Thor: Love and Thunder will bring development many fans never imagined they'd see in the franchise. Jane Foster as the Mighty Thor? Valkyrie pursuing a same-gender relationship? It's a far cry from the 2011 that launched the series, and placed Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston on their paths to stardom. But now that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has made Valkyrie's queerness canon, it's time to ask if any other characters are also part of the LGBTQA community.
It just so happens there is not only a Thor character who, in the comics, is pansexual, but is also genderfluid. This isn't a fan theory or fan fiction; it's canon in the Marvel Comics (to say nothing of Norse mythology) that has yet to make it to the screen. The character is Loki Laufeyson.
What Do Pansexual and Genderfluid Mean?
To those uninitiated in the LGBTQA lexicon, the terms pansexual and genderfluid may seem like made-up words. That, of course, ignore that a.) all words are made up; and b.) when you break down each of those terms, they're fairly straightforward.
Pansexuality is when someone's sexual attraction to another person is unaffected by gender. While that might sound similar to bisexuality, the two orientations are different. Bisexuality is an attraction to genders like and unlike the self (it is often misinterpreted as an attraction to two genders, but this definition has largely fallen out of favor). The difference is, to a pansexual, gender has no baring on who they're attracted to.
Gender-fluidity is a little more difficult to explain. Genderfluid people do not possess a fixed gender, but instead identify as different genders depending on any number of factors. Genderfluid people might be a man one day, a woman another, then some other nonbinary middle ground the next. Or perhaps the switch occurs over the course of months.
If that seems complicated, that's because it is. Pansexual and genderfluid people are often figuring out their own orientation and identity over the course of years. It's difficult for many to articulate what they feel, other than that they feel it. On top of that, just because a genderfluid person primarily identifies as male or female doesn't make them any less genderfluid, just like how, if a pansexual or bisexual primarily dates members of the same or differing gender, that doesn't make them less pansexual or bisexual.
When Did Loki Come Out?
For those familiar with Loki primarily through the films, you may question why you never heard of Loki being genderfluid or pansexual. While there are moments where fans can find subtextual (Loki taking the form of women in Thor: The Dark World, for example), there is actually a fundamental piece of evidence that proves Loki was always pansexual and genderfluid: Norse mythology.
There, Loki has several children. While most know of his most famous children, such as Fenrir, the Midgar Serpent and Hel (the character on which Hela is based), Loki is also referred to as the mother (yes, mother) of Sleipnir, Odin's many-legged horse. So we know that Loki in mythology did become female and made love with a male. But what about the comics?
It's Also Canon in the Comics (And Has Been For A While)
In 2017, around the point where certain comic fans online were losing their minds over Marvel's increased "pandering" toward the LGBTQA community, writer Mackenzi Lee, who commissioned to write several novels centered around Loki, confirmed she would write Loki as both genderfluid and pansexual.
When met with inevitable outrage, Lee responded:
First, it's about time the LGBT+ community was represented in superhero narratives.— Mackenzi Lee (@themackenzilee) December 9, 2017
Second, in the comics, Loki is reborn as a woman & uses female pronouns & often takes on female forms like the Scarlet Witch and Lady Sif. Odin calls him "my child who is both."
While the desire to increase LGBTQA representation is expected of Lee (she also wrote The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, which features a lot of bisexual attraction), she made a very good point: Loki has been depicted in the comics as generfluid.
Following Ragnorak in the comics, Loki was reborn as a woman. This wasn't a one-off moment, either. Loki remained a woman for several years, but would switch back and forth, almost as if his gender were fluid or something. He also frequently transformed into women like Scarlet Witch.
As for Loki's sexuality, for much of the comics, Loki's sexual interests were rarely a factor. He'd use sexuality as a weapon to manipulate others, not out of any genuine interest for other people. That is, of course, until after the "Siege" arc, in which Loki dies and is reborn as Kid Loki. Divorced from his evil past, this new, younger version of Loki found an opportunity to rediscover himself, and, perhaps due to living among open-minded Young Avengers teammates like Wiccan and Hulkling (who are gay), Loki was able to express his pansexual interests in a new way.
And that continued even after Loki's old personality took over, as the experience drastically altered his character. So when Lee first announced Loki's pansexuality and gender-fluidity in her book, it wasn't like she was breaking new ground. She just took what had already been going on in the comics and made it more overt.
So Will We Get Pansexual or Genderfluid Loki?
Don't expect to start waving pansexual flags just yet, however. There is no indication Loki will be even appear in anything following his Disney+ series. While that show might offer some potential to explore Loki's character in a more intimate fashion, it is too early to tell until we understand more about that series whether the god of mischief will explore his queerer aspects.
However, is it possible for the MCU to feature a queer Loki? Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has expressed interest in presenting more LGBTQA characters in the MCU; Valkyrie is confirmed as bisexual. There is supposedly a gay member of the Eternals. If there was a candidate for another bisexual or pansexual character already established in the MCU, it would be Loki.
Some might argue that making Loki genderfluid and pansexual would be a case of Marvel "shoving too many LGBTQA characters in the MCU." These people, however, are also upset when even one LGBTQA character appears in the MCU.