LGBTQIA+ heroes and villains have been making the realm of superheroes a more colorful place for over 40 years.
From gay martial arts masters and lesbian detectives to badass bisexual antiheroes and transgender magicians, here are 55 characters who have left their mark and helped change the genre.
Tim Drake (Gay)
After much speculation about Tim Drake, the third Robin, he came out as queer in 2021's Batman: Urban Legends #6 when he agreed to go on a date with his male friend, Bernard. We're still in the early stages of him exploring his sexuality and look forward to where the series takes us.
Kitty Pryde (Bisexual)
Kitty Pryde is another character whose sexuality was under speculation since her introduction in 1980. In 2020's Marauder's #12, her bisexuality was finally confirmed after she shared a kiss with a female tattoo artist, which marked a major turning point. for queer X-Men fans.
There are few trans characters within comic books, and Kate Godwin, a.k.a. Coagula, is one of the best. She was initially rejected by the Justice League and ultimately found a home within the Doom Patrol.
Originally introduced in 1956 to silence critics who claimed Batman and Robin were gay lovers, Kate Kane was reintroduced in 2006 as a lesbian who became one of Gotham’s caped crime fighters after her service in the U.S. Army was cut short when her sexuality was discovered while the military’s "don’t ask, don’t tell "policy was in effect.
The first gay male superhero to headline a mass-market comic, Midnighter possesses the ability to analyze all possible scenarios before a fight begins. He also has enhanced senses, super strength, agility, and speed.
Introduced as a member of the covert strike team Stormwatch, Apollo draws energy from the sun and is able to store it within his body. His powers include flight, thermal vision, near invulnerability, and super strength. Though he is currently single, the character has been romantically involved with Midnighter throughout much of his history.
The Green Lantern (Gay)
The original Green Lantern introduced in 1940, Alan Scott, was reimagined in 2012 as an out gay hero who resides in an alternate universe known as Earth 2, where he derives his powers from a mystical elemental force named “the Green.”
The son of Wolverine possesses abilities similar to his father's but also has an extra mutation that allows him to project pheromones that cause desire in both men and women.
North Star (Gay)
The first superhero to utter the words “I am gay” in the pages of a mainstream comic (1992’s Alpha Flight #106) made history once more 20 years later when he married his partner, Kyle, in Astonishing X-Men #51 — the first same-sex wedding in the Marvel Universe. Northstar’s abilities include super speed and flight.
The son of the Scarlet Witch and a key member of the teen superhero team Young Avengers, William “Billy” Kaplan is a powerful magician with powers only limited by his own imagination. His romance with teammate Hulkling is one of the few ongoing gay teen relationships depicted in mainstream comics.
A key member of the teen superhero team Young Avengers, Teddy Altman possesses shape-shifting abilities and super-strength. As one of the few out gay teen superheroes in modern comics, Hulkling (along with his boyfriend and teammate Wiccan) quickly became one of the biggest LGBT icons in the Marvel Universe.
A gay member of the Teen Titans, Bunker (a.k.a. Miguel Jose Barragan) has the ability to create and project psionic bricks, a subtle nod to Stonewall that Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth included when they created the character.
Gravity Kid (Gay)
As a member of the Legion Academy, Tel Vole uses his abilities to affect his personal gravity and the gravity of nearby objects to fight for truth and justice in the 31st century.
Power Boy (Gay)
A student at the Legion Academy, Jedidiah Rikane was born with complete control of his body’s molecular density, which gives him increased strength and endurance.
The feline femme fatale of Gotham City, Selina Kyle was revealed to bat for both teams in Catwoman #39, adding her to the ranks of high-profile LGBT characters in the DC Universe.
Making his first appearance in Detective Comics #311 in 1963, Thomas Blake was given a modern update by writer Gail Simone in 2005. Since DC’s company-wide reboot in 2013, the clever criminal has been depicted as a lover of both men and women, solidifying his status as a badass bisexual among Batman’s array of villains.
One of the many students at Xavier’s School for the Gifted, Victor Borkowski (a.k.a. Anole) is a mutant with chameleon-like abilities that allow him to blend with his surroundings.
Roxy Washington is the daughter of hip-hop artists Roy “Daddy Libido” Washington and Angel “Sexy Mutha” Depres — rap royalty in the Marvel Universe. Turning her back on the music industry, she joined the X-Men, where she learned to hone her mutant abilities to produce diamond shards from her bone marrow that can be fired as projectiles and also gives her skin superhuman durability.
A founding member of the New Mutants, Karma has mutant powers that give her the ability to take mental possession of people and direct their actions, even from a great distance.
Lord Fanny (Transgender)
Assigned male at birth and given the name Hilde Morales, Lord Fanny is powerful witch and a member of the Invisibles, a group of freedom fighters on a mission to save humanity from extra-dimensional demons.
The son of the original golden age Green Lantern, Todd Rice possesses various shadow-based powers that allow him to pass through solid objects and envelop others within his shadow form to show them their own “inner horror.”
Rawhide Kid (Gay)
Created by comics legend Stan Lee in 1955, the Rawhide Kid was reimagined by writer Ron Zimmerman in the 2003 miniseries Slap Leather and was depicted as a campy gay gunslinger who viewed the Old West through a modern queer lens.
The Question (Lesbian)
After her mentor Vic Sage dies of lung cancer, former Gotham City Police Detective Renee Montoya assumes his superhero alter ego as the vigilante known as the Question.
Able to create seismic waves and topple buildings, Rictor has been in and out of the X-Men universe since the late 1980s. While he, like many other mutants, found himself temporarily without his powers, Rictor found his calling as a private investigator and comfort in the warm embrace of Shatterstar.
Shatterstar was genetically programmed to become a machine-like arena gladiator in the distant future. After traveling to the present and numerous adventures with X-Force, he developed a relationship with fellow mutant Rictor. While Shatterstar still struggles with understanding human emotions, the couple have faced demons and survived death together.
Karolina Dean (Lesbian)
Making her debut in Runaways #1, Karolina Dean joined a group of teens who discover their parents are part of an evil crime organization known as The Pride. She is able to absorb and manipulate solar energy which she can then use in many ways, including flight, creating force fields, and producing laser blasts.
Xavin (Sexually Fluid, Gender-Fluid)
As a member of the alien race known as the Skrull, Xavin has both male and female forms. The shape-shifter has many abilities, including flight, invisibility, and superhuman strength, and was engaged to Karolina Dean.
Mikaal Tomas (Gay)
One of the many superheroes to adopt the name Starman, Mikaal Tomas is an alien from the planet Talok III who possesses the ability to fly and can project energy blasts from a sonic crystal embedded in his chest.
A young Bobby Drake from the past, displaced in time and fighting crime in the present day, was revealed to be gay after his psychic teammate Jean Grey read his mind and confronted him about his sexuality in All-New X-Men #40.
John Constantine (Bisexual)
Making his first appearance in The Saga of the Swamp Thing #37, John Constantine is a working-class magician and occult detective who has had relationships with both men and women.
Harley Quinn (Bisexual)
The clown princess of crime is a salacious flirt with the boys and girls of the DC Universe, and though she has been shown to be lovesick for the Joker, her longtime suspected relationship with Poison Ivy was revealed as a part of the character’s canon in Harley Quinn #15.
Dez Trevius (Gay)
A yellow ring-slinging member of the Sinestro Corps, Dez Trevius is one of Sinestro’s inner council whose sexuality was recently revealed in Sinestro Annual #1.
Mystique (Sexually Fluid, Gender-Fluid)
Sometimes a friend to the X-Men but more often a foe, shape-shifting assassin Mystique is a character who defies categorization when it comes to her sexuality. Mystique was written so as to have a relationship with confidante Destiny, but the editorial authorities at the time prevented it from being displayed on page.
Ultimate Colossus (Gay)
An alternative version of the mainstream Russian mutant, this Colossus begins as a reluctant arms dealer but eventually joins the X-Men. After fighting numerous battles, Colossus forms a platonic friendship with the (still gay) Northstar.
James Howlett (Gay)
Another alternate universe mutant, this version of Wolverine lusted after the god Hercules. The pair travel throughout dimensions, hunting down evil Professor Xaviers.
Sarah Lance (Bisexual)
A martial arts expert trained by the League of Assassins, Sara Lance took on the code name Canary and had romantic relationships with both Oliver Queen (The Arrow) and the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul, Nyssa Raatko, on the CW series Arrow. She is the first LGBT superhero to appear in a mainstream TV series.
Nyssa Raatko (Lesbian)
The daughter of Ra’s al Ghul and a member of the League of Assassins, Nyssa Raatko is a martial arts and weapons master whose fire in combat is matched only by her passion for Sara Lance.
Once a member of the Brotherhood of Mutants, Irene Adler possesses the mutant ability of precognition. For many years she was in a relationship with her shape-shifting teammate Mystique, and the two raised an adopted daughter together — a young mutant named Anna Marie who would later become the X-Man known as Rogue.
Sunfire II (Lesbian)
Mariko Yashida is a mutant from an alternate Earth in the Marvel Comics Universe who possesses the ability to manipulate flaming energy, which she can use to fire energy blasts and fly.
Pied Piper (Gay)
Making his first appearance way back in The Flash volume 1, #106, Hartley Rathaway was once a member of the Scarlet Speedster’s villainous rivals the Rogues who wielded a flute with hypnotic powers. An expert in sonic technology, he later reformed, came out of the closet, and aided the Flash in several adventures.
Parallel-Earth Beast (Gay)
This version of the famous blue-furred X-Man from a parallel Earth was a key character in the Marvel series Exiles and was the lover of that Earth’s Wonder Man.
Briefly a member of the super team X-Force, Mickey Tork was a mutant with the ability to change his skin color, superhuman strength, and a high level of invulnerability. He was killed in action during his first mission with X-Force.
Red Racer (Gay)
The fastest human alive on Earth 36, this dimension-hopping hero is a self-professed “comic book nerd” who found love with his Justice 9 teammate Flashlight. He was later recruited to join President Superman of Earth 2’s super team, Justice Incarnate, to defend all of creation across the multiverse.
Madame Zanadu (Bisexual)
An immortal with a supernatural sensitivity to occult activities, Madame Xanadu is well-versed in the magical arts and has had romantic relationships with both men and women.
Danny the Street (Genderqueer)
Introduced in the pages of Doom Patrol, Danny the Street is an actual sentient stretch of roadway with the power to teleport and integrate himself into a city’s geography. He is described as a transvestite with a flamboyant personality whose sidewalks are often lined with stores such as gun shops and sporting goods shops, which he decorates with traditionally feminine objects such as pink lace.
Shining Knight (Intersex)
Debuting in Adventure Comics #66 (1941), Shining Knight is a sixth-century English Knight of the Round Table and a member of King Arthur’s Court with magically empowered armor and weapons as well as a winged horse named Victory. The character was reimagined in the 2005 miniseries Seven Soldiers and was later revealed to be the first intersex character in the DC Universe.
Scandal Savage (Lesbian)
Daughter of the immortal villain Vandal Savage and a member of the super team Secret Six, Scandal Savage has enhanced durability and can regrow damaged organs. A ferocious fighter, she often employs a set of wrist-mounted blades — weapons that have remained in her family for several generations.
A former Female Fury from Apokolips and later a member of both the Suicide Squad and Secret Six, Knockout possess superhuman strength and durability as well as the ability to regenerate. She has also had romantic relationships with both Superboy (Conner Kent) and Scandal Savage.
Grace Choi (Bisexual)
Recruited by Green Arrow’s former sidekick, Roy Harper (Arsenal), to join a reformed version of the super team known as the Outsiders, Grace Choi is half Amazon and carries the gifts of the gods Athena, Aphrodite, Demeter, Hera, and Hestia, which give her increased strength, durability, speed, and stamina.
Anissa Pierce, the daughter of Black Lightning, eventually joined the super squad Outsiders, where she met and became romantically involved with her teammate Grace Choi. She is a trained doctor with the powers of density control, invulnerability, and energy projection.
A member of the group known as the Minutemen in the genre-redefining story Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Hooded Justice was a nonpowered vigilante with a fetish for rough sex with young men. He was also in a relationship with his teammate Captain Metropolis.
Tasmanian Devil (Gay)
Hugh Dawkins is metahuman with the ability to turn into a werewolf-like entity – the Tasmanian Devil – with enhanced strength, claws, and fangs. At different times he has been a member of the Justice League and the superteam known as the Global Guardians.
Comet (Bisexual, Gender-Fluid)
A vastly different take on Supergirl’s pet Comet the super horse, this version of the character was introduced in Peter David’s Supergirl #14 (1997) and was a winged centaur Earth-born angel that was the combined form of bisexual female Andrea Martinez and the heterosexual male jockey Andrew Jones.
Benjamin Deeds exhibited powers during a pro-mutant rally on his college campus. He was then recruited by Emma Frost and Magik to join the X-Men, where he learned to control his mutant ability — the power to take on the appearance and voice of another person.
Though DC Comics was unable to explicitly describe Extraño as gay when he first appeared in Millennium #2, the Hispanic magician was coded with many stereotypes that have been associated with gay men to signal readers that the first gay hero in the DC Universe had arrived.