In case you're not an avid user of social media, particularly Twitter, or say, you live in an ice fortress far removed from humanity, then you might have missed the recent-ish trending hashtag #GiveElsaAGirlfriend. Sparked in the wake of the rising call for Disney to have more diverse characters — in ethnicity, race and sexuality — fans have been clamoring for Disney to give Queen Elsa a girlfriend in Frozen 2.
Now, continuing the trend of that original hashtag, a growing group of fans have raised the call to action to #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend. Many fans have pointed out that the longest-running relationship in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been that of Captain Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. the Winter Soldier. While nothing overtly romantic or physical has unfolded between the two on screen, there are those among us who have perceived this relationship as being a romantic rather than platonic one.
Hell, I've even joked about it, myself.
While there are openly gay characters in the Marvel pantheon (both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Jessica Jones have featured openly gay supporting characters), none of them have made it to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as of yet. But diversity in Marvel films and television is slowly blossoming, thanks to shows like the two mentioned above, and diverse casts like the one Black Panther promises to be. But the movement to diversify the MCU has thus far been limited to gender and people of color, while sexual orientation largely seems to be a topic that most studios don't want to touch with a ten-foot pole. Having Cap and Bucky officially declare their relationship would be the first LGBTQ representation in a comic book movie, and many LGBTQ fans and allies are beyond ready for it to happen.
However, not all fans are on board with the trending hashtag, feeling it goes too far in creating an alternate reality that has never been a part of Steve Rogers' story in the comics. Instead, they suggest introducing a canonically gay character to the MCU — and as I mentioned above, there are several.
For the record, I'd be 110 percent down to see Wiccan appear on screen, as well as his relationship with Hulkling. But I've also been clamoring for a Young Avengers adaptation for a while.
Others aren't happy with what they see as pushing a social and political agenda, period.
And, because it's Twitter and trending hashtags bring out the best and worst in people, still others are making tongue-in-cheek jokes about poor Peggy Carter's fate.
(By the way, the Save Agent Carter petition currently stands at more than 100,000 signatures.)
Regardless of how you might personally feel about the idea of giving Captain America a boyfriend, it's clear that the march toward progress is both inevitable and long overdue. While Marvel is making great attempts to diversify its properties and should be commended (though it has made some missteps, like with the Doctor Strange backlash), it's still inarguable that its inclusion of the LGBTQ community has lagged behind the rest of the areas in which it seeks to be more progressive and inclusive. While it's doubtful that this will be addressed by Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes' relationship evolving into one of a romantic nature, change is happening, and it can only be for the greater good.
In the meantime, let's focus on the bottom line: We're living in a time where movies like Deadpool, Suicide Squad, Doctor Strange and Black Panther are getting made. 2016: What a time to be alive!