WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for "Influence," Episode 14 of Young Justice: Outsiders, streaming now on DC Universe.
Young Justice: Outsiders has pretty much evolved the Young Justice series to the point that, while it's still lighthearted, fun and campy at times, the overall metahuman trafficking of kids has been a very serious issue to take in, even drawing parallels to societal ills in the real world.
Seeing as the show appeals to a wide spectrum of teens and adults -- hence the reason fans were so vocal about the show getting revived in the first place -- the TV series once more treads relatable ground, and this time it's handling Halo's gender fluidity. It does so perfectly, and truly shows how progressive the series continues to be, especially for the teen and young adult audience soaking in these engrossing adventures.
This day and age, how one identifies in terms of their gender is something more people are taking note of, with employers even acknowledging people aren't sticking to just the terminology of male and female. Due to Halo's extraterrestrial nature, however, it's pretty much straightforward to understand their thoughts on the issue and why they personally identifiy as neither in Episode 14 "Influence."
When they, Brion (Geo-Force), Terra and Forager are inducted into the League, Tigress and company revel in the fact that there's another girl joining their ranks. However, Halo pauses the speech Miss Martian is giving by explaining their distress at having to identify as female. In a heart to heart, Halo admits they are neither male nor female, as they're a Mother Box that's basically inhabiting the body of a dead Quraci refugee, Gabrielle, following the Markovia hit on Brion's parents. They even feel guilty, as they're in a relationship with Brion but feel the need to explain their vulnerability so he can understand why they're a bit disconnected.
Everyone sees they're experiencing unnecessary guilt over this, as they even wonder if it'll affect Brion's view of their relationship. However, he's happy they identify as non-binary -- they're "just me." Brion admits this isn't an issue and their stance is perfectly fine by him; he loves them even more because he loves their soul, not their body. What gender they identify with has no bearing on his affection. It's a landmark moment of compassion, empathy and inclusion as Outsiders continues to embrace the concept of "the other," making sure progressive messages about equality permeate its narrative.
It's the ideal response, and Miss Martian welcomes Halo's perspective, urging them to stop apologizing, as they want everyone to show their real selves and be comfortable in their own skin. Having them sharing this means Brion doesn't have a girlfriend, he simply has a significant other and partner, and it'll be interesting seeing how the show tackles more groundbreaking issues in the future. With teens like Beast Boy becoming even more vocal against kidnapping kids this season, and child abuse as a whole, Outsiders is becoming an even bigger sociopolitical vehicle, and it's clearly not slowing down anytime soon.
Seeing everyone with open arms understanding and accepting Halo feels like another major step forward and continues to show the franchise wants its audience to feel welcome. More so, they want viewers to relate to the diverse array of characters and young heroes who pop up in the thick of things. Having Halo now flying this banner as a Justice Leaguer is, of course, the icing on the cake.
New episodes of Young Justice: Outsiders premiere Tuesdays throughout the summer on DC Universe.