Entertainment :: Culture

DC Comics Reveals First Transgender/Bisexual Character

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Saturday Apr 13, 2013
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DC Comics has revealed its first (and possibly the first ever in comics) transgender character - Alysia Yeoh, Batgirl’s roommate, Wired reports.

Alysia made her debut in "Batgirl" #19, which was available for purchase on Wednesday, and is apparently the first transgender character to be featured in a mainstream comic. In the issue, she reveals that she is transgender, as well as bisexual, during a conversation she has with Batgirl, AKA Barbara Gordon.

According to writer Gail Simone, she wanted to make a character like Alysia after hearing from fans.

"Why was this so impossible? "Why in the world can we not do a better job of representation of not just humanity, but also our own loyal audience," she asked herself, according to Wired. She added that breaking down barriers in comics has been challenging, however.

"It’s the issue for superhero comics," she told the publication "Look, we have a problem most media don’t have, which is that almost all the tentpoles we build our industry upon were created over a half century ago... at a time where the characters were almost without exception white, cis-gendered, straight, on and on. It’s fine - it’s great that people love those characters. But if we only build around them, then we look like an episode of ’The Andy Griffith’ Show for all eternity."

But some says Alysia isn’t the first transgender character in a comic. According to the comic blog Bleeding Cool, there have been other transgender characters over the years, including Masquerade from "Blood Syndicate" and Marisa Rahm from "Death Wish." These characters, however, were not blatantly identified as transgender or the issues were labeled as mature content and weren’t considered as a mainstream comic.

This isn’t the first time DC Comics has featured a character from the LGBT community. In February, DC announced that Batwoman, a Jewish lesbian, proposed to her girlfriend. Though the comic company has been lauded by gay rights activists and fans for including a number of LGBT characters over the years, the publisher came under fire earlier this year for hiring Orson Scott Card as a writer for an upcoming Superman series. Card has been sharply criticized for his opposition to gay marriage and anti-gay comments. Fans even filed a petition to get Card off the project but the company stood by the controversial writer and said in a statement, "as content creators we steadfastly support freedom of expression, however the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are just that - personal views - and not those of the company itself."

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