Batgirl's Roomie is DC Comics' First Out Trans Woman
DC Comics, home to queer-friendly characters like the out lesbian Batwoman and openly gay Green Lantern, just introduced a character who may be the first out transgender woman to have a recurrent role in mainstream comics. She also happens to be bisexual.
In Batgirl #19, the titular heroine's roommate Alysia Yeoh comes out to her superhero roommate as transgender, with a simple statement, reports Wired.
Batgirl writer Gail Simone told Wired she wanted her characters to reflect the diversity she sees among comic book fans, not yet reflected in characters, who are overwhelmingly male, white, and cisgender (non-trans).
Diversity, says Simone, "is the issue for superhero comics. Look, we have a problem most media don’t have, which is that almost all the tentpoles we build our industry upon were created over a half century ago… at a time where the characters were almost without exception white, cisgendered, straight, on and on. It’s fine — it’s great that people love those characters. But if we only build around them, then we look like an episode of The Andy Griffith Show for all eternity.”
Simone told Wired including a trans character was a relative nonissue for her publishers, and doesn't anticipate much backlash from readers. Still, she promises that Alysia won't be a token caricature.
Alysia "will be a character, not a public service announcement" Simone told Wired. "Being trans is just part of her story. If someone loved her before, and doesn't love her after, well — that's a shame, but we can't let that kind of thinking keep comics in the 1950s forever."
Here's the page where Alysia comes out in Batgirl #19, now available in print and digital formats: