In Batgirl Issue 19, writer Gail Simone made comic book history when she introduced Batgirl Barbara Gordon’s roommate, Alysia Yeoh, as a transwoman. In the scene in question, Yeoh, a woman of Singaporean descent, sat down and chatted about her identity with Gordon.
In a Wired article, Simone describes being asked about LGBT representation in comics. “I looked out into the audience, saw dozens of faces I knew well — LGBTQ folks, mostly — all avid comics readers and superhero fans and DC supporters. And it just hit me: Why was this so impossible? Why in the world can we not do a better job of representation of not just humanity, but also our own loyal audience?”
With Simone moving on to a new DC Comics project and new writers taking over the series, fans were concerned Batgirl would focus less on its LGBT characters, like Yeoh, who will remain a friend of her former roommate.
Fortunately, when questioned on Twitter, one of the series’ new writers, Brenden Fletcher, responded by saying, “There will, in fact, be MORE LGBT characters than ever before.”
Batgirl recently got a great deal of attention for the character remodelling. After a fire destroys all of her belongings, Barbara Gordon will move to the trendy, youthful Gotham City neighbourhood of Burnside. The series is undergoing a change in spirit, with a lighter take on the dark and malevolent universe of Batman:
“Our take on Batgirl mixes the best elements of Veronica Mars and Girls, with a dash of Sherlock thrown in for good measure,”Fletcher told MTV News.
This includes a change in her superhero costume, which has been positively received by fans who are thrilled to see a less spandex-based, more functional suit for the young caped crusader.
Fans can look out for the release of the new Batgirl — by Fletcher and writer Cameron Stewart and artist Babs Tarr, who is responsible for the awesome redesign — on stands in early October.