Sexuality is fluid and Captain America’s should be too
By Tamara Connor
Giving Captain America a boyfriend in the next Marvel film would be one of the best decisions made by the franchise to date.
#GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend started trending on Twitter soon after #GiveElsaAGirlfriend started, highlighting Disney’s — who own Marvel Entertainment — problematic representation of LGBTQ+ characters. And by problematic representation, I mean no representation at all. There has since been a considerable amount of support for a queer Captain America. Fans of the comic books and movie adaptations alike were quick to point out the franchise’s lack of diversity, and saw the hashtag as an opportunity to remind everyone that queer representation is important no matter your sexual orientation.
Personally, I am all for giving Captain America a boyfriend. Here’s why.
1. Captain wasn’t always a little bit gay, but who cares
Anyone leaning on the excuse that Captain America never had a boyfriend in the comics, and should therefore not have one in the movies, needs to pull their head out of their ass. None of the movies are perfect recreations of the comic books, nor should they be. The comics should offer a starting point for plot. But writers should be encouraged to change things up for the movie adaptations. There wasn’t nearly this much opposition to any other of the changes made for any Marvel films, so this difference shouldn’t be a big deal either.
2. The Hydra double agent plot twist makes no sense
Anyone staying up to date on the latest Marvel news will know that a new comic was released where Captain America is revealed to be a double agent for Hydra, a terrorist organization in the Marvel Universe.
Wait, what? Captain America as a terrorist? What a needless plot twist. Captain America is meant to embody Western ideals, like freedom and independence; not be some pawn in a terror plan. To try and weave that into a film at some point would result in the destruction of a beloved character. Having a boyfriend, and exemplifying love and acceptance, would be much truer to Captain America’s nature than the Hydra arc.
3. His current love interest is the niece of his old love interest, and that’s super creepy
So in the last movie, Captain America: Civil War, the Cap was locking lips with Sharon Carter, niece of Peggy Carter. . . his ex-girlfriend. Do I really need to go on? It’s a weird relationship. Having the Captain explore his sexuality would be a way better plot, and way more relatable.
4. Why the fuck not?
How is Captain America having a boyfriend such a big deal that it merits me writing this article?
5, Representation is important
As my girlfriend puts it, if you don’t think representation is a problem, it’s probably because you are already being represented in movies and on TV. As one of the most influential franchises around the world, the Marvel Cinematic Universe could help change how the world sees the LGBTQ+ community, all the while giving those from the queer community a reason to feel acknowledged, valued, and empowered. Having diverse characters shouldn’t be something we quibble about. It should be an expectation. Excluding demographics will, in time, prove to be a mistake.
When it comes right down to it, queer kids need superheroes too, and they deserve to be represented. The #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend conversation is about so much more than just having Captain America explore his sexuality. It was meant to draw attention to the fact that, as it stands, Marvel and Disney are making little effort to include all of their fans in the experience. It’s time for some proper representation.
Creating a new character would better serve the LGBTQ+ community
By Justin Stevens
As a comic book fan for the better part of two decades, I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle with the idea of change. However, I also recognize it’s necessary and natural to surrender to change. As we grow as a more diverse and inclusive society, it becomes increasingly necessary for us to evolve our ideas and predispositions. The inclusion of strong LGBTQ+ characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is certainly one of the strong ways to further this sentiment, as it enhances our viewpoints and makes us more empathetic of those with whom we share the world.
To that end, it might surprise you to hear that I am arguing against the trending Twitter movement, #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend. I acknowledge the argument has just merits in regards to the downright ambiguous dialogue between Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers — not to mention that lacking spark of vibrancy in his relationship with Sharon Carter. Ultimately though, I cannot help but disagree with the idea of making Steve Rogers gay or bisexual.
This is mostly due to the fact that I don’t think it brings anything all that enthralling to the character in terms of his ongoing development. I’d even go so far as to say that Marvel’s recent decision to make Captain America aligned with the evil organization, Hydra, is a more compelling change to the character’s mythology. The exploration of Steve Rogers’ sexuality could arguably go hand-in-hand with his constant struggle to integrate into modern society; still, I can’t help but feel it would be more captivating and emotionally charged to explore the idea of one of the most iconic heroes turning against his fellow compatriots.
On the other hand, why not develop a new character to explore the idea of a time-displaced hero rediscovering his sexuality in the 21st century, instead of changing one that already exists? After all, it wouldn’t be the first time a new character was created based on a previously popular one.
Consider DC’s Apollo and Midnighter — regarded as interpretations of Superman and Batman, respectively. Their storylines explore the idea of the world’s finest as a gay couple. There are ways to explore ideas from different perspectives which not only incite discussion, but also bring something new and different to the existing universe.
More than anything though, #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend showcases a lack of creativity on the part of those who push for representation of the LGBTQ+ community in film. The inclusion of a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender character should not come as an afterthought to be applied to an already pre-existing character who has spent 75 years on newsstands. Especially with such a richly diverse cast of LGBTQ+ characters that exist and continue to be created in comics today.
While the idea of giving Captain America a same-sex lover is a commendable notion with genuine intentions, it’s sadly no more than damage control to a more prevalent issue. I wholeheartedly believe we owe it to the LGBTQ+ community to have gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender characters integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe — but with some forethought instead of reconsideration.