Conservative moms outraged – just outraged! – by gay comic book hero

Last week, DC Comics announced that one of their characters is going to be coming out soon. Over at The Advocate, they suspect it’ll be The Green Lantern.

Marvel has also announced that Northstar, its first openly gay superhero, is going to marry his boyfriend in an upcoming installment.

As you might imagine, the mothers of the American Family Association are not pleased. Their mothers’ group, One Million Moms, is urging their members to write to DC and Marvel and urge them to change their minds. OMM is for moms who are “fed up with the filth many segments of our society, especially the entertainment media, are throwing at our children.” And apparently, they consider positive messages about gay people to be filth.

Children desire to be just like superheroes. Children mimic superhero actions and even dress up in costumes to resemble these characters as much as possible. Can you imagine little boys saying, “I want a boyfriend or husband like X-Men?”

This is ridiculous! Why do adult gay men need comic superheroes as role models? They don’t but do want to indoctrinate impressionable young minds by placing these gay characters on pedestals in a positive light. These companies are heavily influencing our youth by using children’s superheroes to desensitize and brainwash them in thinking that a gay lifestyle choice is normal and desirable. As Christians, we know that homosexuality is a sin (Romans 1:26-27).

Unfortunately, children are now being exposed to homosexuality at an early age. Comic books would be one of the last places a parent would expect their child to be confronted with homosexual topics that are too complicated for them to understand. Children do not know what straight, homosexual, or coming out of the closet even means, but DC Comics and Marvel are using superheroes to confuse them on this topic to raise questions and awareness of an alternative lifestyle choice. These companies are prompting a premature discussion on sexual orientation.

Actually, children do know what those things are. And something tells me that if an X-Man and and an X-Woman got married, there’d be no hue and cry about how children don’t know what straight is. There’s no problem exposing kids to heterosexuality at an early age, is there? There are no objections about “premature discussions” of men marrying women, are there? This isn’t about young children being too young. This is about gay people being too gay.

Someone should tell the women of OMM that their Helen Lovejoy act isn’t fooling anyone.

And in answer to your rhetorical question, OMM, yes, I can imagine little boys saying, “I want a boyfriend.” And that sounds awesome.

Pic via.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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  • Meri

    I reworded their form letter submission to congratulate Marvel and DC executives for doing the right thing. :D Here’s my modified version:

    As a parent I am extremely excited that you would use a children’s superhero character to help endorse same-sex marriage and normalize the homosexual lifestyle. It is terrific that your company is promoting the end of discrimination based on sexual orientation to children.

    Unfortunately, children are still being exposed to discrimination against same-sex marriage and the gay lifestyle choice by organizations which claim to serve “family values”. Gay teens and adults need superheroes as role models. Your company is helping impressionable young minds by showing these gay characters in a positive light. As an American, I know that treating all people with respect and equality is sorely needed.

    A comic book is the last place a parent might expect to be confronted with questions from their children on topics that are too complicated for some people to understand. I’m glad that you’re being so pro-active, and look forward to these story lines.

    Please do the right thing and stay the course on your decision to show homosexual characters with normal, healthy relationships to young readers. My decision to support your company and parent company depends on it.

    I look forward to hearing from you regarding my concern!

  • LinLexica

    Premature discussion? I’d argue this could delay the need for discussion in a good way. By normalizing different types of relationships, a child seeing two men or two women holding hands won’t have to ask why they’re doing so, or wonder why those people are “different.” They’ll just know that’s a relationship, and when their parents decide they’re old enough, they can get further into the idea of sexual orientation.

  • Sarah

    Unfortunately, my mom once made a racist observation to me when I was very young. We saw an interracial couple walking down the street hand-in-hand and my mom turned to me and said, “I don’t approve of that.” I was perplexed. I was confused as to what she didn’t approve of, and why. And I was confused as to why she’d make a point to tell me that so seriously. I had that gut feeling when you know something is just not right. And it stayed with me all of my life.

    All of the hate and outrage these parents’ groups are spewing over homosexuality may very well be having unintended consequences. Surely many of their children are listening to them and thinking, “why?”

    • Adrienne

      I was the same way as a child. My father wouldn’t consider himself racist if you asked him (like many men his age), but he is. He probably said 4-5 things that were so blatantly racist during my childhood that it shocked me even then. I still remember the instances today. Kids remember those things, and kind of always hold a grudge with their parents about them.
      Now, I’m sure he said some homophobic things during my childhood that didn’t stick, perhaps because I didn’t understand/didn’t have any other view presented to me back then.

      • Adrienne

        Oh also, my bff as a very young child was told by her parents that they didn’t approve of her dating/marrying a black guy when she was older.
        This confused her a lot when her much older brother married a black woman, and they didn’t tell her their newly corrected views.

  • Emily

    What makes me more angry is that many of the mothers who are so outraged by this likely have no problem letting their children watch excessively violent movies, read violent books and play violent video games. If they really believe that children mimic these characters’ behaviour, then what is worse? Reading about two people falling in love and getting married, or playing a video game where you get to steal cars, shoot people and beat-up sex workers?

    I’m not a mother, but if I ever have kids I will be sure to try to protect them from truly harmful material. Sorry American Family Association, but two people in love just doesn’t fit my definition of dangerous to show children.

  • daria

    both seem to be using this as a publicity stunt. especially DC just like it did with batwoman. in northstars case though its about time his sexuality was adressed properly- he came out in the 1990s but only got a boyfriend recently- its about time. i dont think they should have retconned green lanterns orientation, at least if you’re going to shift it could the character address the shift and have them talk about how they came to ID as gay instead of it just being “hello, im gay now and always have been and all past relationships never happened”.
    OMM annoy me. its not just their homophobia- its the children wont understand this garbage. same sex attraction is something kids get- its simple, adults complicate it, stop patronising kids. also maybe comics are not where adults expect their kids to find queer characters. im glad. its where i found some of my first queer role models and i could engage with them right in front of my unsuspecting parents.

    • Jacob

      To be fair to DC, they did retcon EVERYTHING with The New 52 last September. . The entire DC universe has been started over, so the relationships of every character have never happened. But that being said, they probably could do a better job of it, whatever they’re going to do. Comics have never really be at the forefront of progress.

    • Jacob

      Whoops! I just looked it up and it seems that the Green Lantern Line is not undergoing a reboot. But the series is starting over from issue 1? I’m confused. Anyway, I’m with you on OMM being a bunch of assholes that assume children are idiots, anything not heterosexual is inherently wrong, and any public entity is incapable of portraying anything differing from their agenda without corrupting the entire world.

  • Lucy Martin

    Oh, OMM, really? As an Australian it is so easy for me to just dismiss things like this as “American Crazy” (TM), but the sad truth it these attitudes are equally prevalent here.

    Like Chloe I can imagine little boys saying “I want a boyfriend”. I can imagine little girls saying “I want a girlfriend”. I dare to imagine a world where anyone can say either, and no-one cares. Where these statements are merely interpreted as “I want someone to love, who loves me in return.” Where someone’s sexuality, gender, or race are not things we take any notice of, because the only important thing is how you treat the people around you.

    What really gets up my (agnostic) goat is when conservatives use Christianity as justification for bigotry. I’m pretty sure the new testament is all about the “new covenant” between God and humanity that’s all about love and forgiveness (you know, “love thine enemies”, “love one another as I have loved you”, “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven” etc.). One of the best known bible passages says “If I have not love, I am nothing.” How can these parents, in their own religious terms, ask their children to be nothing?

  • a male

    It so happens that this week, I have been smitten with a Japanese manga titled “Prunus Girl” of which unauthorized translations can be read online. No spoiler necessary, it is about a petite, beautiful feminine, self-proclaimed cross-dressing (not explicitly gay) male who wears the girls’ high school uniform, and his interactions with the most popular, intelligent and athletic boy in class who happened to fall in love with him at first sight (before realizing he was allegedly a he). To emphasize the absurdity, it is necessary to play up gendered characteristics time after time, but the explicit overall message is it doesn’t matter whether the character in question is “really” (it is not revealed) a boy, the protagonist is in fact, in love with him, as are the other boys in school. There are also a number of unashamed lesbian characters, and the girls in love with them. They are just a few of probably hundreds of Japanese characters of note over the decades who are part of the fictional LGBTQ community, who attract little attention from the Japanese public, despite comic sales that can reach millions of units, or high TV ratings nationwide for animation.

    One issue that real life LGBTQ people in Japan do not have to deal with is religious fundamentalism, though opposition citing nature or tradition is trial enough. Of particular note is right wing politician, award winning author, and governor of Tokyo Shintaro Ishihara who publicly proclaims among other things on a variety of topics, that homosexuals are genetically deficient and he pities those attracted to the same sex.