Pride Month Spotlight: Alex Danvers
Welcome to the 15th installment of our 2019 Pride Month Series! Each day in the month of June, we will be highlighting a different member of the LGBTQ+ community who we think is a great example of representation and dynamic characterization. We will focus on fictional characters, celebrities, and activists alike — the positive voices within the LGBTQ+ community and in mainstream media.
Alex Danvers, played by the fabulous Chyler Leigh, has had quite an evolving storyline on Supergirl. Her story began at a young age, when her parents took in a young girl around her own age. The hitch? Her new adopted sister, Kara, was an alien from another planet and a cousin to Superman.
Through flashbacks, we see Alex have a tough transition to having a sibling, and it is something that sticks with her into her adult years. Alex all of a sudden has to deal with her parents giving attention to another child, and learning that Kara needed an extra level of protection due to her powers. It was a struggle, but Alex and Kara quickly learned to be there for each other and developed a strong, sisterly bond. Just like any older sister, Alex will always go to great lengths to protect Kara.
Her adolescence saw more heartbreak when she lost her father, Jeremiah. It led to her having a troubled few years, becoming a typical party girl. Despite these troubled times, Alex managed to pull herself together and get her doctorate degree and a job at the Department of Extranormal Operations (DEO). This job helped her settle down and leave her party days behind.
Alex’s job gave her a unique opportunity to protect her sister, given that her job involves everything extraterrestrial. But her job got more involved when Kara saves Alex’s crashing plane in the pilot episode. From then on, Alex and Kara find a balance between Supergirl protecting the planet and both of them keeping Kara’s identity under wraps.
Even without superpowers, Alex proves to be brave and skilled when it comes to protecting the planet in her own way. Even when up against dangerous aliens, Alex holds her own. She is strong-willed, but it is her empathy that helps her keep the peace. Kara gives Alex the knowledge that “different” does not always equal “bad.”
For most of season 1, Alex’s path is one of forgiveness. Whatever leftover troubles she had from her youth, she came to terms with them. It was in season 2, when she met a detective named Maggie Sawyer, that a new path was laid out before her.
While a case brought Alex and Maggie to work together, things between them got very flirty. Sparks flew, but for Alex, this was a moment of discovery as she comes to terms with the realization that she is a lesbian. She admits shortly after her feelings for Maggie arise that she always felt different, even when she was young. She confesses to Kara that she recalls being attracted to a girl and wanting to kiss her.
You could feel the nerves radiating from Alex as she came out to Kara, who listened to her sister talk through a major moment of her life. It was the Thanksgiving episode soon after that Alex tried to come out to her mother. Her nerves drove her to drink. A lot. And just when she was about to come out, alien activity interrupted her moment.
Alex never needed to be nervous or worried. A later conversation proved her mother had already guessed. She could see how Alex felt about Maggie, and her mom assured Alex that she could never love her less. In a way, these moments were like the last missing puzzle pieces for Alex. Not only could Alex finally be herself, her true self, but she finally understood how her mom and sister truly felt about her.
While their relationship began with a bit of hesitance on Maggie’s part, Alex’s relationship with Maggie moved smooth and fast. They fell in love and were absolutely sweet with each other. By the end of the second season, Alex and Maggie were engaged and ready to walk down the aisle. Alex got a taste of true love, but she wanted more.
See, Alex always wanted to be a mother. She wanted a family. Unfortunately, Maggie did not. While both were in love with each other and did not want to say goodbye, the discussion of children led to the end of their relationship and yet another path for Alex Danvers. Alex is currently trying to go through the process of adoption. She has her doubts, and the process has its challenges, but Alex continues on knowing this is the path for her. There is no doubt with the way she cares for her family, that Alex will be a wonderful mother.
Other challenges face Alex, as well. Bigotry faces their city, and aliens are the target of it. This puts Alex in a peculiar situation. The DEO puts her under pressure to protect the human population. It gets increasingly difficult for Alex to protect her sister as Supergirl begins to be seen as more of a criminal than a hero. She tries to be secretive, but times get difficult, and Kara urges that Alex has her mind wiped.
With her mind wiped, Alex no longer knows Kara was Supergirl. It created a strain between them, that made each of their professional lives a little more difficult. It works out eventually, as it almost always does, and season 5 looks a little brighter for Alex as she navigates a new relationship with Kelly Olsen.
Check out the rest of our 2019 Pride Month Series here!