So… tell me again, why is this necessary?
For the same reason that all of these are “necessary:”
You were asking the other day “Why does there need to be a gay superhero? What does that have anything to do with saving the world?”
Well by that token I could ask why there have to be any straight superheroes. Being straight, what does that have to do with saving the world? By your logic all stories about superheroes should be about emotionless, unfeeling beings who do nothing but fight crime and don’t have any life outside of it.
Because here’s what you’re not understanding: sexual orientation is not just who you have sex with. It’s not even just about who you are attracted to.
Sexual orientation is a part of someone’s identity. A major part of their identity. For the same reason that you feel the need to constantly bring up the fact that you’re Jewish - which is a part of your identity, just like the fact that you’re conservative, American, an economics major, etc., etc. - other people should not feel the need to be silent about a part of themselves which is fundamental and huge in their lives. No one should ever have to be in the closet about something that is a fundamental and large part of their identity. It nearly killed my brother when he was a kid and it would kill many of the gay people I know and do not know, including my brother’s amazing boyfriend.
This expands to fictional characters, because it’s wonderful and nice seeing fictional characters that share a part of your identity, that have a quality about themselves that you can relate to. Why do you think having a racially diverse cast in a franchise is such a big deal? It’s because it’s a wonderful thing, when a creator, writer, or artist is inclusive and takes into account that everyone is different. Can people relate to characters that are not their own race? Absolutely, all the time! Can my brother relate to and enjoy straight characters? Of course! He’s a huge fan of many stories that are supposedly straight people only.
But there is something incredibly special about seeing a bit of yourself in a character, especially when that certain something is looked down on in society at the time. Why do you suppose it was such a big deal when shows like Sesame Street and Star Trek were some of the first shows to display people of racial minorities who were not defined by their race but by their character?
Like it or not, it was progress. Our media is still white-centric, but with every generation we are trying to make progress. I don’t know if this gay wedding in this issue of X-Men was shoehorned in because I don’t follow most comics, and I don’t care. This is progress. This is showing young people that this sort of thing is okay. It is not abnormal, it is not freakish, it is not oppressing the the straight people in the crowd behind them, it is not destroying the sanctity of marriage.
You scoff at this sort of thing but to some gay comics reader who never thought they would see the day that this happened on the cover of X-Men, this means something. It may not to all of Marvel’s gay readers, but maybe to some insecure, young person who needs this type of reassurance, who is picked on every day, who is an outcast in his own family, this means something. Why are you so against that? Why are you so ugly about progress all the time?
I’m going to reiterate: being gay isn’t just who you have sex with. Being straight isn’t just about who you have sex with. You should know this. As a straight person it is a part of your identity that you are straight. If someone asks about your sexual orientation, you have the freedom to say, “I’m straight,” you don’t have to say, “That has nothing to do with anything” like you apparently want these comic book characters to. Being straight has influenced who you flirt with, who you kiss, who you hold hands with in public, how you dress, how you act, how you think, how you perceive the media and the world around you, what media you like, where you go on a Saturday night, what turns you on, what turns you off, how you interact with members of the opposite sex, how you interact with members of the same sex, how you interact with members of a different sexual orientation, how you just plain tick.
It is the same for a gay person, whether they seem stereotypically gay or not. It is a part of who they are. Stop trying to shut people up in the closet. It is vile.
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