DC Comic's First Trans Character: Batgirl's Roommate Alysia Yeoh
By Chloe Fitzpatrick
In Batgirl #19, Batgirl's rommate Alysia Yeoh comes out to her in an intimate and tearful discussion, immediately becoming the first transgender character in DC Comics.
When it began, DC Comics was not concerned with a diversity of characters. They reflected their intended demographics; young, white, cis-gendered, straight folks, but after decades and decades of the same-old same-old, writer Gail Simone noticed a disconnect between the population of DC's fans and the characters.
“Why in the world can we not do a better job of representation of not just humanity, but also our own loyal audience?” Simone said in an interview with Wired. “Look, we have a problem most media don't have, which is that almost all the tentpoles we build our industry upon were created over a half century ago… at a time where the characters were almost without exception white, cis-gendered, straight, on and on. It's fine—it's great that people love those characters. But if we only build around them, then we look like an episode of The Andy Griffith Show for all eternity.”
Simone and DC Comics are invested in bringing diversity to the super-hero universe, but they also want to be careful not to seem tokenizing or preachy. Her intention for Alysia is for her to exist as “a character, not a public service announcement…being trans is just part of her story. If someone loved her before, and doesn’t love her after, well—that’s a shame, but we can’t let that kind of thinking keep comics in the 1950s forever.”
DC Comics reported that the response from fans was overwhelmingly positive, but tell us what you think! Does Alysia’s coming-out story ring true? Is this an important step in the right direction? Would you enjoy a comic with a trans superhero?