11 LGBT superheroes that have forever changed comics

Deadpool20th Century FoxRyan Reynolds as Deadpool in the upcoming Marvel film.

From gay martial arts masters to lesbian detectives, queer superheroes have a long history of kicking butt.

Ramzi Fawaz, a professor of queer studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says comic books featured LGBT superheroes as early as the 1950s. Although early queer characters didn’t explicitly come out, fans knew their heroes had fluid sexualities.

“When you associate characters with a heroic action, it shows that everyone has the power to make an impact in some way,” Fawaz tells Tech Insider. “It trains readers to see our differences as sources of strength and that we can use them to transform the world for the better.”

A number of superheroes have more recently come out of the closet. Last year, Marvel confirmed that Iceman is gay, and this year, DC Comics clarified that Catwoman is bisexual. Soon, Ryan Reynolds will play Deadpool in the 2016 Marvel film, the first pansexual superhero.

Here are 11 superheroes who are diversifying comics.

Iceman.

Wikipedia Commons

Powers: cyrokenesis, ability to freeze anything, thermal vision.

Weapon of choice: shards of ice.

Secret identity: Bobby Drake.

Iceman been skating like a pro and speaking fluent Spanish since his first appearance in 1963. Jean Grey, a telepathic friend, outed his alter ego, Bobby Drake, as gay in 2014.

Catwoman.

Powers: acrobatics, stealth, disguise, thievery.

Weapon of choice: hand-to-hand combat.

Secret identity: Selina Kyle.

This DC antiheroine has the senses and speed of a cat. Introduced in 1940, fans have long speculated that Catwoman is bisexual. Thankfully, writer Genevieve Valentine confirmed it
earlier this year.

Apollo.

Comicvine

Powers: solar absorption, flight, stamina, strength, healing, energy projection, heat vision.

Weapon of choice: solar energy.

Secret identity: none.

Apollo is noted as one of the first openly gay superheroes in print, appearing in the first Stormwatch Comics in 1993. He and his husband, the Midnighter, adopt a daughter in the DC series.

Grace Choi.

Matthew Berke

Powers: divine empowerment, healing, and superhuman strength, speed, and stamina.

Weapon of choice: hand-to-hand combat.

Secret identity: none.

This bisexual character, introduced in 1993, is a seven-foot-tall metahuman of an Amazonian tribe. She is also a member of the Outsiders, a team that doesn't fit into the 'normal' superhero community (e.g. the Justice League). Grace is currently dating fellow Outsider Anissa Pierce, aka Thunder.

Thunder.

Wikipedia Commons

Powers: flight, stamina, speed, and strength.

Weapon of choice: electricity.

Secret identity: Anissa Pierce.

Thunder can create massive shockwaves by stomping the ground and can increase her body's mass, making her indestructible. She joined the Outsiders in 2003.

Batwoman.

Wikipedia Commons

Powers: regenerative healing, martial arts, teleportation.

Weapon of choice: batarangs.

Secret identity: Kate Kane.

Although DC Comics originally introduced her as a straight character in 1964 to silence people who speculated Batman and Robin were gay, Batwoman was reintroduced in 2006 as a lesbian. She fought in the US Army, until the military discovered her sexuality and discharged her.

Renee Montoya.

Wikipedia Commons

Powers: genius-level intelligence, master detective, martial arts, knowledge of events in the past, present, and future.

Weapons of choice: hand-to-hand combat, guns.

Secret identity: The Question.

Montoya is initially a Gotham City detective in the early '90s DC universe, but later resigns from the corrupt police force. She then became the successor for fellow hero, The Question, and takes on that identity to fight crime.

Green Lantern.

Powers: energy creation and projection, flight, teleportation, interstellar travel, super strength.

Weapon of choice: his Power Ring, which creates whatever the Green Lantern imagines.

Secret identity: Alan Scott.

The Green Lantern fights evil with the help of his magic ring, which gives him extraordinary powers. The character first appeared in a 1940 issue of 'All American Comics,' but was later rewritten as an openly gay character in 2012.

Psylocke.

Wikipedia Commons

Powers: telekinesis, force fields, telepathy, astral projection.

Weapon of choice: her telepathic mind.

Secret identity: Elizabeth Braddock.

She first appeared as a supporting character to her brother, Captain Britain, in a 1976 issue of the UK comic. Later joining the X-Men, the mutant Psylocke had romantic flings with both superhero Fantomex and his female counterpart, Cluster.

Coagula.

Wikipedia Commons.

Powers: ability to dissolve solids and solidify liquids.

Weapon of choice: none.

Secret identity: Kate Godwin.

Introduced in 1993, this DC character is the first and only major transgender superhero in mainstream comics.

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