Gay Superheroes vs. Superheroes Who Are Gay

Homosexuality in comics isn’t by any means new (and, no, I’m not talking about the implied homosexuality between Batman and Robin in the early years). For some time now, characters have been coming out. I think Marvel might’ve been first, but DC has done a lot with them over the years. I first really became aware of it during the series “52,” which featured at times Renee Montoya (who later became the new Question, a hero that is almost entirely overlooked) and Kate Kane (Batwoman). In the universe reset, which DC called the New 52, a new character was created for the young hero group, the Teen Titans.

Miguel Jose Barragan, also known as Bunker, was outed by his writers early on, and for a few issues of the Titans series now, we’ve known about his boyfriend for a while. Bunker was born into a Mexican family, is gay, and can create purple-bricked psionic constructs with his mind (possibly a rip-off of Green Lantern, but DC owns them both so okay). His family accepts him for who he is and loves him dearly. It’s heartwarming.

And, I knew all of this going into the most recent issue of the series. The series started out pretty good, got really good the last few months, and then Wednesday’s issue happened. Bunker’s character has been an absolute joy to read. Despite everything he goes through, including a big fight against a multi-planar demon that wants to rule the Earth, he remains positive and seems to have a good faith in (given the way he speaks on the subject and knowing he’s Hispanic, I assume he’s Catholic).

His boyfriend, in the comic, has just woken up and asked for him. In an emotional moment, Miguel decides to leave the Teen Titans and that decision has bothered me since I read it.

I’m not saying homosexuality in comic books bothers me. In general, comics on some level mirror the real world (I believe in Batman, for example) and homosexuality is a human condition. So, why not feature it sometimes?

No, friends, my problem is that the writers suddenly made this great character’s personality revolve around his homosexuality. He gives up everything he’s worked for in the past couple dozen issues to go see his love. He is written off in such a way that we are left to believe that Miguel thinks doing real good in the world is not as important as the relationship he’s in.

And it is not something I’d be okay with if he were straight or if he were a she and a lesbian. Look at Batwoman, for example. The woman is getting married to the love of her life and is still out there every night kicking serious ass. Crime-fighting comes first and foremost for her, and her relationships in the comics have always been secondary. It was the same for Renee Montoya after 52 and before she was suddenly wiped from existence in the New 52 (curse you DC for getting rid of her and ruining The Question’s backstory).

If Bunker is gone permanently, then he was sent out in the most horrible way possible. He is suddenly defined by his relationship and not by his accomplishments, which we know a lot more about and are frankly awesome. If DC had written off a female hero like this, feminists everywhere would be livid and cursing DC for their horrible treatment of women. But Bunker is gay, and this is a big win for the LGBT community.

…Except it’s not.

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One thought on “Gay Superheroes vs. Superheroes Who Are Gay

  1. I actually don’t like Teen Titans, and one of the reasons is what you just said.
    One of the first gay couples in comics were Midnighter and Apollo in The Authority, and I always liked their relationship in comics. Their relationship was treated with respect, clearly and important part of their lives was each other, but the characters had more to them then just being gay. In Authority World’s End I remember Apollo was stuck in the sky because he had to be near the sun or he would die (long story). There were a few extremely touching moments between Apollo and Midnighter, but they were few and far between. They were my favorite scenes, but if the whole story revolved around that I would have gotten bored. This is an example of a relationship (gay or straight) done right.
    A lot of writers have a tendency to focus solely on the gay aspect of a character and not delving more deeply into who the character really is apart from his/her sexuality.

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