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Impact Of A Bisexual Superhero

A fair number of comic fans didn’t seem to care much for Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s rendition of Young Avengers. While few stories are without criticism, I enjoyed their work on it quite a lot and would’ve liked for them to have continued for a while longer. Young Avengers has been on my mind for several days now after reading a reblogged post on Bevis Musson’s tumblr that was written by 21 year old Annie. Annie writes about having an incredibly heart wrenching and eye opening personal revelation to reading candid dialog from Prodigy, the mutant character Gillen added to the Young Avengers cast, addressing his bisexuality. For Annie it was the first time ever encountering a bisexual character allowed to define themselves rather than being defined by others. At present I can’t think of another bisexual in mainstream superhero commics where this is the case though I do recall a friend telling me she had a similar epiphany about not having to choose between women and men when reading Lee Marrs’ now long out of print alt comic Pudge Girl Blimp. Instead of me talking about Annie, here’s what Annie wrote:

“I want to talk about David Alleyne for a minute. I want to talk about bisexuality. I want to talk about how I lived 21 fucking years on this planet, 21 years consuming massive amounts of media, movies, tv shows, comics, and I had never until this moment seen a character say “I’m bisexual”. I want to talk about being 13 years old and knowing that gay people existed but thinking I was sick and broken because I couldn’t ‘choose between being gay or straight’.

‘It was like realizing something that was always true and I just couldn’t see it until now.’

I want to talk about how ashamed I feel for mocking my friend’s bisexuality in high school and helping to force them back into the closet, all the while thinking ‘I fixed myself so why can’t you?’, never knowing how much I was hurting myself and others. I want to talk about the bone deep fear I feel around people I don’t know if I can trust. I want to talk about how it is absolutely no different from the fears gay men and lesbian women have. It’s the same racing thoughts, the same paranoid worries, is this person safe? Can I trust them? Can they tell? Is there something about me that will tip them off? Did I let something slip that I shouldn’t have?

I want to talk about how hard I cried after reading this issue of Young Avengers. Because I’d never seen anyone, fictional or real, be allowed to identify themselves as bisexual without question or ridicule from their peers. No doubt, I’ve seen characters that are attracted to multiple different genders, but they are never ever allowed the agency to tell the world who they are on their own terms. It’s always other people who get to decide what they are. They’re too gay for one partner, or too straight for another, but they are never proudly, defiantly, lovingly allowed to be bisexual. David isa revolutionary character, for so many reasons, and I can’t speak to what he means as a bisexual man of color, but I want to talk about how David Alleyne changed my life.”

A better argument for representation and inclusion of characters with diverse sexualities outside of the default straight and occasionally gay and lesbian does not come to mind.


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