Post submitted by Bo Suh, HRC Digital Media Intern
Singapore will keep the X-Men comic book featuring a same-sex marriage on its shelves, despite removing Archie comics that depicted a similar wedding. According to the Media Development Authority of Singapore, Astonishing X-Men Issue 51 is acceptable because it offers a “balanced treatment” of the issue of same-sex marriage.
In the comic, gay X-man Northstar marries his partner, Kyle Jinadu. Almost exactly the same thing happens in Archie: The Married Life Volume Three, in which the comic’s first openly gay character Kevin Keller marries his partner. The only difference is that the X-Men issue features characters that object to the wedding and same-sex marriage.
A spokesman from the MDA told TODAY that content guidelines “allow for the balanced depictions of same-sex relationships if they do not encourage or promote alternative lifestyles.”
Despite keeping the comics on sale, the MDA advised for the distributors to shrink-wrap and label the comic with the warning “Unsuitable for the Young.”
The MDA said that the decision to remove the Archie comics was made by its 28-member Publications Consultative Panel. “Its members advised that the theme of the comic was not in line with social norms and is in breach of existing content guidelines,” the MDA said.
As LGBT people become more represented in television and film, they do in comics, too. Last year, we saw the introduction of openly lesbian and gay superheroes in Batwoman and Green Lantern and the first transgender character in Alysia Yeoh. Comics have long served as allegories for marginalized groups and sources of empowerment for readers, so the increased representation of LGBT people in mainstream comics comes as a timely and progressive shift.