While Batwoman‘s debut season has had some rocky moments with its ratings so far, in my opinion, it’s performed a good job of balancing Batman mythology with allowing Ruby Rose’s Kate Kane to stand out on her own merits. In addition, Batwoman‘s use of an out gay lead playing a gay character has strengthened the Arrowverse’s long history of LGBT representation, something that’s been picked up on by GLAAD in surveying the 2019 television landscape.
GLAAD’s report shows that LGBT regular cast members in broadcast shows are at a high of 90, or 10.2% of regulars, while for the first time ever there are now more LGBT women in key roles than men. The CW came in for special praise for its commitment to diversity and positive representation, with GLADD citing Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Black Lightning and now Batwoman as series leading the way in terms of their casting and themes.
Although Batwoman has The CW’s first lesbian star, Supergirl has made Alex Danvers’ coming out a major plot point, with the series also introducing Nia Nal (Nicole Maines) as the first transgender superhero on television. Speaking earlier this year, Maines had this to say about the importance of putting LGBT characters front and center in CW shows:
“Being able to put your two cents in there. Being able to be political and to stick up for minority and marginalized people, while doing something that you love, while making entertainment, feels really, really great.”
The work being carried out by The CW has also been mirrored, to some extent, by the MCU’s commitment to increasing LGBT representation in its future movies and shows, as well as emphasizing female characters in key projects. Furthermore, we’ll soon be getting the MCU’s first openly gay hero in The Eternals, albeit with many existing MCU characters likely in place without acknowledgement.
At any rate, we’re happy to see shows like Batwoman and Supergirl get some recognition for the work they’ve been doing in the last few years to increase the range of positive LGBT role models and storylines on network television.