While many comic book publications are hesitant to show gay male couples being intimate in any way—I mean, how long did we have to wait for Hulking and Wiccan to kiss, or Northstar to get married?—it has been a long time since the same creators have shied away from two women getting physical.
Now this hypocrisy is hard to explain. In the eyes of many heterosexual men, lesbian relationships, especially the lesbian relationships in which the women are sexy, are a source of sexual entertainment. They are a plaything of straight men; in fact, some would try to argue how lesbian intimacy isn’t even gay! But this is nothing new. Depictions of females engaging in homoerotic behavior has always been a go-to for heterosexual male demographics regardless of the medium; however, in comics, creators have made it even clearer that these relationships aren’t meant to uplift the LGBT community, but rather to entertain straight males, by making more female characters bisexual.
Don’t get me wrong, while the validity of bisexuality is a topic of many heated debates inside and outside queer communities, it can’t be denied that some people love, have loved, both men and women. In the end, the heart wants what the heart wants, right? But when it comes to comics, the entirety of one’s sexuality—lust and love—are never explored. Instead, the supposed bisexual female characters are depicted as women who fall in love and sleep with men, but can only make a sexual connection with women.
Take the Mystique as an example. After decades of denial, Marvel finally recognized the shape-shifting mutant’s lesbian relationship with the clairvoyant Destiny. Since their rarely acknowledged relationship, Mystique has been with male mutants Azazel and Sabertooth and gives birth to two children, one of them being the famous X-Men member Nightcrawler. Many sources argue that it was the intention of the creators for Destiny and Mystique to be the parents of Nightcrawler, but we all know gays can’t raise a child soooooooo. What is left is a lesbian character that is written into a bisexual character with a preference toward men.
Rather than accepting or celebrating queer people and queer relationships, mainstream comics deliver the same creepy message: No gays! Lesbians are okay, if they let us watch and maybe join.