If the Disney+ series “Loki” accomplished one thing, it was establishing Tom Hiddleston’s version of the titular character as a member of the LGBTQ community.
According to Hiddleston, however, Marvel still has a long way to go in representing non-straight sexualities with their characters.
In the third episode of the Disney+ exclusive series “Loki”, the title character came out in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it-moment where he tells Lady Loki, played by Sophia Di Martino, that he’s had a romantic past with both princes and princesses.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, Hiddleston told the news outlet that Loki coming out as bisexual was only “a small step” in the larger goal of representing LGBT identities on screen.
“I also hope Loki coming out as bisexual was meaningful to people who spotted it,” said Hiddleston. “It was a small step, and there’s further to go. But it was definitely important to all of us.”
Hiddleston’s sentiments echo those of Di Martino herself, who in an interview with Variety last year likewise asserted, “I remember [series director] Kate [Herron] being really passionate about it, and that she [being a bisexual woman] wanted that to be represented in the show. I think people have been waiting a long time for it.”
“The comic books allude to it and even the Norse mythology, I think,” she added. “It’s been around for so long, and it was really important to her to have that in the show. But we tried not to let that affect the way we were playing it, you know. We’re just playing it like it’s quite natural conversation between two friends — well, two acquaintances, at that point.”
She further noted, “So we tried not to give it too much weight, but we knew in the back of our minds how important it was to a lot of people. And I’ve got to say how happy it makes me that people are happy to see that.”
Herron, who is bisexual herself, revealed in a June 2021 that, from the moment she joined the series, her foremost goal with Loki was to establish the character’s non-straight sexuality.
“From the moment I joined Loki it was very important to me, and my goal, to acknowledge Loki was bisexual,” said the director. “It is in a part of who he is and who I am too. I know this is a small step but I’m happy, and heart is so full, to say that this now Canon in #mcu”.
The director would elaborate on her objectives with the series during a later interview with Collider, expressing hope to the entertainment news outlet that future MCU projects would both keep Loki’s bisexuality as official canon and also further explore the topic.
“I don’t know plans for the future with Loki I’m so focused on this story,” Herron admitted in July 2021. “But I would say that part of my thinking was, well, if it’s canon and it’s acknowledged, then yeah I hope there’s obviously more road to travel with that aspect of his personality. And I hope it has opened the door to more stories, definitely.”
Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has recently made a push to increase the number of LGBTQ characters in their super hero lineup.
Last year, Marvel Studios producer Victoria Alonso, who is a lesbian herself, promised more LGBTQ characters in the MCU moving forward
Serving as an executive producer, she would eventually help introduce America Chavez, as portrayed by Xochitl Gomez, in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
In the film, the character is portrayed as a ‘queer’ young woman – though the only direct evidence to this in the film itself is her wearing of a Pride flag pin – with two moms, the latter of which got the film banned in certain Middle Eastern markets.
The mainstream focus on the LGBTQ sexuality of fictional characters isn’t just an idea pushed by the likes of Herron and Alonso.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has been the driving force in pushing Hollywood studios to increase the number of LGBTQ characters on television and in movies.
GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis has called on studios to increase the number of LGBTQ characters featured in their films 50 percent by 2024.
In the most recent edition of the organization’s annual “Where We Are on TV” report, the organization praised that a record 12% of all TV characters on broadcast television, cable, and streaming were depicted as members of the LGBTQ community, including the character of Loki.
Last month, GLAAD announced in a press release that they will be unveiling a new rating system, based on political donations to left-wing candidates and censorship of LGBT scenes in international markets, that will grade major studios on their LGBT advocacy.
Ellis, who is a lesbian, recently issued a call to action to Hollywood during an appearance at the Los Angeles ceremony of the 2022 GLAAD Media Awards.
“There’s no more time to sit on the sidelines,” she declared. “We need Hollywood on the front lines, fighting for our rights and telling our stories.”
“Hollywood must take meaningful action and will soon convene the biggest brands, agencies, studios, and streamers together with two goals,” said Ellis. “One, to commit to improving the quantity, quality, and diversity of LGBTQ images, especially in kids and family programming. And, two, to speak out against anti-LGBTQ legislation in favor of rights like the Equality Act.”
She continued, “In just one day, on March 8, the Florida Senate passed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, which was signed into law this past week. The South Dakota Senate passed a bill that bans discussion of ‘divisive concepts’ like race and sex in college courses.”
“The Idaho House of Representatives passed a bill that would send librarians to jail if they let minors check out books that include LGBTQ topics,” she told attendees. “And the New Jersey Supreme Court denied an appeal that would bar a religious organization from offering so-called ‘conversion therapy.’”
“This all happened not in one month, not in one week, but all in one day,” Ellis concluded. “I expect every industry executive in this room to join us. GLAAD will give you the playbook. But we won’t give you a pass.”
What are your thoughts on the likelihood of more LGBTQ characters in superhero movies moving forward?