Three years ago, The Legend of Korra inspired a huge collective fist bump from fans when it revealed its namesake protagonist as bisexual. It was a pivotal moment for representation in children's shows –– which up until that point had mostly steered away from the subject –– and we couldn't have been happier. Thankfully, the mythology isn't done with its diversification efforts.
#Korra's story lives on through a series of comic books chronicling her new adventures. One book in particular, Turf Wars, just did something huge for The Last Airbender franchise: Introduce a new bisexual #Avatar, Earth kingdom's Kyoshi.
To give you some backstory, Kyoshi was the predecessor of Avatar Roku (who was in turn Aang's predecessor), and she was a pivotal player in some of the most important aspects of the Seven Kingdom's history. For starters, after witnessing men harassing defenseless women in her homeland's port, she taught the young women how to fight, and they eventually became the fearless Kyoshi Warriors.
Later on in her life, a warlord named Chin started a war to conquer the Earth Kingdom, and he would have succeeded if it hadn't been for Kyoshi. Chin arrived Kyoshi's peninsula, and following a few efforts to get him to back off, the Avatar defeated the warlord by pushing him away, and subsequently breaking up her island from the rest of the Kingdom to maintain her people safe. All caught up? Perfect.
Kyoshi Is Our Newest LGBTQ Hero
In the first part of this new comic book series, Kya –– #Aang and Katara's water-bending daughter –– approached Korra and Asami to share some important knowledge with them. Aside from revealing herself as bisexual, Kya explained the mindset of all four kingdoms toward the LGBTQ community.
Thanks to that, we learned that Avatar Kyoshi was bisexual. Furthermore, her heroic efforts didn't stop with mad warlords, she was also a strong advocate for LGBTQ acceptance throughout the Seven Kingdoms:
Such an inspiring piece of trivia led to a heartbreaking reveal, however: The Earth kingdom was very close-minded, and despite her best efforts, Kyoshi never managed to change her community's mindset regarding tolerance and acceptance.
Now, as heartbreaking as knowing her fight didn't have the result she fought so hard for, the situation is a strong and smart parallel for what happens in the real world. As a society, we've come a long way in terms of acceptance, but that change didn't happen over night. It was a slow process that happened after years of educating people, and in fact, there are still a lot of individuals out there who still need to be educated on the matter.
The Last Airbender Franchise Continues To Fight For Diversity, And That's Amazing
It's incredible to know that three years after it went off the air, the minds behind #TheLastAirbender franchise are still striving to be diverse and inclusive. To give you an example of how much representation can help people, back when The Legend of Korra series finale aired, the show's co-producer #BryanKonietzko took to Tumblr to open up about Korra and Asami's relationship.
Konietzko revealed that one of the show's former crew members sent him a letter, explaining the importance of the show's powerful last minutes:
“I've read enough reviews to get a sense of how it affected people. One very well-written article in Vanity Fair called it subversive (in a good way, of course)… I would say a better word might be 'healing.' I think your finale was healing for a lot of people who feel outside or on the fringes, or that their love and their journey is somehow less real or valuable than someone else's… That it's somehow less valid. I know quite a few people in that position, who have a lifetime of that on their shoulders, and in one episode of television you both relieved and validated them. That's healing in my book."
Fortunately, children's TV shows and films are slowly evolving in regards to representation. Great examples for that are Frozen, with its hint at a gay couple with children, and Star vs. the Forces of Evil, with its open depiction of same-sex couples kissing, which is quite rare in children's television. Yes, there's still a long way to go, but it looks like we're on the right path.
What are your thoughts on this awesome revelation regarding Avatar Kyoshi? Do you like how the Avatar franchise is representing diversity? Let me know in the comments!