My perpetually in progress list of Queer, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans*, Bisexual, Asexual, Gay and / or Genderqueer characters in the Monsters of New York-verse

Let’s face it: no matter how progressive Gargoyles or TMNT‘s TV incarnations may be in some respects, they are both guilty of establishing universes in which no sexualities besides “straight” exist.  Yes, there are very good reasons why this is the case, and “the creators didn’t want to” is probably not among them; nevertheless, the fact remains that only straight cisgendered people are able to see those aspect of themselves represented on either series, and that remains a problem, regardless of creator intent.

So, since the shows won’t give me QUILTBAG characters, I’ll just have to establish my own.  This is my in-progress list of characters whom I consider Queer, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans*, Bisexual, Asexual, Genderqueer and / or Gay .  Some are based on word of god.  Others are based on conclusions drawn from the text.  Others are what they are because felt like it.  It’s still incomplete and far from representative, and it probably displays problematic patterns that I’m unaware of at the moment (for example, there are no asexual non-mutants in the list yet) but this is it so far.

(Note: Yes, I know that Gargoyles, at least, has characters whom we have been told by Word Of God are gay.  However, no confirmation of that assertion exists in the actual text.)

Canon Characters

  • Leonardo (Asexual)
  • Donatello (Asexual)
  • Raphael (Trans*, Asexual) [*]
  • Michelangelo (Asexual)

[Note: these all apply to their respective clones.]

  • Splinter (Asexual)
  • Leatherhead (Asexual)
  • Lexington (Gay)
  • Staghart (Gay)
  • Angel (Bi)
  • Renet (Bi Pansexual)
  • Alexander Fox Xanatos (Bi)
  • Mr. Touch (Bi)
  • Mr. Go (Gay)
  • Nobody (Gay)
  • Matrix (Genderqueer)
  • Shari (Bi)
  • Casey’s Mom (Lesbian)
  • Cody Jones (Bi)
  • Fox Xanatos (Bi) [Added on July 14, 2014]

Non-Canon Characters

  • Shadow Jones (Lesbian)
  • Radical [**](Lesbian)
  • Lin [***] (Bi)

Like I said, incomplete.  There’s some original characters which I won’t mention yet because I haven’t introduced them, and there’s a bunch of canon characters remaining whose sexualities have yet to be established, and if I don’t establish one for them, it’s because I haven’t given it much thought.  If I eventually do give it though, and end up deciding that they belong on the list, I’ll make the addition.



[*] My headcanon here is that Raph is actually a female turtle, who was wrongly misidentified as male by Splinter and subsequently everyone else.  This would have eventually become an issue, except that being Trans*, the error meant that everyone was actually treating Raph as a member of his correct gender.  Somewhere down the line, however–I’m not entirely sure yet–a medical test determines Raph’s actual sex, and drama ensues.

[**] Radical being the Turtles’ Native American gal-pal from the Mirage comics, seen here.

Cover to IDW's TMNT Classics Vol. 3.  Art by Michael Dooney

There’s a version of her in the Monstersverse–currently slated to play a part on a theoretical Justice Force / Redemption Squad story–and among the numerous differences between her and the original is her sexuality.

[***] As seen in the story Electric Boogaloo.  [****]

[****] I should really get on that.


9 Responses to My perpetually in progress list of Queer, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans*, Bisexual, Asexual, Gay and / or Genderqueer characters in the Monsters of New York-verse

  1. Loudo says:

    Hello there! It’s been some time since the last time I checked your blog and this entry definitely picked my interest. So I’m going to give my two cents.
    (Just a note, as far as I know the G in QUILTBAG stands for “gay,” a category that’s quite glaringly missing in your version of the acronym.)

    Leonardo: The Leonardo from the 2003 cartoon did give off an asexual vibe to me. So I agree with you here. On the other hand, the Leonardo from the Mirage comics did have that story with Radical.

    Donatello: Now Donatello is a quite a puzzle to me. He seemed to have an attraction for that alien princess from The People’s Choice. However, most of the time he looked more like “a girl’s best friend” type. XD

    Raphael: He’s definitely one of the most interesting entry in your list. Believe it or not, I’ve seen this idea about one of the turtles turning out to be a female quite a lot in fanfictions. However, it’s usually just so two turtles can have hot straight sex. XD Your idea has surely more merit.
    To me, Raph is the turtle that gives off the stronger gay vibe. I think it has to do with his habit to form strong bonds with other male characters. Casey, the kid from , Traximus, Falcon. Heck, he even seems to be the one with the most “coded” interactions with his brothers: his rivalry with Leonardo and his love-hate relationship with Michelangelo. On the other hand, he did look quite attracted to Joy during the Ninja Tribunal arc.

    Michelangelo: Now Michelangelo is the opposite of Raphael. To me, he’s the one that gives off the stronger straight vibe. I think it has to do with the episode where April is introduced to the turtles. He’s the only one of the four who tries to impress the lady. (“Oh yeah, we’re unbelievable!” *bodybuilder pose*) Also, he’s seen dressed like a woman a few times, and that’s a fetish I associate more with straight men. XD

    Splinter: Yeah, looks pretty asexual. Though I wonder if it’s because of his age?

    Leatherhead: As I’ve already written on your blog, I see LH as gay.

    Lexington/Staghart: Hurray for semi-canonical gay characters!

    Angel/Renet: Hard to tell, since we don’t see them interact with peers.

    Xanatos: Frankly, I see Xanatos as straight. And that’s only because of his relationship with Fox, otherwise I would have said he was asexual. I don’t know, he doesn’t look like someone who cares much about sex to me.

    Mr Touch/Mr Go: Now this would be definitely interesting. Not only business partners, but a couple too. However, I wonder if these two are humans in the first place. Their powers are never explained and every time I try to explain them in personal canons, I end up making them not quite humans.

    Nobody: I think the fact that he has a strong resemblance to Batman helps your cause. XD

    Matrix: You can’t get much more genderqueer than this character.

    Shari: I never read the comics, I only read recaps so I can’t really tell.

    Casey’s Mom: Now, this is the one who surprised me the most. I wonder why you think she’s lesbian. She was married and the only reason she’s not with her husband anymore (at least, as far as we can tell) is because he’s dead. Of course, I’m not saying it couldn’t be possible, but I don’t really see any evidence. I’m guessing you thought that since she acts like a butch she must be one? XD

    Cody Jones: Again, hard to tell since we don’t see him interact with any male kid. However, I’d probably go with straight.

    Shadow Jones: I can’t remember any evidence of either heterosexuality or homosexuality, but I’d probably make her lesbian too.

    Radical: Didn’t she have a story going on with Leonardo in the comics?

    Now I would like to contribute with three entries of my own. Please, let me know what you think about them. =)

    Griff (gay): From what Greg Weisman told us, Una used to be in love with him. Then, after his long disappearance, he settled down with Leo. From what I saw on the screen I saw no interest from Griff’s part (while Una’s crush did show), so I believe this was a classic case of “girl loves his gay friend.” Also, when Griff meets Arthur, he readily leaves everything to follow him. I know Arthur is a living legend, but still that’s quite some adoration. (Ok, Griff’s sexy accent and leather jacket did probably influence my opinion. XD)

    Peredur fab Ragnal (bi): We know next to nothing about this character. One of the very few things we know is that, by his own words, Blanchefleur (girl) and Duval (guy) are the two people he loves most in the world. Do I need to elaborate? XD

    Any Child of Eberron (bi): We’re talking about a race whose members can shapechange at will, I can’t imagine gender being a very important factor to them.

  2. Ian says:

    Hello again, Loudo! : )

    Thanks for the reminder, Re: “G” also standing for “Gay”. I apologize for the neglect. The post has been amended.

    Note that Alexander Xanatos isn’t the Xanatos we see for most of the series, but his son, whom, “Future Tense” aside, we’ve only ever seen as a baby. David Xanatos, on the other hand, canonically likes the ladies, and while that doesn’t rule out him being bi, the fact that he’s married and monogamous means that I really don’t see much being added to him by coding him that way.

    As for the mutants–at least those that weren’t human first–the reason I think they’re invariably asexual has less to do with personality (although their lack of romantic attachments certainly helps anyone wanting to read them as ace characters) and more with the idea that their mutation didn’t make them more human, but simple more sentient. Any attraction they may feel, thus, would be almost purely mental, rather than sexual. And in the end, that’s why the list needs more asexual characters: because as of now, the implicit argument is that the only way to be asexual is to be, literally, a scientific fluke. And that’s not good. : (

    Mr. Touch and Mr. Go is me going for low-hanging fruit. If half their schtick is the Wonder Twins, the other half is Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd of the James Bond novel / film Diamonds are Forever. Although the members of the original duo, as I understand it, were not explicitly depicted as gay, the coding used to depict them is meant to make that more or less obvious. Here, I’m taking the subtext and making it explicit, in part because any universe purporting to represent our own would by definition have evil characters who are not straight, and because hopefully there’s enough other gay characters to make it clear that their sexuality is not tied up to their evil, unlike with Bond.

    Casey’s mom, I’d like to depict as gay because as someone on the higher end of the age scale, her experiences would be considerably different than most of the other people in the story. As someone doing most of her growing up from the late sixties to early seventies, the messages she would have been exposed to regarding sexuality would have been considerably different, and I could very much see her as the sort of character who did what she was expected to do–get married, have children, etc.–until widowhood led her to reconsider her life, and realize that who she’d become and who she wanted to be were two different persons. It wasn’t until she was once again single that she realized that she was gay.

    (You can pretty much tell by now that “evidence” is less important than what kind of stories I would like to tell. : ) )

    As for your own ideas, yeah, I could see any or all of their narratives eventually revealing that they’re queer. Although they’re not characters I can see myself handling in and detail–at the very least, I have no plans to do so–would you mind if I end up incorporating your suggestions, if I do end up writing them? : )

  3. Loudo says:

    Please feel free to do that, I’d love to see how they work out. =P

    I apologize for the David/Alexander confusion, I saw the word “Xanatos” and immediately thought of the dad. (In fact, I made a lot of mistakes in my post, sorry about that.)
    I can totally see Alexander Xanatos as bi. I can picture Lexington helping Alexander to better understand his sexuality, since Lexington and Alexander get along so well. Especially if Lexington does end up finding his soulmate. Gay “uncles” for Alex, lucky kid! XD

  4. Pingback: Open Thread: 2014 | Monsters of New York

  5. Loudo says:

    Hello. Still following your blog!
    I just wanted to let you know, just in case you missed the news, that according to Gargwiki Greg Weisman gave us another Word of Gay. Apparently he revealed that Fox is bisex.

  6. Ian says:

    Oh, cool! Thank you for the info! And thank you for sticking around!

  7. I’m late to this, but in Legend of Korra, the Korra/Asami relationship has been made officially cannon.

  8. Ian says:

    Never late, Charles Scott–thank you for posting.

    Yes, I’d been made aware of that fact; I don’t watch the show anymore, but I do have a Tumblr, and the development has been a topic of heavy discussion on my dashboard.

    Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about it. I can see why people would be over the moon over this development, and I’m happy they’re happy. On the other hand, I can see why people who are unsatisfied with it–who don’t consider that the series went far enough, or are on happy that it had to be protected by the aegis of plausible deniability–feel that way.

    So yeah. Perhaps it’s because I’m not a fan, and did not watch the episode live, so I wasn’t all that invested in the characters or their relationship. Perhaps if I had, I’d have felt as ecstatic as I did when, say, watching Brenna Carver come out as Bi in ABC Family’s Chasing Life.

    I do, however, quite like the post from Bryan Konietzko on the matter. I think it hits just the right notes.

    Now, this is not the first time a character has been confirmed to not be straight via word of god. As mentioned above, Greg Weisman has done it with Gargoyles. Korra and Asami’s is not the first instance of Gay/Lesbian/Bi subtextual-in-name-only relationship–see, Marceline and Princess Bubblegum in Adventure Time, and Velma Dinkley and Marcie Fleach in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. It may be the first time the latter is bolstered by the former, which constitutes progress, if so. I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a fluke, but the next step in the journey. Holding hands should be the beginning, not the end.

  9. It was a case of it going as far as Nickelodeon would allow it. They were supportive, but only to a point. I do see this as a positive step on a couple different levels. One, they did it at all, which says that it’s something that can be done, even if plausible deniability has to be kept. That is a good step. No, it shouldn’t be the end, but it is a nice step.

    Two, this wasn’t the intention from the beginning. This was the natural progression of Korra and Asami’s relationship. It didn’t have to be some big thing. It was the way things were going.

    That isn’t the end, either. But, again, it’s a nice step. And, the kiss at the end of A:tLA was a bit forced. Korra and Asami going on a vacation together, going to the spirit world, looking into each other’s eyes. The only part of me that doesn’t like that is the part that sees the plausible deniability.

    Still, here’s to this being one step along the way to a world where fiction angled to all agegroups can both acknowledge non-hetero sexualities, but also acknowledge that such sexualities do not define the characters.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: