In light of Marvel debuting their first nonbinary superhero with they/them pronouns but making the regrettable decision to name them “Snowflake,” we’re sharing four fandom franchises who know how to represent their nonbinary fans that you can turn to instead.
The nonbinary community was rooting for you, Marvel. We were all rooting for you.
We were pleased in 2014 when Loki was confirmed to be genderfluid, which is under the nonbinary umbrella, but over five years later, this has yet to be reflected in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Also, we’ve all been hoping for a nonbinary character whose gender is more visible. And now you finally give us one. The first in Marvel history to have they/them pronouns? And you name them….Snowflake?
Yes, we know the word is intended in a reclaimed sense. But was it reclaimed by a nonbinary author? Of course not. You can’t reclaim a disparaging term if you’re not someone it gets used on. This reclaiming is just as fictional as the character.
And even if the author sought out nonbinary voices to make sure the character is accurately portrayed–even if the author was nonbinary, you’re still disappointing many more marginalized fans than if you’d insisted on a less polarizing name. Whenever you make a character to represent people, you’ll always have a number of people who won’t feel appreciated or seen by every aspect. But far fewer people are comfortable reclaiming disparaging terms that are still widely in use.
Which audience is this nonbinary character written for, Marvel? Certainly not a majority of the portion of the fandom that they represent.
It would be different if they weren’t the only superhero with they/them pronouns. They’d be just another superhero on the ill-advised campy woke buzzword team and would fade away with the rest of the “New Warriors” series after a while.
But they’re all we have. Trolls are going to ridicule them and ridicule us. We still won’t have any other heroes to look up to. And so we’re going to still remember them when you wish we wouldn’t. Decades later, your series will show up on listicles about regrettable nonbinary representation back in the “bad old days when most people didn’t know any better.” Your grandchildren will be laughing at you.
But enough about you, Marvel. In the interest of saving what we love instead of fighting what we hate, we now turn to fandoms with better nonbinary representation…
1. Star Wars
- Eleodie Maracavanya is a space pirate who appears in the second two books of Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy. Zhe captains a refitted super star destroyer and has an emcee who announces her pronouns.
- Taka Jamoreesa is a pilot who adventures with Han and Lando in “Last Shot” by Daniel José Older. They’re cheerful, scrappy, confident, and enjoy listening to eclectic music on headphones.
- Blanche leads Team Mystic in Pokemon Go. Their team usually tends to have the most number of active members.
- Gou is the latest rival character in the Pokemon anime. His gender appears to be male, but his appearance was intentionally designed to be gender non-conforming, which is affirming to a wide variety of queer fans.
- All legendary pokemon have almost always been genderless. Specifically Mewtwo’s performance in “Detective Pikachu” was created by layering a male voice and a female voice.
3. Good Omens
- All 20 million angels and demons are nonbinary, including the two protagonists and over half of the prominent supporting characters. This groundbreaking representation has received multiple wahoos from us in previous articles.
- God is referred to with she/her pronouns by Aziraphale, they/them pronouns by Crowley, and masculine terms such as “father” by Jesus. Neil Gaiman once referred to them as “the least binary thing in (or out of) Creation”
- Pollution, one of the four horsepeople of the apocalypse, is introduced with they/them pronouns and the alias “Able Seaperson White” in a deleted scene. Including this extra representation was a wonderful way to show that nonbinary gender isn’t just a heavenly or hellish trait.
4. Steven Universe
- Every gem is nonbinary, although they present female.
- Gem fusions between Steven and anyone with she/her pronouns result in individuals with they/them pronouns. (Regular gem fusions have she/her pronouns)
- Shep is a human musician (voiced by a nonbinary actor!) who appears in Steven Universe Future. They keep a cool head in stressful situations.
Author: Corellon Johnson
Corellon is an engineer, cosplayer, group admin, creative fandom polymath, and chaotic good paladin of Carrie Fisher.
They’ve run over 50 fan panels and con events and can be found starting way too many projects in the Good Omens, Bioware, and Star Wars fandoms.
Newport News, Virginia, USA
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