Welcome 2 new lesbian TV superheroes
With actress Nafessa Williams playing the lesbian daughter of the Black Lightning on the recently-launched CW superhero TV drama, that means we’ll have two lesbian TV superheroes on the small screen.
The first lesbian TV superhero we saw is Virginia Gardner Dean in the Hulu superhero TV series, Runaways, which premiered last November.
While there have been lesbian characters in superhero TV shows (like Carrie-Ann Moss’ lawyer character Jeri Hogarth), Williams and Gardner play actual superheroes with powers.
Lesbian TV superheroes: Anissa Pierce
Williams plays Anissa Pierce in the TV show Black Lightning who, while studying to become a doctor, discovers that not only is her father a retired superhero, she also has powers too.
When asked about Pierce being a lesbian on TV (as originally portrayed in the comic books), Williams told EW: “I’m just really grateful to tell the story for young lesbians– and black lesbians in particular– who don’t really see themselves on TV.”
“My hope is that when you watch Anissa, a young lesbian is inspired to walk boldly as who she is and to love herself and to love herself exactly how she looks,” she added.
Anissa’s love interest in the DC comic book, Grace Choi, will also be in the TV series portrayed by Chantal Thuy.
Williams told CBR that Anissa will have her coming out moment in the show: “There is a moment where you will see her have that intimate talk with her parents. The ‘reveal,’ if you will.”
Lesbian TV superheroes: Karolina Dean
While Pierce will start exploring herself this year, Gardner as Karolina Dean has already made inroads with the TV teen drama Runaways.
In the Marvel comic book, Dean– while pictured as an all-American teenager– is actually a flying, rainbow-colored alien princess.
She’s also a lesbian who has a thing for fellow Runaway Nico Minoru, and this part of the story is faithful to the comic books as TV’s Dean makes the moves on Nico, played by Lyrica Okano.
“As soon as I read the comic books, I was really excited about Karolina and Nico’s relationship,” Gardner said.
“We get along so well and we had really good chemistry, right off the bat. We’ve been really excited about the romantic interest here, for a long time,” she added.
Speaking on Dean’s sexuality, Gardner told WWD: “I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it.”
“I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” she said.
While it would have been fun to have queer actresses play queer superhero characters, it’s nice to see additional lesbian characters on TV in the wake of the Bury Your Gays trope.
Hopefully, this trope finally gets buried as well in 2018.