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Meet The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s First LGBTQ+ Lead

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s very first queer main character has been revealed. Loki, Marvel’s shape-shifting God of Mischief has been announced as canonically queer. In the comics, Loki has always been very open about his gender expression and sexuality, but it wasn’t until 2019 when these details were specified to fans. Loki has been romantically involved with more than one gender several times throughout the cinematic universe. As well, he has been portrayed as other genders in several appearances. These occurrences were consistently portrayed as solely a method of manipulation. This has left fans confused as to whether the character’s fluidity within gender and sexuality was just a component to elaborate on his wicked traits and desires, leaving him to just be cisgender and straight. However, in 2019 Mackenzie Lee the author of  Young Avengers, confirmed multiple times that Loki identified as gender-fluid and pansexual. 

In the recent Disney+ original, Loki,Loki’s gender-fluidity and bisexuality has been confirmed which makes him the first queer main character in the MCU! In a teaser prior to the release of the TV series, Loki’s sex is labeled as fluid. In episode 3  it was revealed that Loki has had relationships with both men and women. Additionally, the writer of Loki, Micheal Waldron liked a tweet stating that Loki is trans representation as he is gender-fluid and that term falls under the trans umbrella. On the same note, the director of the series, Kaite Herron, tweeted this the day episode 3 was released: 

 “From the moment I joined @LokiOfficial it was very important to me, and my goal, to acknowledge Loki is bisexual. It is apart of who he is and who I am too. I know it’s a small step but I’m happy, and my heart is so full, to say that this is now canon in #mcu #Loki”

Viewers were so excited for this long-anticipated reveal. LGBTQ+ fans have been waiting for a lead character to be openly queer since the MCU debuted in 2008. Similar to criticisms of the comics/novels, there are fans who aren’t happy with this reveal. Some have argued in online spaces that the inclusion of a queer character is unecessary, while others argue that Loki is a well-established character that doesn’t need to be “changed” to pander to the masses. Fans who oppose say that even though Loki has at times transformed into a woman in the comics he always changes back and refers to himself with male pronouns when in his “original form”. It is important that everybody can see themselves on screen. Even if Loki wasn’t confirmed as queer in the comics, the MCU often dramatically changes character traits, including race, gender, and entire plot points. Though Loki is the first main character to be canonically queer there have been several examples.

In Thor: Ragnarok, Tessa Thompson’s character, Valkyrie experiences a flashback in which she is seen holding her dead female lover. The shot only lasted about 2 seconds and was never mentioned in conversation. This frustrated fans because her being queer was implied but could be interpreted as a straight woman holding her last friend. However, Tessa Thompson confirmed Valkyrie’s bisexuality in her 2019 Time cover story by saying, “You don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you, but I think a friendly bite is okay. Inclusion doesn’t happen by mistake. You have to push people. Sometimes shame is a powerful tool. That wasn’t necessarily my intention, but I don’t mind it being a dare.”  At  2019 ComicCon, the actress alluded to Valkyrie having a female love interest after her character takes Thor’s place as King of Asgard in Thor Ragnarok. Thompson declares, “As the new king, she needs to find her queen. So that will be the first order of business.” 

The second implementation of a queer character was in Avengers: Endgame. This character was unnamed and never shown again after the 50 seconds in which he appeared. 

It seems that Marvel will be including more LGBTQ+ representation in the near future. Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, has confirmed that the upcoming Eternals film will feature an openly gay superhero and the MCU’s first same-sex kiss. The MCU also seems to be setting up a Young Avengers team up which includes Scarlet Witch, Antman and Hawkeye’s kids. This team will have four openly queer characters. 

 In the future, Marvel will potentially have censored queer scenes. In some countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, and China, depictions of LGBTQ+ relationships are banned. These countries made up 28% of Thor: Ragnarok’s gross international takings and a large portion of all Marvel movies. This fact will most likely encourage Marvel to censor scenes in which characters explicitly talk about being queer. 

Hopefully,  MCU fans around the globe will be able to see queer characters. For now, having Loki,  a bisexual, genderfluid, leading character brings the long-awaited LGBTQ+ representation fans have wanted since 2008. 

Sources

Bonnelly, Marlene. “Loki’s Sexuality and Genderfluidity in Comics.” The Mary Sue, 21 June 2018, www.themarysue.com/loki-sexuality-gender-fluidity/.

Dockterman, Eliana. “Loki’s Bisexuality and the MCU’s History of LGBTQ Characters.” Time, Time, 25 June 2021, time.com/6075230/loki-bisexual-mcu-lgbtq-representation/.

Kelleher, Patrick, et al. “Tessa Thompson Addresses Thor: Ragnarok ‘Straightwashing’ Criticism.” PinkNews, 26 June 2019, www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/11/30/tessa-thompson-thor-ragnarok-bisexual/.

“Marvel Is Censoring Films for China, and You Probably Didn’t Even Notice.” CNET, www.cnet.com/features/marvel-is-censoring-films-for-china-and-you-probably-didnt-even-notice/.

Rachel Yang. “Lokis Sex Listed as Fluid in Latest Teaser for Disney Series.” EW.com, ew.com/tv/loki-sex-is-fluid-disney-plus-teaser-video/.

Raffy Ermac. “Will the MCU’s ‘Young Avengers’ Characters All Be LGBTQ ?” Gay Pride – LGBT & Queer Voices, PRIDE.com, 23 Apr. 2020, www.pride.com/geek/2020/4/23/will-mcus-young-avengers-characters-all-be-lgbtq.

“Russia’s Dubbed Version of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Changes Marvel’s First ‘Gay Moment’.” Meduza, meduza.io/en/shapito/2019/04/30/russia-s-dubbed-version-of-avengers-endgame-changes-marvel-s-first-gay-moment.

Summers, Josh, and NETJiuk. “How to Watch Disney in China in 2021 (Where It Hasn’t Been Launched).” Travel China Cheaper, 7 Apr. 2021, www.travelchinacheaper.com/how-to-watch-disney-in-china-because-it-couldnt-be-easy-right.

Swann, Erik. “Marvel’s Kevin Feige Addresses Young Avengers Rumors.” CINEMABLEND, CINEMABLEND, 21 Mar. 2021, www.cinemablend.com/news/2564682/marvels-kevin-feige-addresses-young-avengers-rumors.

Vary, Adam B. “On ‘Loki,’ the Marvel Cinematic Universe Finally Gets Its First Major Queer Character – But Should We Be Celebrating?” Variety, Variety, 23 June 2021, variety.com/2021/tv/news/loki-bisexual-tom-hiddleston-marvel-studios-1235003736/.

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