first” Trans comics character (seriously, what are we? YouTube comments?) she’s still a bisexual, transgendered woman of colour in a medium where all four of those identities are in short supply!
So, welcome to the family, Alysia! I’m pretty excited to read more about you - while Trans superheroes are important, “ordinary” Trans people are important in comics too. Superheroes can always be dismissed by those who want to as “well they’re hardly like us, are they?” but ordinary extraordinary people living ordinary extraordinary lives are harder to wave away. Even if you become a superhero after this (and it would be rad if you did!) we met you first as one of us & that makes you special! I hope you and Barbara have lots of awesome adventures together!PS Now can we have a Butch superhero? And a fat one? And can some of the disabled ones come back? Also, can I have a cookie? Not a super cookie, just a regular one. Come on comics! Give me moooooooooooore!
no idea if this is what she looks like. i imagined an erring-on-the-side-of-butch girl, kind of big all over, stuck to superpower ‘civvies’ bc costuming/capes would be a particular kind of sociocultural thing in that world
btw i am talking about clare and robyn’s amazing story JARHEAD which clare absolutely needs to write because i was practically drooling at the table when she was telling me about it
She looks fantastic! Definitely the sort of look I was imagining :) *flail*
For those of you who didn’t hear our rambling pitch at dinner, the concept is a world where everyone has a superpower - but where a lot of them are super specific. For example, our main character (pictured here!!!!!!!) has the power to open any jar. Her family - a Big Power dynasty - are ashamed of her minor power, but when she meets a man who always knows just what to say she finds out that hers might be the biggest power of all!Source: soufex
Jackie’s Endless List of Favorite Characters
X-23 is DEFINITELY one of my favourite characters! I’m really sad she’s tied up in stupid Avengers Arena (which, oh my god, has got to be THE FUCKING WORST for her, even more so that most of the other kids) so she can’t be in the awesome new X-Men team with her girlfriend Jubilee
(via comicqueens)Source: snikette