DC introduces its first openly transgender character

Alysia Yeoh, Batgirl's roommate. [HRC]


  1. Gail Simone herself has been discussing this on her blog.  I know that your headline is a lot easier, but HRC had it right: this is the first trans* character in a tights-and-cape book, not the first trans* character at all. http://gailsimone.tumblr.com/post/47683983687/trans-and-trans-proximity-characters-in-comics http://gailsimone.tumblr.com/post/47631678544/huge-spoiler-alert-of-course-while-yeoh  Her quotes intentionally called out other trailblazing characters and writers.

      1. For that matter, while Lord Fanny wasn’t trans, s/he was clearly genderqueer. (Whether or not Fanny had other notable character traits is questionable, but Jack Frost’s sole character trait throughout the first three quarters of the series was that he was an asshole — and he was the main character)

  2. Not to go all comic-book-nerd, but I think DC’s first trans character appeared about 20 years ago in the Sandman “Game of You” arc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sandman:_A_Game_of_You

      1. A Game of You was published as a DC Comic with a “Suggested for Mature Readers” label, not part of the Vertigo imprint as it didn’t exist.

        Of course, it’s published under Vertigo now.

      2. Nope — if you limit it to the DCU proper, then it’s Sir Ystin, the Shining Knight. Only when you limit it to superhero books is she the first.

        Which, as Simone herself has noted, isn’t really the point. We should be celebrating all these characters, not quibbling over imprecise headlines.

    1. Wanda was a groundbreakingly positive portrayal, coming as she did even before The Crying Game, but I do wish Gaiman hadn’t succumbed to the “queers always end tragically” trope.

      1. It’s a pity that he did, as it robs some of the power from an otherwise positive presentation.

        On the other hand, it’s not as standout a disaster as that trope can be, because it comes in a comic in which about 40% of characters end tragically, during a story which hits closer to 70%.  (I mean, the only characters in Game of You that gets a happy ending are Hazel, Foxglove and the cuckoo.)  It’s arguable that Gaiman’s failure lies in making such a point of Wanda’s tragic death.  Compare to the death of Judy at the end of Preludes, which is far more horrific but avoids that trope completely, since it doesn’t single Judy out – everyone dies horribly.  (For me, the awareness of that past is one of the things that gives Foxglove power as a character when we meet her.)

  3. Vertigo is still DC and they also published The Invisibles…Which had an awesome trans character.

  4. Perhaps it will play out more organically in the overall story than it seems in that set of panels as it feels a bit wedged in there.  DC seems driven to put characters in so that they can say they have them, rather than use what they have. 

    For example, I am boggled by Alan Scott being forced to suddenly be gay.  His son, who had a long and complex background, was completely and totally out of the closet gay and it worked well in the story.  And yet, rather than bring him into the universe when they mashed the reset button (because apparently married characters are “too old”?), they moved it up to his dad and then oddly introduced his orientation and then killed off his love interest within a few pages.  It screamed “editorial mandate”.

  5. Yep, the “This is the first gay comics character ever!” headline gets dusted off every now and again. This is a twist on it, but it doesn’t make it any more accurate. (Yes, I too immediately thought of poor, forgotten Fanny from “The Invisibles”.)

  6. I give her three issues before James Gordon, Jr (Barbara’s brother) kills her to get to Barbara.  And I may be overestimating by two issues.

    1. Yeah, because if there’s one person I think of when I think of the unfortunate trend of women in superhero comics being killed off for a cheap shock, it’s Gail Simone.

      Granted, that’s because the foundation of her entire career was CALLING OUT that plot device, but you know, if you leave this sentence out it sounds like I’m agreeing with you instead of suggesting that you have no idea who you’re actually talking about.

      1. I’m fairly certain the foundation of her entire career was her work in comics.  The foundation of her internet fame was calling out that plot device, but I sincerely hope that’s not yet the same thing. ;)

        Seconded, though.

  7. If we’re including genderqueer/genderneutral characters in the trans* label, you can’t forget Demon Knights’ Shining Knight. The fact that they refused to pick a gender was even a plot point (and their strength in dealing with society’s forced roles) in the series. Demon Knights has actually been DC’s secret super-progressive comic – over half the characters are female, passes the “multiple female characters that talk to each other about stuff other than guys” test, has a positively depicted Muslim character, and the female and trans* characters are all certified bad asses. Does not get nearly enough recognition.

  8. Wait, she can walk now? Was this intervention by Wayne industries or retcon? I’m so confused.

      1. I don’t see how “they retconned the entire universe” qualifies as “not a retcon”.

        1. It doesn’t, but the question was whether her ability to walk was due to Wayne Industries or retcon.

          And technically it wasn’t either, it just happened along with a retcon… I suppose you could arguably say it was ‘part of the retcon’, but it could also be considered retcon-adjacent.   But she still couldn’t walk and was Oracle for a while, she just happened to find a normal medical cure, off-panel, shortly before the timeframe of the reboot.

          Although they did retcon a bunch of other things like the length of her Oracle-ness.

          That doesn’t change it from being a bad decision though, IMHO.

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