LGBT in Supergirl Reflects Positive Media Representation
Photo Credit: cartoonbros.com
By Jessica Lau
Superhero shows have been growing in popularity over the years, on the television network CW. Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl make up the heroic program line. Out of all of the superhero shows that are currently airing, Supergirl stands out because of her message. Supergirl deals with real life events and continues to create a comfortable space for the LGBTQ community.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) reported more than 25 lesbian and bisexual female identifying characters have died on scripted television shows and streaming sites since the beginning of 2016 in their 2016 “When We Are On TV” report.
Supergirl, which originally aired on CBS is based on the DC comic. Kara Zor-El who is the cousin of Superman is one of the last surviving Kryptonians. In season 1 Kara, who is played by Melissa Benoist, discovers herself and becomes Supergirl. She struggles, dealing with the truth of her family.
CBS cancelled Supergirl in the fall. CW picked it up to put alongside their other three superhero shows.
In season 2, Kara’s adopted human sister, Alex Danvers, who works for the Department of Extranormal Operations (DEO) finally admits to herself and then confesses to others, that she’s gay. She befriends Maggie Sawyer, who is an openly gay detective and soon establishes a relationship. The LGBTQ community praised the openly gay characters.
In episode 6, after her encounter with Maggie Sawyer, Alex who is played by Chyler Leigh, starts to connect the dots and realizes her own feelings. That scared her. In the episode, Alex came out to her sister Kara and they had a heartwarming sisterly moment.
Crystal Bogue, a medical student at Harrison College said, she could identify with the show.
“When Alex came out with her feelings for Maggie, it made me feel more connected with the show. Because I am gay,” said Bogue. “The show has been wonderful by letting Alex be herself and showing her development through her realization she liked this woman.”
This particular scene and Alex’s storyline drew a great response from the LGBTQ community. The storyline was deemed realistic by many. Alex’s continuous struggle with her sexuality was what made her character relatable. She denied her sexuality until finally coming out to her sister. The idea of gay people having to hide who they are until finally accepting themselves is a theme all too familiar in the LGBTQ community.
Alex, who is close to 30, represents many older LGBTQ members that are just coming to accept their own sexuality. The day the scene aired on CW, the hashtag #Sanvers began to trend on Twitter for the whole day. Sanvers was the term coined for Alex Danvers and Maggie Sawyer’s relationship that drew many LGBTQ viewers into the show.
The LGBTQ community has high hopes for the couple. This is the second time a relationship between gay characters has trended. Last year Clark and Lexa were the “it” couple of a TV series. Many fans of the couple were disappointed and hurt by the fact the show, The 100, killed off Lexa.
Alex Danvers is an important role for the community. On Twitter, a story went viral of Mary, a comic book shop clerk in Indiana who helped a young girl that was dealing with her own sexuality and depression by assuring her that it would be okay. The young girl who was struggling with her sexuality was intrigued with Alex’s storyline.
The girl realized she could be happy and loved. In the end, Mary helped the young girl pay for three comics that feature LGBTQ characters. This story gained a lot of support from many people, even the actress that plays Alex and Maggie responded to her, calling her a hero and DC sent a box of comics to Mary to applaud her bravery.