SPOILER WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Netflix's She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.
The promotion for Netflix's update of the classic '80s hero She-Ra in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power promised change, including the incorporation of LGBTQ characters into its cosmic universe. One of the concerns raised, though, was whether the series would merely gloss over the issue, similar to Voltron: Legendary Defender's poor handling of Shiro's relationship with Adam; something which the showrunner apologized for.
Rest assured, while She-Ra doesn't make it a big deal, it definitely lives up to its promise of progressive storytelling on the LGBTQ front, resulting in a series perfect for modern teenage audiences.
While we didn't get to see Bow's two fathers in Season 1 there are plenty of queer and queer-potential relationships. What's impressive is how everything feels very much like the world we live in, presenting things as natural as they are in real life. Executive producer Noelle Stevenson and Co. wanted to craft a cosmopolitan world reflecting our current society, and they accomplish just that in a warm, lighthearted manner.
The LGBTQ community is best represented through two of She-Ra's Rebel Princesses, Netossa (Krystal Joy Brown) and Spinnerella (voiced by Stevenson herself). While they only appear in the finale, "The Battle of Bright Moon," it's an unmistakably major moment. After Netossa, an expert at tossing nets, and Spinnerella, with her cyclone-generating powers, help defeat Hordak's forces, we see them embracing in a romantic manner, holding hands tightly, heads on each other's shoulders and basking in the Rebellion's success. When we're first introduced to the pair, the hints are subtle, but this scene makes it pretty obvious they're a couple in love.
Again, subtlety is the key, allowing the series to get its message of awareness across, reminding us that we live in a rainbow world where heterosexuality doesn't necessarily have to be the norm. This series reiterates this by painting the universe as a kaleidoscope with LGBTQ characters living in harmony with each other, with their sexual preference no big deal at all, aka, the way it should be.
We see this again when the plant-controlling Princess Perfuma (Genesis Rodriguez) first sees She-Ra (Aimee Carrero) in all her majestic glory -- her starry-eyed gaze and blushing cheeks blatantly illustrating her crush. Interestingly, Perfuma has no attraction to She-Ra's civilian form, Adora, and instead dates Bow, confirming her bisexuality. And make no mistake, the show really plays on the fluidity of characters; at times, Catra and Adora's close bond feels like there's romantic tension involved, compounded by their dance in the "Princess Prom" episode, which left fans wondering if Catra hates that Adora abandoned her, not as a sister, but as a love interest. There's also the moment where one of Hordak's agents, Kyle -- from the sound of his voice cracking and his overall nervous disposition -- seems to develop a crush on his prisoner, Bow.
Ultimately, She-Ra makes big statements about the reality of sexuality, not by going to the extreme, but by incorporating LGBTQ themes in smaller, subtle ways. It's all good, though, because as we know, any small step here is a big, forward-thinking step in the name of inclusivity, representation and diversity on the whole.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, starring Aimee Carrero, Karen Fukuhara, AJ Michalka, Marcus Scribner, Reshma Shetty, Lorraine Toussaint, Keston John, Lauren Ash, Christine Woods, Genesis Rodriguez, Jordan Fisher, Vella Lovell, Merit Leighton, Sandra Oh, and Krystal Joy Brown, is now available on Netflix.