D.C. is once again pushing the boundaries in comic books with the introduction of the first transgender character in comics.
This week’s issue of Batwoman finds Alysia Yeoh revealing that she is a transwoman. Written by Gail Simone in issue #19, Yeoh reveals the information to her roommate Barbara Gordon in a conversation. It’s also revealed that the character is bisexual.
Simone says she drew inspiration for the conversation and storyline from a conversation with fellow comic artist Greg Ruka. Ruka was asked at a WonderCon a couple of years ago why fewer gay male superheroes than lesbian ones. Rucka, who co-created (and rebooted) Batwoman as a lesbian character, replied that it would be a real sign of change for a gay male character to appear on a comic book cover — and an even bigger step for a transgender character to do the same.
I looked out into the audience, saw dozens of faces I knew well — LGBTQ folks, mostly — all avid comics readers and superhero fans and DC supporters,” said Simone. “And it just hit me: Why was this so impossible? Why in the world can we not do a better job of representation of not just humanity, but also our own loyal audience?”
Simone suggested the story to DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio at lunch one day, prepared to offer a passionate defense for the idea of a transgender character. ”I thought I might have to sell it, so to speak,” said Simone. “But he just paused for a moment, asked how this would affect Barbara’s story, and immediately approved it. And we went back to our excellent nachos.”
Do you agree with DC’s move?