After outing legendary comic book superheroes Batwoman and Green Lantern last year, DC Comics is making an effort to represent a more diverse LGBT community by introducing the first bisexual and openly transgender character in a mainstream superhero comic.
In Batgirl #19, an emotional exchange between Alysia Yeoh and Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl) prompts Alysia to reveal she is a transwoman.
For Batgirl writer Gail Simone, a more diverse LGBT comic book cast is the biggest issue in her industry today—in fact, she considers it “the issue for superhero comics.” In an interview with Wired, Simone claims the addition of Alysia’s new plotline was a no-brainer, and overdue for the loyal comic book fans waiting for more relatable characters. “It just hit me,” she says. “Why in the world can we not do a better job of representation of not just humanity, but also our own loyal audience?”
Girl took the words right out of our mouths. Can she try working for Fox News?
The introduction of a transwoman in mainstream comics may be a dramatic first for the industry (even though independent comics have featured trans characters for years), but Simone believes the comic industry may be one of the most accepting. After pitching the idea to DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio, Alysia’s new plotline was “immediately approved,” and Simone expects most superhero comic readers to be just as open-minded and quick to embrace.
Simone isn’t planning on turning Alysia into an inflated stereotype, either, realizing the power behind approaching the subject in a way that isn’t intense and hostile. She reassures Wired that Alysia is “a character, not a public service announcement…being trans is just part of her story.”
Now, more than ever, we wonder why real life can’t be more like a comic book?