While Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe has been catering to the LGBT agenda for years — one of the main characters in the franchise’s latest film, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” subtly wears a “Pride” pin on her jacket throughout the movie — now Marvel Comics is entering the fray.
This month, Marvel unveiled its newest addition, Escapade, a transgender mutant hero, Screen Geek reported.
The character will be featured in the upcoming comic book “Marvel Voices: Pride #1,” written by Charlie Jane Anders and designed by artists Ro Stein and Ted Brandt. The new series debuts in June.
Escapade — whose character name is Shela Sexton — is also expected to appear in an upcoming installment of the “New Mutants” comic book series this fall.
The newly minted superhero “has the ability to instantaneously switch physical locations with another person, or trade any specific physical or abstract attribute such as possessions, organizational status, skills, superhuman powers, and even situations,” according to ComicBook.com.
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Anders, who identifies as transgender, celebrated the transgender superhero.
“I have loved the Marvel Universe for as long as I can remember, and may or may not sing the Spider-Man cartoon theme in the shower on a regular basis,” Anders told Marvel.com “So I was so thrilled to be able to introduce a brand-new hero to stand alongside all of my favorites. I hope that Escapade and Morgan Red will inspire trans and non-binary people everywhere to believe that they, too, can fight for justice with the power of creativity and chosen family.”
Brandt said people “need a hero like Shela Sexton for people to look up to.”
“It’s very exciting to be part of bringing a new character into Marvel Comics,” added Stein. “Working with Charlie Jane’s script was a lot of fun, and I hope people enjoy reading about Escapade as much as we did putting together her first outing on the page.”
As for the “Doctor Strange” character mentioned earlier, the actor who played her, Xochitl Gomez, said she was “really happy” to see the MCU — which is owned by The Walt Disney Company — give a platform to America Chavez, who identifies as a lesbian.
“I’m all about positivity and creativity [but] sometimes I can’t ignore that completely,” Gomez told USA Today of the criticism some lobbed against Disney and the MCU for sneaking a pro-LGBT message into the superhero flick. “I’m grateful to have very supportive fans that are so much louder and more enthusiastic than haters. And it’s really important since I do have a really big young following, to show them that things happen and it’s better to stay strong and continue and move forward.”
Regardless, the 16-year-old Gomez told the newspaper she is pleased to portray a lesbian character in the MCU film franchise and is eager to “grow with her in every aspect.”
“I love that she is a leader, and a problem solver, and she just happens to be lesbian,” said Gomez.
It should come as no surprise The Walt Disney Company is leaning into portraying more LGBT characters in its various projects and platforms. That is exactly what Disney CEO Bob Chapek and other top brass with the entertainment brand have said since vehemently rebuking Florida for its Parental Rights in Education law, mischaracterized by many as the “Don’t Say Gay bill.”
In a statement this spring, Disney said it plans to advocate a full repeal of the legislation, which prohibits public-school educators from teaching children in pre-K through third grade about sexual orientation and gender identity.
Karey Burke, president of general entertainment at Disney, said during Disney’s “Reimagine Tomorrow Summit,” an internal conference for employees, that she is the mother of two children, one who identifies as transgender and the other as pansexual, and would like to see “many, many, many LGBTQIA characters” portrayed in Disney films and TV shows.
Along those same lines, Vivian Ware, “diversity and inclusion manager” for Disney, lauded the fact that Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, have done away with loudspeaker mentions of “ladies and gentlemen” and “boys and girls,” because such verbiage can steal “that magical moment” from those who do not identify as explicitly male or female.
“We don’t want to just assume, because someone might be, in our interpretation, maybe presenting as female, that they may not want to be called ‘princess,’” explained Ware. “So let’s think differently about how do we really engage with our guests in a meaningful and inclusive way that makes it magical and memorable for everyone.”
Chapek, for his part, vowed to Disney staffers he will be “a better ally for the LGBTQ+ community” and apologized “for not being the ally that you needed me to be,” adding he knows Disney has “work to do.”
As CBN’s Faithwire has reported, all of this reached a fever pitch this spring, when Florida legislators and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed legislation disbanding a 1967 agreement between the state and Walt Disney World, dissolving the company’s unique, independent governmental status, the Reedy Creek Improvement District. You can read more details about the RCID’s origin and its impending downfall here.
“I am not comfortable having one company with their own government and special privileges when that company has pledged itself to attacking the parents in my state,” DeSantis said in late April.
Disney is not emerging from this battle unscathed with the public, either.
A new survey shows public favorability for the iconic American brand has dipped to a mere 33%, a nosedive from the 77% support Disney garnered from a different survey conducted in March 2021.
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