Marvel’s new gay Captain America stirs up discussions on Chinese social media
Published: Mar 18, 2021 07:29 PM
Aaron Fischer, the first LGBTQ+ teen Captain America. Photo: Sina Weibo

Aaron Fischer, the first LGBTQ+ teen Captain America. Photo: Sina Weibo

Marvel recently unveiled the look Aaron Fischer, the first LGBTQ+ teen Captain America, who will sport in the company's limited five-part series The United States of Captain America.

Going by the name "The Captain America of the Railways," the character will make his debut in June to celebrate Pride Month. Fischer was designed with the persona of an openly gay teen who protects those who are discriminated against and marginalized by society.  

"Aaron is inspired by heroes of the queer community: activists, leaders, and everyday folks pushing for a better life," writer Joshua Trujillo said in a press release from Marvel. 

"I love this setting already. The character symbolizes the power of our community, especially on the point that he saves people but not like a victim being saved, like, our community are always been pitied , labeled as 'victim' by some people even though they are not belittling us. But we are normal people capable of helping others…" Mark, a 26-year-old queer culture activist based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

The character wears a dungaree with a sleeveless shirt and tiny little red handkerchief around his neck. He also has tattoos on his arms and piercings in his ears, nose and eyebrow area. 

Aaron Fischer, the first LGBTQ+ teen Captain America. Photo: Sina Weibo

Aaron Fischer, the first LGBTQ+ teen Captain America. Photo: Sina Weibo

Fischer's appearance is remarkably different from previous Captain Americas such as Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, Sam Wilson and John Walker, the four of whom will also appear in the series as they take a road trip across the country to find Rogers' stolen shield. 

"I think those designs, especially the ear pin and handkerchief, are very clear codes that show the character's preference. It is like Aaron was designed based on some stereotypical images of gay people, but only a part of gay people still wear handkerchiefs, and not all of us have a pierced ear, " Dylan, a gay man based in Beijing, told the Global Times after seeing the character. 

"It is unusual for me that a Captain America looks somewhat like a rebellious rascal, a 'problem kid,' and the even more sad thing is he was designed based on assuming how people in the queer community look like," Jing, a Marvel comic fan, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

While there are people who are concerned that the new character was designed based on stereotypes, others showed their support for the move on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo. 

"It is vivid. I can even feel his fierce personality. He looks like someone who is not as physically strong as other Captain Americas, but he is definitely not the one you would dare to bully," said a netizen on Sina Weibo. 

"It is a quite a feminine Captain America. His eyes and facial features look very gender- balanced. I like it more than those ones with too many muscles," noted another. 

"I really enjoyed designing him and, as a transgender person, I am happy to be able to present an openly gay person who admires Captain America and fights against evil to help those who are almost invisible to society," Jan Bazaldua, the artist who created Fischer, said. 

Marvel Comic's limited special series is not only dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community, but also celebrates Captain America's 80th anniversary. 

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