In case you missed it yesterday… THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT (DOMA) WAS DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL!! The internet literally exploded with rainbow flags. It’s a great way to end LGBTQ Pride Month. But for the geeks for equality out there, I thought I’d offer up a nerdier celebration. Here are 5 couples that should tie the knot in celebration of this (long overdue) step towards social equality in the U.S.!
Batwoman (Kate Kane) & Maggie Sawyer
Kate and Maggie have had flirty repertoire ever since they first met on the pages of the rebooted Batwoman in 2006 and they hooked up not long after. By issue #17, Kate risked it all and exposed her Batwoman identity by proposing to Mags in full Bat costume. It’s four months and four issues later and I’m feenin’ for some wedding bells. Batwoman is pretty much the most high-profile lesbian character in comics (who wasn’t relegated to an alternate universe at that), so this wedding oughta be a Huuge and super awesome. Come on, just imagine the complementing black & red tuxes… right?!
Stahma Tarr & Kenya Rosewater
Okay so this one is a lot of wishful thinking, but when big things like the government actually supporting gay rights are happening, we gotta dare to dream big. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been absolutely adoring this duo. They’re pretty much perfect for each other, both straddling that strange complex line where they are both incredibly strong and powerful women, yet they have found themselves in abusive relationships….
Just because LGBTQ Pride Month is wrapping up this week doesn’t mean we can’t keep the Pride going year-round. For the bookish out there, here are some suggestions to keep the rest of your year a queer and geeky ride!
Summer is no time for those long heavy reads that weigh you down at the beach and put you to sleep at the park. Instead, run out and grab the sci-fi thriller Proxy. Penned by former foreign correspondent Alex London who is no stranger to action, this all ages novel is a fast-paced, breezy read that’ll keep you amped for all the summer fun. Proxyfollows two boys Syd and Knox who grew up worlds apart yet intimately connected. Knox is wealthy and care-free while Syd, as Knox’s “proxy” must accept all of the punishments and negative consequences of Knox’s actions. Eventually the two boys realize they have to come together to fight the system, and that’s where the adrenaline-ride begins… The main character of the novel is gay, a rarity in sci-fi, but his sexuality doesn’t define him or his story. You can get the first 3 chapters free, here! Plus, the sequel Guardianjust came out this May!
For the Who fans in the crowd… They haven’t even set a date yet for season 8 of Doctor Who, and we all know that the Christmas Special always just makes us want more and soonish! Not to mention, with Matt Smith leaving the show, curiosity as to who will be the 12th Doctor has got Who fans feening for some Time Lord antics. So get your fix, celebrate, and analyze Who and some of the show’s great queer characters, including Captain Jack Harkness (in fact, Captain Jack himself wrote an introduction to the book!) and Vastra and Jenny, and these Who fan-scholars even take a look at the Doctor’s own fluid sexuality. Check out Emily Nordling’s review of the book over at Tor.com.
Fall means back to school, back from vacation, back into the groove of work and school after an always too-short summer, but “groove” doesn’t just mean a notch in your coffee table, so get groovin’ with Leila Sales’s This Song Will Save Your Life. An all ages novel, kids can enjoy this fun story of a group of young misfits who come together over a love of music, but covering the lasting themes of friendship and acceptance, adult readers can enjoy this hilarious and honest look at friendship, family, and how neither ever stops being complicated and totally worth the trouble.
It’s not out until December, so aside from the description there’s not much to go on. But some key words from the description — namely startship, plasma coils, sky surgeon (I don’t even care what that means! just yes.) — have got me interested… Well, that and this crazy trippy awesome Ascension playlist the author Jacqueline Koyanagi put together for the book on Spotify. Besides, just look at that cover… a queer brown woman in space? And she’s some kind of engineer? INto it. I don’t know about you, but I can think of no better place to be in the dead of winter than outer space, far far away from uncomfortable family dinners, among a wacky space-faring crew of a delusion “wolf”-man, a Heisenberg-ian pilot, and a bold, hottie captain.
With the recent release of Brian Wood and Oliver Copiel’s X-Men #1 with an all-female cast (featuring Storm, Kitty Pryde (aka Shadowcat), Rogue, Rachel Grey, Psylocke, and Jubilee), I’m reminded of how relatable some of these women are to me. Like many children of the 90s I was drawn to the X-Men through Fox’s animated TV show. But if I could pick one member of the X-Men who resonated with me the most it would have to be Rogue.
It wasn’t just because she had an awesome power set (flight, super strength, invulnerability) or that she said ridiculous things like “You look as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs” in that cool Blanche Dubois-like drawl provided by the great voice actress Lenore Zann, it was because Rogue suffered not just as an outsider, but because of her inability to touch someone without irrevocable damage. This fear of intimacy and its repercussions is something many gay men, myself included, have struggled with our entire lives.
Created in 1981 by Chris Claremont and Michael Golden, Rogue started off as a villain working with her stepmothers Mystique and Destiny to make Carol Danvers’s (aka Ms. Marvel) life a living hell and then single-handedly trashed the Avengers and the X-Men on more than one occasion, before begging Professor X and the other X-Men to take her in to help her control her powers. She wasn’t met with approval. All of the X-Men threatened to quit and it was only till she threw herself in the line of fire and saved Wolverine and his fiancée that they even began to give her a chance.
Rogue’s gone through various incarnations throughout the years in both comics and visual media from the headstrong tomboy type of the Chris Claremont years to the Goth girl in X-Men Evolution to Anna Paquin’s fragile, timid rendition in the X-Men movies, to the endless soap opera romance with Gambit in the 1990s, to the recent power-controlled, independent woman of MikeCarey’sX-Men: Legacy, and now as the angry, brash member RickRemender’sUncanny Avengers.
Yet every incarnation is based off of one character trait—her desperate need to be loved, to be touched, and to be approved of. It’s something I could relate to growing up as a young gay man in Ohio.
Like Rogue, I felt like an outsider in my small hometown, going to a Catholic high school during the Bush years, without any other gay people to talk to. Resorting to the sordid world of internet dating, I made countless bad choices just in the name of finding some kind of physical and emotional intimacy. Like Rogue, I hungered to be touched, yet also had to wade in the potential risks of STI’s and HIV, both possible scary consequences from having multiple partners. Rogue’s power is unique because while she gains something from physical contact (either in the form of abilities, powers, memories), she could also possibly put someone into a coma, or even death from too prolonged contact.
This idea that death is a possible side effect from intimacy is all too common knowledge in the gay world (and was especially prevalent in the 1980s with the onslaught of AIDS), but one we risk from having unprotected sex. In Rogue’s early days before she joined the X-Men, she felt an almost insatiable need to touch someone—to absorb their powers, to feel anything outside of a gloved hand, and I could relate with this when I first became aware of my sexuality and acted on it.
Like Rogue, I needed to learn control and to value myself enough to resist instant gratification and wait for something more substantial. It wasn’t an overnight process and I still made mistakes along the road. However, a lesson I needed to learn (and one I think all gay men could benefit from) is that the power of touch shouldn’t be taken for granted—it carries with it both physical and emotional ramifications.
Rogue finally has control of her powers, and yet instead of jumping into a relationship with her either of her two off-again, on-again boyfriends Magneto or Gambit, she decided to make the refreshing choice of being alone. Rogue is a resilient character, who has grown over the years into a more self-assured woman, who calls on intimacy on her own terms. It’s something I think we can all aspire to, sugah.
Nicholas DiSabatino has an MA from Emerson College, and has been previously published in Blast Magazine. As the publicity assistant to Beacon Press, he always brings his own sassy Rogue-like charm to the workplace.
Before she was a mind-possessing badass who was the first recruitment to Charles Xavier’s new X-men team the New Mutants, X’ian Coy Manh had a tough life. Growing up in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, her mind-control powers manifested when protecting her twin brother Tran Coy Manh from an attack by a Viet Cong soldier. Tran went on to abuse his own identical powers, and Xi’an, along with her mother and younger siblings escaped from Vietnam by boat after her father a South Vietnamese colonel was killed.
On the journey she and her mother were sexually assaulted and her mother killed, leaving Karma an orphan and the caretaker of her siblings. This is the state that led her desperately to possess Spider-man’s mind to protect her little brother and sister. After a showdown between her, the mind-controlled Spider-man and the Fantastic Four who were possessed by her evil brother Tran, Xi’an absorbed her brother’s mind completely and became Karma. Later, in a Battle with Cameron Hodge, she was severely injured and had to have her leg amputated. It was replaced with a bionic prosthetic.
She’s been a loyal member of the X-men for decades, with brief stints away from the team to pursue other interest, including a job as a librarian at the University of Chicago, where she met and fell in love with Kitty Pryde (currently known as Shadowcat).
The two have been close friends, but Karma believes that Kitty would not be able to reciprocate her feelings and so has not pursued her own. Karma has been in no other known romantic relationship. Recently, Kitty had returned the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, where she has had a casual and undefined relationship with Iceman, and is appearing in Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel‘s X-men series.
Love doesn’t always work out for everyone, not even superheroes.
Today Karma is a member of theAstonishing X-men team, along with Gambit, Iceman, Northstar, Wolverine, and Cecilia Reyes. Created by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, Karma first appeared in 1980 in Marvel Team-Up #100. Coming out and confessing her feelings for Kitty in 2003, she was one of the first lesbian characters in a mainstream comic.