The X-Men did not have an openly LGBT team-member for almost their first forty years of publication. This was primarily an egregious act of self-censorship on Marvel's part, but it may actually have helped strengthen mutants as a queer metaphor. Where LGBT people couldn't be part of the X-Men's text, the experiences of LGBT people came to dominate the X-Men's subtext.
In the third of three essays examining the parallels between fictional mutants and real life LGBT people, I'll look at how the mutations themselves -- and the identity struggles of many X-Men characters -- served to underline the essential queerness of mutants.
Mutants as a metaphor for real minority groups are an awkward fit for a number of reasons. First of all, mutants are actually dangerous. Second, a lot of mutants have good cause to reject their identity. Third, and perhaps crucially, mutants don't have a shared culture like real minority groups.
Of course, people have said all of those things about LGBT people as well. In the second of three Pride Month essays exploring mutants as a metaphor for queer identity, I'll look at how mutants are actually a perfect metaphor for the sort of dangerous myths used to marginalize LGBT people.
Mutants, Marvel Comics' best known superhuman minority group, have long served as an imperfect analogue for real world minority struggles and injustices, from the concentration camps of Days of Future Past to the segregationist society of Genosha.
Yet it's when X-Men stories are not trying so hard to draw parallels that they come closest to representing the experiences of one particular marginalized group. In the first of three essays in observance of LGBT Pride Month, I'll look at the special resonance that mutants have with LGBT readers, starting with an examination of the X-Men as a representation of queer family and queer community.
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