Sunday, January 3, 2010

Why Do We Like X-Men?

So far, I’ve received two suggestions to take on this subject.  I am always open to suggestions (or answering questions for that matter). 

Personally, I hadn’t made the connection between the gay community and the mutant characters of X-Men’s, but it became apparent pretty quickly as I thought it through that there is a reason this particular storyline (as opposed to other muscle-laden mythologies) has garnered such adoration in the gay community. 

But why?  Why Do We Like X-Men?


Reason #1: The X-Gene

Michael in Queer as Folk expresses a deep affinity for comic superheroes.  He makes the following connection with these super-powered heroes: “ ways that maybe no one intended, those superheroes were a lot like me. At work they're meek, underappreciated... they're the guys that never get laid. And when they're around other people, they can never let anyone get too close for fear that their true identities will be discovered.”

At the heart of this comparison is the idea of difference.  Superheroes are different because of their powers and because of the good that they do with their powers while homosexuals are different from the norm because we don’t fall within the boundaries defined as ‘normal.’ 

What comics manage to do is glorify difference.  As superheroes use said differences for good, they justify their existence.  We assert our strength by embracing these differences and using them to the best of our abilities. 


What draws this link between us and superheroes closer is the genetic aspect of the X-Men mythology.  The X-gene holds in it the key to their difference, much as the fabled ‘gay-gene’ does for us.  This research counters the homosexuality-as-choice idea, defining one’s identity, in part, genetically.

Perhaps the most staggering similarity between homosexuality and the X-men mythology is the developmental parallel.  Super powers and other characteristics remain latent or unexpressed for years until puberty of some intense event. 

That really does parallel the experience of coming out.  Most of us have similar experiences.  Slowly our Obviously Gay Traits Jean Grey(OGTs) began to appear or some guy started to flirt with us and in that moment we knew just as characters began to notice little changes or major events in their own stories. 

For example, at the age of ten, Jean Grey’s powers first manifested themselves as her best friend was hit by a car.  The timing of these experiences is uncanny.  Enough so for us to connect our experiences with identifying and coping with our different sexualities with their experiences identifying differences in abilities.


Andy said...

Well put. I've never thought of super heroes like that before. What an amazing analogy. Did you think of this yourself? I think it's so cool to compare myself to the X-Men. I would definitly be Wolverine.

Grant Haws said...

I think the movie X-Men 3 was the one where I felt like I could identify with the plight of the mutants. There's a cure which some of the X-men are determined to get and then some who find it insulting that anyone would believe a "cure" was required. And I always thought that although some normal humans and some mutants hated eachother, for the most part the world was better off because they both coexisted. The only thing I don't like is the word "mutant" being in anyway connected to homosexuality.

Plus, they put Ryan Reynolds in the Wolverine movie...that's proof they wanted the gays to love X-men.

Ben said...

I think there's a part in one of the movies where they obviously elude to homosexuality and "coming out". I don't remember which movie it was, but I remember when I saw it with my mom and it made me super uncomfortable.

Mister Curie said...

I remember thinking the X-men movies tried to play up the gay connection, and that was before I realized I wasn't heterosexual.

As for Ryan Reynolds, he's my movie star crush too. And I heard a rumor that the X-men franchise is going to do an entire movie about his character's backstory! Yummy!

Rob said...

Interesting theory! I have never gotten all that worked up about the whole X-Men franchise overall, but I will happily admit that I'd watch just about anything with Ryan Reynolds in it. Even if it were just his picture on a lunchbox.

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

I'm afraid that all of you drooling over Ryan Reynolds will have to get in line behind my best friend, Cole.

Thanks for the comments. Expect some feedback in Parts 2 and 3.

Gay Single Shy Dude said...

Hey I just read this blog. I am an avid comic book collector and hardcore X-Men fan. I can totally identify with the social/political aspects of comic books. And agree that the reason why minorities (gay or racial) can identify with the X-men is because they are being persecuted by society for just being born. I think this is great! And I am loving your blog. :)

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