Twitter continues to live up to its reputation as the internet’s premier source of nonsensical claptrap. Case in point, this week’s hot trending hashtag #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend. An outgrowth of the equally droll #GiveElsaAGirlfriend hashtag, twitter eggs across the nation have banded together to demand that Captain America and longtime platonic soulmate Bucky Barnes be given the Bert and Ernie treatment. Though this seemed to be just another passing fancy in the Twittersphere, the hashtag campaign has grown so large that it even warranted a response from GLAAD. I have to say, queering things used to be great fun, but this is just tedious.
Let me be blunt. Making Captain America a butt pirate will do nothing for gay rights, nor will it make for compelling entertainment. This isn’t even aesthetic. Captain America is perhaps the most staid, stoic, buttoned-down piece of white bread in the entire comic kingdom. Absolutely nothing about his character suggests at any sort of gay subtext. I mean, really, Captain America? Why not Captain Imperialism or Captain Drone Strike? Furthermore, suggesting that Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes are homos simply because they are two men with an intimately close relationship is horribly regressive. That is the kind of essentialist, reactionary thinking that gay people have fought against for years. Are gays truly this thirsty for media representation? I can thankfully say no.
See, if you ask actual gay people, most will tell you that this is a stupid idea. Gay people don’t want to see a gay Captain America. They don’t want to see Captain America at all, even if he did just discover poppers and warming lube. Gay people have taste and they like art, good art, and they know shit when they see it.
For another thing, this has already been done, albeit in a subtle way, in the second X-Men movie. Alan Cumming and Ian McKellen brought a queer sensibility to their characters in X2 and it made for a great film. It was never stated that these characters were gay, nor should it have been. This is the sort of subtle overture that gay people instinctively pick up upon. Ian McKellen’s Magneto had a world-weary, embittered edge reminiscent of radical queerness. It was a subtle nod to a knowing audience that made for compelling entertainment. Besides, Marvel already has a slew of gay characters. It would be far more interesting to write one of them into future movies than to clumsily reboot established straights characters as homos.
A recurring argument in the #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend nonsense stream is that gay youth need role models and heroes to look up to. I agree that gay kids need role models and heroes, but they should not be instructed to look for their reflection in bland, mass market blockbuster entertainment. Teaching gay kids to find validation in their reflection in straight society is idiotic. The fabulously queer characters of John Waters or Armistead Maupin would serve as far better role models for young gay kids than the pale imitations of gayness shoehorned into popular entertainment by straight people. There was a gay superhero in Queer As Folk called Rage. He rescued twinks in distress. Take that, add some frontal nudity, and you’ve got a hell of a film.
If Marvel really wants to show their commitment to their gay fans, they’ll green light an officially licensed porn adaptation for Captain America. That’s something that gay people would actually want to see. Red Skull could be played by Colby Keller. He would wage epic sword battles with Captain America and teach him the joys of submission. Of course, Captain America would have to be played by Scott Evans. It’s the role he was born to play! I really think that Marvel should consider this. This has the potential to be truly epic. It could be the next Deep Throat!