A petition/hashtag has exploded online as some fans have taken it upon themselves to ask Marvel and their team behind Captain America to give him a boyfriend. #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend and it’s predecessor #GiveElsaAGirlfriend are fan driven trends and organised pushes to see more LGBT inclusion within some of the most popular movies and franchises of the moment.
The tags and petitions have of course stirred up a lot of emotions on both sides and many who don’t identify as LGBT flag it as a dumb move, those advocating for it push the idea that such a character change would have nothing but positive repercussions. There is no denying that geek culture be it comics, movies, movies based on comics, video games and suffer from a lack of real diversity and the trope of token minorities is still peddled as a half-hearted and half-assed attempt to remedy it.
LGBT and ethnic minority fans alike only want real representation, not to be sidelined or tacked as an afterthought. Real characters at the front of big stories! There is a wealth of amazing publications out there written and drawn with these communities in mind but it’s an area that struggles to gain any real recognition on mainstream currents.
So you can be damn sure it’s important that we start to not only recognise these communities but that they’re portrayed fairly. Why then are we downplaying or ignoring DC Comics new Aqualad? An African-American gay teen struggling for acceptance and understanding:
Why not get behind and support this comic? This hero? I’d argue it’s because he doesn’t look like Steve Rogers, like Captain America, like Chris Evans.
A tall, built, strong, clean and muscular man with morals as chiseled as his bone structure. We’ll not only push for a gay Cap but we’ll accept him! We’ll ship him with another built white guy, a little more on the rugged and damaged side but that’s needed, because this Cap needs to be able to fix something, fix someone.
As a role model gay Cap would certainly carry weight but why does he have to be gay to do so? As gay fans can we not draw down inspiration from the man without needing to label him? Why does he have to be gay for us to take something from him?
You are not defined by your sexuality and neither should our characters or role models. Be empowered by representation certainly but don’t allow it to be all you are, we grow as people by experiencing new things and learning about new ways.
I’m not saying Captain America couldn’t or shouldn’t be gay! The importance of having openly gay heroes and story leads is paramount to not only offering strong role models for younger LGBT but also depicting and building on inclusiveness.
So why shouldn’t we give Cap a boyfriend? What’s the harm in making the character gay or bisexual? There’s nothing wrong with having a gay Captain America but we don’t need him to have a boyfriend! Instead of romanticising or sexualising the relationship between Steve and Bucky we need to understand it for what it is.
Steve and Bucky are friends, best friends and true friends. That’s important! That’s valuable! That’s worth something! We have the chance to take something very powerful away from their relationship. The strength and power of real friendship with Steven risking everything to bring his friend back from the edge and stand by him at all costs. Confusing or blurring that line with something sexual while has it’s merits, it’s simply nothing more than a fetishised idea.
We want to see Cap and Bucky together because that would be hot! I’m not going to deny it, I can more than see the appeal. Be it romantic or sexual, a relationship between these two wouldn’t be a hard thing to watch, there’s no point in denying it but that’s a fantasy on a fantasy and carries no real weight only pandering to selfish wants.
At the end of the day, having a gay Captain America does no harm but with this drive it would feel more like a soft pander than a genuine move to show more inclusion. Have we forgotten though that Marvel have a pretty decent track record though when it comes to including LGBT characters? Same-sex weddings, gay relationships, coming out stories and that’s before we get into the metaphor that is the X-Men? Give them and ourselves more credit folks and #dontgivecaptainamericaaboyfriend.
Editor-in-Chief, part-time super villain and hoarder of cats. If you can’t find me writing, I’m probably in the kitchen!