LGBTQ+ superheroes are inspiring and unapologetically true to themselves.
Did you know that, until 1989, comic book authors weren’t allowed to portray LGBT characters?
For 35 years, the organization called Comics Code Authority forbade publishers to feature any LGBT characters in comics out of fear of “corrupting” America’s youth and the traditional values of the American society.
When the ban was finally lifted, comic book writers began to create more diverse characters in terms of gender and sexual preferences.
In this post, we’ll introduce you to some of the most inspiring and interesting LGBTQ+ superheroes that appeared in the comics from the 90’s onward.
Who Made It Onto This List Of Top 10 LGBTQ+ Superheroes?
When we started creating this list of LGBTQ+ superheroes, we took into account all of the characters that have appeared in both Marvel and DC comics over the last 30-some years.
Some of the superheroes featured in our roundup are high profile, while others may not be as well known to audiences. But regardless of how famous they may be, they all have one thing in common – they are all unapologetically true to themselves.
These superheroes aren’t afraid to be who they are, which is inspiring to see — especially for those who might struggle to accept themselves and their own sexuality.
Female Marvel LGBTQ+ Superheroes
Lucy In The Sky — The LGBTQ+ Superhero With A Troubled Past
- Manipulating light at will
Karolina lived a life of privilege up until her teenage years when she discovered her parents were part of a supervillain group. As if that wasn’t enough to swallow, she also realized that both she and her parents are part of an alien race called the Majesdanian.
Learning more about her alien lineage, Karolina earned the powers to fly and manipulate light to her will. Taking up the name “Lucy in the Sky,” Karolina fought alongside her friends, The Runaways, as they faced off against criminals of all different shapes and sizes.
After coming to terms with her powers and parents, Karolina needed to accept one more pretty significant difference – her sexuality. Identifying as a lesbian, Karolina worried that her teammates would reject her.
To her surprise, The Runways stood united, welcoming her differences instead of highlighting them. Karolina fights on the battlefield with her colors in full view, making sure never to hide who she really is.
Female DC Comics LGBTQ+ Superheroes
1. Harley Quinn — The High-Flying LGBT Superhero
Powers: Immunity to toxins
Harley Quinn’s character originally started out as Joker’s girlfriend. However, she proved very popular with comic book and superhero enthusiasts, which became obvious when she took the world by storm after the release of the Suicide Squad movie.
It was even during portrayals of her abusive relationship with Joker that comic book creators hinted at a romantic involvement with Poison Ivy. In 2015, Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti — Harley Quinn writers — stated that Quinn and Ivy were indeed in a non-monogamous relationship.
Let’s not forget that during Quinn’s team-up stories with Wonder Woman and Power Girl, there were also numerous hints about her sexuality.
Harley’s recent popularity makes her one of the LGBTQ+ superheroes of the highest order.
2. Wonder Woman — The Most Controversial LGBTQ+ Superhero
- Superhuman stamina
- Mind control
- Regenerative powers
Diana of Themyscira was created by Moulton Marston, a psychologist and inventor of the lie detector test. He based Wonder Woman’s character on his two partners, Olive Byrne and Elizabeth Holloway, with whom he had sort of a “ménage à trois.”
Wonder Woman embodies Marston’s position on feminism and his deep-rooted belief that the world would be a better place if it was run by women.
She became an icon carrying a torch for feminism and superhero feats, while her sexuality was at first defined as binary, due to her involvements with Batman and Superman.
That Wonder Woman was full of sapphic hints, was made clear in the past few years when her writers confirmed she was bisexual. There were, even before this, numerous speculations on her sexuality and love life, living in an all-female society.
3. Katherine Kane a.k.a. Batwoman — The Unapologetically True To Herself LGBTQ+ Superhero
- Force of will
- Electromagnetic field detection
- Martial Arts
DC Comic’s Bat family is probably one of the richest, most unique collection of masked superheroes and superheroines that have ever graced the pages of a comic book. Katherine Kane a.k.a. Batwoman is no exception to this rule.
Unlike other LGBTQ+ superheroes, after DC Comic’s Infinite Crisis, Batwoman was introduced as a lesbian. While some characters have grander coming out stories, being gay was something that was always built into Batwoman’s character.
A pillar of strength in the Bat family, Batwoman is a skilled detective and combatant alike. While she may have a gruff exterior that comes customary with being part of the batclan, she has shown warmer sides in her romantic relationships — especially with a police detective, Renee Montoya.
4. Kate Goodwin a.k.a. Coagula — The First Trans Superhero
- Dissolve solids
- Coagulate liquids
When Doom Patrol was taken over by Rachel Pollack from Grant Morrison, the world of superhero comics was introduced to the first trans character. The writer herself is a transwoman, so this was an opportunity to shift the focus of the general public to the issues trans men and women face in society.
Pollack’s queer trans woman character was Kate Goodwin, also known as Coagula. This superheroine’s key ability was to dissolve solids and coagulate liquids.
Coagula found her home with Doom Patrol, having been rejected by the Justice League. She was killed off in one of the previous Doom Patrol volumes, but there have been expressions and hints of her coming back to life, by the writer Gerard Way.
Male Marvel LGBTQ+ Superheroes
1. Billy Kaplan a.k.a. Wiccan — The LGBTQ+ Superhero With A Young Love Story
- Energy blasts
Species: Human mutant
In comics, magic can be unpredictable. After a long-lasting relationship with The Vision, the Avenger’s Scarlet Witch unknowingly used her powers to create twin boys out of the soul fragments from the demon Mephisto.
Ultimately, the boys were reabsorbed into the demon. But through the magic of their mother, they were reincarnated as Billy Kaplan (Wiccan) and Thomas Shepherd (Speed).
Born into a middle-class family, Billy knew at an early age that he was gay. Bullied at school for his sexuality, Billy found himself at the Avenger’s Manor.
While they were unaware of their connection, Billy came face-to-face with Scarlet Witch, and received some crucial advice for how to handle bullying.
Taking his bullies head-on, Billy stood up against them, inadvertently manifesting a mystical power that showed similarities to that of Scarlet Witch.
Teaming up with the Young Avengers, Billy had originally aimed to protect others, but he was pleasantly surprised when he found love in Hulkling, another member of the Young Avengers.
With his team, Billy took up the moniker “Wiccan,” and continues to fight against supervillains and bullies alike.
2. Jean-Paul Beaubier a.k.a. Northstar — The LGBTQ+ Superhero On A Mission
- Light manipulation
- Superhuman durability
A mutant, Jean-Paul and his twin-sister Aurora both discovered they had superhuman abilities at an early age. Gifted with the power of flight, enhanced strength and light-manipulation, the pair joined the Canadian task force Alpha Flight.
Despite harsh battles and horrors he fought against as a superhero, Northstar was forever changed when he met a young girl dying from HIV/AIDS. Seeing this harshness inspired Northstar to reveal to the world that he was openly gay.
From that point on, Jean-Paul left behind Alpha Flight in to pursue HIV prevention and gay rights.
Eventually, Northstar decided to don his super suit once more, becoming an active member of the X-Men in 2002. In addition to a front-line member of the team, Northstar stood as a beacon of strength for mutants and gays alike.
Recently, in a highly publicized Marvel event, Northstar married his partner, Kyle Jinadube, making him one of the first LGBTQ+ superheroes to ever be part of a homosexual marriage in comics.
3. Deadpool — The Hilarious Pansexual Superhero
- Accelerated healing
- Superhuman speed
- Master swordsman and assassin
Species: Human mutant
The most hilarious superhero in the world – and the protagonist of several very successful movies – has shown inclination towards both men and women in numerous comics. Surely, nobody can forget his obvious infatuation with Spider-Man.
A pansexual character in his own right, Deadpool was described by his creator Gerry Duggan as “ready to do anything with a pulse.” A bit of a crude way to put it, but quite in line with his character’s general quirkiness.
Deadpool’s movie franchise has proven quite popular with audiences — queer and cis in equal measure — primarily due to the hilarious nature of the main protagonist. It remains to be seen if future installments will depict his rampant sexuality in a more flamboyant way, akin to his mannerisms.
4. Shatterstar — The Superhero Who Broke Barriers With The First Same-Sex Kiss In The Marvel Universe
- Accelerated healing
- Generating bioelectric shockwaves
- Using his swords to create teleportation portals
Race: Human mutant
To say the least, Shatterstar has had a unique life. Born on Mojoworld, a planet ruled by the ruthless Mojo, Shatterstar was trained to become an arena fighter, ever since his birth. Wanting more, he escaped from the arena and joined a rebel group dedicated to overthrowing Mojo.
Seeking aid, Shatterstar traveled to Earth to find the X-Men to ask for help winning back Mojoworld, but instead he found Cable’s X-Force. Joining X-Force, the team traveled back to his world to do battle, and defeated Mojo.
Since then, Shatterstar has remained as a remote part of the X family. Due to his upbringing, Shatterstar is intensely focused on learning about the human experience.
After joining the X-Force, Shatterstar began to develop feelings for co-member Rictor, after the pair kissed in what would later be known as the first same-sex kiss in all of the Marvel Universe.
Identifying as bisexual, Shatterstar has developed relationships of varying intensities across the entire Marvel Universe.
Male DC Comics LGBTQ+ Superheroes
Midnighter — The Gay, Proud And Committed Superhero
Powers: Predicting battle moves
From his beginning in the adult-rated Stormwatch comic published by Wildstorm, the super-violent Midnighter has been something of a Batman parody — and one of the best known openly gay superheroes in comic books.
He became part of the DC universe once Wildstorm became the comic Behemoth’s subsidiary. This resulted in some weird overlaps with Batman, which served as the key inspiration for Midnighter, leading him to join forces with Nightwing, Batman’s sidekick.
Midnighter’s wedded partner, Apollo, is a Superman equivalent. Appolo leads the Authority team which gathers rogue and cynical superheroes. Midnighter was a part of the Authority before he started to fight crime on his own.
Midnighter’s key ability is to predict battle moves.
LGBTQ+ Superheroes: Key Takeaways
We are living in an era of inclusivity when everyone’s voices need to be heard. The realm of superhero comics and their storylines can benefit greatly from the sexually diverse characters that also educate audiences on this important matter.
Who is your favorite among these LGBTQ+ superheroes? Are we missing any in our list? Shout it out in the comments below!