Ivory Aquino has been cast in "Batgirl" as the first transgender character to appear in a DC Comics feature film.
The actor will appear as Alysia Yeoh, the best friend of the titular superhero, played by Leslie Grace, in the HBO Max film, according to Variety. This marks a first for a live-action feature film adaptation of a DC Comics title.
Speculation first emerged about Aquino, who appeared in the 2017 LGBTQ rights miniseries "When We Rise" as trans activist Cecilia Chung. She landed the role after Grace shared a photograph of the two of them together on what appears to be the set of the film in an Instagram story earlier this month, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
There have been efforts to be more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community in superhero adaptations in recent years. Nicole Maines played the trans hero Dreamer on The CW's "Supergirl," and in season 2 of the show the title superhero's sister, Alex Danvers, played by Chyler Leigh, came out as lesbian, Variety noted.
Additionally, the lead character of "Batwoman" is lesbian, a police detective in "Birds of Prey" is lesbian, and in the second season of the animated DC series "Harley Quinn," the titular character falls in love with Poison Ivy.
Over in the Marvel universe there have been similar strides. In the Disney Plus series "Loki," the title character, played by Tom Hiddleston, is revealed as gender-fluid, while the Marvel Cinematic Universe's "Eternals" also features its first same-sex couple. The roles are played by Brian Tyree Henry and Haaz Sleiman.
In an October interview with Variety, Sleiman, who came out as gay in 2017, said Marvel's decision to showcase a same-sex couple was "beyond a dream come true — it’s lifesaving."
"I wish I had that when I was a kid to see this," he said. "My god. I wish! Can you imagine how many lives this is going to be saving — kids, young queer folk, who are being bullied, committing suicide, and not seeing themselves being represented? And now they get to see this — it’s above and beyond."
Zoe Papadakis ✉
Zoe Papadakis is a Newsmax writer based in South Africa with two decades of experience specializing in media and entertainment. She has been in the news industry as a reporter, writer and editor for newspapers, magazine and websites.
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