New Lesbian Superhero to Premiere on TV, but Will Still Be Born Through Whiteness

TV shows about superheroes have been around since the 1960’s, and have recently experienced a resurgence in popularity thanks to shows like Arrow, the Flash, and even Supergirl. The Avengers movies, X-Men movies, and Wonder Woman have been some of the highest grossing movies at the box office in their respective seasons. But, there has yet to be an openly QTPoC star or QTPoC-centric narrative in any of these films.

The CW is now looking to make history in the arena of LGBT superheroes on screen with the production of a new show centering around Batwoman and her life as a white, lesbian superhero, reflecting the modern print version of the comics. For many kids, this character has the potential to serve as a figure they can look up to or think about as a source of refuge while they question and explore their sexual or gender identity.

The CW’s representation of Batwoman as a white womxn is a rather predictable, yet inexcusable choice--television can become a new canon. The kweer rights movement began when trans womxn of color decided to rise up and fight police brutality through violent protest at the Stonewall Riots in 1969. And yet, we have movies like Stonewall that portray them as gay white males, effectively erasing their history. This signifies a larger cultural shift that has chosen to portray kweerness through whiteness to make it more digestible and respectable to so-called mainstream audiences. However, this always relegates QTPoC to being an afterthought; the invisibles;  the exiles; and the nonexistent, resulting in countless hidden instances of insidious violence. Therefore, it is important to question the legitimacy of this new show as a symbol of progress for the LGBTQ and QTPoC community, regardless of whether or not this may be the first gay superhero on TV.

Further reading:

Batwoman: Lesbian comic hero to get TV series (BBC)


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