God, you know this argument
bothers me so much.
Well, okay, a lot of arguments in that post bother me but the one that's the subject of this post is one I've seen a lot of places. Basically, that producers/creators/writers/artists should only add gay characters if it's significant to the story, they shouldn't just feel obligated to add them for the sake of having gay and lesbian characters.
Which always leads me to think: well, why not?
Not every straight character in comics is straight because it's relevant to the story. Granted, a lot of straight characters' love for the opposite sex is relevant to the story. I would argue Superman, for example, has been defined as much by his relationship with Lois Lane as anything else in his life. But there are others who really aren't.
Take Cassandra Cain for example. Cassandra Cain didn't have an even remote possibility of a love interest until somewhere around issue 40 in her comic. Her story was all about her, her morality, her role in the bat clan and her place in the world. Romance and sex weren't issues for a very long time, though the character is clearly straight. (Or at least, attracted to men. That doesn't rule out bisexual, I suppose, but I haven't seen any indication that she has the same attraction to women.)
Plenty of heroes have concepts that aren't directly tied to their sexuality but still have clearly defined heterosexual traits. How about Batman? Sure, every so often there'll be a story about one of his girlfriends, such as when Sasha Bordeaux got OMAC-ed or when Vesper Fairchild was murdered, and of course it's always fun when Selina shows up to make his life interesting, but none of these relationships really have the same prominence as say Batman's role in Gotham, Batman's role as a mentor, and so on.
So why can't we have some heroes who are created specifically as gay heroes?
I'm not talking Rawhide Kid type stuff here, but how about Teddy and Billy in Young Avengers? I don't have a citation for you or anything, but I remember reading somewhere that the original idea for them was as a heterosexual couple. And really, I can't think of a Young Avenger storyline that would have been THAT different if Teddy had been a prospective Skrull Empress rather than Emperor. I think we can conclude then that Billy and Teddy were specifically created for the sake of having gay heroes in the Young Avengers.
And what's wrong with that? Teddy and Billy are great characters. They're cute, their personalities are appealing, their powers are fun, they have lots of ties across the Marvel universe. And they're gay. Works for me!
So why can't we see more of that?
The weirdest part of the whole "gay only if storyline-relevant" idea to me is that we're not talking about a book or movie here, where ultimately you're dealing with one main plot, maybe a couple of subplots, in a finite amount of space. We're talking about a shared universe involving characters created long before most of us were born!
The stories being told now in Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and so on, are not the same stories that were told in the 1940s. I'd imagine that the creators of Hal Jordan back in 1959 never anticipated the whole Parallax storyline (no matter which incarnation). Superman was around for what fifty, sixty years before he and Lois got married. There will always be new stories and just because a detail isn't particularly relevant NOW, that doesn't mean it can't be.
I mean, let's revisit Teddy and Billy for a moment. Off the top of my head, I can't think of a Young Avengers plot where their sexual orientation was particularly relevant beyond the fact that they're two boys in a romantic relationship. But if a writer wanted to write a story in which it's relevant, it wouldn't be that hard.
I mean, Teddy's basically the Skrull Emperor (albeit reluctant and in hiding), right? Well, at some point someone'll want to fix him up with an Empress. Marriage alliances are important bargaining tools. I don't know if Skrulls can or would shift gender in their own species (I'm not too knowledgeable about the skrulls, but from what I remember even though Xavin took a female human form in Runaways, he/she never seemed to take a skrull female form.) But even if they can, Teddy still identifies as male (and was raised as an American human, for that matter) and is romantically attracted to boys, not girls. Well, now his sexuality is relevant to the story!
Or take Billy. His grandfather is Magneto, right? Magneto's obsessed with mutant survival. Mutants are (currently) a dying breed. His son married an alien and had a non-mutant daughter. His daughter married a robot, but ended up with offspring anyway. He has two mutant grandsons approaching adulthood. So it's not hard to imagine that Magneto, who's not likely to be an X-Man forever, might decide to take a more personal interest in the future of his family line. And one of his sons is dating a male alien. So now, his sexuality is relevant to the story!
And when those stories are over with, the characters will still be gay and will have new stories in which their sexuality may or may not be particularly relevant. Just like straight characters.
I don't have anything against creating a character with the intention of making sexuality relevant to her storyline. Kate Kane, for example, is totally awesome. But I don't think that relevance should be a prerequisite.
And, I could be wrong about this, but I think some creators actually like creating gay (or female, or non-white, or disabled, et cetera) characters because they like creating characters, not because they feel obligated. I don't see anything wrong with asking/suggesting/wanting to see more.