Earlier today, DC unzipped their mouths and let the beans spill about the “iconic” character that would now be gay in the ‘New 52’ universe. While speculation ran wild from Jay Garrick in Earth 2 to Barry Allen and Dick Grayson, Alan Scott – Green Lantern in Earth 2 – was announced to be the character receiving a new sexual identity.
Fans and critics alike have already sounded off about the mislead in describing Scott as “iconic”, claiming that media hype led most to believe it would be a ‘top-tier’ character, one more on the public eye. The funny thing about the Alan Scott revelation is that the general public is already confusing Scott with Hal Jordan as Green Lantern.
Let’s look at this logically. Gay rights (or lack thereof) is an extremely controversial topic in the United States today. While my personal ideology precludes me from understanding why giving every single person equal protection and rights under the law, the debate exists nonetheless. When DC announced – just a week ago – that it would be revamping one of it’s characters with a new sexual preference, One Million Moms (a conservative Christian organization) came out in defiant protest of the decision. They stated that comic books are marketed to children and that including a topic as mature as sexual identity would confuse impressionable youths. Of course, this was just the tip of their prejudiced iceberg. And all of that was over the announcement.
|Alan Scott from the old DCU.|
If DC were to make, say, Superman gay, this change would capture the attention of the nation. It would be a huge step to reimagine an American symbol in a homosexual light. There would be nothing wrong with this decision. If Alan Scott draws the wrath of one conservative Christian group, think of the hate and bigotry that would display itself if Bruce Wayne was gay. Though it saddens me to say, America isn’t ready for a gay Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, or Flash.
As an avid Green Lantern fan, I’m ecstatic that Alan Scott was the choice. The Green Lantern mantle has always been an avenue for diversity. In the old DCU, Alan Scott’s son, Obsidian, was gay, as well as GL Kyle Rayner’s personal assistant, Terry. John Stewart was one of the first prominent black superheroes, and in the 1960s, Hal Jordan and Ollie Queen (Green Arrow) took a Guardian of the Universe on a road trip to show the Guardian the more compassionate side of life and how good and bad are not as black and white as the ancient beings would like to believe. Revamping the original Green Lantern into a gay man was a bold and smart move.
I’m proud to be a Green Lantern fan, now more than ever. As society moves forward and our culture becomes more accepting of diverse lifestyles, it’s up to the media to convey and present these changes to the status quo. In the 1940s, women were rarely featured as prominent characters. African American heroes were unheard of until the 60s, and the first gay kiss in comics happened in 1998. It’s time for the comic book industry to embrace new lifestyles and cultural norms to better relate to their readers and create more believable stories in the process.