Celebrate National Coming Out Day with these butt kicking LGBTQ heroes

It's National Coming Out Day, and we're celebrating with a list of some of the most incredible, ass-kicking LGBTQ superheroes currently blasting their way through the pages of our favorite comics.

LGBTQ heroes haven't always been allowed to roam about in the wild, but the last few decades have seen an explosion of these characters across the titles of the Big Two (Marvel and DC). Some characters sit quietly in the background, while others shine as the title characters of their own series, but no matter who they are or how prominent their use, each of these characters marks an important step toward representing a massive section of the population that has long waited for their opportunity to take out the worst of the comic book bad guys.

Wonder Woman

 

Secret Identity: Diana Prince

Publisher: DC Comics

Wonder Woman is a character that needs little introduction. The Amazonian Princess has been fighting evil alongside the rest of DC’s trinity for 75 years, inspiring girls all along the way. Hailing from the paradise island of Themyscira, a matriarchal utopia where men do not exist, Wonder Woman’s queerness was always lurking in the background of her narrative. But just last week, current WW writer Greg Rucka finally made it official, stating that the character has certainly had relationships with women as well as men.

 

Mystique

Secret Identity: Raven Darkhölme

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Probably the most famous shape-shifting hero in the history of comics, Mystique can take the form of any person in her daily life as a mutant. She’s been portrayed primarily as a villain in her comics history but has also been cast as a hero and anti-hero. Because Mystique can, and often does, shape-shift into both men and women, it’s only natural that she would be attracted to members of both sexes. Mystique’s main love interests over the years have been both male and female, primarily Irene Adler (Destiny). In fact, Destiny and Mystique were originally meant to be Nightcrawler’s biological parents, but the Comics Code Authority wouldn’t allow it.

 

Green Lantern

Secret Identity: Alan Scott

Publisher: DC Comics

Alan Scott has a number of characteristics that set him apart from his fellow Green Lanterns. He was the first, originally created way back in 1940. He’s also the only Lantern who was not given his ring by the Lantern Corps. Scott was historically always romantically involved with women until the character was reintroduced in the New 52 in the first issue of Earth 2. In that continuity, Scott is reimagined as a gay man who proposes to his boyfriend Sam just before they end up in a train accident that kills Sam and turns Scott into the Green Lantern. 

 

Catwoman

Secret Identity: Selina Kyle

Publisher: DC Comics

The best cat burglar in Gotham, Catwoman has been around nearly as long as her main adversary (and love interest), Batman. Catwoman was always a very sexual, and sexualized, character. It wasn’t until recently, though, that the character opened up to the idea of romantic partnerships with members of the same sex. In 2015, during her New 52 solo series, Selina Kyle became canonically bisexual. Writer Genevieve Valentine said that, for her, the move wasn’t so much a revelation as a confirmation of the character’s more fluid sexuality.

 

Daken

Secret Identity: Unknown

Publisher: Marvel Comics

The son of Wolverine and his late wife (who was murdered by the Winter Soldier), Daken grew up with an intense hatred for his father. The two mutants would eventually face off in a battle to the almost-death. In addition to his complicated family life, Daken also has a history of complex sexuality. In addition to the mutant traits he inherited from his father (claws, healing factor), Daken also has mutant pheromones, which assist in his sexual exploits and exploitation. He has been in sexual situations with both men and women, generally using his sexuality to advance his own goals, and was confirmed as bisexual by writer Marjorie Liu in 2011. 

 

The Question

Secret Identity: Renee Montoya

Publisher: DC Comics

Gotham City Police Detective, vigilante, daughter of immigrants, Latina, lesbian. Renee Montoya is one of the most intriguing non-super characters in the DC Comics universe. Over her 20+ years in the comics, Montoya has been through an awful lot, not the least of which was being outed as a lesbian by Two Face during the Gotham Central story arc. That story did a lot to Montoya as a character, losing her her job and her girlfriend, but it also started her on her journey toward becoming The Question. 

 

Deadpool

Secret Identity: Wade Wilson

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Everyone’s favorite Merc with a Mouth is probably also everyone’s favorite pansexual anti-hero assassin, though that orientation has only actually been a confirmed part of the canon since 2013. Deadpool has a strange role in the world of comics, as a character who is fully aware that he is fictional and who often breaks the fourth wall during his stories. He’s a wild card in the Marvel Universe, and that goes for his sexual proclivities as much as his allegiances. Deadpool co-creator, Fabian Nicieza said in an interview, “He is NO sex and ALL sexes. He is yours and everyone else. So not dismissive, but rather the epitome of inclusive.”

 

Batwoman

Secret Identity: Kate Kane

Publisher: DC Comics

A former soldier, Kate Kane is a relatively recent addition to DC Comics, though the character of Batwoman (then worn by Kathy Kane) was introduced way back in 1956. Oddly, the character was originally created to squash rumors of Batman’s homosexuality, but when she was reintroduced as Kate in 2006, Batwoman herself was homosexual. Go figure. The character has remained over the intervening years one of the most visible and prominent lesbian characters in comics. She’s mentored other heroes, taken over as the star of Detective Comics, and will once again be headlining her own solo series next year.

 

Xavin

Secret Identity: None

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Xavin is a unique member of this list. A member of the Runaways, and training to be a Super Skrull, Xavin can switch genders at will. Xavin reveals this ability when attempting to persuade a lesbian character, Karolina Dean, to marry him in order to stop the war between their people, switching genders so that Karolina is not forced to “live a lie.” She then spends a great deal of her time with the Runaways living mostly as an outcast, even in a group of outcasts. Xavin switches to male form when fighting in an effort to be more intimidating, but reverts to female form when under emotional pressure.

 

Apollo and Midnighter

Secret Identities: Andrew Pulaski and Lucas Trent 

Publisher: DC Comics

Former agents of Stormwatch, Apollo and Midnighter are one of the only homosexual married couples running around in the world of comics. They operate as a team, simultaneously superheroes, and super spies, and have an adopted daughter named Jenny Quantum. Their relationship took a different turn during DC’s New 52, but they’ll be back together again in their upcoming Rebirth mini-series.

 

Miss America

Secret Identity: America Chavez

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Introduced in 2011, America Chavez was the second hero to take on the mantle of Miss America. She’s Latina and an LGBTQ teenager who was raised by her mothers an alternate dimension known as the Utopian Parallel. She has the extremely awesome ability to kick open holes in dimensions and travel across the multiverse at will. Just this past weekend, Marvel Comics announced she will be getting her very own solo series, titled America.

 

Iceman

Secret Identity: Bobby Drake

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Bobby Drake is a fixture in the X-Men comics, with his characteristic cold and ice abilities. Like many characters on this list, Iceman was traditionally heterosexual until stories of the last few years. In 2012, during a bit of a timey-wimey story arc, Bobby comes into contact with a younger version of himself. This younger Bobby confronts his older self about his sexuality, and the older Bobby confirms that he is, in fact, gay. Older Bobby explains that he couldn’t cope with being both a mutant and gay, so he learned to live as though he was straight. Eventually, he learns to accept his sexuality and comes out to his fellow mutants.

 

John Constantine

Secret Identity: None

Publisher: DC Comics

Occult detective and con artist, John Constantine is easily one of the most beloved anti-heroes from DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint. He received his very own solo comic Hellblazer in 1988, and his trademark snark, cynicism, and cigarettes have become just as well known to audiences as his traditional trench coat and tie appearance. Also synonymous with John Constantine is his bisexuality, which has informed the character for more than a decade. When Constantine was adapted into the NBC series starring Matt Ryan, fans insisted that the character’s sexuality remain part of his story, though the series didn’t stay on the air long enough to really dive into that part of its hero’s life. 

 

These are only a few of the dozens of LGBTQ characters out there in the world of comics. Your favorite not on the list? Let us know in the comments!

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