Rolling Out

DC Comics introduces first openly transgender character in ‘Batgirl’

Batgirl - Trans Alysia Yeoh

It doesn’t take a genius or a nerd to see that America is currently engrossed with the multilayered issue of LGBT rights and representation. And now the world of comics is getting into the mix as DC Comics recently introduced the first mainstream transgender comic book character in its Batgirl comic.

In a recent interview with New Now Next, Batgirl writer Gail Simone revealed that in the newly released Batgirl #19, Barbara Gordon’s roommate, Alysia Yeoh, reveals to the caped crusader that she’s transgender.

“It makes me happy — I have met so many trans readers over the years. I hope they love Alysia as much as we do,” said Simone.

Alysia - Batgirl Page 2

In a separate interview with Wired, Simone revealed that the inspiration for Alysia came from a conversation she had years ago with former Batwoman writer Greg Rucka at a Wondercon Convention about diversifying comic characters.

“I looked out into the audience, saw dozens of faces I knew well — LGBTQ folks, mostly — all avid comics readers and superhero fans and DC supporters,” said Simone. “And it just hit me: Why was this so impossible? Why in the world can we not do a better job of representation of not just humanity, but also our own loyal audience?”

The Batgirl writer also explained that she consulted with several trans writers, bloggers and friends while writing the character of Alysia. And although Simone’s character marks a major point of progress for comics, she admits that the industry still has a ways to go in better representing the LGBT community.

“It’s the issue for superhero comics. Look, we have a problem most media don’t have, which is that almost all the tentpoles we build our industry upon were created over a half century ago… at a time where the characters were almost without exception white, cis-gendered, straight, on and on. It’s fine — it’s great that people love those characters. But if we only build around them, then we look like an episode of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ for all eternity,” she said.

We’re glad to see that the trans community now has a character to look to in the world of comics and we hope this won’t be the last trans character we see on those glossy comic pages.

But Alysia certainly isn’t the first LGBT comic character. Check out some others below. –nicholas robinson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our Newsletter

Sign up for Rolling Out news straight to your inbox.

Read more about:
Also read
Rolling Out