[Gotham](series:1127075) will be premiering September 22 at 8 p.m. on Fox and there are numerous reasons to rejoice over this before even viewing one minute of the show, but the number one reason is the diversity that will be on the show.
This is the city of Gotham before Bruce Wayne grows up to be Batman and focuses on James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) in the days when he was just a rookie detective. Since Gotham is a fictional city, co-executive producer Danny Cannon has said that "everybody should exist there" and went on to explain, “There’s no way we on Earth we would have a show like this limit itself with out-of-date values.” It is this awesome statement that lends itself to a primetime television show featuring women, people of color and gay characters in, gasp, positions of power.
The superhero genre has always been fertile ground for queer metaphors with characters who deal with secret identities and mutants who are shunned for being born different. Long before it became on trend in television, comic books have been featuring LGBT characters in main plot lines for years. The creative team behind Gotham chose to reintroduce some characters from the Batman mythos to help build a city that represents our current, diverse society.
Zabryna Guevara plays Sarah Essen; a woman of color who holds a powerful position. She is the captain of the Gotham City Police Department Homicide Squad, which also makes her Gordon's boss.
Jada Pinkett Smith is one of Gotham's baddies. As Fish Mooney, she is a vicious and intelligent mob boss. Pinkett Smith has stated that,“I believe young girls of color are aware that women of color have positions of power available to them. The problem is how to obtain personal power as well as power in the workforce,” she says. “I believe this show could have the opportunity to demonstrate how to obtain personal power by witnessing how our characters relate to their own personal ethics through consequences of their actions or positive outcomes.”
Victoria Cartagena adds another powerful female character as Renee Montoya. A Latina lesbian detective, she will be a recurring character, the likes of which have not yet been seen on network television. A Latina woman in a high ranking position who is also a lesbian is, currently, not something that you get to regularly see on television; especially in the superhero genre. The Renee Montoya character debuted in Batman #475 and was outed as lesbian in 2003 and became a favorite among LGBT comic readers. Cartegena is well aware of the power her role carries saying, “Growing up, I rarely saw people of color or gay people depicted in a positive light, and I know when you don’t see yourself reflected in the world around you, it does things to your self-esteem. I know if I had seen a character like Renee on TV when I was younger — a Latina who is smart, powerful, and strong — it would’ve encouraged me to dream bigger. So I know what she means to people, and if watching me means that I can help someone else feel included, than that makes me very happy.”
Both Pinkett Smith and Cartagena are excited about the inclusion of strong women who represent a variety of backgrounds and sexual orientations and hope that it will help to increase this spirit of inclusion in future superhero stories told in both the film and television worlds. I think Pinkett Smith says it best when she says, “It’s a new day when we can have a show on television that is not afraid to explore various sexual orientations of women. Let us hope that this is a path toward even more change in regard to the perceptions of female sexuality, as well as our bodies in relation to sex.”