The theory that X-Men is really just a latex-clad metaphor about the gay rights movement has been talked up so much that it’s now become consensus. This idea has probably been cooking since the comic strip launched in the 60s, but it really gained traction when openly gay director Bryan Singer called “Action” on the first two installments in the recent movie franchise.
The new film, X-Men: First Class, makes several nods to its gay status: there’s a “don’t ask, don’t tell” reference and a new spin on an old post-liberation slogan in “Mutant and Proud.”
The danger of this theory is that it feeds the whole “them and us” attitude, a belief that being L,G,B or T is so different from the “norm.” And it treats sexuality as black and white, rather than as a kind of sliding scale. Not to mention the whole Nietzschean superiority thing.
No, we’re not letting Hollywood off the hook until there’s a proper queer superhero on our screens, which is something X-Men creator Stan Lee was actually developing with gay writer/producer Perry Moore before his death earlier this year.
It’ll be interesting to see if Fox now starts distancing its big movie franchise from gay comparisons after a disappointing opening weekend for First Class.