In 2011, I was lucky enough to executive produce the OWN TV documentary special, "I Am Jazz: A Family In Transition." I believe the bravery of young, transgender Jazz Jennings, and her loving family, opened a door for many transgender boys and girls to walk through. These days, transgender children are in the news almost every day. While these courageous kids can find real life heroes in Jazz Laverne Cox, the Wachowski Sisters, Andreja Pejić, Janet Mock and many others, where is their "Supergirl" or "Spiderman?"
Legendary comic book writers like James Robinson and Greg Rucka gave us an openly gay "Green Lantern" and an empowering lesbian "Batwoman" and they are by far not the only LGBTQ-friendly writers or characters in the Marvel and DC universes, heck, Marvel gave the out hero "Northstar" a gay wedding, but I'm waiting for the first openly transgender hero to fight alongside the "Justice League" and "The Avengers."
I applaud Marvel and DC for their diversity in both race, gender and sexual identity. Both companies are making sure every kid has a hero they can see themselves in. DC Comics even gave "Batgirl" a transgender roommate, but that seems to be about as progressive as anyone is getting. There have been a smattering of transgender-ish characters such as an alien hero who could be both male or female and there have been transgender heroes in some of the very independent comic book universes, but I want a 19 year-old, Latina, transgirl with super powers who hangs out with the "Teen Titans" or the "Young Avengers."
It would certainly be newsworthy. The coverage alone would be worth its weight in gold. Story wise, there is so much that can be done. Imagine this: A 15 year-old Latino is the oldest boy in the family of a tough, but loving police detective. This boy, Miguel, is expected to follow in his dad's footsteps. His father gets shot and falls into a coma for 4 years. During that time, Miguel transitions into Mia. She is the one who holds the family together; working two jobs; keeping her younger brother in school and out of gangs, bringing her mother to visit her father every day. Mia is a transgirl to be respected. She's funny, beautiful and tough as her dad when she needs to be. A domestic terrorist attack on the hospital results in Mia gaining electromagnetic powers and her father waking up (to find out he now has a daughter). This becomes the story of a young transwoman dealing with being a newbie superhero and a father who rejects her.
Super Villains, dating and family problems, just like any other young super hero. Mia, or "Electralita" as she calls herself, is a hero first and a transwoman second. She stops all crimes, not just crime against transpeople, but in a world that can be increasingly dangerous for transpeople, she does protect her own. She is very involved in her community and doesn't hide the fact she is transgender. She is transgender and proud. Mia could be the comic book hero that transkids look up to and see themselves in.
DC Comics just introduced an African-American gay character that could quite possibly be the next "Aqualad." Regardless, of his super hero name, he likes boys and doesn't care who knows. I think DC and Marvel Comics saw how many LGBTQ people are comic book fans and wanted to include them. More so, I think they saw LGBTQ people are a normal part of our population and wanted to reflect that. Now, I think it is time for them to see how many transgender people, both young and old, are a normal part of our culture and reflect that.
Marvel and DC don't pander to "bathroom bigots," they write smart and fun books for, and filled with, people with loving, open minds. Would "Superman" have a problem with a transgender person? Of course not! Would "Captain America" stand outside a restroom asking for birth certificates? Never!
Let's give Mia and any other transgender heroes like her a chance to save the world. After all, it's their world, too.
Wayne Mahon is the producer/director of several positive transgender film and television projects. His latest trans-related (and superhero-related) documentary, LEAVING VOGUE MORAN, can be found on Vimeo on Demand.