Pride Month Spotlight: Sara Lance
Welcome to the ninth article in 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.
Our next article in this series focuses on the character Sara Lance.
The story of Sara Lance (played by the amazing Caity Lotz) spans across two series: Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. We have gotten to see so many sides of her over the years, including her journey to evolving into a fierce leader. The Sara Lance we know today, though, is far from the person we first see on screen.
When we first see Sara in Arrow, she gets on the ill-fated yacht with Oliver Queen, her sister’s boyfriend. It certainly does not shed the best of light on either character. And once the boat goes down, she is washed away and presumed dead… until season 2, when Sara returns quite different. It turns out Oliver knew Sara had survived and had even helped him at one point, but he once again presumed she was dead.
But there is one thing about Sara everyone eventually finds out, viewers included: she is a survivor. You cannot keep her down.
Nyssa al Ghul saved Sara that second time around, and it led to Sara training with the League of Assassins. It is there where she learns to fight and also take on the “Canary” name. It is also where Sara’s sexuality becomes apparent, when Nyssa and Sara get together. When Sara returns to Star City, sparks fly once again with Oliver. And just like that, it is clear that Sara is bisexual.
Sara dies (for real this time) in season 3 of Arrow, with her sister Laurel taking over as the Black Canary. Of course, thanks to the League of Assassin’s Lazarus Pit, she is brought back to life the following season. (Seriously, you can’t keep Sara down for long. In no time, she will be back to kick butt!)
Things have always been rocky and hard for Sara, and being resurrected may be one of her biggest challenges. Her soul was not brought back to life with her. This made her dangerous and caused a bloodlust within her. And again, even that is eventually restored for her, but the bloodlust was something she would continue to struggle with. Sara gets some hard knocks in her life, but she is a fighter, and she always has friends that have her back.
Speaking of friends, more are introduced when she joins the Legends. It is a completely different setting for Sara than her time on Arrow. She now travels through time with a hodgepodge of eccentric heroes, using her own skills to fight threats to history. This time as the White Canary, a gift of sorts from her sister, the bloodlust was still a key point of her character in the show’s first season, but so was her bisexuality.
Sarah is strong, fierce, sassy, and completely smooth with both men and women. In the first season of Legends, we see her flirt her way through a few women, as well as one of her teammates, Leonard Snart. Past or present, Sara has a way of romancing people. To put it simply, the girl’s got game! That is an element of Sara that continues throughout the series. Though, when it comes to relationships that last longer than fleeting, they tend to get a little rocky.
At the end of the season, Sara discovers her sister died when she makes a return trip to Star City. It is a loss she struggles with going forward, and with time travel at close hand, she even considers saving her. She gets several opportunities, but she knows it would not be the right decision. This personal sacrifice is what ultimately makes her a great leader.
In season 2, after the Legends captain Rip Hunter disappears, Sara takes on the role as captain of the Waverider. Leadership seems to come naturally to Sara. She is cool, calm, and collected when it comes to intense situations. And she makes sure her team is as well. Her team can be, well, chaotic sometimes. (And by sometimes, I mean almost all the time.) Yet, somehow Sara manages it. Going into its fifth season, Sara still leads like it was what she was always meant to do.
Both losses and romances also continue for Sara throughout the series. Sara has lost teammates. Sara also returns home to Star City to say goodbye to her father. And in the romance department, Sara has an on and off again relationship with a Time Bureau agent named Ava Sharpe. Sara pushes away Ava away when she gets possessed by Mallus, in an attempt to protect Ava getting hurt. Sara knows with her past that Ava would not be safe with her.
Sara, even when upset or hurt, handles things with grace. But she will not shy away from what she thinks of a situation or person, either.
Ava brought out a lot in Sara and really helped break down walls she had built up. It is why the relationship works, and it is really interesting to see Sara tackle a relationship longer than a one-night stand. With Sara being a strong character, it is rare to see vulnerability in her. But Ava brings that out. Like any great character, they will learn and evolve. And Sara has done that.
Sara Lance has come a long way from that girl who sneaked behind her sister’s back with her boyfriend. She has learned to fight, and she learned to take a punch (metaphorically and literally). She learned to lead and take action, all while protecting her team and the world. The White Canary alone brings out this lighter side of her. And all the while, Sara is another fantastic and natural representation of bisexuality.
While bisexuality is an attraction to more than one gender, it is not necessarily an equal split, and Sara’s sexuality is very realistic in this regard. Bisexuality is a spectrum of attraction, that can sometimes fluctuate, and I think they show this beautifully with Sara, whose relationship with women tend to outnumber the amount of men she has been with.
I’m personally excited to see the path Sara’s character takes as the show continues. She can be complex, yet easy to read. She has taken paths that are both light and dark. She fights like cold hard steel, yet can melt that steel away around the people she loves. She gets a few hard knocks thrown her way, but she always gets back up. Even death can’t touch her! I am also absolutely sure that Sara Lance will continue to be a fantastic representation of bisexuality.
Check out the rest of our 2019 Pride Month Series here!