Welcome to the latest installment of our 2022 Pride Month Series! Each weekday in the month of June, we will be highlighting a different member of the LGBTQIA+ 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 LGBTQIA+ community and in mainstream media. Today’s spotlight is on Marvel’s Young Avenger, America Chavez.
Created in 2011 by Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta, America Chavez has commanded the pages of comic books. Her powers are some of the mightiest, from Multiversal travel at will to superhuman speed and strength, the extent of her abilities hasn’t even been fully uncovered as of yet. Chavez also brings powerful representation to not only the LGBTQ community as an openly lesbian superhero, but to the Latina community as well.
Chavez has been instrumental in not only saving the world but the entire Multiverse on multiple occasions. She was also smart enough to know she couldn’t trust Loki, even in kid form, upon first meeting. In Volume 2 of the Young Avengers, she took it upon herself to protect Billy Kaplan, a.k.a Wiccan, from Loki’s evil scheme (which, of course, was a part of another scheme …) who was destined to become the Demiurge.
However, her on-screen adaptation was an odd deviation from her comic counterpart, one that didn’t exactly do many favors for her LGBTQ identity. While they did adapt America’s two moms into the MCU, making her younger in age than the other previously introduced Young Avenger members poses a problem for the representation of her sexual orientation. At 14, it leaves little to no room for this character to ever get an inkling of a romantic arc, even in the form of her typical flirty banter with fellow Young Avenger Kate Bishop, who is canonically in her 20s here in the MCU.
Oddly enough, two other prominent LGBTQ members of one of Marvel’s best teams are also in a similar boat, Billy and Tommy. While they’ve been teased in projects like WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, they too are significantly younger than their openly LGBTQ comic counterparts. While we know Marvel has a plan for all of these young heroes, we hope that straight-baiting by nulling out their romantic lives by presenting them at a young age isn’t part of it.
Be sure to read our highlight about two other LGBTQ members of the Young Avengers, Wiccan and Hulkling, from last year, too! Stay tuned for the rest of our Pride Spotlights this month!