The topic of LGBT representation in Hollywood has become something of a hot-button issue in the last few months. After Star Trek: Beyond broke ground by revealing Sulu to be gay (and married, with a kid), and Beauty and the Beast provoked controversy by hinting that LeFou is gay, #PowerRangers seems set to go one further by introducing the very first queer superhero on the big screen.
Despite the fact that there are plenty of #LGBT superheroes in both Marvel and DC comics, none of them have so far appeared in any of the movies. (Unless you count Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn — both these women are bisexual, and yet so far this has been ignored for their cinematic counterparts.) But Power Rangers is smashing right through that glass ceiling by introducing Yellow Ranger who, in this new version, is revealed to be queer.
Although the movie has not yet been released, the review embargo for Power Rangers has now dropped, allowing the press to reveal tidbits of the film — and there's one thing everyone's talking about.
Trini's "Girlfriend Problems"
About halfway through the film, the gang are discussing why Trini — the Yellow Ranger — is so grumpy. As it turns out, she's in the process of working out her sexual orientation, which is an important experience for any LGBT kid, and can be quite tumultuous. For Trini, the crux of her issues may be her "girlfriend problems", as one of the characters realizes — corrected after assuming that Trini had "boyfriend problems".
Director Dean Isrealite explained the moment to The Hollywood Reporter, confirming that yes, Trini is queer and during the movie she's working out what that means for her.
"For Trini, really she's questioning a lot about who she is. She hasn't fully figured it out yet. I think what's great about that scene and what that scene propels for the rest of the movie is, 'That's OK.' The movie is saying, 'That's OK,' and all of the kids have to own who they are and find their tribe."
This may seem small, but establishing Yellow Ranger as queer — I hesitate to say gay, as her exact sexuality isn't confirmed — is a fantastic step forward in promoting acceptance and diversity in film. Every kid, regardless of gender, race, or sexuality, deserves to feel like they could be a superhero, and it's important to provide everyone with a character they can identify with, an avatar to live vicariously through.
Of course, without seeing the movie it's hard to comment on how well-established this fact is. While Trini should not be reduced to her sexuality, it would be great if she gets to frankly discuss her teen issues, which just happen to be about her "girlfriend problems" — and are just as important as all the other characters' personal lives. We'll just have to wait until the movie comes out to judge how good this representation is, whether Yellow Ranger really can be classified as Hollywood's first queer superhero, or whether this is a throwaway comment that is ambiguous and soon forgotten.
In any case, it's good to know that this step has been taken, and personally I'm hoping that Trini really can help young LGBT kids realize that it's ok to challenge their perceptions of identity, to be different — frankly, that it's ok to be gay... and that they can be a superhero too.