Deadpool 2's LGBTQ Representation Is Great... But Also Really Problematic


WARNING: The following article includes spoilers for Deadpool 2, in theaters now.

For those Marvel movie fans still clutching their stomachs after the emotional gut punches of April's Avengers: Infinity War, the rebelliously funny relief of Deadpool 2 couldn't come soon enough, giving us all a chance to forgive Josh Brolin for turning our favorite Spider-Man into the world's most depressing meme. But there's also a politically significant reason to embrace the film: It's the first superhero movie with a big release to feature a same sex, super-powered couple -- Negasonic Teenage Warhead and her fellow X-Ma-- oh, sorry Wade, X-Person, Yukio. (Hi, Yukio!)

The way this relationship is introduced in the movie really underplays what a watershed moment this is for a genre that, as GLAAD put it, "too often renders LGBTQ people invisible." With a characteristic mixture of apathy and abrasion, Negasonic gestures to the smiling girl standing beside her in the X-Mansion. She informs Wade Wilson that she is her girlfriend before immediately bashing his "intolerance." Negasonic and Yukio (Hi, Yukio!) continue to appear periodically together throughout the the movie, holding each other's hand in a way that feels distinctively greater than anything that could be mistaken for platonic, but with the casual air typical of a chill Millenial couple who don't need to put a label on what they have together.

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Considering where we are with LGBTQ representation in mainstream media today, this balance couldn't be more important to get right. Leave a queer character or relationship without explicit definition and you're in danger of erasure, ala Dumbledore. Linger too long on the sexually explicit and you're in danger of voyeurism, ala Blue Is The Warmest Color.

The representation that has been so sorely lacking from superhero filmmaking has been thriving in superhero television. The CW's Arrowverse is particularly admirable in its cross-universe effort to include LGBTQ characters who are good, bad, serious, silly, promiscuous, married, divorced, friends. In other words: normal people.

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